• Immigration & business“Migrant work ethic” exists, at least in the short term

    The received wisdom that migrant workers have a stronger “work ethic” than U.K.-born workers is proven for the first time. New research shows that migrant workers are over three times less likely to be absent from work than native U.K. workers, a measure which economists equate with work ethic.

  • Home-grown terrorismThe rising homegrown terror threat on the right

    By Arie Perliger

    Dealing effectively with far-right violence requires that we treat its manifestations as domestic terrorism. I consider domestic terrorism a more significant threat than the foreign-masterminded variety in part because it is more common in terms of the number of attacks on U.S. soil. The number of violent attacks on U.S. soil inspired by far-right ideology has spiked since the beginning of this century, rising from a yearly average of 70 attacks in the 1990s to a yearly average of more than 300 since 2001. I would argue that this trend reflects a deeper social change in American society. The iceberg model of political extremism, initially developed by Israeli political scientist Ehud Shprinzak, can illuminate these dynamics. Murders and other violent attacks perpetrated by U.S. far-right extremists compose the visible tip of an iceberg. The rest of this iceberg is under water and out of sight. It includes hundreds of attacks every year that damage property and intimidate communities. The significant growth in far-right violence in recent years is happening at the base of the iceberg. Changes in societal norms are usually reflected in behavioral changes. It is thus more than reasonable to suspect that extremist individuals engage in such activities because they sense that their views are enjoying growing social legitimacy and acceptance, which is emboldening them to act on their bigotry.

  • TerrorismFBI warned MI5 that Salman Abedi was planning terror attack in U.K.

    The FBI informed MI5, the British intelligence agency, that Salman Abedi was planning an attack on U.K. soil — three months before he blew himself up a concert hall in Manchester. The FBI told MI5 that Abedi was part of a North African Islamic State cell based in the north west of England, and which was plotting attacks in the United Kingdom. Abedi was placed on a U.S. terrorist watch list in 2016 after U.S. intelligence, while monitoring Islamist groups operating in Libya, noticed his communications with one of the groups.

  • TerrorismAre we really seeing the rise of a ‘new jihad’?

    By Samantha May

    Europe is witnessing a worrying surge in acts of violence perpetrated not by “aliens” or foreigners, but by its own citizens — but this is not new. Various Islamist movements over the years have learnt from previous groups’ failures to protect themselves and have survived by aborting centralized hierarchical structures and opting to work in “cells” with little or no direct contact to a central organization. If this is indeed the principal strategy behind the various violent, extremism-motivated actions taking place in Europe, then the continents’ security services should know not to look for centralized command structures which simply won’t exist. As new terrains and individuals emerge to incubate and cause havoc, the concepts they use and the actions they take will keep evolving – as they have done for decades now.

  • SurveillanceTech firms urge Congress to enact surveillance reforms

    More than thirty leading internet companies have sent a letter to the chair of the House Judiciary Committee asking for reforms to the law used for carrying out mass surveillance. The letter concerns Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The act must be renewed by Congress before the end of the year. Over the years, the U.S. security agencies have creatively interpreted the law to allow them to store information on potentially millions of U.S. citizens – even though the law specifically requires the opposite.

  • Nuclear security$2-million grant for training next generation of nuclear arms control experts

    Post-Cold War arsenal reductions by the United States and Russia have slowed, and both sides continue to keep many hundreds of weapons on hair trigger alert ready to launch within minutes of a country’s leader pushing the button. Meanwhile, concerns grow about nuclear programs in North Korea, South Asia, and the Middle East. Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security (SGS) has received a $2-million grant from the MacArthur Foundation. The award will support SGS’ efforts to educate and train the next generation of researchers and scientists studying nuclear non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament.

  • Nuclear securityArgonne’s nuclear security training team has a global reach

    At Argonne National Laboratory, a team of experts is training foreign scientists and engineers in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology. Although the building is more than 4700 miles from the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, the team is helping it uphold decades of international nuclear cooperation. Over the years, Argonne has taught more than 220 courses to more than 5,000 students, many of whom became leaders of nuclear safety and security abroad.

  • DisastersKnowing more and loosing less: Science and helps in disaster risk management

    Natural and man-made disasters threaten millions of people every year and cause billions of property damage. How much do we know about them? And how can we use that knowledge to save lives and money? A recent report —Science for Disaster Risk Management 2017: Knowing More and Losing Less — seeks to answer these and other questions and to help prepare for the time when disaster strikes.

  • DisastersWeather disaster-prone countries do not spend more on weather services

    Countries hit hardest by weather-related disasters do not necessarily spend more on commercial weather and climate information services that assist in preparing for these events, a new study finds. Identifying countries for which this is true and improving the design and delivery of weather and climate services in these locations could lead to better decision-making regarding risks and challenges, ultimately helping to save lives, protect infrastructure, and move people out of poverty.

  • STEM educationMiddle school engineers show their skills in electric car competition

    Chicago-area middle school students showcased their engineering talents of at the annual Electric Car Competition this spring. The quest: construct a fully functioning model electric car that could travel a 20-meter track while carrying a two-pound load. The task challenged students to apply the same science and engineering principles used by professional engineers every day.

  • Emerging threatsClimate change likely to increase risk of costly storms in U.K.

    The impact of climate change on the United Kingdom is likely to mean a higher number of more expensive wind storms, the insurance industry warned. New analysis done for the Association of British Insurers (ABI) shows temperature increases of just a small number of degrees are likely to lead to insurance losses for high winds which could be 11 percent, 23 percent, or even 25 percent higher nationwide.

  • The Russian connectionFlorida GOP operative asked for – and received -- Russian hackers’ help in congressional race

    The Wall Street Journal reports today that the Russian government hackers’ effort to upend the 2016 presidential election was not limited to stealing Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton campaign emails and memos and then using Wikileaks to publish them in order to embarrass and weaken Hillary Clinton. Aaron Nevins, a Republican operative in Florida, now admits that he colluded with Russian government hackers in order to help the candidate he supported win a congressional race. When the Journal asked Nevins whether it was right to collaborate with the Russian government to undermine a congressional race in the United States, he responded: “If your interests align,” he said, “never shut any doors in politics.”

  • Visa overstays739,478 visitors to U.S. in FY2016 overstayed their visas – and 628,799 are still in U.S.

    DHS earlier this week released the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Entry/Exit Overstay Report. The report provides data on departures and overstays, by country, for foreign visitors to the United States who entered as nonimmigrant visitors through an air or sea Port of Entry (POE) and were expected to depart in FY16. CBP processed 50,437,278 in-scope nonimmigrant admissions at U.S. air and sea POEs who were expected to depart in FY16—of which 739,478 overstayed their admission, resulting in a total overstay rate of 1.47 percent. Of the more than 739,000 overstays, DHS determined 628,799 were suspected “in-country” overstays, resulting in a suspected in-country overstay rate of 1.25 percent. An individual who is a suspected in-country overstay has no recorded departure, while an out-of-country overstay has a recorded departure that occurred after their lawful admission period expired.

  • Manchester attackManchester bomber had close connections with Manchester criminal gang

    The Manchester police say that the Manchester Arena suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, had close connections with criminal gangs in the city, as well as an association with a terrorist recruiter. Abedi, 22, was associated with a gang which has for years been waging war with a rival fang in south Manchester. People who knew Abedi say that he was deeply upset when one of his close friends became involved in a violent gangland feud, and some friends said that this trauma may have added to his feeling of disillusionment and anger.

  • TerrorismWhat science can reveal about the psychological profiles of terrorists

    By Coral Dando

    What went though the mind of the suicide bomber Salman Abedi just before he blew himself up in Manchester this week, killing twenty-two people? We often dismiss terrorists as non-humans, monsters, at first. But when we learn that they were seemingly normal individuals with families and jobs, it’s hard not to wonder about how their minds really work. The search for a terrorist “personality” or “mindset” dominated psychological research in the 1970s and 1980s and remains a significant area for research today. The idea behind such research is obvious – it’s to identify stable, predictive traits or “markers” of terrorist personalities. If we could do that, we may be able to predict who will become a terrorist – and perhaps prevent it. This type of research should be viewed with extreme caution because it involves many variables over which there is no consensus among experts – but we could agree that the more we find out about terrorists’ quest for significance, the better we can understand the identity and social issues that are fundamental to radicalization. So there’s every reason to be optimistic that psychology can be a powerful tool in the fight against terrorism.

  • Nuclear disastersU.S. nuclear watchdog greatly underestimates potential for nuclear disaster

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) relied on faulty analysis to justify its refusal to adopt a critical measure for protecting Americans from the occurrence of a catastrophic nuclear-waste fire at any one of dozens of reactor sites around the country, a new study shows. Fallout from such a fire could be considerably larger than the radioactive emissions from the 2011 Fukushima accident in Japan. These catastrophic consequences, which could be triggered by a large earthquake or a terrorist attack, could be largely avoided by regulatory measures that the NRC refuses to implement.

  • Radiation detectionMobile phones can reveal exposure to radiation

    In accidents or terror attacks which are suspected to involve radioactive substances, it can be difficult to determine whether people nearby have been exposed to radiation. But by analyzing mobile phones and other objects which come in close contact with the body, it is possible to retrieve important information on radiation exposure.

  • AgroterrorismSenate passes legislation to address agrotrrorism threats to U.S. food supply

    The United States faces complex national security challenges, among them agroterrorism, which poses serious threats to U.S. food, agriculture, and livestock industries. Experts say that it is imperative to have preparedness policies in place quickly to respond to events threatening U.S. agriculture or food production systems in order to protect the industries which have an impact on Americans on a daily basis. The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved the Securing our Agriculture and Food Act, which increases precautions and preparedness to mitigate potential threat of agroterrorism and high-risk events to the U.S. food, agriculture, and livestock industries.

  • ForgeriesThwarting forgery with paper fingerprints

    Designing secure documents that provide high levels of security against forgery is a long-standing problem. Even in today’s digital age, this problem remains important as paper is still the most common form of proving authenticity – such as receipts, contracts, certificates and passports. Fingerprinting official documents could provide a cost-effective way to prevent forgery, new research shows.

  • TornadoesTornado’s strength explains number of casualties more than number of people in twister’s way

    New research shows that the strength of a tornado has a significantly larger effect than population on the number of casualties. Using a regression model, researchers found that on average a doubling of the population under the path of a tornado leads to a 21 percent increase in the casualty rate, while a doubling of the energy dispersed by the tornado leads to a 33 percent increase in the casualty rate.

  • Manchester attackU.K. security services missed several opportunities to stop Manchester suicide bomber

    British security services appear to have missed several opportunities to stop Salman Abedi before he carried out the Manchester Arena attack earlier this week. Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber, was repeatedly flagged to the authorities by friends, community leaders, and family members over his extremist views – and was independently noticed by the security services for his association with a known ISIS recruiter — but was not stopped by officers. The British security services have expressed a growing irritation and alarm with the stream of revelations in U.S. newspapers about various aspects of the investigation.

  • Manchester attackManchester attack: we are in an ‘arms race’ against ever adapting terror networks

    By Kris Christmann

    The Manchester attack illustrates how Western society is locked in an arms race with an ever adapting group of terrorists who keep changing their tactics and targets. Winning the battle depends on a number of complex factors and the acceptance that on the morning of 23 June Britain woke up to a new reality. We need to do more to consider the role of intelligence. Often the first person to know or suspect something about someone moving towards, or involved in, acts of terrorism will be those closest to them: their friends, family and community insiders. Their willingness to come forward and share knowledge, suspicions and concerns with authorities is critical because they offer a first line of defense. We are currently finding out more about the barriers and challenges people face in sharing information or cooperating with authorities, as well as what motivates them to surmount these challenges. This would tell us why those with concerns can fail to engage fully with government reporting campaigns. At the moment this is a critical blind spot in current counter-terrorism thinking and strategy.