• EpidemicsAn outbreak of Nipah virus in India can help explain the future of infectious disease

    By Alanna Shaikh

    India’s Kerala state has just faced an outbreak of Nipah virus. Seventeen people have died so far. That wouldn’t seem so serious, but only eighteen people were infected. To make matters worse, there is no known cure or vaccine for Nipah – all doctors can offer is supportive treatment while the victim’s immune system attempts to fight off the virus, which causes brain damage. Nipah is a near perfect example of an emerging infectious disease. Its history and evolution follow the pattern of almost every new virus.

  • Coastal perilAs coastal communities face more frequent, severe disruptions, costly choices loom

    Sea levels are rising. Tides are inching higher. High-tide floods are becoming more frequent and reaching farther inland. And hundreds of U.S. coastal communities will soon face chronic, disruptive flooding that directly affects people’s homes, lives, and properties. Long before rising seas permanently submerge properties, millions of Americans living in coastal communities will face more frequent and more severe disruptions from high-tide flooding. As this flooding increases, it will reach a threshold where normal routines become impossible and coastal residents, communities, and businesses are forced to make difficult, often costly choices.

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  • Nuclear weaponsModernization of nuclear arsenals continues

    A new report finds that all the nuclear weapon-possessing states are developing new nuclear weapon systems and modernizing their existing systems. Nine states—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea—possess approximately 14,465 nuclear weapons. This marked a decrease from the approximately 14,935 nuclear weapons these states were estimated to possess at the beginning of 2017.

  • Man-made earthquakesMexico’s World Cup goal causes artificial earthquake back home

    Hundreds of thousands of Mexican soccer fans, jumping in jubilation on Sunday as the Mexican national soccer team defeated the reigning world champion Germany, shook the ground hard enough to set off earthquake detectors. The Mexican seismological agency reported that highly sensitive earthquake sensors registered tremors at two sites in Mexico City, within seven seconds after Hirving (Chucky) Lozano, the speedy left-winger, scored in the 36th minute.

  • SpooksIsrael arrests former energy minister on charges of spying for Iran

    Israel’s former energy minister has been arrested and accused of spying for Iran. The former minister served three years in jail for trying to smuggle extasy pills into Israel, and then tried his hands in various business ventures in West Africa, where he was recruited by Iran’s intelligence.

  • ImmigrationMedical experts alarmed over impact of family separation on children

    Lat Thursday, thousands of medical experts and mental health professionals and researchers sent a letter to DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Attorney General Jeff Sessions calling for an immediate end to forced family separation at the border, citing concerns from the medical community over the trauma and potentially long-lasting damage it has on children’s health and well-being. “The United States should follow the “best interests of the child” standard and immediately stop the practice of forced separation. It should not be U.S. policy to traumatize children, especially not as a form of indirect punishment of their parents,” the mental health professionals wrote.

  • ImmigrationDetained immigrant children stay in shelters that are already full and aren’t equipped for babies

    By Dyana Mason

    The U.S. is taking immigrant children away from their parents when foreign families are either caught crossing the border without documents, or if they turn themselves in to seek refugee status. Many of these children are under the age of 4, and some are infants, according to media reports and rights advocates. The administration’s assertions to the contrary notwithstanding, this is a new interpretation of federal immigration law. Family separations like these did occur during the Bush and Obama administrations but were rare. DHS reports that between 19 April and 31 May 2018, 1,995 children were separated from their families. Between October 2016 and February 2018, 1,800 children were separated from their families. As of late May, nearly 11,000 migrant children were in government custody.

  • PrivacyPotential threat to speech privacy via smartphone motion sensors

    Could smartphone motion sensors be used by cybercriminals to record speech? It is a question that many academic and industry researchers are working to answer in order to ward off this kind of malicious use before it happens. Recent studies suggest security flaws and sensitivities to low-frequency audio signals, such as human speech, in accelerometers and gyroscopes could allow cybercriminals to collect confidential information such as credit card numbers and Social Security numbers as users speak into or near a mobile device.

  • GunsBank withheld $1.6 million from top bump stock maker after Las Vegas shooting

    By Ann Givens

    In a lawsuit, Slide Fire Solutions, the inventor and manufacturer of the bump stock, accuses Merrick Bank of holding more than $1.6 million of the company’s money “hostage.” The financial institution says it had to hedge its risk in light of threats to Slide Fire’s business arising from the Las Vegas shooting.

  • ResilienceHow microgrids could boost resilience in New Orleans

    During Hurricane Katrina and other severe storms that have hit New Orleans, power outages, flooding and wind damage combined to cut off people from clean drinking water, food, medical care, shelter, prescriptions and other vital services. Researchers at Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories teamed up with the City of New Orleans to analyze ways to increase community resilience and improve the availability of critical lifeline services during and after severe weather.

  • Our picksSeparated at the border; life-saving technologies; relaxed flood plain rules, and more

    •  Separated at the border from their parents: In six weeks, 1,995 children

    •  Defense contractors cashing in on immigrant kids’ detention

    •  Diplomacy won’t stop North Korean hacking, South Korean officials say

    •  Red-teaming by DHS ‘quietly and slowly’ uncovers agency vulnerabilities

    •  “Sanctuary cities” could be sued by crime victims if GOP bill passes

    •  Austin schools leader proposes spending $1.7 million on safety measures

    •  Three emerging technologies with life-saving potential

    •  Relaxed rules in flood plain help homeowners, but could have consequences later

  • The Russia watchRussia 'live testing' cyberattacks; cyber deterrence; Russia's newest U.S. propaganda effort, and more

      Russia appears to be ‘live testing’ cyberattacks – former UK spy boss Robert Hannigan

      There is now a well-documented example of cyber deterrence

      Russian troll or clumsy publicity hound?

      This man is running Russia’s newest propaganda effort in the U.S.— or at least he’s trying to

      Paul Manafort = evidence of collusion

      At site of U.K. poisoning, doubts about case creep in

      Can Russian hackers be stopped? Here’s why it might take 20 years

      AI startup Clarifai hacked by Russian operatives during Pentagon Maven project, lawsuit claims

  • TerrorismPakistan Taliban chief killed in U.S. air strike

    Mullah Fazullah, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, has been killed in a U.S. air strike in Afghanistan, an Afghanistan military official has said. Fazlullah was Pakistan’s most-wanted militant. He ordered the 2014 attack which killed 132 children, and the 2012 shooting of schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • BioterrorismPolice carry out more raids in Cologne, Germany, after biological weapon arrest

    Police in the German city of Cologne on Friday searched several empty apartments in a high-rise, following the Tuesday discovery of the highly toxic substance ricin in one of the apartments. On Thursday, police charged a 29-year-old Tunisian man with producing a biological weapon and for “preparing a serious act of violence against the state.”

  • CybersecurityConnected cars vulnerable to cyberthreats

    Connected cars could be as vulnerable to cyberattack as the smartphone in your hand or the personal computer on your desktop, according to a new study from the U.K.“Connected cars are no different from other nodes on the internet of things and face many of the same generic cybersecurity threats,” the team reports.

  • CyberattacksWhy some claim credit for cyberattacks – and some don’t

    The decision to claim credit for a cyberattack on a government or institution depends on both the goals of the attack and the characteristics of the attacker, according to a new study, which is one of the first to look into the voluntary claiming of cybersecurity operations. The researchers note that whether or not the originator of the cyberattack wished to claim credit for it, advances in cybersecurity improve the ability of government and law enforcement agencies to track hackers.

  • KasperskyKaspersky to halt cooperation with Europe to fight cybercrime

    Russia’s Kaspersky Lab says it will no longer cooperate on several European cybercrime-fighting initiatives after the European Parliament moved to ban its antivirus software. The United States and a number of European countries have accused Kaspersky of having ties to the Kremlin and Russian intelligence services. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security last year ordered the country’s agencies using Kaspersky products to remove and replace them with other approved software within 90 days.

  • The Russia connectionFrom Nord Stream to Novichok: Kremlin propaganda on Google’s front page

    On 24 May, an international team of investigators announced that a Russian anti-aircraft missile was directly responsible for the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17). Initial analysis of social media reactions to these announcements indicated that Kremlin outlets were struggling to effectively counter the new evidence implicating Moscow in the downing of MG17. However, over the next week, conspiracy theories and disinformation narratives from Russian propaganda outlets found a foothold on an impactful and unlikely medium: Google’s front page.

  • The Russia connectionWas there a connection between Russian Facebook propaganda and a foiled terrorist attack in Kansas City?

    On 18 April, a jury convicted three Kansas men of conspiring to use “weapons of mass destruction” against an apartment complex where many of the residents were Somali refugees. They were arrested before they were able to carry out their bomb plot in 2016. All three were known to be very active on Facebook, where they called themselves “Crusaders.” Experts wonder whether the divisive and polarizing ads which Russian disinformation specialists ran on Facebook during 2016 motivated the three to plan the attack.

  • DronesLos Alamos lab designated “No Drone Zone,” deploys counter-drone systems

    Loa Alamos National Laboratory, in collaboration with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), has deployed a system to counter all unauthorized unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) over its restricted airspace and an additional FAA designated “No Drone Zone.” The Counter-UAS program at Los Alamos will be the blueprint for future programs at three other NNSA sites. Systems are planned for the Pantex Plant in Texas, the Y-12 facility in Tennessee, and the National Nuclear Security Site in Nevada.

  • Rising seasGlobal warming accelerating rise in sea levels

    A new study discovered that rising sea levels could be accelerated by vulnerable ice shelves in the Antarctic. The study discovered that the process of warmer ocean water destabilizing ice shelves from below is also cracking them apart from above, increasing the chance they’ll break off. “This study is more evidence that the warming effects of climate change are impacting our planet in ways that are often more dangerous than we perhaps had thought,” said one researcher.

  • Our picksThe next plague is coming; cyber warfare & nuclear attack; fooling DNA testing, and more

    •  The next plague is coming. Is America ready?

    •  Deadly Chinese poultry flu could be ‘disease X’ that sparks worldwide pandemic 

    •  The ethics of separating families at the border

    •  Bolt out of the blue: Nuclear attack warning in the era of information and cyber warfare

    •  Another DNA testing company reportedly gets fooled by dog DNA

    •  2014 Napa earthquake may be linked to groundwater changes, study says

    •  Underwater fiber-optic cables could moonlight as earthquake sensors

    •  Neo-Nazis can be deradicalized and make amends

    •  Antarctica has lost nearly 3 trillion tons of ice since 1992