• Heat waveDangerous Heat Wave Is Building in the Central and Eastern U.S.

    The National Weather Service said Thursday that an upper-level ridge is building over the southeastern U.S., setting the stage for what will be a miserably hot and humid weekend for millions of Americans. Heat advisories and warnings affect 154 million Americans. In many major population centers, the heat index  is forecast to peak around 110 degrees between Friday and Sunday.

  • The Russia connectionFBI, FTC asked to examine whether FaceApp is a Kremlin’s data-collection tool

    FaceApp is a selfie app designed by a Russian programmer, which uses AI-like techniques to apply various changes to faces, making them look older or younger, adding accessories and even changing their race. On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) sent a letter to the FBI and Federal Trade Commission to investigate the data-collecting and data-retention mechanisms of the Russia-based app — and whether the “personal data uploaded by millions of Americans onto FaceApp may be finding its way into the hands of the Russian government.”

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  • Grey zoneGaining Competitive Advantage for the U.S. in the Gray Zone

    The United States is entering a period of intensifying strategic competition with several rivals, most notably Russia and China. U.S. officials expect this competition to be played out primarily below the threshold of armed conflict, in what is sometimes termed the gray zone between peace and war. The United States is ill prepared and poorly organized to compete in this space, but the United States can begin to treat the ongoing gray zone competition as an opportunity more than a risk.

  • EarthquakeNew Sensor Improves Earthquake Response Efforts

    The recent massive southern California earthquakes shut down Ridgecrest Regional Hospital throughout the 4 July holiday weekend while the tiny town of Ridgecrest assessed the damages. Researchers developed a new optical sensor which could speed up the time it takes to evaluate whether critical buildings like these are safe to occupy shortly after a major earthquake.

  • DroughtsWarming Climate Intensifies Summer Drought in Parts of U.S.

    Climate change is amplifying the intensity and likelihood of heatwaves during severe droughts in the southern plains and southwest United States, according to a new study. The findings raise the idea of a self-reinforcing climate loop: as a region’s climate becomes more arid due to climate change, droughts become hotter, further reducing soil moisture.

  • Managed coastal retreatRaising Tough Questions about Retreat from Rising Seas

    By Sarah Fecht

    As the global thermostat climbs and polar ice melts, the oceans are swelling and swallowing up coastlines. By some calculations, rising seas could displace 13 million Americans by 2100. While some communities are attempting to adapt in place with elevated buildings and seawalls to divert water, relocation appears inevitable for many.

  • GeoengineeringPreventing West Antarctic Ice Collapse by Snowing Ocean Water onto It

    The ice sheet covering West Antarctica is at risk of sliding off into the ocean. The slow, yet inexorable loss of West Antarctic ice is likely to continue even after climate warming is stabilized. A collapse will raise sea levels worldwide by more than three meters. Researchers are now scrutinizing a daring way of stabilizing the ice sheet: Generating trillions of tons of additional snowfall by pumping ocean water onto the glaciers and distributing it with snow canons.

  • PerspectiveHow Cyber Weapons Are Changing the Landscape of Modern Warfare

    In the weeks before two Japanese and Norwegian oil tankers were attacked, on 13 June, in the Gulf of Oman—acts which the United States attributes to Iran—American military strategists were planning a cyberattack on critical parts of that country’s digital infrastructure. On 20 June, the United States launched a cyberattack aimed at disabling Iran’s maritime operations. Then, in a notable departure from previous Administrations’ policies, U.S. government officials, through leaks that appear to have been strategic, alerted the world, in broad terms, to what the Americans had done.

  • PerspectiveCriminal Prosecutions and Illegal Entry: A Deeper Dive

    Since the first Democratic presidential debates at the end of June, candidates, pundits and former government officials have discussed whether provisions of law that turn unauthorized border crossing into the federal crime of “improper entry” – in addition to a civil immigration law violation – should be repealed. Over the last three years, researchers at Human Rights First have conducted extensive research and observed countless entry and re-entry prosecutions in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. These prosecutions, as we have detailed in a series of reports, violate U.S. refugee treaty obligations, impinge on due process, separate children from their parents, waste government funds, and divert prosecutorial resources from serious criminal and security threats.

  • PerspectiveThese Hackers Made an App That Kills to Prove a Point

    Two years ago, researchers Billy Rios and Jonathan Butts discovered disturbing vulnerabilities in Medtronic’s popular MiniMed and MiniMed Paradigm insulin pump lines. An attacker could remotely target these pumps to withhold insulin from patients, or to trigger a potentially lethal overdose. And yet months of negotiations with Medtronic and regulators to implement a fix proved fruitless. So the researchers resorted to drastic measures. They built an Android app that could use the flaws to kill people.

  • Our picksWeaponized Ticks | Evolution of a Russian Troll | Facebook & 3D-printed Guns, and more

    ·  The Evolution of a Russian Troll

    ·  5G Health Fears Stem from Inaccurate, Debunked Claims

    ·  Microsoft Says It Notified Nearly 10,000 Customers that They Were Cyberattack Victims

    ·  Pentagon Contractor Allegedly Threatened to Kill Congresswoman Over Vaccine Bill

    ·  U.S. Cyber Command Simulated a Seaport Cyberattack to Test Digital Readiness

    ·  Army Goggles Will Feature Facial Recognition Tech ‘Very Soon’

    ·  Privacy Concerns Over Viral Photo Apps Are Totally Valid. But They’re Also Often Overblown.

    ·  Active Chinese Hacking Campaign Targeted Diplomats from Slovakia, South America

    ·  Facebook Quietly Relaxed Its Ban on Sharing Blueprints for 3D-printed Guns

    ·  The Conspiracy Theory That’s Got a Congressman Demanding a Probe into Weaponized Ticks

  • Public healthWHO Declares Ebola Outbreak in Congo an Emergency of “International Concern”

    The UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo a “public health emergency of international concern.” “It is a measure that recognizes the possible increased national and regional risks and the need for intensified and coordinated action to manage them,” said the WHO in a statement.

  • Public healthGerman law would require measles vaccination to attend schools, kindergartens, daycare

    German children will have to prove they have had a measles vaccination before they would be allowed to attend kindergarten or go to school. A new draft law imposes steep fines on parents who refuse to immunize their children.

  • The Russia connectionU.S. Government Agencies Want to Know More about Russian Trolling

    Two Clemson researchers have been compiling and analyzing the tactics and strategy of social media accounts created by a Russian agency whose goal is to interfere in the U.S. electoral process. The Russians’ “troll factory” is housed in St. Petersburg in the now-famous government-linked Internet Research Agency (IRA). “What the IRA is attempting to do through social media channels is create a one-sided agenda through a marketing campaign,” one researcher said. “It’s not espionage, it’s essentially a guerrilla marketing campaign.” DHS, the U.S. Cyber Command, and other U.S. government agencies want to more about the researchers’ findings.

  • Radiation risksHelping first responders deal with dirty bombs

    If a radiological dispersal device (RDD), or “dirty bomb,” ever explodes in the United States, emergency crews may be better prepared because researchers have developed a new simulator, which show first responders what an optimal response to an RDD would look like.

  • Radiation risksBill Expands Compensation for Victims of Radiation Exposure

    Tens of thousands of individuals, including miners, transporters, and other employees who worked directly in uranium mines, along with communities located near test sites for nuclear weapons, were exposed during the mid-1900s to dangerous radiation that has left communities struggling from cancer, birth defects, and other illnesses.

  • AnthraxFighting anthrax by removing the bacterium’s armor

    Anthrax is a deadly and highly resilient disease, caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Historically, it was a major cause of death in humans and cattle. has shown that removing the armor of the bacterium that causes anthrax slows its growth and negatively affects its ability to cause disease.

  • FloodsAs Flood Risks Increase across the U.S., It’s Time to Recognize the Limits of Levees

    By Amahia Mallea

    Many U.S. cities rely on levees for protection from floods. There are more than 100,000 miles of levees nationwide, in all 50 states and one of every five counties. Most of them seriously need repair: Levees received a D on the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2018 national infrastructure report card. Climate models show that flood risks are increasing, and across the central U.S., rivers are becoming increasingly hard to control. Faith in the idea of engineered flood control is starting to erode.

  • FloodsPredicting flood duration

    The duration of floods can be determined by river flow, precipitation and atmospheric blocking. Researchers now offer a novel physically based Bayesian network model for inference and prediction of flood duration. The model also accurately examines the timescales of flooding.

  • PerspectiveU.S. Offensive Cyber Operations against Economic Cyber Intrusions: An International Law Analysis

    The United States is likely to struggle to make a convincing argument that economic cyber intrusions carried out against it breach international law. Consequently, in most cases the United States would not be able to resort to countermeasures in response. It must therefore show that its offensive cyber operations do not themselves breach international law.

  • PerspectiveCalifornia’s Wildfires Are 500 Percent Larger Due to Climate Change

    Californians may feel like they’re enduring an epidemic of fire. The past decade has seen half of the state’s 10 largest wildfires and seven of its 10 most destructive fires, including last year’s Camp Fire, the state’s deadliest wildfire ever. A new study finds that the state’s fire outbreak is real—and that it’s being driven by climate change. Since 1972, California’s annual burned area has increased more than fivefold, a trend clearly attributable to the warming climate. “Each degree of warming causes way more fire than the previous degree of warming did. And that’s a really big deal,” Park Williams, a climate scientist at Columbia University and an author of the paper, said. Among the many ways climate change might be messing with the environment, extra heat is among the simplest and most obvious. “Heat is the most clear result of human-caused climate change,” Williams said.

  • PerspectiveRadiation in Parts of the Marshall Islands Is Far Higher than Chernobyl, Study Says

    Think of the most radioactive landscapes on the planet and the names Chernobyl and Fukushima may come to mind. Yet research published Monday suggests that parts of the Marshall Islands in the central Pacific, where the United States conducted 67 nuclear tests during the Cold War, should be added to the list.