• Iran’s nukesReports detail Israeli raid on Iran's nuclear documents

    Israel has revealed new details of how its spy agency smuggled out nuclear documents from Iran earlier this year, although the material does not appear to provide evidence that Iran failed to fulfill its commitments under the 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers.

  • The Russia connectionU.S. intel chief on Russia’s unrelenting cyberattacks: “The warning lights are blinking red”

    Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Friday that the U.S. digital infrastructure “is literally under attack” by Russia. “These actions are persistent, they’re pervasive, and they are meant to undermine America’s democracy on a daily basis, regardless of whether it is election time or not.” Coats emphasized that Russia’s hostile cyber activities go beyond targeting elections and sowing division, to attempts to target vulnerabilities in critical U.S. infrastructure, trying to infiltrate energy, water, nuclear, and manufacturing sectors. He compared today’s warning indicators related to Russian cyberattacks to the warning indicators in the run-up to 9/11. “It was in the months prior to September 2001, when according to then-CIA director George Tenet, the system was blinking red,” he said. “And here we are nearly two decades later, and I’m here to say the warning lights are blinking red again.”

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  • The Russia connectionU.S. Homeland Security chief: Russia sowing divisions among Americans

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said U.S. intelligence officials are seeing “persistent Russian efforts” to use social media and other resources to create divisions among the American people. She said the Russians are using social media, “sympathetic spokespeople, and other fronts to sow discord and divisiveness amongst the American people.” “Though votes were not changed” during the 2016 election, she said, “any attempt to interfere in our elections — successful or unsuccessful — is a direct attack on our democracy.”

  • Social media & disastersImproving disaster response through Twitter data

    Twitter data could give disaster relief teams real-time information to provide aid and save lives, thanks to a new algorithm developed by an international team of researchers. “The best source to get timely information during a disaster is social media, particularly microblogs like Twitter,” said one researcher. “Newspapers have yet to print and blogs have yet to publish, so Twitter allows for a near real-time view of an event from those impacted by it.”

  • Social networks & disastersHow your social network could save you from a natural disaster

    By Daniel P. Aldrich and Danaë Metaxa

    Many communities that are vulnerable to natural disasters put a lot of resources into providing residents with early warnings. Traditionally, much emphasis has been placed on the role of physical infrastructure preparedness during crisis. But in light of findings from our research about the importance of social capital during crises, our team wanted to better illuminate human behavior during these events.

  • The Russia connection12 Russian intelligence operatives criminally charged for hacking, leaking DNC emails in 2016

    The U.S. Justice Department today (Friday) has criminally charged twelve Russian intelligence officers for the hacking and leaking emails of senior Democratic Party officials during the 2016 presidential campaign. The hacking and leaking of the emails were part of a broad and effective Kremlin effort to help Donald Trump win the November 2016 election. The 11-count indictment spells out in granular detail a carefully planned and executed attack on the information security of Democrats, planting hundreds of malware files on Democrats’ computer systems, stealing information, and then laundering the pilfered material through fake personas and others to try to influence voters’ opinions. The twelve Russian intelligence operatives indicted on Friday join thirteen other Russian individuals and three Russian companies who, in February, were criminally charged by Mueller’s team for interfering in the presidential campaign, using social media, and coordinating with low-level Trump campaign activists.

  • TerrorismArgentina requests extradition of Iranian official implicated in AMIA attack

    An Argentine judge investigating the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires has requested that Russia extradite Ali Akbar Velayati, a close adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Velayati and seven other Iranian officials have been implicated for their role in the bombing, which killed 85 people and injured hundreds more.

  • SyriaNetanyahu sets out new Syria policy

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set out three specific demands regarding Syria when he met Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on Wednesday. The three specific demands were the withdrawal of Iranian and Hezbollah forces from the border with Israel; the removal of all Iranian long-range missiles in Syria; and that Syrian civilians must not be attacked in the zone near the Israeli border.

  • PrivacyFitness app Polar revealed military personnel’s sensitive location data

    The Flow fitness app produced by the Finnish sports activity tracking firm Polar has been found to reveal users’ sensitive location data, according to an investigation by several news organizations. The investigation found that it is possible to use Polar’s Flow app to track down the home addresses of military and intelligence personnel.

  • SuperbugsNovartis drops antibacterial and antiviral development program

    Antibiotic development efforts were dealt a blow Wednesday when drug maker Novartis AG announced its decision to drop its antibacterial and antiviral research programs. The decision means Novartis will no longer be working on several antimicrobial projects currently in development. The decision means that another large pharmaceutical company is getting out of antibiotic development at a time when new antibiotics are desperately needed. AstraZeneca Plc sold its antibiotics unit to Pfizer Inc. in 2016. The last new class of antibiotics was discovered and developed more than thirty years ago.

  • BioterrorismSoligenix receives European, Canadian patents for its ricin toxin vaccine (RiVax) formulation

    Soligenix, Inc., a late-stage biopharmaceutical company, announced that it has received notice of allowance for European and Canadian patent applications further extending protection around ThermoVax  including coverage of the company’s ricin toxin vaccine, RiVax. RiVax potentially would be added to the Strategic National Stockpile and dispensed in the event of a terrorist attack.

  • InfrastructureSmarter, safer bridges with Sandia sensors

    In 2016, more than 54,000 bridges in the U.S. were classified as “structurally deficient” by the Federal Highway Administration’s National Bridge Inventory. This means about 9 percent of U.S. bridges need regular monitoring. Researchers outfitted a U.S. bridge with a network of eight real-time sensors able to alert maintenance engineers when they detect a crack or when a crack reaches a length that requires repair.

  • Nuclear wasteNuclear waste: The cost to Americans is in the billions

    Since the Manhattan Project officially began in 1942, the United States has faced ever-increasing stores of nuclear waste. Stanford’s Rodney Ewing says that the U.S. failure to implement a permanent solution for nuclear waste storage and disposal is costing Americans billions of dollars a year.

  • Radiation diagnostic testPreparing for quick radiation diagnostic test in case of a nuclear disaster

    Researchers are attempting to create a better diagnostic test for radiation exposure that potentially could save thousands of lives. A new study compiled a list of genes reported to be affected by external ionizing radiation (IR), and assessed their performance as possible biomarkers that could be used to calculate the amount of radiation absorbed by the human body.

  • WildfiresAll wildfires are not alike, but the U.S. is fighting them that way

    By Stephen Pyne

    Every major fire rekindles another round of commentaries about “America’s wildfire problem.” But the fact is that our nation does not have a fire problem. It has many fire problems, and they require different strategies. Some problem fires have technical solutions, some demand cultural calls. All are political.

  • Coastal challengesRising sea levels could cost the world $14 trillion a year by 2100

    Failure to meet the United Nations’ 2ºC warming limits will lead to sea level rise and dire global economic consequences, new research has warned. The study calculated that flooding from rising sea levels could cost $14 trillion worldwide annually by 2100, if the target of holding global temperatures below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels is missed.

  • Climate threatsJune 2018 ranks third warmest on record for U.S.

    Hot temperatures continued to bake the United States last month, making it the third warmest June on record. We are halfway through 2018 and the United States has already experienced $6-billion-dollar weather disasters.

  • Our picksStarvation & the future of war; wireless remote in a school emergency; automating classification decisions, and more

      Is intentional starvation the future of war?

      A two-stage 911 procedure may have impacted police response to the Parkland shooting

      How a wireless remote could be used in a school emergency

      Network of terror leads to charging of Iranian diplomat

      Islamophobic video goes viral despite debunking

      The Pentagon wants to automate some classification decisions

      Top religious groups privately urged DHS not to separate immigrant parents and children

      Courts slap down the Trump administration’s immigration policies

      Man could lose limbs after contracting flesh-eating bacteria in New Jersey waters

  • The Russia watchU.K. democracy disrupted; Facebook to nab Russian trolls? Kremlin spins Skripal case, and more

      A grave threat to the NATO alliance

      Russian Special Forces just practiced invading an island near Finland

      Democracy disrupted? U.K. findings on data and politics

      Kremlin narratives on Skripal continue to grow online

      Vladimir Putin

      Facebook: We’d catch Russia’s troll farm today (

      Facebook is testing a Messenger feature that would identify suspicious Russian accounts

      As Trump meets Putin, we’ll spotlight and resist Russian aggression

  • TerrorismGermany charges Iranian diplomat in Paris terror plot

    German prosecutors have charged an Iranian diplomat with activity as a foreign agent and conspiracy to commit murder. Prosecutors said their investigation would not hinder Belgium’s extradition request for the suspect. The Vienna-based diplomat Assadollah Assadi is suspected of contracting a couple in Belgium to carry out any attack on an annual Paris meeting of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an exiled umbrella organization representing a variety of Iranian opposition groups.

  • Immigration & businessPrivate prison companies are influencing immigration policy

    Groundbreaking study finds increased support for punitive immigration legislation in districts with privately owned or managed ICE detention facilities. Researchers explain that in recent years, as overall crime rates have dropped nationwide, more and more private prison companies have turned to a new money-making scheme: Partnering with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, to detain immigrants in facilities across the country. The researchers also ask: As the scope of private imprisonment grows, is the industry’s influence on politics growing as well?

  • Passenger screeningWinners announced in $1.5 million Passenger Screening Algorithm Challenge

    DHS S&T and TSA the other day announced the eight winners of the Passenger Screening Algorithm Challenge. The prize competition solicited new automated detection algorithms from individuals and entities that can improve the speed and accuracy of detecting small threat objects and other prohibited items during the airport passenger screening process.