• The Russia connectionPicturesque Alpine Region Served as “Rear Base” for Russia’s GRU Agents

    The French intelligence services are leading an international hunt for Russian spies after what was described as a “rear base” of Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency was discovered in southeastern France. GRU agents used the region of the Haute-Savoie as a “stopover,” during which they would be given the final briefings before moving on to their missions in various European countries.

  • MisinformationNew Research Center Will Fight Misinformation

    On 3 December, the University of Washington launched the Center for an Informed Public (CIP). The CIP, an interdisciplinary center housed in UW’s Information School, will use applied research to engage with the public through community partners such as libraries to confront the misinformation epidemic. “If we care about common goals — things like safe communities, justice, equal opportunity — we have to care also about facts, truth and accuracy,” UW President Ana Mari Cauce said. “Misinformation can be weaponized. It has been weaponized to divide us and to weaken us.”

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  • CybersecurityMobile Devices Blur Work and Personal Privacy Increasing Cyber Risks

    Organizations aren’t moving quickly enough to identify cyber security threats linked to the drive toward using personal mobile devices in the workplace, cybersecurity researchers warn. “The breakneck speed of digital transformation brought with it opportunities as well as threats,” one researcher said. “Organizations don’t appear to be keeping up with the pace of change, deliberately putting the brakes on digital transformation because it comes with security challenges.”

  • EncryptionSetting New Record for Cracking Encryption Keys

    An international team of computer scientists had set a new record for two of the most important computational problems which are the basis for nearly all of the public-key cryptography which is currently used in the real world.

  • Preventable diseasesGlobal Measles Deaths Rise to 140,000; Young Kids Hit Hard

    Last year 140,000 people worldwide died from complications of measles infections, compared to 110,000 measles deaths in 2017. Most of measles-related deaths are in children under the age of 5. Growing measles outbreaks worldwide in 2018 and 2019 paint a picture of vaccination stagnation, the WHO and CDC said. Because measles is so contagious, 95 percent of the population must be immunized to prevent outbreaks. In 2018, the WHO said 86 percent of children globally received the first dose of measles vaccine through their country’s routine vaccination services, and fewer than 70 percent received the second recommended dose.

  • FloodsFlash Flooding Is a Serious Threat in the U.K. – Here’s How Scientists Are Tackling Its Prediction

    By Christopher J White, Laura Kelly, and Linda Speight

    Surface water flooding is what happens in built-up areas when heavy rainfall has nowhere to go. Unable to enter a watercourse or drainage system, the water instead flows over the ground causing flash flooding. Unlike river and coastal flooding, which can be widespread, surface water flooding presents unique challenges because it’s difficult to predict the location, timing and impact of what are typically localized events. As the climate changes and urban populations grow, the number of people at risk of surface water flooding increases.

  • GeoengineeringArctic “Ice Management” Delays, but Not Negate, Climate Change Effects

    According to a much-debated geoengineering approach, both sea-ice retreat and global warming could be slowed by using millions of wind-powered pumps, drifting in the sea ice, to promote ice formation during the Arctic winter. Researchers say that the approach could potentially put off ice-free Arctic summers for a few more decades, but beyond that, the Arctic the massive campaign wouldn’t produce any meaningful cooling effect.

  • ArgumentThe Dark Psychology of Social Networks

    Every communication technology brings with it different constructive and destructive effects. Jonathan Haidt and Tobias Rose-Stockwell write that it typically takes some time to find and improve the balance between these negative and positive effects. The note that as social media has aged, the initial optimism which welcomed the new technology’s introduction has been replaced by a growing awareness of the technology deleterious effects – especially on the quality and purpose of political discussion.

  • PerspectiveFormer Envoy Huntsman: Putin Likely ‘Joyful’ About Ukraine Theory

    President Donald Trump’s former ambassador to Russia said Vladimir Putin is likely “joyful” about the renewed prominence of a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine was responsible for meddling in the 2016 election, which experts consider Russian disinformation.

  • Our picksPrivate Border Wall | Deterring Iran | Killer Misinformation, and more

    ·  Private Group Must Stop Building Border Wall in South Texas, Judge Says in Temporary Order

    ·  CBP Aims to Sweep US Citizens into Facial-Recognition Database

    ·  Killer Content: Disinformation Campaign Derails Pakistan’s National Anti-Polio Drive

    ·  The Necessity of Pulling Carbon Dioxide Out of the Air

    ·  Is U.S. Deterrence Against Iran Doomed to Fail?

  • Iran’s nukesWorry: Iran Said It Will Continue to Enrich Uranium Beyond Radioactive Isotopes Level

    Tehran sent a letter to the UN Thursday saying that it was “determined to resolutely continue” enriching uranium. This came following an EU letter criticizing the Iranian government’s decision, and a Russian firm suspending cooperation in Iran’s uranium enrichment program at the underground Fordo facility.

  • The Russia connectionRussian Hackers Source of Labour Party’s “NHS for Sale” Document

    In a press conference last week, Jeremy Corbin, the leader of the Labour Party, showed the attendees a hefty document – 451 pages! — which, he claimed, was a classified government document detailing secret U.K-U.S. negotiations between the Conservative Party-led government and the United States to sell parts of the U.K. National Health Service (NHS) to American investors. Experts say Russian government hackers stole the document and handed it to Labour in order to discredit the government and deepen polarization ahead of the 12 December parliamentary election.

  • The Russia connectionTwo Russians Charged with Series of Hacking, Bank Fraud Offenses, Malware Deployment

    The U.S. Justice Department announced computer hacking and bank fraud charges against Russian national Maksim Yakubets, the alleged leader of a cybercriminal organization that has illicitly earned more than $100 million since 2016. Simultaneously, the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against Yakubets and his Evil Corp, which is behind the widespread use of a multifunctional malware package that has harvested online banking credentials from infected computers in more than 40 countries. The Justice Department alleges that Yakubets “also provides direct assistance to the Russian government’s malicious cyberefforts, highlighting the Russian government’s enlistment of cybercriminals for its own malicious purposes.”

  • Search enginesSearch Results Not Biased Along Party Lines: Study

    In recent months, questions have arisen about big tech’s unparalleled influence over what news and information people see online. Potential political bias and censorship in search engine results are a big part of the conversation. Is the concern well-founded? In an audit of search media results for every candidate running for federal office in the 2018 U.S. election, Stanford scholars found no evidence of political bias for or against either party.

  • Killer robotsRobotics Researchers Have a Duty to Prevent Autonomous Weapons

    By Christoffer Heckman

    Robotics is rapidly being transformed by advances in artificial intelligence, and the benefits are widespread. But our ever-growing appetite for intelligent, autonomous machines poses a host of ethical challenges.

  • Climate crisisEarly Climate Models’ Global Warming Predictions Were Spot-On

    Climate skeptics have long raised doubts about the accuracy of computer models that predict global warming, but it turns out that most of the early climate models were spot-on, according to a look-back by climate scientists.

  • ArgumentLiberal Professors’ Deadly Delusions about Curing Terrorists

    Last Friday, Usman Khan, a 28-year-old British national who was released from prison on parole in December 2018 after serving eight years for terrorism offenses, killed two people a machete near London Bridge. Earlier in the day, at the same site, he had attended an alumni celebration event hosted by the organizers of Cambridge University’s Learning Together program, having been invited to share his experiences as a former prisoner.Simon Cottee writes that the question raised by Khan, who was killed by police as he fled the scene of his attack, is about redemption and whether it’s either right or prudent to give convicted terrorists a second chance. “I have some degree of sympathy for this view [that everyone should be given second chance], but it needs to be massively tempered with a keen sense of not just what is right but also what is prudent” he writes.

  • PerspectiveBritain’s Secret War with Russia

    A drab office building on the outskirts of the Swiss town of Spiez houses Switzerland’s Federal Office for Civil Protection, renowned for its work on global nuclear, chemical, and biological threats.Over the course of a few months in 2018, this outfit’s gentle existence was upended, as the lab became caught in a cold war between Russia on one side and the United Kingdom and the West on the other.

  • Our picksStateless Jihadists | Girding for Electronic Warfare | State Ransomware Threats, and more

    ·  Returning Home: Evaluating Statelessness among Former Jihadists

    ·  When Do Cyberattacks Deserve a Response from NATO?

    ·  How the Army Is Girding for Electronic Warfare

    ·  Killer Robo-Bees Show How the Sting of Disinformation Can Spread

    ·  GRADD to Be Pilot Agency for Infrastructure Disaster Mitigation Plan

    ·  A Year after the Big Quake, Many Alaska Lives Remain Shaken

    ·  A Year after the Big Quake, Many Alaska Lives Remain Shaken

    ·  DHS Official Briefs Senators on State Ransomware Threats in Classified Meeting

  • The Russia connectionGermany Expels Two Russian Diplomats Following Berlin Killing

    Germany has expelled two Russian diplomats in response to what the German authorities described as Russia’s refusal to cooperate in a high-profile murder. German intelligence and law enforcement agencies said that the killing of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a 40-year-old former Chechen rebel commander, who was shot in the head from behind in Berlin’s Kleiner Tiergarten park in August, was carried out by Russian agents on Kremlin’s orders.

  • Nuclear secretsHow the Nation’s Hydrogen Bomb Secrets Disappeared

    Given a choice of items to lose on a train, a top-secret document detailing the newly developed hydrogen bomb should be on the bottom of the list. In January 1953, amid the Red Scare and the Korean War, that’s exactly what physicist John Archibald Wheeler lost.

  • Border wallAs Government Prepares to Seize More Land for a Border Wall, Some Texas Landowners Prepare to Fight

    By Julian Aguilar

    In Laredo, border landowners are receiving letters from the federal government, requesting permission to enter their land for surveying. “Hell no, we’re not signing anything,” one recipient said.