• Hate groupsAre many hate crimes really examples of domestic terrorism?

    By Arie Perliger

    This growing domestic menace deserves more attention than it’s getting. 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. Despite an uptick in far-right violence and the Trump administration’s plan to increase the Department of Homeland Security budget by 6.7 percent to $44.1 billion in 2018, the White House wants to cut spending for programs that fight non-Muslim domestic terrorism. The federal government has also frozen $10 million in grants aimed at countering domestic violent extremism. This approach is bound to weaken the authorities’ power to monitor far-right groups, undercutting public safety.

  • Hate groupsNormalizing white nationalist hate

    A panel of experts met last week at Harvard University’s Kennedy School (HKS) to examine the U.S. white nationalist movement’s rise to prominence and discuss ways to counter it. One panelist was R. Derek Black, a former white nationalist activist whose father, Don Black, created Stormfront, the internet’s first and largest white nationalist site. When the moderator asked whether white nationalists tended to be seen as “people from Alabama,” Black replied that most of the stereotypes are inaccurate. “There’s a strange misconception that it’s a trailer park movement, or that it’s people who haven’t thought through their beliefs. But think about it. Who has the resources to travel across the country for rallies? It’s not a wealthy movement, but it’s bankers, lawyers, people with good jobs.”

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  • GunsThree million Americans carry loaded handguns daily

    An estimated three million adult American handgun owners carry a firearm loaded and on their person on a daily basis, and nine million do so on a monthly basis, new research indicates. The vast majority cited protection as their primary reason for carrying a firearm.

  • School shootersBoys involved in school shooting struggle to live up to ideals of masculinity

    Boys involved in school shootings often struggle to live up to what they perceive as their school’s ideals surrounding masculinity. When socially shunned at school, they develop deep-set grudges against their classmates and teachers. The shooters become increasingly angry, depressed, and more violent in their gendered practice. A shooting rampage is their ultimate performance, says a researcher. The researcher suggests schools should address adolescent masculinity issues to help prevent rampage shootings.

  • Public healthAbout 2.1 million Americans using wells high in arsenic

    About 44 million people in the U.S. get their drinking water from private wells. A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 2.1 million of them may be getting their drinking water from private wells considered to have high concentrations of arsenic, presumed to be from natural sources.

  • Climate change threatsWarming seas could lead to 70 percent increase in hurricane-related financial loss

    If oceans warm at a rate predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN-sponsored group that assesses climate change research and issues periodic reports, expected financial losses caused by hurricanes could increase more than 70 percent by 2100, according to researchers. The finding is based on the panel’s most severe potential climate change scenario – and resulting increased sea surface temperature – and is predicted at an 80 percent confidence level. The model drew on hurricane data for the last 150 years gathered by NOAA.

  • Considered opinionJeff Sessions just confessed his negligence on Russia

    By Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes

    The headlines from Attorney General Jeff Session’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday focused on his refusal to answer questions about his conversations with President Donald Trump and his declaration that he had not yet been interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller. Lost in the back-and-forth, however, was a truly damning moment about Sessions’s tenure at the Justice Department thus far. The attorney general of the United States, though acknowledging and expressing confidence in the intelligence community’s assessment of foreign interference in the 2016 election and admitting that the government is not doing enough to guard against such activity in the future, could not identify a single step his department is taking or should take in that direction. This was a frank display of ignorant complacency in the face of a clear and demonstrated threat.

  • Our picksRussian spies & flash zero day; White hate group’s menace; global finance & GPS, and more

    · Russian spies rush to exploit the latest flash zero day

    · Racist, violent, unpunished: A White hate group’s campaign of menace

    · Scott Pruitt rebrands EPA’s website in attempt to delete climate change

    · The entire global financial system depends on GPS, and it’s shockingly vulnerable to attack

    · Anti-immigrant forces gain ground in Europe

    · Conspiracy theories are for underdogs

    · Trudeau on Quebec face-cover ban: not our business to tell women what to wear

    · ‘The only way’ of dealing with British Islamic State fighters is to kill them in almost every case, minister says

  • Food securityNOAA-funded effort to better predict droughts

    On average, droughts cost an estimated $9 billion in damages every year in the United States, according to NOAA. A single drought in 2012, which spread across the U.S. and brought very dry conditions to Michigan, caused some $32 billion in damage nationwide, mostly due to widespread harvest failure. Scientists work to develop a better system to predict droughts.

  • BiometricsDNA techniques could transform facial recognition technology

    By Jean-Christophe Nebel

    Camera-based visual surveillance systems were supposed to deliver a safer and more secure society. But despite decades of development, they are generally not able to handle real-life situations. During the 2011 London riots, for example, facial recognition software contributed to just one arrest out of the 4,962 that took place. The failure of this technology means visual surveillance still relies mainly on people sitting in dark rooms watching hours of camera footage, which is totally inadequate to protect people in a city. But recent research suggests video analysis software could be dramatically improved thanks to software advances made in a completely different field: DNA sequence analysis. By treating video as a scene that evolves in the same way DNA does, these software tools and techniques could transform automated visual surveillance.

  • Our picksTwitter & Russia probe; white supremacists’ violence; what happened in Niger, and mores

    · Twitter gives just a sliver of data to senate Russia probe

    · 3 white supremacists arrested in Florida for shooting at anti-racism protesters

    · Take the president’s finger off the nuclear button

    · The boomtown that shouldn’t exist

    · Government must allow abortion access for migrant girl, judge rules

    ·What happened in Niger?

  • GunsWhy is there so little research on guns in the U.S.? 5 questions answered

    By Lacey Wallace

    Like other recent mass shootings, the events in Las Vegas were quickly followed by demands for change to gun control policy. But which policy do we choose? Following the Las Vegas shooting, debate has focused on bump stocks, accessories that allow a semiautomatic weapon to fire more rapidly. Will restrictions on them help prevent another mass shooting? Is there a better policy option? Unfortunately, the research we need to answer these questions doesn’t exist – and part of the problem is that the federal government largely doesn’t support it. Without increased funding for gun research, it will be extremely difficult for researchers to provide accurate answers to the gun policy questions currently under debate.

  • Mass shootingMass killings happen randomly, but rate has remained steady

    Mass killings may have increasing news coverage, but the events themselves have happened at a steady rate for more than a decade, according to a new study. In the first ten months of 2016 — between 1 January 2016 and 4 October 2016 — there were 323 mass shooting incidents in the United States (mass shooting incidents are those in which four or more people are killed). Furthermore, some types of mass-killing events seem to occur randomly over time, making prediction difficult and response crucial.

  • The Russian connectionForeign cyberattacks, disinformation “should never be downplayed or tolerated”: George W. Bush

    Former President George W. Bush said earlier today (Thursday) that the United States should not downplay Russia’s attempts to meddle in the U.S. election. Bush said that “the Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other. This effort is broad, systemic, and stealthy. It’s conducted a range of stealthy media platforms.” Bush’s remarks were a shot against President Donald Trump, who has dismissed the incontrovertible evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election as “a hoax” and “fake news.”

  • TerrorismFormer foreign minister testifies in Argentinian terror cover-up probe

    The former Argentinian foreign minister Hector Timerman testified in court on Tuesday under the allegations that Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s administration conspired with Iran to hide the Islamic Republic’s role in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. The judicial investigation is based on the complaint of the late Argentinian prosecutor Alberto Nisman that Kirchner sought a secret deal with Iran in connection with the 1994 bombing.

  • AgroterrorismAnimal agriculture in U.S. increasingly threatened

    The increasing rate of emerging and reemerging animal diseases, along with threats and attempts by those with nefarious intent to attack food and agriculture, point to the need to reduce the biological risk to America’s food and agricultural sector. That is the finding of a new report released Tuesday by the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense.

  • SuperbugsHeading off the post-antibiotic age

    Worldwide deaths from antibiotic-resistant bugs could rise more than tenfold by 2050 if steps aren’t taken to head off their spread. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned of the danger of a “post-antibiotic age,” tracing the spread of antibiotic resistance to rampant overprescribing, to the widespread use of the drugs to promote livestock growth, and to the relative trickle of new drugs being developed as possible replacements.

  • SurveillanceFor $1000, anyone can purchase mobile advertising to track your location, app use

    Privacy concerns have long swirled around how much information online advertising networks collect about people’s browsing, buying and social media habits — typically to sell you something. But could someone use mobile advertising to learn where you go for coffee? Could a burglar establish a sham company and send ads to your phone to learn when you leave the house? Could a suspicious employer see whether you’re using shopping apps on work time? The answer is yes, at least in theory.

  • First respondersBattling fires increases firefighters’ exposure to carcinogens

    The threat of getting burned by roaring flames is an obvious danger of firefighting, but other health risks are more subtle. For example, firefighters have been found to develop cancer at higher rates than the general population. Now researchers have measured how much firefighters’ exposure to carcinogens and other harmful compounds increases when fighting fires.

  • Our picksHaley: Russian meddling is “warfare”; demand for terrorism insurance; Chad & travel ban, and more

    · Nikki Haley on Russia meddling: Election interference is ‘warfare’

    · 4 signs that Trump’s furious efforts to save coal are futile

    · Cybersecurity is changing the way leaders behave

    · Terrorism insurance in demand for concerts following Las Vegas attack

    · Saudi Arabia, home of Islam, will start policing Prophet Muhammad’s teachings to stop terrorism

    · EU introduces new measures to combat ‘low-tech’ terrorism

    · Office supply glitch? How Chad wound up on travel ban

  • CybersecurityNorth Korea sent spear phishing emails to U.S. electric companies

    Cybersecurity firm FireEye says it can confirm that the company’s devices detected and stopped spear phishing emails sent on 22 September 2017 to U.S. electric companies by “known cyber threat actors likely affiliated with the North Korean government.” The activity was early-stage reconnaissance, and not necessarily indicative of an imminent, disruptive cyberattack that might take months to prepare if it went undetected (judging from past experiences with other cyber threat groups).

  • The Russian connection“Our task was to set Americans against their own government”: Russian troll-farm operative

    New information about the operation of a Russian “troll farm” and its role in Russia’s disinformation dissemination system, sheds new light on Russia’s broad effort to help Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential race. The fake stories and false news created and disseminated to millions of American voters by the operatives at the Internet Research Agency (IRA), in the words of an IRA operative, aimed to “rock the boat” on divisive issues like race relations, gun control, immigration, and LGBT rights. The IRA also used the internet to hire 100 American activists to hold 40 rallies in different U.S. cities. These activists did not know they were working for a Russian government agency, and the people who came to the rallies were unaware that they were taking part in Russian-organized and financed events.