• The nuclear industry is making a big bet on small power plants

    Until now, generating nuclear power has required massive facilities surrounded by acres of buildings, electrical infrastructure, roads, parking lots and more. The nuclear industry is trying to change that picture – by going small. Efforts to build the nation’s first “advanced small modular reactor,” or SMR, in Idaho, are on track for it to become operational by the mid-2020s. The debate continues over whether this technology is worth pursuing, but the nuclear industry isn’t waiting for a verdict. Nor, as an energy scholar, do I think it should. This new generation of smaller and more technologically advanced reactors offer many advantages, including an assembly-line approach to production, vastly reduced meltdown risks and greater flexibility in terms of where they can be located, among others.

  • Terrorism cost EU countries $212 billion between 2004 and 2016

    The European Union (EU) countries lost around €180 billion ($212 billion) in GDP terms due to terrorism between 2004 and 2016, according to a new study. According to the study, changes in economic behavior could be the reason behind the observed negative effects on economic growth, as people and companies change their purchasing, saving and investing behaviors following terror attacks. The UK (€43.7 billion) and France (€43 billion) suffered the highest economic losses in GDP terms due to terrorism.

  • U.S. pigs consume nearly as many antibiotics as people do

    A new report is taking the U.S. pork industry to task for irresponsible use of medically important antibiotics, saying the amount of antibiotics used in pigs is nearly the same as that used to treat humans. The report estimates that 27.1 percent of all medically important antibiotics sold in the United States are for pig production, while a roughly equivalent amount—27.6 percent—is sold for use in human medicine. The report argues that the heavy use of antibiotics in pig and other livestock production is contributing to the rise and spread of antibiotic resistance in both animals and people.

  • States’ work laws affect U.S.-Mexico migration

    The current political environment has led to an increased focus on the issue of unauthorized migration from Mexico and Central America, with proposals ranging from reforming the U.S. immigration system to building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border. A new study used data from a Mexican identification-card program to find that a relatively low-cost employment-focused system can reduce unauthorized migration.

  • Corporate data collection and U.S. national security: Expanding the conversation in an era of nation state cyber aggression

    What has the Russia investigation revealed about risks inherent in mass private data collection? Carrie Cordero writes that one thing we learned from the Russia investigation is that we may be framing the conversation about corporate data collection too narrowly. “Based on what we have learned publicly so far about the Russian election interference, it is worth pausing to reflect on the national security implications of corporate data collection and aggregation as it relates to the collection of individual, private citizens’ data,” she says. “Although the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) and special counsel investigations are not yet complete, we know enough already about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election to understand that data collected from private companies and organizations can be accessed, exposed and potentially misused in a way that is harmful to the country’s institutional stability. At the very least, its misuse sows distrust and confusion. At worst, it shreds the institutional and societal fabric that holds the country together.”

  • Fragile supply chain causing antibiotic shortages, resistance threat

    A white paper released yesterday argues that a fragile global supply chain that’s dependent on a small number of antibiotics manufacturers, along with a financially unstable economic model, are responsible for shortages of antibiotics on a global and national level. Because of these shortages, some patients in need of antibiotics are being treated with lower-quality medications that don’t cure their infections and increase the risk of resistance.

  • The era of fake video begins

    “Deepfake” videos produced by Russian-linked trolls are the latest weapon in the ongoing fake news war. The Kremlin-backed trolls are already experimenting with new video manipulation techniques which use artificial intelligence to create convincing doctored videos. Franklin Foer writes the internet has always contained the seeds of postmodern hell, and that mass manipulation, from clickbait to Russian bots to the addictive trickery that governs Facebook’s News Feed, is the currency of the medium. In this respect, the rise of deepfakes is the culmination of the internet’s history to date—and probably only a low-grade version of what’s to come. Fake-but-realistic video clips are not the end point of the flight from reality that technologists would have us take. The apotheosis of this vision is virtual reality.The ability to manipulate consumers will grow because VR definitionally creates confusion about what is real,” Foer writes. “Several decades ago, after giving the nascent technology a try, the psychedelic pamphleteer Timothy Leary reportedly called it ‘the new LSD’.”

  • Trade chains will spread growing China flood problem to U.S. economy

    Intensifying river floods could lead to regional production losses worldwide caused by global warming. This might not only hamper local economies around the globe – the effects might also propagate through the global network of trade and supply chains. One example: Economic flood damages in China, which could, without further adaption, increase by 80 percent within the next twenty years, might also affect EU and U.S. industries. The U.S. economy might be specifically vulnerable due to its unbalanced trade relation with China.

  • Russia asks Apple to help it enforce ban on Telegram

    Russia’s communications regulator says it has asked U.S. technology giant Apple to help it block the popular messaging service Telegram in Russia. The regulator sent a letter to Apple asking it to block push notifications for Telegram users in Russia, ensuring that Apple phone and tablet users do not receive alerts about new messages and rendering the application less useful.

  • Climate change could increase arable land, agricultural feasibility in northern hemisphere

    Climate change could expand the agricultural feasibility of the global boreal region by 44 percent by the end of the century, according to new research. However, the scientists warn that the same climate trends that would increase land suitable for crop growth in that area could also significantly change the global climatic water balance – negatively impacting agriculture in the rest of the world.

  • Can technology and ‘max fac’ solve the Irish border question? Expert explains

    How might the U.K.“take back control” of its borders without making the border in Ireland any harder? One proposal on the table is maximum facilitation (max fac). This approach does not avoid the creation of a customs border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland but rather aims to make the border as invisible and frictionless as possible through the use of technology.

  • U.S., China reported near deal to lift Iran sanctions against tech giant

    Washington and Beijing are reportedly close to a deal to lift a U.S. ban on American firms supplying Chinese technology giant ZTE Corp., originally imposed over allegations that it violated U.S. sanctions against both Iran and North Korea. The deal might include China removing tariffs on U.S. agricultural products, as well as buying more U.S. farm goods.

  • Russia’s corruption, influence “a matter of national security”: U.K. Parliamentary panel

    “Dirty” Russian money is undermining Britain’s efforts to stand up to the Kremlin and supports President Vladimir Putin’s campaign “to subvert the international rules-based system,” a British parliamentary report says. “The scale of damage that this ‘dirty money’ can do to U.K. foreign-policy interests dwarfs the benefit of Russian transactions in the City,” Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Tugendhat said today (21 May) ahead of the release of the report. “Over the years, Moscow has turned from being a corrupt state to an exporter of instability. Russian corruption and influence has become a matter of national security,” he added.

  • Read this before you invest in cryptocurrency

    We’ve all heard the headline stories about cryptocurrencies – they’re millionaire-makers and dream-destroyers. They’re part of a decentralized market that supports criminal activity, yada yada yada. But how do you separate facts from fiction? Here are six cryptocurrency myths you need to get on top of.

  • Students win Alabama hackathon with cryptocurrency prototype app

    Two University of Arkansas at Little Rock students are looking to make a name for themselves in the world of hackathons. The two won the hackathon for their project, Tweety Wallet, a multicurrency cryptocoin wallet which can hold any type of cryptocurrency, but which is configured for Bitcoin, Zcash, Ethereum, and Litecoin.