• False economy: Savings from cutting U.S. overseas security commitments dwarfed by lost U.S. trade

    Proponents of U.S. foreign policy “retrenchment” have called for steep reductions in U.S. overseas security commitments, contending that the U.S. commitments are too costly to sustain, allow partner governments to free-ride off the U.S. defense budget, and fail to deliver the promised security and stability. A new study finds, however, that the policy of engagement the United States has followed since the 1940s has contributed greatly to U.S. prosperity by making the world politically and militarily stable, thus fostering international economic stability which has benefitted the United States by increasing trade in goods and services and access to global capital, leading to higher rates of economic growth at home. Reducing U.S. overseas security commitments, including U.S. troops stationed abroad as well as U.S. security treaties, could lead to greatly reduced U.S. trade with other countries, with the economic costs from lost trade estimated to be more than triple any associated savings in U.S. defense spending.

  • What CSPs can learn from the latest DDoS attacks

    Around the world, communications service providers (CSPs) and subscribers were affected by the 21 October 2016 DDoS attack, making it virtually impossible to reach many popular Web sites for several hours. Although CSPs weren’t targeted directly, they were still affected since the outages drove additional caching DNS traffic caused by the errors from failed DNS requests. This spike in traffic slowed overall network performance, likely driving up customer support call volumes from unhappy subscribers. The attacks highlighted the easily overlooked — yet vital — role that DNS plays on the Internet. An expert offers a few key steps CSPs can take to prepare for similar attacks in the future.

  • Paris venue of Victoria's Secret December show kept secret for fear of terrorism

    Victoria’s Secret officials admitted they were worried about a possible terrorist attack during their 5 December 2016 Fashion Show in Paris. The lingerie company typically announces its annual runway show in the spring of each year — but this year the company waited until Monday, 24 October, to announce this year’s location. Several venues in Paris were considered, until one was selected because the French security services concluded it would be easier to secure.

  • Can you be anonymous on the Internet? No, you cannot

    If you still think you can be anonymous on the Internet, a team of Stanford and Princeton researchers has news for you: You cannot. Researchers say most people do not realize how much information they are leaving behind as they browse the Web. Online privacy risks are not new, but the researchers say their research is “another nail in the coffin” to the idea that the average person with the average Web browser can be private online.

  • Unvaccinated adults cost the U.S. economy more than $7 billion a year

    Vaccine-preventable diseases among adults cost the U.S. economy $8.95 billion in 2015, and unvaccinated individuals are responsible for 80 percent, or $7.1 billion, of the tab. The flu was the most costly disease with a vaccine available, accounting for nearly $5.8 billion in health care costs and lost productivity in 2015.

  • Funding for broad spectrum prophylaxis, treatment for bioterrorism threats

    The U.K. Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) has received funding of up to $6.9 million from the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) for a program entitled “Inhalational ciprofloxacin for improved protection against biowarfare agents.” The inhalational ciprofloxacin formulations used in this program are Aradigm’s proprietary investigational drugs Pulmaquin and Lipoquin.

  • Business cycle drives the spread of viral diseases

    Next time a flu epidemic hits your area, putting everyone in bed, rejoice: it may mean that the recession is over. A new paper highlights the connection between the business cycle and the spread of viruses: “We find that epidemics spread faster during economic booms,” the paper says. “During booms more people are traveling, which increases inter-personal contacts and the spread of diseases.”

  • When catastrophe strikes, who foots the bill?

    One consequence of climate change is that extreme weather events are occurring more often with the potential to cause catastrophic damage more frequently. According to the 2016 Global Risks Report of the World Economic Forum, extreme weather events rank second as the most likely threat to global stability going forward. And my research on the safety and soundness of financial institutions suggests this trend may also threaten the stability of the insurance industry. Extreme weather is expensive for insurance companies and their reinsurers, communities, taxpayers, and also, potentially, capital market investors. And it’s only getting more expensive as climate change increases the frequency of storms and their severity. While more can be done to improve risk pricing and risk management, climate change mitigation is critical for our ability to continue to survive and recover from the catastrophes that lie ahead.

  • Coal's decline driven by technology, market forces – not policy

    Many people – and many politicians — attribute coal’s decline to the clean-air policies of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through rules that the agency applied to electricity generation plants. A new study points out that largely because of court challenges, EPA clean-air regulations did not change until 2015 — twenty-five years after President G. H. W. Bush signed amendments to the Clean Air Act in 1980. For eighteen years following new EPA rules, coal continued to thrive — until 2008, when its production peaked and then declined 23 percent in the next seven years. The study found that the decline is correlated with the shale revolution that began to be fully felt in 2007-2008, after which cheap natural gas outcompeted coal markedly.

  • DHS S&T announces 10 start-ups for first responder technology innovation

    DHS S&T has announced the selection of ten startup companies to be part of EMERGE 2016: Wearable Technology, a program designed to bring startups, accelerators, and other strategic partners together in a common research and development effort. The program is focused on wearable technology that can be modified specifically for first responders.

  • Immigration: Small impact on wages, employment of native-born U.S. workers

    A new report on the impact of immigration over the past twenty years on the U.S. labor market and wages of native-born workers, found that the impact of immigration on the wages of native-born workers overall is very small. To the extent that negative impacts occur, they are most likely to be found for prior immigrants or native-born workers who have not completed high school — who are often the closest substitutes for immigrant workers with low skills. There is little evidence that immigration significantly affects the overall employment levels of native-born workers. Some evidence on inflow of skilled immigrants suggests that there may be positive wage effects for some subgroups of native-born workers, and other benefits to the economy more broadly. Immigration has an overall positive impact on long-run economic growth in the United States.

  • Half of U.S. business R&D concentrated in five states

    Five states accounted for just over half of the $255 billion of research and development (R&D) companies paid for and performed in the United States in 2013. The five states with the highest levels of business R&D performance — California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Texas, and Washington — accounted for $133 billion, or 52 percent, of the total.

  • Yahoo stealthily scanned customer e-mails on behalf of U.S. intelligence agencies

    A report on Tuesday accuses Yahoo of secretly building a customized software program to search all of its customers’ incoming e-mails for specific information provided by the U.S. intelligence company. The company, complying with classified NSA and FBI directives, scanned hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts. Yahoo is the first U.S. Internet company to agree to such a blanket request.

  • Game theory research highlights fragility of common resources

    New research in game theory shows that people are naturally predisposed to over-use “common-pool resources” such as transportation systems and fisheries even if it risks failure of the system, to the detriment of society as a whole. The research could have implications for the management of engineered systems such as the power grid, communications systems, distribution systems, and online file sharing systems, along with natural systems such as fisheries.

  • Optimal strategies to cope with climate change depend on the pace of change

    What would we do differently if sea level were to rise one foot per century versus one foot per decade? Until now, most policy and research has focused on adapting to specific amounts of climate change and not on how fast that climate change might happen. Researchers, using sea-level rise as a case study, have developed a quantitative model that considers different rates of sea-level rise, in addition to economic factors, and shows how consideration of rates of change affect optimal adaptation strategies.