Business

  • Switching from cattle fields to “carbon farms” to tackle climate change

    Changing cattle fields to forests is a cheap way of tackling climate change and saving species threatened with extinction, a new study has found. The main use of land in communities the western Andes of Colombia is cattle farming, but a new study found farmers could make the same or more money by allowing their land naturally to regenerate. Researchers report that under carbon markets designed to stop global warming, these farmers could get paid to change the use of their land from growing cows to “growing carbon” — receiving around $1.99 per ton of carbon dioxide the trees remove from the atmosphere.

  • Russia may launch crippling cyberattacks on U.S. in retaliation for Ukraine sanctions

    U.S. officials and security experts are warning that Russian hackers may attack the computer networks of U.S. banks and critical infrastructure firms in retaliation for new sanctions by the Obama administration, imposed in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Cybersecurity specialists consider Russian hackers among the best at infiltrating networks and some say that they have already inserted malicious software on computer systems in the United States.

  • view counter
  • Innovative U.S. cybersecurity initiative to address cyberthreats

    Cyberattacks on computer networks around the world reached 1.7 billion in 2013, up from 1.6 billion in 2012. The administration’s 2012 Enhanced Cybersecurity Services(ECS) program, launched to protect the private sector from hackers by letting approved companies access classified information on cyber threats and sell cybersecurity services to critical infrastructure targets, is still in its early stages fourteen months after its launch.

  • Wetland preservation is good business

    A recently published study is making the case for wetland preservation by highlighting the economic incentives that such preservation could provide to urban centers.Infrastructure investment in urban waterfronts could soon be seen as one of the best economic decisions a city could make. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that “$1 million invested in coastal restoration creates 17.1 jobs, compared to just 8.9 jobs for every $1 million invested in oil and gas development.”

  • With bugs in the system, how safe is the Internet?

    It seems hardly a week goes by without a major cyber security flaw exposed that could be exploited across millions of Internet and mobile connected devices. There is always the danger that people become complacent as more and more security threats are reported so it’s important to be aware of the risks and take note of any advice. In addition to frequently changing passwords, patching our software with updates as often as they are available, and being careful about what Web sites we visit, we must also demand more products that are fit for purpose, just as we do with the safety standards of physical consumer products. We should expect companies to understand the value of the business they do with us, and of our data that they hold in trust. Boards and CEOs need to care about this as much as they do about their brand.

  • U.S. corn yields increasingly vulnerable to hot, dry weather

    The United States produces 40 percent of the world’s corn, mostly in Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. As more than 80 percent of U.S. agricultural land relies on natural rainfall rather than irrigation, corn farmers in these regions depend on precipitation, air temperature, and humidity for optimal plant growth. U.S. corn yields are growing more sensitive to heat and drought. Farmers are faced with difficult tradeoffs in adapting to a changing climate in which unfavorable weather will become more common.

  • Criminals cannot hide behind prepaid phones

    Cambria County, Pennsylvania police quickly tracked the individual who called to say he had placed a bomb in the county courthouse. The individual called the court to warn of the bomb and allow for an orderly evacuation. The call was a hoax, but the the authorities began to evacuate the building. Even before the court was completely evacuated, the 911 dispatch center, Ebensburg Borough Police Department, and Cambria County Sheriff’s Department all knew that the call came from a prepaid phone purchased at the Richland Township Wal-Mart. With the prompt help of Verizon and Wal-Mart, the suspect was nabbed.

  • Producing more oil by capturing carbon

    Any method that leads to the production of more oil seems counter to the prevailing wisdom on climate change that says use of more greenhouse-gas-emitting fuel is detrimental. There is one oil-recovery process, however, which some say could be part of the climate change solution and now unites unlikely allies in industry, government and environmental groups.

  • DHS cancels acquisition of BioWatch’s Generation 3 technology

    Owing to concerns about BioWatcheffectiveness and high cost, DHS has canceled plans to install an automated technology meant to speed the 24-hour operations of the program, the nation’s system for detecting a biological attack.ASeptember 2012 GAO report estimated that annual costs to operate the Generation 3 technology would be “about four times more” than the existing BioWatch system.

  • More crude oil shipments by rail mean more accidents, but security measures lag

    American rail companies have long operated under federal laws, making it difficult for local officials to gather information on cargo and how rail companies select their routes. An increase in the number of trains transporting crude oil, accompanied by a series of derailments and explosions, has highlighted the dangers of transporting hazardous substances by rail.In February, the Department of Transportation announced that railroads had voluntarily agreed to apply the same routing rules to oil trains that they currently apply to other hazardous materials. Critics say more needs to be done.

  • New scanning technique may end on-board liquid restrictions

    A new machine which can identify the chemical composition of liquids sealed within non-metallic containers without opening them is one of three candidates announced Monday to be in the running to win the U.K.’s premier engineering prize, the MacRobert Award. Already being deployed in sixty-five airports across Europe, this innovation can protect travelers by screening for liquid explosives and could spell the end of the ban on liquids in hand luggage.

  • Heartbleed bug: insider trading may have taken place as shares slid ahead of breaking story

    Here is a puzzle for you. Why did shares in Yahoo! slide by nearly 10 percent in the days before Heartbleed was announced and then recover after the main news items broke? It has long been the case that security vulnerabilities can have a negative effect on the public’s perception of tech companies and the value of their stock. All chief executives need to understand this and take action to reduce the exposure and associated risks. The evidence suggests that in the Heartbleed case, there could have been some insider trading taking place in the days before the story became big news. In theory the companies should have announced the problem to the stock market as soon as they became aware, but this series of events probably illustrates the limits of the duty on companies to disclose: when matters of national security are at stake, the rules may not be so rigorously applied.

  • First large-scale dengue vaccine efficacy study achieves primary clinical goals

    Dengue is a threat to nearly half the world’s population, and is a pressing public health priority in many countries in Asia and Latin America where epidemics occur. Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, yesterday announced that the first of two pivotal Phase III efficacy studies with its dengue vaccine candidate has achieved its primary clinical endpoint. The efficacy study showed a significant reduction of 56 percent of dengue disease cases. The study involved more than 10,000 volunteers from Asia.

  • Businesses take more responsibility for sustainable freshwater use

    Growing freshwater scarcity owing to rising water demands and a changing climate is increasingly perceived as a major risk for the global economy. In a special issue of Nature Climate Change, devoted to this emerging global concern, researchers argue that consumer awareness, private sector initiatives, governmental regulation, and targeted investments are urgently necessary to move toward sustainable water use across value chains.

  • Threats from insiders are the most serious security challenges nuclear facilities face

    Insider threats are the most serious challenge confronting nuclear facilities in today’s world, a new study says. In every case of theft of nuclear materials where the circumstances of the theft are known, the perpetrators were either insiders or had help from insiders, the study found. Theft is not the only danger facing facility operators; sabotage is a risk as well, the study authors say.