• Living sensor may prevent environmental disasters from fuel spills

    The Colonial Pipeline, which carries fuel from Texas to New York, ruptured last fall, dumping a quarter-million gallons of gas in rural Alabama. By the time the leak was detected during routine inspection, vapors from released gasoline were so strong they prevented pipeline repair for days. Now, scientists are developing technology that would alert pipeline managers about leaks as soon as failure begins, avoiding the environmental disasters and fuel distribution disruptions resulting from pipeline leaks.

  • New U.S. sanctions on Russia for election interference, infrastructure cyberattacks, NoPetya

    The U.S. Treasury has issued its strongest sanctions yet against Russia in response to what it called “ongoing nefarious attacks.” The move targets five entities and nineteen individuals. Among the institutions targeted in the new sanctions for election meddling were Russia’s top intelligence services, Federal Security Service (FSB) and Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), the two organizations whose hackers, disinformation specialists, and outside contractors such as the Internet Research Agency (IRA) troll farm were behind — and are still engaged in — a broad and sustained campaign to undermine U.S. democracy.

  • Identifying the key drivers of high U.S. healthcare spending

    The major drivers of high healthcare costs in the U.S. appear to be higher prices for nearly everything—from physician and hospital services to diagnostic tests to pharmaceuticals—and administrative complexity. The study confirmed that the U.S. has substantially higher spending, worse population health outcomes, and worse access to care than other wealthy countries.

  • Off-the-shelf smart devices easy to hack

    Off-the-shelf devices that include baby monitors, home security cameras, doorbells, and thermostats were easily co-opted by cyber researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). As part of their ongoing research into detecting vulnerabilities of devices and networks expanding in the smart home and Internet of Things (IoT), the researchers disassembled and reverse engineered many common devices and quickly uncovered serious security issues.

  • DHS S&T release new cybersecurity research portfolio and technology guides

    DHS S&T has released two new guides — 2018 Cyber Security Division Portfolio Guide and the 2018 Cyber Security Division Technology Guide — that will boost opportunities to transition its mature cybersecurity solutions and spur community discussion about its research and development (R&D) priorities.

  • Asia, the Middle East lead rising trend in arms imports, as U.S. arms exports grow significantly

    Continuing the upward trend that began in the early 2000s, the volume of international transfers of major weapons in 2013-17 was 10 percent higher than in 2008-12, according to new data on arms transfers. In 2013–17 the United States accounted for 34 percent of total arms exports. Its arms exports increased by 25 percent between 2008–12 and 2013–17. U.S. arms exports in 2013–17 were 58 percent higher than those of Russia—the second largest arms exporter in that period. The United States supplied major arms to 98 states in 2013–17. Exports to states in the Middle East accounted for 49 percent of total US arms exports in that period.

  • NSA, UWF partner to accelerate cybersecurity degree completion, workforce development

    The University of West Florida and the National Security Agency announced a partnership to enhance cybersecurity workforce development and create accelerated pathways toward completion of an undergraduate cybersecurity degree program. The agreement allows students who complete the Joint Cyber Analysis Course to earn undergraduate credit hours at UWF. JCAC is open to active military. The six-month JCAC course is designed to train individuals with limited computer experience and make them proficient in cyber analysis.

  • MIT energy conference speakers say transformation can happen fast

    The pace of advances in key clean energy technologies has been growing faster than many experts have predicted, to the point that solar and wind power, combined with systems for storing their output, can often be the least expensive options for new types of power-generating capacity. In fact, a radical transformation of the world’s energy landscape is well-underway, experts say.

  • Ecoterrorists suspected in acid attack on German energy executive

    German ecoterrorists are the main suspects in an acid attack on a German energy executive, which has left him badly injured. Bernhard Günther, the CFO of energy giant RWE’s green subsidiary, Innogy, was struck as he crossed a park in Haan, a well-to-do suburb of Düsseldorf, on Sunday. Left-wing groups – the most famous one the Rote Armee Fraktion (aka Baader-Meinhof group), which was active in West Germany from the early-1970s to the mid-1980s – have attacked and killed a score of German business people in the last four decades.

  • Judge orders Boeing to give details of $16 billion Iran deal to terror victim’s kin

    A federal district judge ordered airplane manufacturer, Boeing, to make terms of its $16 billion contract with Iran available to the family of an Israeli terror victim. The family of Noam Leibovitch, a 7-year-old girl who was killed when Iran-backed terrorists from Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired on their car in 2003, requested the contract in order to assess what assets may be available to satisfy a $67 million judgment against Iran. The judgment was awarded when Iran failed to respond to the lawsuit filed by the family in the United States District Court.

  • Russia used social media extensively to influence U.S. energy markets: Congressional panel

    The U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee last week released a staff report uncovering Russia’s extensive efforts to influence U.S. energy markets through divisive and inflammatory posts on social media platforms. The report details Russia’s motives in interfering with U.S. energy markets and influencing domestic energy policy and its manipulation of Americans via social media propaganda. The report includes examples of Russian-propagated social media posts.

  • “Zero not an option”: Antibiotic use in agriculture

    In November 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) took a significant step in its campaign to address the crisis of antibiotic resistance, calling for an overall reduction in the use of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals. The WHO recommendations included a complete restriction on the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion in animals, a step that has already been taken by several countries and is not considered particularly controversial. Although the use of antibiotics for growth promotion has long been a practice in animal agriculture, it has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years, both from the scientific community and the wider public. But the WHO also recommended that farmers stop using medically important antibiotics for preventing diseases that have not been clinically diagnosed — and that, one expert says, is where things start to get a little tricky.

  • Exploring solutions for the problem of "fake news"

    A new report, titled “Dead Reckoning: Navigating Content Moderation after ‘Fake News’,” analyzes nascent solutions recently proposed by platform corporations, governments, news media industry coalitions, and civil society organizations to the problem of identifying, handling, and mitigating fake news. The report then explores potential approaches to containing fake news including trust and verification, disrupting economic incentives, de-prioritizing content and banning accounts, as well as limited regulatory approaches.

  • U.S. firefighters and police turn to an Israeli app to save lives

    When Hurricane Irma hit the Florida Keys in September 2017, the new First Response app from Israeli-American company Edgybees helped first-responders identify distress calls in flooded areas. When wildfires hit Northern California a month later, the app steered firefighters away from danger. This lifesaving augmented-reality app — designed only months before as an AR racing game for drone enthusiasts — is now used by more than a dozen fire and police departments in the United States, as well as the United Hatzalah emergency response network in Israel.

  • Drawing industry attention to ensuring grid reliability

    Grid reliability depends on controlling the power system frequency so that it remains within pre-established, safe operating bounds. Reliability is threatened when a large electric generator or generators experiences a problem and automatically disconnects from the power system; the loss of generation causes an immediate decline in power system frequency. If the remaining, still-connected generators do not respond to rapidly arrest the decline in frequency, power system frequency may decline below established, safe operating bounds and trigger automatic, emergency load shedding to avoid a cascading blackout. A report for FERC details six recommendations to reduce likelihood of blackouts.