• Rare earth elementsExtracting rare-earth elements from coal could soon be economical in U.S.

    The United States could soon decrease its dependence on importing valuable rare-earth elements (REEs) which are widely used in many industries, according to a team of researchers. who found a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to extract these metals from coal byproducts.

  • MuslimsCalls for banning Muslims from entering U.S. impractical, harmful: Expert

    Duke sociologist Christopher Bail, who studies how anti-Muslim organizations use social media, says that calls to ban immigration of Muslims to the United States are missing two important points. First, there is no conceivable mechanism whereby the United States could identify Muslims — short of visual cues such as headdress or religious garb, which are not worn by most Muslims. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it is surprising that people think that groups such as ISIS could not disguise terrorists they want to send to the United States as non-Muslims.

  • FloodsTools to help communities predict, cope with floods

    Anticipation and preparedness of large-scale flood events play a key role in mitigating their impacts and optimizing the strategic planning of water resources. Although many countries have well-established systems for river monitoring and early flood warning, an increasing number of inhabitants are affected by floods every year. The Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS) has been set up providing an overview on upcoming flooding in large world river basins.

  • FloodsHuman-induced climate change helped cause south of England floods: Scientists

    Human-induced climate change increased the risk of severe storms like those that hit the south of England in the winter of 2013-14, causing devastating flooding and costing several people their lives. This is according to new analysis from an international team of climate scientists led by researchers at Oxford University.

  • Emerging threatRecent summer temperatures in Europe likely the warmest of the last 2 millennia

    Most of Europe has experienced strong summer warming over the course of the past several decades, accompanied by severe heat waves in 2003, 2010, and 2015. New research now puts the current warmth in a 2,100-year historical context. The evidence suggests that past variability has been associated with large volcanic eruptions and changes in the amount of energy received from the sun, but that temperatures over the past thirty years lie outside the range of these natural variations, supporting the conclusion that recent warming is mainly caused by anthropogenic activity.

  • PredictionsPredicting political surprises, uprisings before they happen

    From the Arab Spring to the successful leadership bid by Jeremy Corbyn or Donald Trump’s success in the U.S. Republican campaign: Why are so many surprising things happening in politics? New research has harnessed a wealth of digital data and techniques to try to answer this question.

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  • ConspiraciesLarge-scale conspiracies would quickly reveal themselves

    If you are thinking of creating a massive conspiracy, you may be better scaling back your plans, according to new research. While we can all keep a secret, a new study suggests that large groups of people sharing in a conspiracy will very quickly give themselves away.

  • R&DU.S. R&D increased in 2013, ahead of the pace of gross domestic product

    U.S. expenditures in research and development (R&D) rose to $456.1 billion in 2013 — a $20.7 billion increase over the previous year, according to a report from the National Science Foundation. The R&D system in the U.S. includes multiple performers, including businesses, the federal government, non-federal government, universities and colleges, and other nonprofit organizations.

  • DoomIt is 3 minutes to midnight -- still

    The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists yesterday announced that the minute hand of the Bulletin’s closely watched Doomsday Clock will remain at three minutes to midnight, since recent progress in the Iran nuclear agreement and the Paris climate accord “constitute only small bright spots in a darker world situation full of potential for catastrophe.” The Bulletin’s panel of security experts said that “Three minutes (to midnight) is too close. Far too close…” – but that this reflects “world leaders continue to fail to focus their efforts and the world’s attention on reducing the extreme danger posed by nuclear weapons and climate change. When we call these dangers existential, that is exactly what we mean: They threaten the very existence of civilization and therefore should be the first order of business for leaders who care about their constituents and their countries.”

  • EnergyRapid, affordable energy transformation in U.S. possible

    The United States could slash greenhouse gas emissions from power production by up to 78 percent below 1990 levels within fifteen years while meeting increased demand, according to a new study. The study used a sophisticated mathematical model to evaluate future cost, demand, generation, and transmission scenarios. It found that with improvements in transmission infrastructure, weather-driven renewable resources could supply most of the nation’s electricity at costs similar to today’s.

  • Emerging threatRecord warm years almost certainly the result of human-made climate change

    Recent record warm years are with extremely high likelihood caused by human-made climate change. Without greenhouse-gas emissions from burning coal and oil, the odds are vanishingly small that 13 out of the 15 warmest years ever measured would all have happened in the current, still young century. These odds are between 1 in 5,000 and 1 in 170,000, a new study by an international team of scientists now shows. Including the data for 2015, which came in after the study was completed, makes the odds even slimmer.

  • InfrastructureDe-icing concrete to improve roadway safety

    Researchers have developed a concrete which de-ices itself by adding a pinch of steel shavings and a dash of carbon particles to a traditional concrete recipe. Though the newest ingredients constitute just 20 percent of the otherwise standard concrete mixture, they conduct enough electricity to melt ice and snow in the worst winter storms while remaining safe to the touch.

  • Water securityGlobal water supply under increasing pressure

    A new study projects that global demand for water could more than double by 2050, increasing pressure on already scarce water resources. “Our current water use habits increase the risk of being unable to maintain sustainable food production and economic development for the future generation,” says one researcher. Water efficiency and water saving measures could stabilize demand.

  • Carbon captureBreakthrough in continuous monitoring of CO2 leaks from carbon storage sites

    Underground storage of CO2 produced from fossil fuel burning, rather than releasing it into the atmosphere, could play an important role in suppressing climate change. Ensuring that the CO2 does not leak from the storage site is key – but the high number of surveys necessary to make sure there is no CO2 leak  makes this a costly endeavor. A team of Japanese researchers may have found a means of achieving easier and lower-cost monitoring for leaks of CO2 stored in underground reservoirs.

  • Extreme weather eventsNortheast braces for “snowpocalypse”

    Around seventy-five million Americans are preparing for potentially life-threatening blizzard conditions as the season’s first major Atlantic Coast storm is about to sweep across the East Coast. Forecasters say the storm taking aim at Washington could rank among the biggest snowfalls on record, eclipsing the “Snowmageddon” storm of 2010 that dropped 45.2 cm. At least five states have declared emergencies as the potentially historic blizzard, which is expected to begin today (Friday), will likely dump up to 75 cm of snow in some regions.