• Killer robotsWorld’s tech leaders call on UN to ban killer robots

    An open letter by 116 tech leaders from 26 countries urges the United Nations against opening the Pandora’s box of lethal robot weapons. The open letter is the first time that AI and robotics companies have taken a joint stance on the issue. “Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare,” the letter states. “Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend. These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways. We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.”

  • FloodsClimate change shifts timing of floods in Europe

    Researchers have identified a link between climate change and floods. A comprehensive study collected and analyzed fifty years of data from over 4,000 hydrometric stations from thirty-eight European countries, finding that the timing of the floods has shifted across much of Europe, dramatically in some areas.

  • Coastal perilPriorities for property buyouts in Florida’s flood-prone areas

    Flooding is the most common and damaging of all natural disasters in the United States. In 2016, 44 of the 46 major disaster declarations were related to storms, with flooding being a significant factor in almost 70 percent of them (30 events). In 2016, severe floods in the United States resulted in more than $17 billion in damages (six times higher than in 2015). Twelve individual weather and climate events caused more than $1 billion in damages each, and at least five severe 1,000-year precipitation events occurred in the United States in 2016. A new study proposes that government-funded buyouts, followed by structure demolition or relocation and the restoration of floodplain habitats, can support social, environmental, and economic objectives simultaneously.

  • RobosubsHigh school, college engineering students test their skills in RoboSub competition

    More than 300 high school and college engineering students tested their mechanical, electrical, computer, and systems engineering skills, as well as their presentation skills and teamwork, while competing for cash prizes at the recent 20th International RoboSub Competition.

  • Coastal perilExplaining rapid sea level rise along the East Coast

    Sea level rise hot spots — bursts of accelerated sea rise that last three to five years — happen along the U.S. East Coast thanks to a one-two punch from naturally occurring climate variations, according to a new study. The study shows that seas rose in the southeastern U.S. between 2011 and 2015 by more than six times the global average sea level rise that is already happening due to human-induced global warming.

  • Coastal perilSea-level rise accelerating along U.S. East Coast

    Sea level rise on the East Coast has been much less than 1 millimeter (mm) per year for the entire period 0 AD to 1800 AD, and, since then, it has skyrocketed. In fact, the rate of sea level rise on the East Coast is the highest it has been for at least 2,000 years, and the rate of global sea level rise is above 1.7 mm per year. In New York City, the rate of sea level rise is more than 3 mm per year in an area that currently houses more than $25 billion of infrastructure at less than 1 meter above sea level.

  • CybersecurityMSU cybersecurity scholarship program receives $3.11 million grant

    Mississippi State University will receive $3.11 million through a National Science Foundation grant to continue the university’s role in the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program, which prepares qualified cybersecurity professionals for entry into the government workforce. As part of the grant, which will support the program for four years, East Mississippi Community College students planning to attend MSU are eligible to receive scholarships and support.

  • Food securityMillions may face protein deficiency as a result of human-caused CO2 emissions

    If CO2 levels continue to rise as projected, the populations of eighteen countries may lose more than 5 percent of their dietary protein by 2050 due to a decline in the nutritional value of rice, wheat, and other staple crops. Researchers estimate that roughly an additional 150 million people may be placed at risk of protein deficiency because of elevated levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. This is the first study to quantify this risk.

  • Alt-rightNew edition of Ten Ways to Fight Hate guide released

    In response to recent events, including the deadly white nationalist violence in Charlottesville this weekend, the SPLC released a new edition of Ten Ways to Fight Hate, its guide for “effectively – and peacefully – taking a stand against bigotry,” as the organization describes it. The guide, which has been updated for 2017, sets out ten principles for taking action, including how to respond to a hate rally that has targeted your town.

  • BiometricsBlood vessels prove you are who you say you are

    Biometric screening — using biological characteristics such as fingerprints, iris recognition or facial features — is a high priority for researchers who are working to develop future security solutions. Researchers have found a way to identify people through finger vein recognition. This authentication system shows promise as a more secure passport control method.

  • Toxic threatsIdentifying toxic threats, preparing for surprise

    Predicting chemical attacks is no small task, especially when there are so many toxic substances. There is no crystal ball to aid us in sorting through them all to identify and characterize the potential threats. Instead, intelligence and defense communities use a broad network of tools to forecast hazards to safeguard our warfighters and nation. A new project from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) seeks to improve the U.S. defensive capability by creating a crystal ball to more rapidly determine the toxicity of such chemical hazards and increase our ability to prepare for surprise.

  • DronesOutdoor drone testing facility for safe, innovative flight testing

    An outdoor fly lab for testing autonomous aerial vehicles is coming to the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering this fall, adding to the university’s spate of advanced robotics facilities. M-Air will be a netted, four-story complex situated next to the site where the Ford Motor Company Robotics Building will open in late 2019. Construction of the $800,000 M-Air is expected to begin in August and be complete by the end of the year.

  • CybersecuritySpotting data theft – quickly!

    Computer experts have always struggled to find solutions for protecting businesses and authorities from network breaches. This is because there are too many vague indicators of potential attacks. With PA-SIEM, IT managers have a solution that effectively protects their systems while exposing data thieves and criminal hackers more quickly than conventional software.

  • CybersecurityNew app detects cyberattacks quickly

    If you are awaiting exciting news from your friend, what is the better way to read your email? Has it comes in, or after a batch collects? Well, if you read it as it comes in, you will surely get the news faster. Researchers have developed a software app that can do the same for computer networks. Monitoring the activity within a network in real-time can allow cybersecurity analysts to detect cyberattacks quickly, before thieves steal data or crash your system.

  • Invisibility cloakInvisibility cloak a step closer

    Researchers have made structures that could help conceal objects from daylight – taking the next step towards making the visible, invisible. Recent progress draws on advances in so-called metamaterials, which are microscopic structures that bend light in unnatural directions. Metamaterials have already managed to reroute microwaves, infrared radiation. and, given the right circumstances, visible colors, so that they go around metal obstacles and living creatures.