• BridgesA bridge over the Strait of Gibraltar? New bridge forms span farther

    A bridge’s span is the distance of suspended roadway between towers, with the current world record standing at just under 2km. Newly identified bridge forms could enable significantly longer bridge spans to be achieved in the future, potentially making a crossing over the Strait of Gibraltar, from the Iberian Peninsula to Morocco, feasible.

  • Coastal retreatClimate change: we need to start moving people away from some coastal areas, warns scientist

    By Luciana Esteves

    Climate change has forced a paradigm shift in the way coastal flooding and erosion risks are managed. In areas of lower risk, adaptation plans are being devised, often with provisions to make properties and infrastructure more resilient. Adaptation may involve requiring raised foundations in flood-prone areas or the installation of mitigating measures, such as sustainable drainage systems. Building codes may also be established to make structures more disaster-proof and to control the types of constructions within risk zones. But such adaptation options are often of limited use or unsuitable for high-risk areas. In such areas relocation is the only safe climate-proof response.

  • Truth decayBeyond deep fakes: Automatically transforming video content into another video's style

    Researchers have created a method that automatically transforms the content of one video into the style of another. For instance, Barack Obama’s style can be transformed into Donald Trump. Because the data-driven method does not require human intervention, it can rapidly transform large amounts of video, making it a boon to movie production, as well as to the conversion of black-and-white films to color and to the creation of content for virtual reality experiences.

  • Climate threatsParis climate targets may be exceeded sooner than expected

    A new study has for the first time comprehensively accounted for permafrost carbon release when estimating emission budgets for climate targets. The results show that the world might be closer to exceeding the budget for the long-term target of the Paris climate agreement than previously thought.

  • CybersecurityS&T awards $11.6 million to defend against network, internet disruptions

    Five research organizations were awarded separate contracts totaling $11,511,565 to develop new methods to identify and attribute Network/Internet-scale Disruptive Events (NIDEs), the DHS S&T announced last week.

  • Building evacuationAn elevator tech that could save lives in a high-rise fire

    By Brian Blum

    When there’s a fire in a high-rise building, safety rules dictate that you don’t take the elevator. You head for the stairs instead. But what if using the elevator could actually be the fastest – and safest – way to evacuate a building on fire? Seventeen years after 9/11, an Israeli startup is testing its solution to turn the elevator into a traveling ‘safe room’ that can facilitate rescue operations.

  • Mitigating climate threatsEither cover 89 percent of the U.S. with trees, or go solar

    How many fields of switchgrass and forests of trees would be needed to offset the energy produced by burning coal? A lot, it turns out. While demand for energy isn’t dropping, alarms raised by burning fossil fuels in order to get that energy are getting louder.

  • DetectionImproving X-ray detection technology

    DHS S&T has awarded a total of nearly $3.5 million in funding to three new research and development (R&D) projects designed to improve the threat detection capabilities of current X-ray technologies for checked baggage systems.

  • AI & societyTechnology favors tyranny

    The emergence of liberal democracies is associated with ideals of liberty and equality that may seem self-evident and irreversible. But these ideals are far more fragile than we believe. Their success in the twentieth century depended on unique technological conditions that may prove ephemeral, says Yuval Noah Harari, author of the new book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. The biggest and most frightening impact of the Artificial Intelligence revolution might be on the relative efficiency of democracies and dictatorships, Harari writes.

  • AI & societyHenry Kissinger on the promise and peril of artificial intelligence

    Henry Kissinger offers sober reflections on human society and artificial intelligence. Kissinger writes that “Philosophically, intellectually—in every way—human society is unprepared for the rise of artificial intelligence.” Kissinger concludes: “AI developers, as inexperienced in politics and philosophy as I am in technology, should ask themselves some of the questions I have raised here in order to build answers into their engineering efforts. The U.S. government should consider a presidential commission of eminent thinkers to help develop a national vision. This much is certain: If we do not start his effort soon, before long we shall discover that we started too late.”

  • Medical emergenciesNew technology may help police tackle emergencies at public events

    Medical emergencies for fans during athletic events can quickly turn into life-or-death situations. Researchers are using technology to help police monitor emergency and public safety information on game day. “Police departments and first responders can use the social media posts to reach people in need of assistance, including medical emergencies, disaster emergencies or criminal activity. During the start of football season, it can be used to find fans having heat-related medical issues,” says one researcher.

  • Explosives detectionDeveloping new security scanners capable of detecting explosives

    Using a single pixel camera and Terahertz electromagnetic waves, a team of physicists has devised a blueprint which could lead to the development of airport scanners capable of detecting explosives. The researchers have found an innovative way to capture with high accuracy, not just the shape of an object, but also its chemical composition using a special “single point” camera capable of operating at Terahertz (THz) frequencies.

  • Big data & disastersBetter integration of big data, ICT in disaster response

    A comprehensive review of studies of the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and big data in disaster response, identified some important gaps: more information is needed on the use of technologies. Most articles discussed the use of ICT in natural disasters which were mainly hurricanes and earthquakes. What was underreported was data on extreme temperatures and flooding, even though these events account for 27 percent and 26 percent of global deaths respectively.

  • DamsUsing Artificial Intelligence to locate risky dams

    By Sarah Fecht

    In the U.S., 15,498 of the more than 88,000 dams in the country are categorized as having high hazard potential—meaning that if they fail, they could kill people. As of 2015, some 2,000 of these high hazard dams are in need of repair. With a hefty price tag estimated at around $20 billion, those repairs aren’t going to happen overnight.

  • DamsUsing Artificial Intelligence to locate risky dams

    By Sarah Fecht

    In the U.S., 15,498 of the more than 88,000 dams in the country are categorized as having high hazard potential—meaning that if they fail, they could kill people. As of 2015, some 2,000 of these high hazard dams are in need of repair. With a hefty price tag estimated at around $20 billion, those repairs aren’t going to happen overnight.