• Water securityInterstate Water Wars Are Heating Up Along with the Climate

    By Robert Glennon

    Interstate water disputes are as American as apple pie. States often think a neighboring state is using more than its fair share from a river, lake or aquifer that crosses borders. Climate stresses are raising the stakes.

  • Cyber resilienceMacro Cyber Resilience

    The prefixes of ‘macro’ and ‘micro’ have been applied to concepts like economics, or even to activities like photography. They are easy ideas to understand in large versus small scales. However, this term is not usually used to define cyber perspectives, an increasingly important area for security applications.

  • FloodsCombining News Media and AI to Rapidly Identify Flooded Buildings

    Artificial intelligence (AI) has sped up the process of detecting flooded buildings immediately after a large-scale flood, allowing emergency personnel to direct their efforts efficiently. Now, researchers have created a machine learning (ML) model that uses news media photos to identify flooded buildings accurately within 24 hours of the disaster.

  • Security inspectionImproving Vehicle Inspections at Security Checkpoints

    Federal agencies screen an average of 235,000 vehicles every day for illegal contraband, explosives and other potential threats in the United States. Currently, federal law enforcement personnel (LEP) perform a visual search of the undercarriage using mirrors, or, if available, an under-vehicle inspection scanner. The scanning units are expensive, have moderate resolution and require vehicles to go only five miles per hour. DHS S&T is changing that.

  • Climate mitigationU.S. Power Sector is Halfway to Zero Carbon Emissions

    Concerns about climate change are driving a growing number of states, utilities, and corporations to set the goal of zeroing out power-sector carbon emissions. To date 17 states plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico have adopted laws or executive orders to achieve 100% carbon-free electricity in the next couple of decades. Additionally, 46 U.S. utilities have pledged to go carbon free no later than 2050. Altogether, these goals cover about half of the U.S. population and economy.

  • Climate mitigationThe Right Carbon Price Path Makes Excessive CO2 Removal Unnecessary

    Technologies to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, such as reforestation or bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), are an indispensable part in most scenarios to limit climate change. However, excessive deployment of such technologies would carry risks such as land conflicts or enhanced water scarcity due to a high demand for bioenergy crops.

  • Communication technologyLow-Cost NIST Demo Links Public Safety Radios to Broadband Wireless Network

    Engineers have built a low-cost computer system that connects older public safety radios with the latest wireless communications networks, showing how first responders might easily take advantage of broadband technology offering voice, text, instant messages, video and data capabilities.

  • Communication technologyResearchers Developing Tech to Mitigate Interference for Wideband RF Systems

    The radio frequency (RF) spectrum is a scarce resource that is becoming increasingly congested and contested as demand for spectrum access continues to grow. Within this crowded environment, the Department of Defense’s (DoD) RF systems are hampered by mission-compromising interference from both self- and externally-generated signals. Researchers aim to develop new tunable filter, signal canceller architectures to protect wideband radios.

  • Negative emission technologiesNegative Emissions, Positive Economy

    By Mark Dwortzan

    The long-term goals of the Paris Agreement — keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius and ideally 1.5 C in order to avert the worst impacts of climate change — may not be achievable by greenhouse gas emissions-reduction measures alone. Most scenarios for meeting these targets also require the deployment of negative emissions technologies (NETs) that remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage could help stabilize the climate without breaking the bank.

  • VirusesNew Tool Assesses Risk of Wild-Life Origin Viruses

    Researchers have a developed a new framework and interactive web tool, SpillOver, which “estimates a risk score for wildlife-origin viruses, creating a comparative risk assessment of viruses with uncharacterized zoonotic spillover potential alongside those already known to be zoonotic.”

  • CybersecurityHarnessing Chaos to Protect Devices from Hackers

    Researchers have found a way to use chaos to help develop digital fingerprints for electronic devices that may be unique enough to foil even the most sophisticated hackers. Just how unique are these fingerprints? The researchers believe it would take longer than the lifetime of the universe to test for every possible combination available.

  • Planetary securityHow Do We Know Whether an Asteroid Headed Our Way Is Dangerous?

    By Jonathan O’Callaghan

    There are a lot of things that pose a threat to our planet – climate change, natural disasters, and solar flares, for example. But one threat in particular often captures public imagination, finding itself popularized in books and films and regularly generating alarming headlines: asteroids.

  • ARGUMENT: Overhauling cybersecurityThe U.S. Government Needs to Overhaul Cybersecurity. Here’s How.

    After the 2015 hack of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the SolarWinds breach, and—just weeks after SolarWinds—the latest Microsoft breach, it is by now clear that the U.S. federal government is woefully unprepared in matters of cybersecurity. Jonathan Reiber and Matt Glenn write that “it is time for a different model for cybersecurity. U.S. military bases have layers of walls, guards, badge readers, and authentication measures to control access. The United States needs the same mindset for its cybersecurity.”

  • ARGUMENT: Water crisisThe U.S. Water and Wastewater Crisis – How Many Wake-up Calls Are Enough?

    In February, much of Texas plunged into darkness when the state’s electricity grid failed due to extreme cold weather conditions. What started as a foreseeable blackout quickly became a life-threatening calamity. “This catastrophe illustrates what happens when aging and inadequate infrastructure is hit by extreme rain or snow—an increasingly regular occurrence due to climate change,” Lucía Falcón Palomar, Obinna Maduka, and JoAnn Kamuf Ward write. “And, the matter extends well beyond Texas. It is easy to forget that, within U.S. borders, communities have long endured the conditions seen in Texas in February.”

  • China watchLawmakers Back 5G Alternatives to China-Made Equipment

    Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) led a bipartisan group of Senators in urging President Joe Biden to request at least $3 billion as part of his budget request to Congress for the adoption of 5G alternatives to Chinese-made equipment. Specifically, the Senators urged Biden to request at least $1.5 billion each for two funds established by Congress to encourage the adoption of Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) equipment, which would allow additional vendors to enter the 5G market and compete with manufacturers like Huawei, which is heavily subsidized by the Chinese government.