• Psychopathology & leadershipPresidential candidates may be psychopaths – but this is not necessarily a bad thing

    Oxford University’s Dr. Kevin Dutton has spent much of his career looking at psychopaths and researching psychopathic traits, identifying those which can be of benefit and those which can lead to incarceration. He contends that being a psychopath is not an all-or-nothing affair. Instead, psychopathy is on a spectrum along which each of us has our place. In a new study, Dutton finds that Donald Trump ranks above Adolf Hitler and only just below Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, and Henry VIII. Hillary Clinton ranks between Napoleon and Nero.

  • Food securityRobot, drones to help collect crop testing data to bolster agricultural production

    A rumbling robot and several high-flying drones recently made an on-site appearance at Clemson University to burrow through and buzz above fifteen acres of experimental sorghum plots containing more than 2,800 replicated entries. The space-age devices are part of a collaborative project with Clemson University and other partners designed to significantly enhance the ease and frequency of data collection for crop testing in ways that will eventually benefit all agricultural production in South Carolina and around the world.

  • Emerging threatsGlobal warming would make most cities too hot, humid to host summer Olympics

    The future of the summer Olympics may be in jeopardy because of rising heat and humidity due to climate change. By 2085, only eight Northern Hemisphere cities outside of Western Europe are likely to be cool enough to host the summer games. The authors considered only cities with at least 600,000 residents, the size considered necessary for hosting the games. Cities with elevations over a mile above sea level were omitted as such an altitude (for example, Mexico City in 1968) faced challenges of their own.

  • Emerging threatsEconomic growth will not counterbalance increasing climate change-related damage

    More than 50 percent of all weather-related economic losses on the globe are caused by damages due to tropical cyclones. New research finds that financial losses per hurricane could triple by the end of the century in unmitigated climate change, while annual losses could on average rise by a factor of eight. The researchers also concluded that economic growth will not be able to counterbalance the increase in damage.

  • Rare earth materialsRecovering rare-earth magnets from used hard drives

    The world’s most powerful magnets are manufactured using rare earth elements such as neodymium. These magnets are essential to the operation of everything from computer hard drives to electric and hybrid vehicles, electric bicycles, wind turbines, cell phones, air conditioners, and other appliances and industrial equipment. Need for the element is rising as demand for consumer products and clean energy technologies grows – but more than 95 percent of worldwide production of neodymium occurs outside the United States, mostly in China. A process developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for large-scale recovery of rare earth magnets from used computer hard drives will soon undergo industrial testing.

  • Water securityHow a new source of water is helping reduce conflict in the Middle East

    By Rowan Jacobsen

    Just a few years ago, in the depths of its worst drought in at least 900 years, Israel was running out of water. Now it has a surplus. This remarkable turnaround was helped by increasing conservation and re-use – but the biggest impact came from a new wave of desalination plants. Israel now gets 55 percent of its domestic water from desalination. Moreover, scientists and others look to desalination as a way to unite longtime enemies in a common cause.

  • Emerging threatsJuly 2016 was the warmest month since modern record-keeping began in 1880

    July 2016 was the warmest July in 136 years of modern record-keeping, which began in 1880. The record warm July continued a streak of ten consecutive months dating back to October 2015 that have set new monthly high-temperature records.

  • Public health Climate change to increase health risks from wildfires in U.S. West

    A surge in major wildfire events in the western United States as a consequence of climate change will expose tens of millions of Americans to high levels of air pollution in the coming decades. The researchers estimated air pollution from past and projected future wildfires in 561 western counties, and found that by mid-century more than eighty-two million people will experience “smoke waves,” or consecutive days with high air pollution related to fires.

  • Food securityAssessing crop damage after extreme weather

    By Mark Dwortzan

    The Philippines is host to six to nine tropical cyclones per year since 1970, and a citizenry that consumes more rice than it produces. The Philippines has for many years augmented its homegrown supply of rice with imports based on seasonal climate forecasts and agricultural production surveys. But import orders must be modified on the fly when extreme weather events exact a heavier toll on production than expected. New method to track the impact of typhoons and other natural disasters could enable more precise, timely delivery of food aid.

  • STEM educationIncreasing the number of American engineers, scientists

    Over the past several years, the U.S. has ranked low among other nations in numbers of students proficient in math and science, as well as skilled workers in those fields. According to researchers, American students are perfectly capable and interested in entering those fields, but are not being encouraged to pursue a STEM career. The researchers identifies factors that could lead more young students to successful careers in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

  • Emerging threatsClimate change already accelerating sea level rise

    Greenhouse gases are already having an accelerating effect on sea level rise, but the impact has so far been masked by the cataclysmic 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, according to a new study. Satellite observations, which began in 1993, indicate that the rate of sea level rise has held fairly steady at about three millimeters per year. But the expected acceleration due to climate change is likely hidden in the satellite record because of a happenstance of timing: The record began soon after the Pinatubo eruption, which temporarily cooled the planet, causing sea levels to drop.

  • Planetary securityAliens may be building megastructures around a star to harvest energy: Astrophysicists

    There is something strange happening with a star named KIC 8462852, leading astronomers to suggest that perhaps what we are witnessing is a huge alien megastructure being built around the star. Scientists last year said that KIC 8462852 appeared to be getting darker with no clear or obvious explanation. Some went on to suggest that the flickering and dimming of the star were the result of an alien megastructure being built around it. The purpose of the megastructure? Energy harvesting.

  • GunsTexas, UT ask judge to throw out lawsuit challenging campus carry

    By Matthew Watkins

    The Texas Attorney General’s Office and University of Texas at Austin on Monday asked a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit brought by three UT-Austin professors seeking to keep guns out of their classrooms despite the state’s new campus carry law. Three professors have argued that the law, which went into effect 1 August, will stifle discussion in their classrooms. The professors say they fear that guns present during class discussions will cause people to censor themselves out of concerns for their safety.

  • RoboSubsYoung engineers compete for RoboSubs

    After months of planning, building, programming, testing, and tweaking, it all came to down to this one moment — the 19th annual International RoboSub Competition, held in San Diego, California, 25-30 July.

    Forty-six teams competed in this year’s event. The robotics contest challenges students to design, build and race submarines through a complex obstacle course, where points are awarded for the number and difficulty of successfully completed mission tasks.

  • Security appsSayVU security app – developed by a BGU graduate student -- deployed at Rio Olympics

    A new app, SayVU, conceived as a graduate student project at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, is being deployed at the 2016 Rio Olympics. International Security & Defense Systems (ISDS), the security integrator for the Olympics, selected SayVU as one of the Israeli technologies being used to protect attendees. SayVU enables a user to send a distress signal to an emergency hotline even if a phone is locked and without having to access the application. The message can be sent in a number of ways; shaking the device, tapping the camera button, or simply speaking into the phone.