• Critical mineralsInterior releases 2018’s final list of critical minerals

    The Department of the Interior last week published a list of 35 mineral commodities considered critical to the economic and national security of the United States. This list will be the initial focus of a multi-agency strategy due in August this year, which aims to break America’s dependence on foreign minerals.

  • Energy securityWe can get 100 percent of our energy from renewable sources: Scientists

    Is there enough space for all the wind turbines and solar panels to provide all our energy needs? What happens when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow? Won’t renewables destabilize the grid and cause blackouts? Scientists say that there are no roadblocks on the way to a 100 percent renewable future.

  • Gun safetyChildren often ignore what they learn at gun safety programs

    Children who participate in gun safety programs often ignore what they learned when encountering a real firearm, according to a new study. The study found such programs do not reduce the likelihood that children will handle guns when they are unsupervised, that boys are more likely than girls to ignore gun-safety rules and that few studies exist of gun-safety programs for children beyond the fourth grade.

  • Climate threatsInsurance industry dangerously unprepared for extreme weather

    As historic flooding caused by climate change devastates coastal communities, new research reveals that the insurance industry hasn’t considered a changing climate in their practices, putting homeowners at financial risk.

  • Climate threatsGlobal warming of 2°C doubles the population exposed to climate risks compared to 1.5°C rise

    New research identifying climate vulnerability hotspots has found that the number of people affected by multiple climate change risks could double if the global temperature rises by 2°C, compared to a rise of 1.5°C. The researchers investigated the overlap between multiple climate change risks and socioeconomic development to identify the vulnerability hotspots if the global mean temperature should rise by 1.5°C, 2°C and 3°C by 2050, compared to the pre-industrial baseline.

  • Climate threatsGlobal warming fueled Hurricane Harvey’s record-breaking precipitation

    In the weeks before Hurricane Harvey tore across the Gulf of Mexico and plowed into the Texas coast in August 2017, the Gulf’s waters were warmer than any time on record, according to a new analysis. These hotter-than-normal conditions supercharged the storm, fueling it with vast stores of moisture. When it stalled near the Houston area, the resulting rains broke precipitation records and caused devastating flooding. “As climate change continues to heat the oceans, we can expect more supercharged storms like Harvey,” says one researcher.

  • Climate threatsAir conditioning a key driver of global electricity-demand growth

    The growing use of air conditioners in homes and offices around the world will be one of the top drivers of global electricity demand over the next three decades, according to new analysis by the International Energy Agency that stresses the urgent need for policy action to improve cooling efficiency.

  • 3D printing & weapons3D printing of weapons: A threat to global, national, and personal security

    Additive manufacturing – also known as 3D printing — could benefit military adversaries, violent extremists and even street criminals, who could produce their own weapons for use and sale. As this technology further develops, and without proper controls, violent actors might be able to replicate more sophisticated weapons systems, print lethal drones, and even produce jamming devices or cheap decoys that disrupt intelligence collection.

  • R&DU.S. Noble Prize leadership in the sciences threatened

    Since first being awarded in 1901, most Nobel Prizes for science have gone to the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. Calculating Noble Prize productivity (that is, number of prizes per capita), the United States became the Noble Prize leader after the Second World War – and reached its zenith in the 1970s. On present trajectory, Germany will produce more Noble Prize winners per capita by 2025, and France by 2028.

  • Earthquake survivalEngineers solve the 500-year-old Leaning Tower of Pisa mystery

    Why has the Leaning Tower of Pisa survived the strong earthquakes that have hit the region since the middle ages? After studying available seismological, geotechnical and structural information, researchers concluded that the survival of the Tower can be attributed to a phenomenon known as dynamic soil-structure interaction (DSSI).

  • Climate threatsConservatives are not inherently more skeptical of climate change

    Researchers has challenged the widely held belief that people with conservative political views are more likely to reject climate change science. “This suggests that ideological barriers to accepting science don’t emerge from people spontaneously critiquing scientific consensus through the lens of their world views,” said one researcher. “Rather, ideological barriers to accepting science can also be encouraged by influential individuals and organizations who have a vested interest in communicating that the science is wrong.”

  • Coastal perilHelping rebuild eroding lands in coastal Louisiana

    As coastal lands in Louisiana erode, researchers, environmentalists and engineers are all searching for ways to preserve the marsh coastline. Now, researchers have developed a model to help stakeholders figure out what factors they need to consider to rebuild land in this fragile wetland.

  • Climate & healthThe role of health in climate lawsuits

    A new analysis investigates the role of health concerns in climate litigation since 1990 and finds that although health is cited in a minority of cases, it may have critical potential for protecting communities from the effects of climate change and coal fired power plants.

  • Planetary securityAliens can’t reach Earth because of gravity

    If there are aliens out there, on large planets like Jupiter or on slightly smaller planets called super-Earths, why have they not yet come to visit us? Scientists say aliens living on distant planets can’t cruise the cosmos because of gravity. To launch the equivalent of an Apollo moon mission, a rocket on a super-Earth would need to have a mass of about 440 000 tons because of fuel requirements.

  • Coastal perilsSouth Florida mangroves are on a death march, marking a new era for Earth

    The problem is so clear, it might be the first real sign Earth has entered a new geological era. Using a combination of aerial photographs from the 1930s, modern satellite imagery and ground sediment samples, tracked the mangroves’ westward retreat from the coastal Everglades. Now, their backs are to the wall – literally.