• Is anybody out there?

    The question of whether we’re alone in the universe has haunted humankind for thousands of years, and it’s one astronomer Jill Tarter has tried to answer for much of her life. Tarter, chair emeritus of the Center for SETI Research, worked as a project scientist for NASA’s SETI program, which aimed to detect transmissions from alien intelligence.

  • Students at every grade need to learn climate science: Expert

    The National Climate Assessment, released the day after Thanksgiving, offers motivation and opportunity to bring climate topics into the classroom at every grade level. Even the youngest students are ready to learn about climate science, according to Michael Wysession, professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and executive director of the Teaching Center.

  • World simply “not on track” to slow climate change this year: UN weather agency

    The 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years, with the top four in the past four years. “It is worth repeating once again that we are the first generation to fully understand climate change and the last generation to be able to do something about it,” Professor Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), said.

  • National security in the Fourth National Climate Assessment

    NCA4 vol. 2: “Climate change presents added risks to interconnected systems that are already exposed to a range of stressors such as aging and deteriorating infrastructure, land-use changes, and population growth. Extreme weather and climate-related impacts on one system can result in increased risks or failures in other critical systems, including water resources, food production and distribution, energy and transportation, public health, international trade, and national security. The full extent of climate change risks to interconnected systems, many of which span regional and national boundaries, is often greater than the sum of risks to individual sectors.”

  • New “deception consistency” method could thwart computer hackers

    Can you deceive a deceiver? That’s the question that computer scientists have recently been exploring. They are looking at how to make cyber deception a more effective tool against malicious hackers. “The main objective of our work is to ensure deception consistency: when the attackers are trapped, they can only make observations that are consistent with what they have seen already so that they cannot recognize the deceptive environment,” the researchers say.

  • AI could help crack unsolvable murder cases

    Some of history’s most notorious unsolved murder crimes could be laid bare thanks to new forensic research. Researches have shown that machine learning – a field of artificial intelligence – could be used to determine which ammunition, and ultimately which firearm, was responsible for a particular gunshot from the residue it left behind.

  • The dusty desert air as a source of drinking water

    A simple device that can capture its own weight in water from fresh air and then release that water when warmed by sunlight could provide a secure new source of drinking water in remote arid regions, new research suggests.

  • U.S. gov.’s climate assessment: U.S. already suffering severe consequences of climate change

    The Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4)—a quadrennial report mandated by Congress since 1990—was released Friday. Thirteen federal agencies develop the NCA using the best available science to help the nation “understand, assess, predict and respond to” climate change. The 1,500-page report examines the climate and economic impacts U.S. residents could expect if drastic action is not taken to address climate change. The consequences of global warming for the U.S. economy, infrastructure, food production, water, and public health are already severe, as flooding, droughts, wildfires, rain storms, and hurricanes intensify. Unless warming is arrested, to consequences are only going to get worse.

  • Climate change is driving wildfires, and not just in California

    By Jonathan Overpeck

    There are multiple reasons why wildfires are getting more severe and destructive, but climate change tops the list, notwithstanding claims to the contrary by President Donald Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. According to the latest U.S. National Climate Assessment, released on 23 November, higher temperatures and earlier snowmelt are extending the fire season in western states. By 2050, according to the report, the area that burns yearly in the West could be two to six times larger than today. For climate scientists like me, there’s no longer any serious doubt that human activity – primarily burning fossil fuels – is causing the atmosphere to warm relentlessly. Climate change is driving a rapid increase in wildfire risk that has become a national problem. At the same time, healthy forests have become essential for the many valuable benefits they provide the nation and its people. Neither more effective forest management, nor curbing climate change alone will solve the growing wildfire problem, but together they can.

  • Anti-global warming atmospheric spraying program: Could it work?

    A program to reduce Earth’s heat capture by injecting aerosols into the atmosphere from high-altitude aircraft is possible, but unreasonably costly with current technology, and would be unlikely to remain secret. Those are the key findings of new research which looked at the capabilities and costs of various methods of delivering sulphates into the lower stratosphere, known as stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI).

  • Revolutionizing cybersecurity through quantum research

    Scientists have found a novel way to safeguard quantum information during transmission, opening the door for more secure and reliable communication for warfighters on the battlefield. Recent advancements of cutting-edge technologies in lasers and nanophysics, quantum optics and photonics have given researchers the necessary tools to control and manipulate miniature quantum systems, such as individual atoms or photons - the smallest particles of light.

  • Quick, precise method for detecting chemical warfare agents

    Sarin is a man-made nerve agent that can spread as a gas or liquid. According to the Center for Disease control, exposure to large doses will over-stimulate glands and muscles, and can lead to loss of consciousness or respiratory failure. Even small doses can cause a long list of distressing and dangerous symptoms. “Low-level nerve agent exposure leads to ambiguous signs and symptoms that cannot be easily discriminated from other conditions, which may result in a delay in treatment and permanent damage,” says an expert. “If trace amounts can be detected quickly, you can prevent permanent damage to human health.”

  • The manipulation of social media metadata

    Bad actors manipulate metadata to create effective disinformation campaigns. and a new study provides tips for researchers and technology companies trying to spot this “data craft.” “Data craft” is the term the report’s author uses to describe all those “practices that create, rely on, or even play with the proliferation of data on social media by engaging with new computational and algorithmic mechanisms of organization and classification.”

  • Warmer winter temperatures linked to increased crime

    Milder winter weather increased regional crime rates in the United States over the past several decades, according to new research that suggests crime is related to temperature’s effect on daily activities. A new study finds U.S. crime rates are linked to warmer temperatures, and this relationship follows a seasonal pattern.

  • Soot: Current climate models underestimate warming by black carbon aerosol

    Soot belches out of diesel engines, rises from wood-  and dung-burning cookstoves and shoots out of oil refinery stacks. According to recent research, air pollution, including soot, is linked to heart disease, some cancers and, in the United States, as many as 150,000 cases of diabetes every year. Beyond its impact on health, soot, known as black carbon by atmospheric scientists, is a powerful global warming agent. It absorbs sunlight and traps heat in the atmosphere in magnitude second only to the notorious carbon dioxide. Researchers call the absence of consensus on soot’s light absorption magnitude “one of the grand challenges in atmospheric climate science.”