• Next-generation grid security tech

    Researchers will demonstrate the effectiveness of metro-scale quantum key distribution (QKD) as a means of secure communication for the nation’s electricity suppliers. This initial milestone is part of the team’s three-year project focused on next-generation grid security.

  • Don’t be fooled by fake images and videos online

    Advances in artificial intelligence have made it easier to create compelling and sophisticated fake images, videos and audio recordings. Meanwhile, misinformation proliferates on social media, and a polarized public may have become accustomed to being fed news that conforms to their worldview. All contribute to a climate in which it is increasingly more difficult to believe what you see and hear online. There are some things that you can do to protect yourself from falling for a hoax. As the author of the upcoming book Fake Photos, to be published in August, I’d like to offer a few tips to protect yourself from falling for a hoax.

  • Gain-of-function (GoF) research set to resume, and unease grows

    Gain-of-function (GoF) research involving H5N1 is set to resume – but without review comments, as the review panel has kept mum. Many scientists are worried, arguing that certain studies that aim to make pathogens more potent or more likely to spread in mammals are so risky they should be limited or even banned.

  • Climate change increases potential for conflict, violence

    Images of extensive flooding or fire-ravaged communities help us see how climate change is accelerating the severity of natural disasters. The devastation is obvious, but what is not as clear is the indirect effect of these disasters, or more generally of rapid climate change, on violence and aggression.

  • And now, land may be sinking

    In the coming decades, cities and towns up and down the eastern seaboard will have to come to terms with the impact of rising sea level due to climate change. A new study, however, is suggesting that rising sea levels may be only part of the picture — because the land along the coast is also sinking.

  • Rising seas disrupt local economies

    Impacts from climate change are not always easy to see. But for many local businesses in coastal communities across the United States, the evidence is right outside their doors – or in their parking lots. High-tide flooding resulting from climate change is already disrupting the economy of Annapolis, Maryland. As sea levels rise, the impacts are expected to get worse for coastal communities.

  • Developing a system to identify, patch software security holes

    DARPA is funding research of security vulnerabilities in web software. A new system called GAMEPLAY (for Graph Analysis for Mechanized Exploit-generation and vulnerability Patching Leveraging human Assistance for improved Yield) will spot security weaknesses in the millions – sometimes billions – of lines of code that run websites including banking and online shopping which are attractive to hackers.

  • Keeping the lights on during and after a disaster

    The threat of an inevitable earthquake is the uncomfortable truth we all face in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which stretches from Alaska to California. Because the last major earthquake in the area was in the 1700s, our infrastructure developed without an appreciation and understanding of earthquake resilience. That means the next major earthquake will likely devastate our buildings, roads, bridges, and utility providers, posing immediate risks for the health and safety of those who live in the region. And later, there will be long-term economic aftershocks.

  • Paradigm shift needed for making bridges tsunami-resistant

    Over the past fifteen years, big earthquakes whose epicenters were in the ocean off the coasts of Japan and Indonesia have caused tsunamis that killed more than 250,000 people and caused more than $200 billion in damage. The damage includes washing away or otherwise dislodging hundreds of bridges, emphasizing the need to better understand the wave impacts’ underlying physics. Researchers argue in a new study that a paradigm shift is needed for assessing bridges’ tsunami risk.

  • In one generation, climate of North American cities will shift hundreds of miles

    In one generation, the climate experienced in many North American cities is projected to change to that of locations hundreds of miles away—or to a new climate unlike any found in North America today. New web application helps visualize climate changes in 540 North American cities.

  • Russia, China threaten U.S. space dominance: Pentagon

    The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Pentagon’s lead intelligence agency, has warned that Russia and China are building technologies which will soon threaten U.S. dominance in space. Both countries “are developing a variety of means to exploit perceived U.S. reliance on space-based systems and challenge the U.S. position in space,” the report said. Russian doctrine “involves employing ground, air, and space-based systems to target an adversary’s satellites, with attacks ranging from temporary jamming or sensor blinding to destruction of enemy spacecraft and supporting infrastructure,” the report said.

  • Reform of U.S. skilled-worker visa program wins praise

    The Trump administration’s new rules for a U.S. visa program widely used for technology workers are getting cautious praise from Silicon Valley amid surging demand for high-skill employees. The H-1B visa program, which admits 85,000 foreign nationals each year, will give higher priority to people with postgraduate degrees from U.S. universities, under a final rule the Department of Homeland Security published in January.

  • 2018 fourth warmest year in continued warming trend

    Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2018 were the fourth warmest since 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Global temperatures in 2018 were 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.83 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean. Globally, 2018’s temperatures rank behind those of 2016, 2017 and 2015. The past five years are, collectively, the warmest years in the modern record.

  • Lawmakers tell Pentagon to redo climate change report

    Earlier this month, the Pentagon, in compliance with a congressional mandate, released a landmark report which identified the 79 American military installations most vulnerable to the “effects of a changing climate.” Several Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee welcomed the report – but at the same time harshly criticized it for failing to include details requested by Congress, among them the estimates by each of the armed services of the cost of protecting or replacing the ten most vulnerable military bases.

  • Rising seas: to keep humans safe, let nature shape the coast

    Even under the most conservative climate change scenarios, sea levels 30cm higher than at present seem all but certain on much of the U.K.’s coast by the end of this century. Depending on emission scenarios, sea levels one meter higher than at present by 2100 are also plausible. The knee-jerk reaction to sea level rise has traditionally been to maintain the shoreline’s position at all cost, by building new flood defense structures or upgrading old ones, but this traditional approach of “grey” engineered sea defenses locks society into ever increasing costs of replacement and maintenance. The alternatives are “nature-based solutions” to coastal flooding and erosion, which work with natural processes to reduce flood risk and incorporate ecosystems into flood defense.