• Deflecting Massive Asteroids With a Nuclear Impulse

    Researchers have completed the first ever in-depth investigation into how an asteroid would respond to a nuclear deflection attempt. “The whole purpose of studies like this is to help us shorten the response timeline if we were to see something coming at us,” said one researcher. “We don’t want to have to scramble to figure out whether to use an impactor or a nuclear device on a particular asteroid. These studies help us define those thresholds.”

  • Climate change: Steep Warming Curve for Europe

    Climate is changing: Droughts, floods, and extreme weather events influence agriculture, economy, and society. Improved adaptability of industry and society to the future climate, however, requires reliable statements on medium-term climate development, in particular for certain regions. Researchers develop a new system for a more precise prognosis of the climate in the next ten years.

  • Mysterious Case of the Vanishing UFOs

    All over the rest of the world UFOs are in sharp decline, and may soon disappear altogether. People are simply not spotting unidentified spacecraft like they used to. Alien abductions are at an all-time low. UFO-spotting organizations are closing down. Since 2014 alien sightings have halved. The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one, and dropping. “Where have all the UFOs gone?” Ben Macintyre asks in The Times, noting that “The recent drastic worldwide decline of unexplained phenomena is one of the odder unexplained phenomena of modern times.”

  • Cryptography without Using Secret Keys

    Most security applications, for instance access to buildings or digital signatures, use cryptographic keys that must at all costs be kept secret. That also is the weak link: who will guarantee that the key doesn’t get stolen or hacked? Researchers, using a physical unclonable key (PUK) and the quantum properties of light, researchers present a new type of data security that does away with secret keys.

  • How Partisan Hostility Leads People to Believe Falsehoods

    Researchers now have a better idea of why people who rely on partisan news outlets are more likely to believe falsehoods about political opponents. And no, it isn’t because these consumers live in media “bubbles” where they aren’t exposed to the truth. Instead, it has to do with how partisan media promote hostility against their rivals.

  • September 2019 Tied as Hottest on Record for Planet

    The globe continued to simmer in exceptional warmth, as September 2019  tied with 2015 as the hottest September in NOAA’s 140-year temperature record. The month also capped off another warm year so far, with the globe experiencing its second-warmest January through September (YTD) ever recorded. Arctic sea ice coverage shrank to third-lowest for September.

  • Patching Legacy Software Vulnerabilities Rapidly in Mission-Critical Systems

    There are a vast number of diverse computing devices used to run the critical infrastructure our national security depends on – from transportation systems to electric grids to industrial equipment. While the amount of deployed vulnerable software is growing exponentially, the effective means of addressing known vulnerabilities at scale are limited. DARPA seeks to develop targeted software patches to rapidly repair legacy binaries in mission-critical systems, while assuring system functionality is not affected.

  • Engineered Viruses Could Fight Antibiotic Resistance

    Antibiotic resistance is a one of the world’s most pressing public health problems. Scientists working on an Army project have developed a new weapon to combat super-bugs, which could protect Soldiers and fight resistance.

  • In the Deepfake Era, Counterterrorism Is Harder

    For many U.S. intelligence officials, memories of that 9/11 terrorist attacks remain fresh, searing, and personal. Still hanging over the entrance to the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center is a sign that reads, “Today is September 12, 2001.” It’s a daily reminder of the agency’s determination to prevent future attacks—but also of the horrifying costs when intelligence agencies adapt too slowly to emerging threats. For a decade after the Soviet Union’s collapse, the CIA and the FBI were mired in Cold War structures, priorities, processes, and cultures even as the danger of terrorism grew. The shock of 9/11 finally forced a reckoning—one that led to a string of counterterrorism successes, from foiled plots to the operation against Osama bin Laden. But now, nearly two decades later, America’s 17 intelligence agencies need to reinvent themselves once more, this time in response to an unprecedented number of breakthrough technologies that are transforming societies, politics, commerce, and the very nature of international conflict.

  • Interdisciplinary Cyberengineering Team Wins $6M Grant to Combat Cyberattacks

    A team of Northern Arizona University researchers won a three-year, $6.3 million grant from the U.S. Air Force to develop nontraditional solutions to the increasing danger of cyberattacks and cyber warfare.

    The research will examine the practicality of outsmarting hackers by using new hardware technologies. The researchers say the impact of this work reaches all corners of modern life, helping to protect the computers that control factories, power plants, transportation systems, drones, personal medical devices and more.

  • How to Protect Smart Machines from Smart Attacks

    Machines’ ability to learn by processing data gleaned from sensors underlies automated vehicles, medical devices and a host of other emerging technologies. But that learning ability leaves systems vulnerable to hackers in unexpected ways, researchers have found.

  • With Coastal Waters Rising: First-Ever National Assessment of FEMA Buyouts

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been offering voluntary buyout programs to homeowners in flood-prone neighborhoods since the 1980s. And with increasingly powerful storms battering coastlines and flooding becoming more ubiquitous after heavy rains, these programs and the idea of managed coastal retreat have continued to garner more and more attention. A new study is the first to examine nationwide data on FEMA’s buyout program.

  • Protecting critical infrastructure

    Energy, water, food, fuel, information, transportation – ensuring a supply of these essential services and commodities is vital for a properly functioning society and economy. So essential, in fact, that we only realize their importance when suddenly they are no longer there. The infrastructure and systems that supply us with these assets are increasingly connected and, for this reason, highly vulnerable to natural disasters, accidents and criminal or terrorist attacks. In response, Fraunhofer is devising solutions and strategies to safeguard our critical infrastructure.

  • AI Could Be a Force for Positive Social Change – but We’re Currently Heading for a Darker Future

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already re-configuring the world in conspicuous ways. Data drives our global digital ecosystem, and AI technologies reveal patterns in data. Smartphones, smart homes, and smart cities influence how we live and interact, and AI systems are increasingly involved in recruitment decisions, medical diagnoses, and judicial verdicts. Whether this scenario is utopian or dystopian depends on your perspective.

  • Mass Migration from Africa Likely as U.K. Government Invests in Satellite Monitoring of Vulnerable Countries

    Climate change could bring mass migration from Africa and diseases, the U.K. Space Agency’s Chief Scientist has warned, as he said foreign aid was now being used to fund satellites which monitor vulnerable countries.

    Dr Chris Lee said global warming could lead to water shortages, droughts and famine, which could push vast numbers from their homes. In an effort to help countries prepare for climate change, the government has invested £150 million over five years to set up programs, under the name International Partnership Program (IPP) —  which can monitor sea-level rise, crop failure, natural disasters, deforestation, coastal erosion, oil spillages, water shortages, and predict tsunamis and storm surge flooding.