• Cape Cod susceptible to potential effects of sea-level rise

    Cape Cod is vulnerable to rising water tables and, in some areas, groundwater inundation as a result of rising sea levels, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study (USGS). Groundwater inundation occurs when the water table reaches or exceeds land surface. The challenges associated with the issue are likely to become more prevalent as seas rise. Depending on the severity, it may make areas unsuitable for residential and commercial development.

  • Penn State adds new homeland security offerings

    Penn State is expanding its portfolio in homeland security with a new graduate-level certificate that focuses on how to ensure that hospitals and medical care facilities stay functional during emergencies and disasters. In the coursework for the 15-credit certificate, students will learn the ways to prepare hospitals for and respond to emergencies, such as mass-casualty events, floods, earthquakes, disease outbreaks, or terrorist attacks.

  • Enrollment in U.S. science and engineering graduate school increases

    After remaining essentially flat for the past two years, the number of full-time graduate students enrolled in science and engineering (S&E) programs rose by 2.4 percent in 2013, to nearly 425,000 students. The increase was largely due to a 7.9 percent rise in full-time enrollment of foreign graduate students on temporary visas. Foreign enrollment hit an all-time high of 168,297 students in 2013, or 39.6 percent of the full-time S&E graduate student population—up from 35.9 percent in 2008.

  • Managing the endangered Rio Grande River across the U.S.-Mexico border

    The Rio Grande (called Rio Bravo in Mexico) is the lifeline to an expansive desert in the southwest United States and northern Mexico. From Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico, over 3,000 km, people depend on the river to quench their thirst and irrigate their crops. Yet as the river flows from the United States, it brings with it conflicts and challenges. The water level in the river is declining as use exceeds supply. Water demand is rising as the population in the region grows, and corresponding economic growth drives continued development. Moreover, climate change is expected to lower water levels even further, exacerbating the problems.

  • Breaking records: The first six months of 2016 the warmest half-year on record

    Two key climate change indicators — global surface temperatures and Arctic sea ice extent — have broken numerous records through the first half of 2016. While these two key climate indicators have broken records in 2016, NASA scientists said it is more significant that global temperature and Arctic sea ice are continuing their decades-long trends of change. Both trends are ultimately driven by rising concentrations of heat-trapping carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

  • 3D printing: a new threat to gun control and security policy?

    The threat of self-manufactured firearms is not new, but a critical barrier is collapsing. Until recently, most people did not have the skills to make a weapon as capable as commercially available ones. However, recent developments in the field of additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, have made home manufacturing simpler than ever before. The prospect of more stringent gun safety legislation is also fueling interest in at-home production. The worst threats 3D printing poses to human life and safety are likely some distance in the future. However, the harder policymakers and others work to restrict access to handguns or unconventional weapons, the more attractive 3D printing becomes to those who want to do harm.

  • DHS report highlights R&D priorities for technologies used in the field

    The Department of Homeland Security has released the Integrated Product Teams for Department of Homeland Security R&D Fiscal Year 2016 Report. The report identifies twenty-four focus areas for technological research and development (R&D), which fall under five mission areas: aviation security, biological threats, border security, cybersecurity, and counterterrorism.

  • The future of naval force and RoboBoats

    The future of naval engineering was on display earlier this month, as thirteen teams of high school and college students did battle at the ninth annual RoboBoat Competition in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The competition is a robotics contest where teams program their student-built autonomous surface vehicles to navigate through a series of water-based challenges.

  • What do climate tipping points mean for society

    The phrase “tipping point” passed its own tipping point and caught fire after author Malcolm Gladwell’s so-named 2000 book. It is now frequently used in discussions about climate change, but what are “climate tipping points”? And what do they mean for society and the economy? In a new study, scientists tackle the terminology and outline a strategy for investigating the consequences of climate tipping points. The authors recommend using the phrase “climatic tipping elements” to describe portions of the climate system that may be abruptly committed to major shifts as a result of the changing climate.

  • DHS S&T demonstrates integration of first responder technologies

    More ruggedized protective equipment. Reliable and interoperable communications. The capability to filter vast amounts of data. These are all things DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) program envisions  to ensure future first responder are better protected, connected, and fully aware.

  • Roundup of spring, summer 2016 First Responders Group technology

    The DHS S&T regularly posts a roundup of key updates from projects currently in the development stages in S&T’s First Responders Group (FRG). S&T the other day offered an outline of FRG’s accomplishments in April, May, and June.

  • Assessing climate change risks to U.K.

    Climate change is happening now. Globally, 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000. The impacts of climate change are already being felt in the United Kingdom, and urgent action is required to address climate-related risks, the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC)’s Adaptation Sub-Committee (ASC) said the other day.

  • 100s of deaths in two cities in 2003 heatwave due to man-made climate change: Scientists

    Scientists have specified how many deaths can be attributed to man-made climate change during an extreme heatwave in two European cities in 2003. The study says that with climate change projected to increase the frequency and severity of future heatwaves, these results highlight an emerging trend. The authors suggest that such research gives policymakers better information about the damaging effects of heatwaves to help them respond to the future challenges of climate change.

  • Super-sniffer mice detect land mines, decode human olfactory system

    Researchers have created super-sniffer mice that have an increased ability to detect a specific odor. The mice, which can be tuned to have different levels of sensitivity to any smell by using mouse or human odor receptors, could be used as land-mine detectors or as the basis for novel disease sensors.

  • U.S. suffered at least $8 billion climate-related disasters so far this year

    We are only halfway through 2016 and the United States has already seen eight weather and climate-related disasters* that have each met or exceeded $1 billion in damages. These eight disasters resulted in the loss of thirty lives, and caused at least $13.1 billion. Since 1980 the United States has sustained 196 weather and climate disasters in which overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. The total cost of these 196 events exceeds $1.1 trillion.