• Corruption in academic accreditation

    Little-known colleges, most unaccredited, exploit Byzantine federal regulations, enrolling almost exclusively foreign students and charging them upward of $3,000 for a chance to work legally in the United States; they flourish in California and Virginia, where regulations are lax, and many of their practices are shoddy — for instance, holding some classes on only three weekends per semester; these colleges usher in thousands of foreign students and generate millions of dollars in profits because they have the power, bestowed by the U.S. government, to help students get visas

  • UN warns of potential food crisis

    A UN Food and Agriculture Organization official warned that countries are not doing enough to increase food production to meet rising demand and that the world could be headed for a global food crisis; global food production must rise by 70 percent in order to meet the estimated demand for food; food prices have already soared in recent months and in 2010 food prices increased by 25 percent; rising prices sparked food riots in Egypt and Tunisia, which contributed to the overthrow of their governments; large disasters and droughts have significantly reduced crop yields across the world; as supply has fallen, demand has spiked due to population growth and increased use of food to manufacture biofuels

  • Lockheed developing autonomous and covert rover

    A surveillance robot aims to operate around humans without being detected by them; the machine uses a laser scanner to builds a 3D computer model of its surroundings and uses a set of acoustic sensors to distinguish the proximity and direction of footsteps

  • After EPA fine, mining company building $200 million water treatment plant

    America’s largest underground coal mining company, Consol Energy, is constructing a $200 million water treatment plant in West Virginia, after being fined $5.5 million by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); in 2009 discharge from Consol’s mining operation caused a toxic golden algae bloom that killed aquatic life along thirty miles of Dunkard Creek; the advanced waste water treatment plant will be the largest facility in Appalachia; the plant will be capable of treating 3,500 gallons of water per minute and will remove more than forty-three tons of dissolved solids, including eleven million pounds of chloride

  • Drought-prone pasts may foretell New York's and Atlanta's futures

    By fall 2007, during the second year of a three-year drought, Atlanta had roughly three months’ supply of water remaining while Athens, Georgia was down to approximately fifty days; another drought dramatically lowered New York City reservoirs to 33 percent of capacity in 1981; droughts in those cities and their surrounding regions were typically longer and more frequent centuries ago than they were for most of the twentieth century; a return to historic climate patterns would bring more frequent and prolonged droughts

  • First response, law enforcement ground robot market to grow

    The current market for first responder and law enforcement ground robots is estimated at $203 million; just-published research says that the market is poised for a significant growth; first responder robots cost about $50,000 and up, which is the cost of a person for one year; the challenge for vendors is thus to find applications where the robot is used 24x7 365 days per year

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  • Oil industry creates center for off-shore safety

    Following several accidents on off-shore oil rigs, the U.S. oil and gas industry will launch a center dedicated to investigating safety issues related to off-shore drilling; the center will be operated by the American Petroleum Institute (API) but will be walled off from the trade group’s lobbying work

  • Innovative decontamination cloth reaches market

    A new decontamination cloth, developed for use by soldiers and first responders, is now available in several forms — as preshaped mitts for personal wipedowns if someone is exposed to toxins or chemicals, individual wipe cloths and pads, and in rolls perforated to produces 12-inch by 12-inch sheets, like paper towels in a kitchen

  • Past "hyperthermals" offer clues about anticipated climate changes

    Bursts of intense global warming that have lasted tens of thousands of years have taken place more frequently throughout history than previously believed; most of the events raised average global temperatures between 2° and 3° Celsius (3.6 and 5.4° F), an amount comparable to current conservative estimates of how much temperatures are expected to rise in coming decades as a consequence of anthropogenic global warming; most hyperthermals lasted about 40,000 years before temperatures returned to normal

  • Napolitano enlists MIT engineers and scientists

    At a recent speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urged for greater private sector involvement to help develop technological solutions to secure critical infrastructure and the border; Napolitano said that technology will be the key to DHS’ future in screening passengers and cargo more effectively and efficiently; she also called for more people with cybersecurity, engineering, and science skills to assist the government; in particular, she pointed to the “data problem,” with the massive amounts of data that government agencies must sift through to detect terrorist threats, the sheer volume alone presents a logistical challenge to counter-terrorism efforts

  • Sensors detecting nuclear tests detect tsunamis, too

    The Comprehensive Nuclear test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is supported by arrays of sensors at sixty sites across the world that listen for the low boom of atmospheric blasts. They are tuned to infrasound — frequencies under 20 hertz (cycles per second), the lowest humans can hear; these sensors are meant to pick up illicit nuclear tests, but they can also pick up tsunami-producing tremors — and provide timely warning to those likely to be affected

  • NOAA scientists cleared of wrongdoing in email scandal

    A recent investigation by the Commerce Department’s Inspector General has cleared the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of any wrong doing in a recent scandal over an email exchange with British academics; in 2009 more than 1,000 emails between NOAA scientists and the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom were stolen; the emails suggested that scientists had manipulated results and thrown out faulty data; the recent report exonerates the scientists of any wrongdoing, and several British reviews have already cleared the name of British scientists

  • Vallon showcases innovative mine detector

    German company Vallon unveiled its latest mine detection system; one of its advantages is that it can detect mines made with no metal parts (the device can detect metal-free particles at a depth of 40 cm, and metal objects at greater depths); the UN is already deploying the device in mine-clearance operations in thirty countries

  • Day of invisibility cloak nears

    In physics, the Doppler Effect describes the change in frequency of light or sound waves whenever there is a relative movement between an observer and a wave’s source; thus, when an object and an observer move closer together, light frequency increases from red wavelengths to blue ones; when they move further apart, light frequency decreases from blue to red; researchers have for the first time ever demonstrated a reversal of the optical Doppler Effect — a promising sign for the future development of science fiction-inspired technology such as invisibility cloaks; this technology, which has already been demonstrated on a micro-scale by U.S. researchers, may be closer to becoming a reality than most people think

  • Mitigation policy could halve climate-related impacts on water scarcity

    Even without the effects of climate change, as much as 40 percent of the world’s population will be living under water scarce conditions by 2020; climate change is expected to influence future water scarcity through regional changes in precipitation and evaporation; most climate models suggest rainfall is likely to decrease in the subtropics and increase in mid-latitudes and some parts of the tropics; in the latter, mitigation efforts could actually reduce the amount of extra water potentially available