• “It eats everything” – the new breed of wildfire that’s impossible to predict

    Climate change and negligent forest management are causing higher-intensity, faster-moving fires that can generate enough energy to evolve into erratic firestorms, known as pyroCbs, in the face of which first responders can do little.

  • L.A. showcases quake alert system

    California is earthquake country, and residents of Los Angeles can now get some critical warning, when conditions are right, after a quake has started and seismic waves are heading their way. The long-delayed system, called ShakeAlertLA, is the first of its kind in the United States.

  • 700,000 submunitions demilitarized by Sandia-designed robotics system

    More than 700,000 Multiple Launch Rocket System submunitions have been demilitarized since the Army started using an automated nine-robot system conceptualized, built and programmed by Sandia Lab engineers. The automated system was built for the Army’s demilitarization program that aims to dismantle obsolete ammunition and missiles.

  • Marine organisms as detectors of enemy undersea activity

    Goliath grouper, black sea bass, and snapping shrimp, along with bioluminescent plankton and other microorganisms, are set to be the unlikely additions to protecting U.S. assets. Researchers are developing new types of sensor systems that detect and record the behaviors of these marine organisms and interpret them to identify, characterize, and report on the presence of manned and unmanned underwater vehicles operating in strategic waters. The incorporation of biological signals will extend the range, lifetime, and performance of undersea surveillance technologies in strategic waters.

  • Expanding cybersecurity education to fill job market shortfall

    Experts say that the U.S. cyber workforce shortfall is growing. By the 2022, the shortage of cybersecurity professionals is predicted to be 1.8 million. Colleges and universities expand their cybersecurity education offerings.

  • Putting data privacy in the hands of users

    In today’s world of cloud computing, users of mobile apps and web services store personal data on remote data center servers. Services often aggregate multiple users’ data across servers to gain insights on, say, consumer shopping patterns to help recommend new items to specific users, or may share data with advertisers. Traditionally, however, users haven’t had the power to restrict how their data are processed and shared. New platform acts as a gatekeeper to ensure web services adhere to a user’s custom data restrictions.

  • New layer of medical preparedness to combat emerging infectious disease

    Researchers supporting the PREventing EMerging Pathogenic Threats PREEMPT program will model viral evolution in animal populations, quantify the probability of human pathogen emergence, and pursue proof-of-concept interventions to prevent viral spread to humans.

  • 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.