• The odds of a megadrought in western, southwestern U.S.

    In the southwestern United States, water management is a top concern. If a megadrought occurs, large-scale water management decisions affecting millions of Americans must be made to protect agriculture, the ecosystem and potable water systems. Understanding the odds of a widespread megadrought becomes important for planning purposes. To help untangle fact from speculation, climate scientists have developed a “robust null hypothesis” to assess the odds of a megadrought – one that lasts more than thirty years – occurring in the western and southwestern United States.

  • High-resolution climate models offer alarming new projections for U.S.

    Approaching the second half of the century, the United States is likely to experience increases in the number of days with extreme heat, the frequency and duration of heat waves, and the length of the growing season. In response, it is anticipated that societal, agricultural and ecological needs will increase the demand on already-strained natural resources like water and energy.

  • Using smartphones — instead of body parts — for identification to deter cybercrime

    Not comfortable with Face ID and other biometrics? This cybersecurity advancement may be for you. Researchers have discovered how to identify smartphones by examining just one photo taken by the device. The advancement opens the possibility of using smartphones — instead of body parts — as a form of identification to deter cybercrime.

  • Reusable sponge soaks up oil, revolutionizing oil spill and diesel cleanup

    When the Deepwater Horizon drilling pipe blew out seven years ago, beginning the worst oil spill in U.S. history, those in charge of the recovery discovered a new wrinkle: the millions of gallons of oil bubbling from the sea floor weren’t all collecting on the surface where it could be skimmed or burned. Some of it was forming a plume and drifting through the ocean under the surface. Scientists have invented a new foam, called Oleo Sponge, that addresses this problem.

  • Gulf Coast universities team up to address hurricane resilience

    A new multi-institution research center will focus on helping the Gulf coast do better at preparing for and mitigating the damage and loss of lives from hurricanes and other severe storms. The Hurricane Resilience Research Institute (HuRRI) draws upon the strengths of its seven participating universities, from flood mitigation and hurricane modeling to public policy.

  • 2016 extreme weather events tied to climate change

    According to a new research report, the 2016 global average temperature and extreme heat wave over Asia occurred due to continued long-term climate change. Additionally, climate change was found to have influenced other heat events in 2016, including the extreme heat in the Arctic, development of marine heat waves off Alaska and Australia, as well as the severity of the 2015-2016 El Nino, and the duration of coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef.

  • Bolstering cybersecurity in harsh environments

    According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, the financial loss from cybercrime in the U.S. was over $1.3 billion in 2016. As this number is only expected to rise in the upcoming years, the military, businesses and individuals are seeking new ways to guard their information. Physical unclonable function (PUF) devices hold promise.

  • “Hacking for Defense” class an example of Stanford’s relationship with the U.S. military

    Alongside all the tech companies and consulting firms present at career fairs, Stanford students looking for employment are likely to encounter another major industry when talking to recruiters: the defense sector. Although anti-war activism in the Vietnam era severed many of the university’s ties with the U.S. military, the relationship between the two has seen a revival over the years, and national security and defense institutions are more visible on campus now than they were just a decade ago. A relatively new class, MS&E 297, adds yet another wrinkle to that ongoing narrative – and one that not everyone is happy about.

  • Climate change made Hurricane Harvey's rainfall three times more likely

    Climate change did not cause Hurricane Harvey, but two independent studies have concluded that global warming dramatically increased the probability of a storm of its magnitude occurring ahead of its appearance, and intensified the severity of its impact when it arrived.

  • Effective counter-messaging strategies to check terrorist recruitment

    The Department of Defense has awarded four social science professors $794,000 to research the effects of extremist propaganda on different personality types, as well as the effects of different counter-messaging strategies. The research will answer basic questions about the effects of exposure to online extremist messages and counter-messages, such as: What kind of messaging is most effective? What are the short- and medium-term results of exposure to extremist messages and counter-messages? What personality characteristics in viewers make them more or less receptive to different kinds of messages?

  • Simple tool tells whether websites suffered a data breach

    Computer scientists have built and successfully tested a tool designed to detect when websites are hacked by monitoring the activity of email accounts associated with them. The researchers were surprised to find that almost 1 percent of the websites they tested had suffered a data breach during their 18-month study period, regardless of how big the companies’ reach and audience are. “No one is above this—companies or nation states— it’s going to happen; it’s just a question of when,” said the senior researcher.

  • Bioelectronic “nose” detects food spoilage by sensing the smell of death

    Strong odors are an indicator that food has gone bad, but there could soon be a new way to sniff foul smells earlier on. Researchers have developed a bioelectronic “nose” that can specifically detect a key decay compound at low levels, enabling people to potentially take action before the stink spreads. It can detect rotting food, as well as be used to help find victims of natural disasters or crimes.

  • Presenting facts as “consensus” bridges political divide over climate change

    New evidence shows that “social fact” highlighting expert consensus shifts perceptions across the U.S. political spectrum – particularly among highly educated conservatives. Facts that encourage agreement are a promising way of cutting through today’s “post-truth” bluster, say psychologists. The researchers found that by presenting a fact in the form of a consensus — “97 percent of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused global warming is happening” – climate change skeptics shift their perceptions significantly towards the scientific “norm.”

  • Better gas mask filters

    In research that could lead to better gas mask filters, scientists have been putting the X-ray spotlight on composite materials in respirators used by the military, police, and first responders, and the results have been encouraging. What they are learning not only provides reassuring news about the effectiveness of current filters in protecting people from lethal compounds such as VX and sarin, but they also provide fundamental information that could lead to more advanced gas masks as well as protective gear for civilian applications.

  • Explaining differences in climate change views among college graduates

    The average American college student has just a 17 percent chance of learning about climate change before graduation through required core courses. The finding may help explain why having a bachelor’s degree doesn’t always lead to increased acceptance of human-caused global warming, according to new research.