• Soft power: CIA funded first Russian edition of Dr. Zhivago

    The Soviet authorities banned Boris Pasternak’s “Dr. Zhivago” because of its critical treatment of the 1917 revolution; the manuscript was smuggled to the West and published — but to be considered for the Noble Prize, a work of fiction must be published in its original language; the CIA steps in to fund publishing the Russian version of the book (in Holland) — allowing the Noble Prize committee to award Pasternak, and embarrass the USSR

  • Experts watch for Conficker superworm to be activated

    Conficker has infected at least 9 million computers; security experts anxiously wait for it to be activated; infection dwarfs the zombie army created by the infamous Storm worm, which reached a mere 1 million at its peak in September 2007

  • ScanEagle offers and example of dual-use technology

    Initially developed to track dolphins and tuna from fishing boats in order to ensure “dolphin-safe” tuna in supermarkets, the ScanEagle UAV system has evolved into a mainstay with the U.S. Navy — and others as well

  • Top 7 alternative technologies to fossil fuel

    Energy expert says that an “all of the above” approach to the world’s energy problem is wrong; study shows wind and solar to be the most promising alternative technologies to fossil fuel; biofuel, clean coal, and nuclear power are do not hold such promise

  • Keeping water clean

    Researchers develop hydrogel material that can detect and remove contaminants in water; the hydrogel shrinks as it absorbs heavy metal pollutants, signaling the presence of cadmium and other toxic ions, even as it absorbs them from the contaminated water

  • U.K. military employs hovering droids in Afghanistan

    Hovering petrol-powered prowler patrols to check Afghan ambush alleys so soldiers do not have to; device may be used by law enforcement in urban areas — and future systems may carry weapons

  • The top 11 contaminants in U.S. drinking water

    U.S. citizens may upset to learn — should be upset to learn — that their drinking water contain disturbing amounts of pharmaceuticals and hormonally active chemicals; the concentrations are small, for now, but individuals with some health conditions should consult their physicians

  • Detecting rusted metal encased in concrete structures

    Many of the problems of aging infrastructure owe to rusting metal; trouble is, much of that metal is encased in concrete — in bridges, tunnels, dams, roads; new technology uses electromagnetic fields to measure corrosion through non-ferrous material

  • Software analyzes news reports to identify terrorists

    Rice University researchers develop artificial intelligence-based computer program which can scan news reports quickly to identify which terrorist group is behind a terrorist attack being covered in the reports

  • Israel uses new ISR systems, ordnance

    Advocates of air power were humbled in the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war, but they hope to be vindicated in the Israel-Hamas conflict; Israel uses new ISR systems which shrink the sensor-to-shooter loop, and new bunker-busting ordnance

  • Scientists say comet killed off mammoths, saber-toothed tigers

    There is a consensus in the scientific community that the dinosaurs dies off 65 million years ago as a result of a meteorite hitting Earth, sending heavy clouds of smoke and soot which blocked the sun for months, leading to the death of plants on which dinosaurs relied for food; researchers say that 12,900 years ago, a shower of meteorites hitting North America caused the extinction of mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, and other large mammals

  • New, major weakness in Internet security reported

    New weakness discovered in Internet security; the vulnerability allows impersonation of secure Web sites and e-mail servers; it also allows hackers to perform virtually undetectable phishing attacks

  • NIST's electromagnetic Phantom standardizes metal detector tests

    An electromagnetic phantom — a carbon and polymer mixture that simulates the human body — is being readied by NIST as a standardized performance test for walk-through metal detectors such as those used at airports

  • Alps laboratory tests methods of storing nuclear waste

    Two test tunnels in Switzerland are used to study methods of storing nuclear waste; many scientists from around the world take part in the research

  • "Small is beautiful" comes to the nuclear power industry

    The main problem facing nuclear power is not the fear of accidents or terrorism, or anxiety about nuclear waste disposal; it is cost (it takes about $4,000/kilowatt to build a nuclear power station); there is a growing interest in small, tub-size nuclear power units