• Brain Drain: China’s Campaign of Intellectual Property Theft

    Hundreds of scientists at British universities, who would be banned from almost all postgraduate study in the United States over their ties to military-linked Chinese universities, are currently researching subjects which involve knowledge useful to the creation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. A new reportexplores the number of individuals researching seven subjects considered particularly sensitive by the U.K.’s Academic Technology Approval Scheme.

  • UWF Re-Designated as Cybersecurity Regional Hub for the Southeast U.S., with Expanded Mission

    The University of West Florida has been re-designated by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security as the Southeast Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (CAE-C) Regional Hub. The UWF Center for Cybersecurity has served as the Southeast regional hub since 2017, providing leadership in cybersecurity education among colleges and universities in five states and Puerto Rico.

  • I’m an Astronomer and I Think Aliens May Be Out There – but UFO Sightings Aren’t Persuasive

    If intelligent aliens visit the Earth, it would be one of the most profound events in human history. Scientists don’t deny the existence of intelligent aliens, but they set a high bar for proof that we’ve been visited by creatures from another star system. Belief in the possibility of intelligent aliens does not mean that we should believe stories about UFOs. UFOs are part of the landscape of conspiracy theories, including accounts of abduction by aliens and crop circles created by aliens. I remain skeptical that intelligent beings with vastly superior technology would travel trillion of miles just to press down our wheat. I’m not signing on to the UFO “religion,” so call me an agnostic. I recall the aphorism popularized by Carl Sagan, “It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.”

  • Making Our Infrastructure Safer

    Saurabh Amin, a systems engineer at MIT, focuses on making transportation, electricity, and water infrastructure more resilient against disruptions. “There are a lot of commonalities among these networks — they are built and operated by human actors, but their functionality is governed by physical laws. So, that is what drives me forward,” Amin says.

  • Teaching Anti-Terrorism: How France and England Use Schools to Counter Radicalization

    The murder of the schoolteacher Samuel Paty, beheaded by 18-year-old Abdoullakh Abouyedovich Anzorov in October 2020 after Paty had shown caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad during a civic education lesson, has understandably caused shock and fear among teachers in France. Many teachers were already struggling to manage classroom discussions on sensitive topics such as the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo’s publication of the controversial caricatures. Some now fear for their personal safety.

  • How Easy Is it to Build a Robot Assassin?

    Someone—almost certainly Israel—recently assassinated Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the leading scientist behind the Iranian nuclear program. The latest reporting from Iran suggests that the assassins employed a remotely controlled machine gun mounted on a pickup truck. So how hard is it to build such a tool? How expensive? Nicholas Weaver writes that “Unfortunately, the answer is “hard but doable” and “not much money”—with the further complication that in a few years, it will probably be possible to pick up the necessary equipment online from vendors like Banggood.”

  • Britain Becomes First Nation to Approve Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

    Britain has given emergency approval to a new COVID-19 vaccine developed by U.S.-based pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, becoming the world’s first western nation ready to begin mass inoculations against a disease that has sickened nearly 64 million people worldwide, including more than 1.4 million deaths.

  • 2020 on Track to Be One of Three Warmest Years on Record

    Climate change continued its relentless march in 2020, which is on track to be one of the three warmest years on record. 2011-2020 will be the warmest decade on record, with the warmest six years all being since 2015, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

  • Climate Change Causes Landfalling Hurricanes to Stay Stronger for Longer

    Climate change is causing hurricanes that make landfall to take more time to weaken. The researchers showed that hurricanes that develop over warmer oceans carry more moisture and therefore stay stronger for longer after hitting land. This means that in the future, as the world continues to warm, hurricanes are more likely to reach communities farther inland and be more destructive.

  • Utah State University’s Seth Manesse Wins First Individual CyberForce Competition

    After a tough, day-long contest, Seth Manesse from Utah State University won the sixth CyberForce Competition. Each CyberForce Competition presents a real-world scenario in which participants must defend cyber-physical infrastructure against threats modeled on those faced by the energy sector today. The 2020 scenario involved a wind energy company in charge of over 20,000 megawatts of electricity generation that has been experiencing abnormal network activity.

  • Novel Chemical Process a First Step to Making Nuclear Fuel with Fire

    Uranium dioxide, a radioactive actinide oxide, is the most widely used nuclear fuel in today’s nuclear power plants. A new “combustion synthesis” process recently established for lanthanide metals—non-radioactive and positioned one row above actinides on the periodic table—could be a guide for the production of safe, sustainable nuclear fuels.

  • Improving Water Security for People in Africa and Asia by 2024

    New funding from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) will support global research and practice to improve water security for 10 million people in Africa and Asia. The FCDO’s grant to the University of Oxford will now extend to 2024 and increase to £22.5 million, to support the REACH program improve water security by delivering world-class science to transform policy and practice.

  • Guidance Will Improve Critical Infrastructure Resilience

    It is easy to understand the importance of our “critical infrastructure,” such as telecommunications, energy, transportation, and emergency services, but what’s often overlooked are the underlying technologies that enable them. DHS S&T is doing something about it.

  • Students of Nuclear Security Have a Problem. Here’s How to Help Them.

    Radioactive materials are attractive targets to thieves and other bad actors. These are rare finds, valuable on the black market and relatively easy to weaponize. New security professionals rarely learn practical skills for protecting these targets until they are on the job at nuclear power plants, research reactors, processing plants and other nuclear facilities.

  • Study Identifies Reasons for Soaring Nuclear Plant Cost Overruns in the U.S.

    Analysis points to ways engineering strategies could be reimagined to minimize delays and other unanticipated expenses. Many analysts believe nuclear power will play an essential part in reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases, and finding ways to curb these rising costs could be an important step toward encouraging the construction of new plants.