• These Dams Needed Replacing 15 Years Ago. Now Texas Will Drain Four Lakes Instead — Causing Other Problems.

    Texas officials will start draining four lakes next week in Guadalupe County in Central Texas without a plan in place for when the lakes, and the 90-year-old dams that support them, will be rebuilt. Area homeowners, who got barely a month’s notice, said they felt blindsided by the plan, and they say it will slash their property values, kill their beloved century-old cypress trees and render the lakes — which have hosted water skiing tournaments for decades — unusable.

  • Microplastics Harming Our Drinking Water

    Plastics in our waste streams are breaking down into tiny particles, causing potentially catastrophic consequences for human health and our aquatic systems. Approximately 300 million tons of plastic are produced globally each year and up to 13 million tons of that is released into rivers and oceans, contributing to approximately 250 million tons of plastic by 2025. Since plastic materials are not generally degradable through weathering or ageing, this accumulation of plastic pollution in the aquatic environment creates a major health concern.

  • Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Every Aspect of War

    In an effort to stop the North Vietnamese from sending troops and supplies into South Vietnam, the United States dropped tens of thousands of sensors into the dense jungles of Vietnam, but these sensors did not prove effective in tracking the movement of the North Vietnamese. The idea of collecting data from sensors, processing them with algorithms fueled by ever-more processing power and acting on the output more quickly than the enemy lies at the heart of military thinking across the world’s biggest powers. And today that is being supercharged by new developments in artificial intelligence (AI).

  • Leak Suggests UN Agency Self-Censors on Climate Crisis after U.S. Pressure

    Leaked communications suggest that the UN’s migration agency is censoring itself on the climate crisis and the global compact on migration, following pressure from the U.S. government. an email sent by a U.S.-based official of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on 28 August to colleagues around the world relayed that the U.S. state department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) told the agency documents related to program activities it funds “must not be in conflict with current [U.S. government] political sensitivities.” These sensitivities include mentioning climate change and the UN sustainable development goals. 

  • 9/11 Mystery Solved: World Trade Center Building Didn't Collapse Due to Fire – Study Finds

    Foreign interference and hostile state espionage are a bigger threat to Australia’s security than terrorism, one of the country’s top spy chiefs has warned. Duncan Lewis, the outgoing head of Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), identified three challenges security confronting Australians: terrorism, cyber warfare; and foreign interference and espionage. But the latter was on a “growth trajectory” and is a greater threat than terrorism, he told a Lowy Institute forum in Sydney.

  • Bill Gates Is Funding a Chemical Cloud That Could Put an End to Global Warming

    Whether you agree or not, global warming is happening. As reported by the minds at NASA, human activity continues to exacerbate the problem. Currently, there is more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere than in all of human history. Two-thirds of extreme weather events from the past 20 years can be tied back to human activity, while both our summers and winters are getting much warmer. Bill Gates is currently backing a potential solution to global warming that centers around the technology of solar geoengineering.

  • Even for Non-Believers, These Are the Next Steps on Climate Change

    Research indicates that we need to go beyond observing the wreckage of major storms and pondering trillion-dollar plans to attempt to mitigate carbon. Businesses, homeowners, and local governments must focus on what can be done today to address these direct threats to people and property. There are three major tools in the “what to do next” approach: probability, selection, and migration.

  • Damage Estimates for Hurricanes Like Dorian Don’t Capture the Full Cost of Climate Change-Fueled Disasters

    Scientists say climate change is causing powerful hurricanes like Dorian to increasingly stall over coastal areas, which leads to heavy flooding. The U.S. government’s Fourth National Climate Assessment offered a range of climate change-induced losses of U.S. GDP which range from as low as 6 percent to as high as 14 percent by 2090. Aa more meaningful assessment of the costs of climate change – using basic economic principles I teach to undergrads – is a hell of a lot scarier.

  • Faster, Smarter Security Screening Systems

    By now, attendees to sporting events, visitors to office buildings, and especially frequent fliers are all quite familiar with the technologies used at security checkpoints. You arrive at the security checkpoint, check your bags, show your ID and maybe your ticket or boarding pass, throw away the coffee or water you’ve been chugging, and then wait in a long line until it is your turn to be screened. The security lines can be inconvenient. S&T and partners are working to help security screening systems, whether at airports, government facilities, border checkpoints, or public spaces like arenas, to work faster and smarter.

  • DOD Recognizes Virginia Tech’s Contribution to Counterintelligence

    DOD’s Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency last month awarded Virginia Tech the 2018 Award for Excellence in Counterintelligence to the university. The award, given annually since 2010, recognizes up to four companies or institutions, out of about 10,000, which exhibit the best counterintelligence results and cooperation to support the U.S. government’s efforts to detect and stop foreign entities from stealing national security information.

  • Designed Super Shrimp Could Increase Yield, Help Prevent Disease

    Single-sex prawns could help alleviate poverty, reduce disease and protect the environment, according to researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) who have developed a monosex prawn that may make this winning trifecta possible.

  • “100-year” Floods Will Happen Every 1 to 30 Years: Study

    A 100-year flood is supposed to be just that: a flood that occurs once every 100 years, or a flood that has a one-percent chance of happening every year. But researchers have developed new maps that predict coastal flooding for every county on the Eastern and Gulf Coasts and find 100-year floods could become annual occurrences in New England; and happen every one to 30 years along the southeast Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico shorelines.

  • Welcome to the New Phase of U.S.-China Tech Competition

    It came without a breaking news alert or presidential tweet, but the technological competition with China entered a new phase last month. Several developments quietly heralded this shift: Cross-border investments between the United States and China plunged to their lowest levels since 2014, with the tech sector suffering the most precipitous drop. U.S. chip giants Intel and AMD abruptly ended or declined to extend important partnerships with Chinese entities. The Department of Commerce halved the number of licenses that let U.S. companies assign Chinese nationals to sensitive technology and engineering projects.

  • Rating Security of Internet-Connected Devices

    If you’re in the market for an internet-connected garage door opener, doorbell, thermostat, security camera, yard irrigation system, slow cooker—or even a box of connected light bulbs—a new website can help you understand the security issues these shiny new devices might bring into your home.

  • Making “Internet of Things” More Secure

    Devices connected to the internet of things, now becoming standard components in new buildings, can increase energy performance while reducing costs. But such highly connected sensors can also bring potential security vulnerabilities. Several University of Washington schools and offices will team up to research how organizational practices can affect the interagency collaboration needed to keep the “internet of things” — and institutional systems — safe and secure.