• GCHQ Boss Warns Foreign States Are Trying to Steal Britain’s Attempts to Build COVID-19 Vaccine

    Jeremy Fleming, the Director of GCHQ, Britain’s cyberspy agency, confirmed GCHQ had seen attacks on the U.K.’s health infrastructure in recent weeks. Dominic Nicholls writes in The Telegraph that Fleming confirmed reports that foreign powers and criminals are targeting laboratories researching coronavirus vaccines.

  • Could Coronavirus Be Killed Off Without a Vaccine? History Suggests There's a Chance

    Already this century, devastating outbreaks of deadly cousins of today’s virus have twice been crushed without global immunization programs – the 2002-2003 SARS-COV-1 and the 2014-2015 Ebola. Harry de Quetteville asks in The Telegraph: as countries around the world begin to relax their lockdowns, will the third time be lucky too?

  • The Importance of Building Trust in Contact Tracing Apps

    In the very real need for speed around excellent contact tracing in the COVID-19 environment, the voice of the people is getting lost, according to an expert. New researchhighlights the need for digital contact tracing solutions to have exceptional speed, high take-up rates, and demonstrable value. Researchers say that without significant uptake of the technology, digital contact tracing is close to useless.

  • Slime Scene: Unusual Forensic Investigation Technique Put to the Test

    Could household slime become a tool to help solve crimes? This is the question researchers sought to answer in a recent study that tested a popular children’s “slime” recipe as a technique to enhance the appearance of hard-to-see fingerprints in forensic investigations.

  • Search-and-Rescue Algorithm Identifies Hidden “Traps” in Ocean Waters

    When an object or person goes missing at sea, the complex, constantly changing conditions of the ocean can confound and delay critical search-and-rescue operations. Now researchers have developed a technique they hope will help first responders quickly zero in on regions of the sea where missing objects or people are likely to be.

  • COVID-19 Highlights the Need to Plan for Joint Disasters

    June 1 is the official start of hurricane season in the U.S., and scientists are predicting a particularly active season, including more major hurricanes. We have also entered the time of year when floods, heat waves and wildfires occur more often. Over the longer term, climate change is causing more frequent extreme weather events. Rising temperatures also exacerbate the spread of disease and could make pandemics more difficult to control in the future. Considering that most risk studies in the past have been focused on single events, is the U.S. prepared to deal with the possibility of extreme weather events as well as a pandemic?

  • Latest Climate Models Show More Intense Droughts to Come

    New analysis shows southwestern Australia and parts of southern Australia will see longer and more intense droughts due to a lack of rainfall caused by climate change.

  • Universal Virus Detection Platform to Expedite Viral Diagnosis

    The prompt, precise, and massive detection of a virus is the key to combat infectious diseases such as Covid-19. A new viral diagnostic strategy using reactive polymer-grafted, double-stranded RNAs will serve as a pre-screening tester for a wide range of viruses with enhanced sensitivity. KAIST says that currently, the most widely using viral detection methodology is polymerase chain reaction (PCR) diagnosis, which amplifies and detects a piece of the viral genome. Prior knowledge of the relevant primer nucleic acids of the virus is quintessential for this test.  The detection platform developed by KAIST researchers identifies viral activities without amplifying specific nucleic acid targets.

  • IoT: Which Devices Are Spying on You?

    When hungry consumers want to know how many calories are in a bag of chips, they can check the nutrition label on the bag. When those same consumers want to check the security and privacy practices of a new IoT device, they aren’t able to find even the most basic facts. Not yet, at least.

  • Do Two Failed Dams Foretell a Dire Future?

    Climate change is increasing the frequency of extreme rainfall events and hence the risk for filling and overtopping dams, which is the predominant mechanism of dam failure. However, using climate change as a bogeyman for aging infrastructure failure is an unfortunate trend, since it takes attention away from an urgent and potentially fixable problem.

  • Clean Energy Outperforming Fossil Fuels in America, U.K., and Europe

    Renewable power is outperforming fossil fuels in U.S. and European markets, according to a new report. The report reveals that despite the growing profile of renewables, total investment in clean energy is still well short of the level needed to put the world’s energy system on a sustainable path.

  • Tightening Up Facial Biometrics

    Facial biometrics for security applications is an important modern technology. Unfortunately, there is the possibility of “spoofing” a person’s face to the sensor or detection system through the use of a photograph or even video presented to the security system. Researchers have now developed a way to thwart spoofing.

  • Drones, Machine Learning to Detect Dangerous “Butterfly” Landmines

    It is estimated that there are at least 100 million military munitions and explosives of concern devices in the world, of various size, shape and composition. Millions of these are surface plastic landmines with low-pressure triggers, such as the mass-produced Soviet PFM-1 “butterfly” landmine. Nicknamed for their small size and butterfly-like shape, these mines are extremely difficult to locate and clear. Using advanced machine learning, drones could be used to detect these dangerous “butterfly” landmines in remote regions of post-conflict countries.

  • But It’s a Dry Heat: Climate Change and the Aridification of North America

    Discussions of drought often center on the lack of precipitation. But among climate scientists, the focus is shifting to include the growing role that warming temperatures are playing as potent drivers of greater aridity and drought intensification.

  • As States Reopen, Tensions Flare Between the Rule Followers and Rule Breakers

    As countries reopen their economies, tensions escalate between those who believe it is safe now to resume normal business activity – and even ignore social distancing and the need to wear face masks – and those who prefer a more cautious, slower path toward something resembling pre-coronavirus life. These differences aren’t just random personality types; they reflect our primal social mindsets – what I call “tight” and “loose” mindsets. And unless these differences are better understood, it will be that much more difficult to navigate life under COVID-19.