• New technology to measures WMD threat exposures

    Researchers are looking to find molecular signatures in blood that identify previous exposures and time of exposure to materials that could be associated with weapons of mass destruction (including infectious agents, chemicals, and radiation). The epigenome is biology’s record keeper, and Epigenetic technology will provide a new tool in the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

  • Optimizing use of future wave electricity generators during disaster

    When hurricanes strike, loss of electricity ranks as one of the top concerns for relief workers. Blackouts lasting a week or more can hamper recovery efforts, shutter hospitals, threaten public health and disrupt transportation. The months-long effort to restore power to Puerto Rico following the 2017 hurricane season has led to renewed interest in finding innovative ways to get affected power grids back online. Researchers look to develop a strategy for how floating devices that harness the energy of the oceans’ waves might be able to provide this much needed aid.

  • Satellite observations help in earthquake monitoring, response

    Researchers have found that data gathered from orbiting satellites can provide more accurate information on the impact of large earthquakes, which, in turn, can help provide more effective emergency response.

  • As global temperatures climb, risk of armed conflict likely to increase substantially

    As global temperatures climb, the risk of armed conflict is expected to increase substantially, according to experts across several fields. Synthesizing views across experts, the study estimates climate has influenced between 3 percent and 20 percent of armed conflict risk over the last century and that the influence will likely increase dramatically.

  • Melting of Himalayan glaciers has doubled in recent years

    Almost one billion people depend on melt-water from Himalayan glaciers for the water they need, but global warming has dramatically increased the pace of glacier melting. A new analysis, spanning forty years of satellite observations across India, China, Nepal and Bhutan, indicates that glaciers have been losing the equivalent of more than a vertical foot and half of ice each year since 2000 — double the amount of melting that took place from 1975 to 2000.

  • Cyber protection technology moves from the lab to the marketplace

    MIT Lincoln Laboratory’s technique to protect commodity software from cyberattacks has transitioned to industry and will soon be available as part of a security suite.

  • Deepfake myths: Common misconceptions about synthetic media

    There is finally some momentum to “do something” about deepfakes, but crucial misconceptions about deepfakes and their effect on our society may complicate efforts to develop a strategic approach to mitigating their negative impacts.

  • With floods and droughts increasing, communities take a new look at storing water underground

    Groundwater recharging – that is, actively moving water underground, a practice known as managed aquifer recharge (MAR) — is the latest wave in water security. There are about 1,200 managed aquifer recharge projects in 62 countries. MAR can be used to restore depleted aquifers, rehabilitate ecosystems and cleanse polluted water. But there are challenges as well.

  • A “Responsibility to Prepare”: A strategy for presidential leadership on the security risks of climate change

    Presidential candidates are offering their plans on climate change, and it’s a competition over who’s the most ambitious. That’s good news, given that it’s a major security threat that requires a major response. Thus far, most of the candidates’ plans understandably focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to a low-carbon economy. These steps are critically important, not least because the world will likely experience significant security disruptions in the future if the scale and scope of climate change are not reduced. Caitlin Werrell, Francesco Femia, and John Conger write in War in the Rocks that this is only half a strategy. Indeed, if there is a silver lining to climate change and the attendant security risks, it’s that we can see many of these changes coming. American scientists, the U.S. government (see this administration’s National Climate Assessment) and private industry have all shown they are capable of modeling climate change futures with a high degree of certainty compared to other trends. A climate model from 1967 still has a strong predictive capacity. Exxon’s own internal calculations and climate modeling from 1982 about where emissions would likely be in the future, including by 2020, were fairly spot-on. A political scientist in 1967 or 1982 would have had much more difficulty predicting what the political landscape would look like in 2020 than she or he would have making predictions about the climate.

  • Lawmakers grapple with deepfake threat at hearing

    The House Intelligence Committee heard alarming testimony Thursday that deepfake videos could be weaponized by foreign adversaries to sow divisions in the United States. Olivia Beavers and Maggie Miller write in The Hill that Clint Watts, a former FBI special agent and senior fellow for Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund, warned lawmakers that Russia and China will likely both work to develop “synthetic media capabilities” for use against the U.S. and other adversaries. “China’s artificial intelligence capabilities rival the U.S., are powered by enormous data troves to include vast amounts of information stolen from the U.S., and the country has already shown a propensity to employ synthetic media in television broadcast journalism,” he said.

  • More frequent downpours of torrential rain with global warming

    The frequency of downpours of heavy rain—which can lead to flash floods, devastation, and outbreaks of waterborne disease—has increased across the globe in the past 50 years, a period when global warming also intensified

  • Climate change is destroying a barrier that protects the U.S. East Coast from hurricanes

    Severe hurricanes can cost up to hundreds of billions of dollars in damages. The destruction left in the wake of Atlantic hurricanes has been increasing over time in recent decades. A new study suggests that climate change could soon eliminate an atmospheric barrier that protects much of the U.S. East Coast from powerful hurricanes.

  • How China could shut down America’s defenses

    Advanced U.S. weapons are almost entirely reliant on rare-earth materials only made in China—and they could be a casualty of the trade war. Keith Johnson and Lara Seligman write in Foreign Policy that President Donald Trump has often argued that China has much more to lose than the United States in a trade war, but critics say his administration has failed to address a major U.S. vulnerability: Beijing maintains powerful leverage over the war-making capability of its main strategic rival through its control of critical materials.

  • Eliminating infamous security threats

    Meltdown and Spectre are speculative side-channel attacks exploit a fundamental functionality in microprocessors to expose security vulnerabilities. No efficient protection against such attacks has been found. Until now.

  • Hawk’s pursuit technique can help counter-drone defenses

    Hawks steer their pursuit of evasive prey using a feedback system that differs fundamentally from the missile-like interception system of falcons.