• Math story time at home markedly improves math achievement in school

    Adding math talk to story time at home is a winning equation for children’s math achievement, according to new research. The study shows a marked increase in math achievement among children whose families used Bedtime Math, an iPad app that delivers engaging math story problems for parents and children to solve together. A recent study found that math-anxious parents who help their children with math homework actually undermine their children’s math achievement – but the new findings demonstrate that structured, positive interactions around math at home can cut the link between parents’ uneasiness about math and children’s low math achievement.

  • NSF awards $74.5 million to 257 interdisciplinary cybersecurity research projects

    The NSF the other day announced the awarding $74.5 million in research grants through the NSF Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) program. In total, the SaTC investments include a portfolio of 257 new projects to researchers in thirty-seven states. The largest, multi-institutional awards include research better to understand and offer reliability to new forms of digital currency known as cryptocurrencies, which use encryption for security; invent new technology to broadly scan large swaths of the Internet and automate the detection and patching of vulnerabilities; and establish the “science of censorship resistance” by developing accurate models of the capabilities of censors.

  • Tony Blair: Many Muslims support Islamic extremists' ideology

    Tony Blair has warned that the ideology which drives Islamic extremists has significant support from Muslims around the world. Blair said that unless religious prejudice in Muslim communities is rooted out, the threat from the extremists will not be defeated. Blair, speaking at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City, said that while the number of people engaging in violence by joining groups like Islamic State is relatively small, many of their views are widely shared.

  • ISIS, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra share near identical ideologies: Report

    A just-published report analyzes a cross-section of 114 propaganda sources over two years from the three main Salafi-jihadi groups: ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The three groups share near identical ideologies, challenging the concept that “ISIS is more extreme than al-Qaeda.” Built upon distorted Islamic religious principles, the propaganda produces single-minded focus on violent jihad. The report finds explicit references to these principles throughout the propaganda:

  • To “see” climate change, check your thermometer

    Scientists often use satellites, supercomputers, or high-tech arrays of instruments to show how the climate is changing. But now researchers have shown how climate change can be visible, even at just one location, with the simplest instrument of all: a thermometer.

  • Climate change will soon make atolls in the Pacific, Indian oceans uninhabitable

    More than half a million people live on atolls throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans. A new study shows that the combined effect of storm-induced wave-driven flooding and sea level rise on island atolls may be more severe and happen sooner than previous estimates of inundation predicted by passive “bathtub” modeling for low-lying atoll islands, and especially at higher sea levels forecasted for the future due to climate change.

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  • New flame retardant is naturally derived, nontoxic

    Flame retardants are added to foams found in mattresses, sofas, car upholstery, and many other consumer products. Once incorporated into foam, these chemicals can migrate out of the products over time, releasing toxic substances into the air and environment. Inspired by a naturally occurring material found in marine mussels, researchers have created a new flame retardant to replace commercial additives that are often toxic and can accumulate over time in the environment and living animals, including humans.

  • History shows more big wildfires likely as climate warms

    The history of wildfires over the past 2,000 years in a northern Colorado mountain range indicates that large fires will continue to increase as a result of a warming climate, according to a new study. Researchers examined charcoal deposits in twelve lakes in and near the Mount Zirkel Wilderness of northern Colorado, finding that wildfires burned large portions of that area during a documented spike in temperatures in North America starting about 1,000 years ago. That period, known as the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), lasted about 300 years, when temperatures rose just under 1 degree Fahrenheit.

  • Immigrants account for a larger share of U.S. science and engineering workforce

    From 2003 to 2013, the number of scientists and engineers residing in the United States rose from 21.6 million to 29 million. An important factor in that increase: over the same time period, the number of immigrant scientists and engineers went from 3.4 million to 5.2 million. Immigrants went from making up 16 percent of the science and engineering workforce to 18 percent, according to a new report.

  • Government climate pledges, if implemented, would warm world by 2.7°C

    The combination of government climate action plans – or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) — if implemented, would bring global warming down to 2.7°C, according to a new analysis. This is the first time since 2009, when the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) began calculating temperature estimates from climate action pledges, that projected warming has dipped below 3°C.

  • Recovering rare earth materials from electric and hybrid vehicle motors

    China currently supplies about 97 percent of rare earth materials used in manufacturing around the world. In an effort to help develop a sustainable domestic supply of rare earth elements and lessen the U.S. dependence on China for materials that are vital to the production of electronics, wind turbines, and many other technologies, researchers have developed a method of extracting rare earths from the drive units and motors of discarded electric and hybrid cars.

  • The growing link between intelligence communities and academia

    The events of September 11 2001 were a catalyst for change in the intelligence profession.One noticeable change: The number of universities offering an intelligence studies-related degree has grown from  a handful to few dozen. Universities are starting to develop curricula that feature practical real-world exercises and structural analytical techniques. This is often happening in collaboration with the intelligence community. Like most businesses or agencies do, universities are starting to develop specific niches. This expansion is being led by the International Association for Intelligence Education (IAFIE), which was formed in June 2004. The field will only grow. It’s a necessary expansion to produce the professionals needed to ensure America’s national security and that of its allies for generations to come.

  • Clothing that guards against chemical warfare agents

    Recent reports of chemical weapons attacks in the Middle East underscore the need for new ways to guard against their toxic effects. Scientists report that a new hydrogel coating that neutralizes both mustard gas and nerve agent VX. It could someday be applied to materials such as clothing and paint.

  • DHS recruits Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to develop first-response technology

    DHS wants better technology for first responders — police, firefighters, and EMTs — but rather than pushing for innovation from within the massive corporations that already provide technology to government agencies, the DHS has come to Silicon Valley to tap the entrepreneurial ecosystem of northern California. Giant technology firms have resources of large scale manufacturing and distribution, but there is one crucial difference. Technology startups are much more nimble, and can shift their development much faster than the huge corporations can.

  • The West is on fire – and the US taxpayer is subsidizing it

    The western United States is burning. This year’s damaging experience is just the latest in a recent series of devastating wildfire seasons, a trend that will only likely increase over the coming years. There are two main reasons behind the growing conflagrations. The first is the legacy of fire suppression polices that snuff out fires as they appear, but leads to the build-up of fuel that is the raw material for larger, more devastating fires. The second is climate change, which is making the West hotter and drier. The higher temperatures wick away moisture from the trees, making them more combustible. The combination of more combustible material and a hotter, drier climate leads to more fires. A number of economic practices and social issues, however, are exacerbating our forest fire problems – chief among them is the enlargement of what is known as the wildland-urban interface (WUI). More people are building homes in the interface close to the wildlands and forests. The full costs of having more people moving into areas subject to greater risk of fire are not borne by these local actors. The federal government picks up between one-half and two-thirds of the cost of protecting people and property in the WUI by providing financial and technical assistance to states and volunteer firefighters. In effect, the federal government, the U.S. taxpayer, picks up the tab. We are on an unsustainable path as the WUI continues to grow and expand, fuel buildup continues and the climate warms. The risk of fire is increasing. But the WUI continues to expand. The U.S. taxpayer should not be subsidizing and underwriting such risky behavior.