• FDA OKs Use of Convalescent Plasma for COVID-19

    On Sunday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it has approved plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to be used as a hospital-based treatment for the novel coronavirus under an emergency use authorization (EUA). In a White House press conference, President Trump and FDA director Stephen Hahn both claimed that treatment with convalescent plasma “reduced mortality in hospitalized patients by 35%,” but the FDA’s own press release was much more circumspect. Many scientists pointed out that the Mayo Clinic study cited by both Trump and Hahn clearly stated that 3.2 people out of 100—not 35—would be saved by the administration of convalescent plasma, and that even to achieve this result, the plasma must be administered within three days of infection. Still, even without the hype, and subject to additional controlled, randomized clinical trials, scientists say, this is welcome news.

  • First Oral Anthrax Vaccine for Livestock, Wildlife

    Anthrax, a disease caused by a bacterium called Bacillus anthracis, contaminates surface soil and grasses, where it may be ingested or inhaled by livestock or grazing wildlife. This is especially common in the western Texas Hill Country, where each year the disease kills livestock and wildlife. There may soon be a new weapon in the centuries-old battle against anthrax in wildlife.

  • Next-Generation Explosives Trace Detection Technology

    Explosive materials pose a threat whether they are used by domestic bad actors or in a theater of war. Staying ahead of our adversaries is a job that DHS DOD share. The two departments’ research and development work is no different.

  • Warming Greenland Ice Sheet Passes Point of No Return

    Nearly forty years of satellite data from Greenland shows that glaciers on the island have shrunk so much that even if global warming were to stop today, the ice sheet would continue shrinking. The finding means that Greenland’s glaciers have passed a tipping point of sorts, where the snowfall that replenishes the ice sheet each year cannot keep up with the ice that is flowing into the ocean from glaciers.

  • Thwarting Illicit Cryptocurrency Mining with Artificial Intelligence

    Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are forms of digital money. Instead of minting it like coins or paper bills, cryptocurrency miners digitally dig for the currency by performing computationally intense calculations. A new artificial intelligence algorithm is designed to detect cryptocurrency miners in the act of stealing computing power from research supercomputers.

  • EU Payments to Farmers Fail to Deliver on Competitiveness, Sustainability

    Over 40 billion euro is given annually to European agriculture as direct payments under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Yet, the policy fails to deliver on what EU citizens are promised. The majority of payments are going to the regions causing the most environmental damage and the farmers in the least need of income support.

  • Sea-Level Rise Linked to Higher Water Tables Along California Coast

    In the first comprehensive study of the link between rising sea levels and inland water tables along the California coast, researchers found an increased threat to populated areas already at risk from rising water tables, and the possibility of flooding in unexpected inland areas.

  • July 2020: Record Hot for Northern Hemisphere, 2nd Hottest for Planet

    July 2020 has tied for second-hottest July on record for the globe, according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. What is more, the Northern Hemisphere saw its hottest July ever  — surpassing its previous record high set in 2019.

  • New Detection Method to Protect Army Networks

    U.S. Army researchers developed a novel algorithm to protect networks by allowing for the detection of adversarial actions that can be missed by current analytical methods. The main idea of this research is to build a higher-order network to look for subtle changes in a stream of data that could point to suspicious activity.

  • Demographics Data Helps Predict N.Y. Flood Insurance Claims

    In flood-prone areas of the Hudson River valley in New York state, census areas with more white and affluent home owners tend to file a higher percentage of flood insurance claims than lower-income, minority residents, raising the issue of developing more nuanced, need-based federal flood insurance subsidies in these floodplains, according to a new study.

  • Purdue: Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education

    Purdue University Global has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education through academic year 2025 for its Bachelor of Science degree in cybersecurity. The Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency jointly sponsor the National Centers of Academic Excellence program. The goal of the program is to reduce vulnerability in national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and expertise in cyber defense.

  • One Step Closer to Bomb-Sniffing Cyborg Locusts

    Researchers found that they could direct locust swarms toward areas where suspected explosives are located, and that the locusts’ brain reaction to the smell of explosives can be read remotely. Moreover, a study found locusts can quickly discriminate between different smells or different explosives. “This is not that different from in the old days, when coal miners used canaries,” says a researcher. “People use pigs for finding truffles. It’s a similar approach — using a biological organism — this is just a bit more sophisticated.”

  • China Embraces Bigger Internet with Virtually Unlimited IP Addresses

    China is pushing for the adoption of a new worldwide Internet Protocol that could make the internet bigger and faster, but also potentially less anonymous. The technology, called IPv6, is an upgrade of the internet’s architecture that would allow trillions more electronic devices to have unique addresses online.

  • Lethal Autonomous Weapons May Soon Make Life-and-Death Decisions – on Their Own

    With drone technology, surveillance software, and threat-predicting algorithms, future conflicts could computerize life and death. “It’s a big question – what does it mean to hand over some of the decision making around violence to machines, and everybody on the planet will have a stake in what happens on this front,” says one expert.

  • Schools’ Facial Recognition Technology Problematic, Should Be Banned: Experts

    Facial recognition technology should be banned for use in schools, according to a new study. The research reveals inaccuracy, racial inequity, and increased surveillance are the touchstones of a flawed technology.