• Comprehensive strategy required to tackle Houston flooding problems

    A new report by leading Texas researchers analyzes in detail a variety of shortcomings with the Houston area’s current — and proposed — approach to flood control. The report calls on civil leaders to pursue a multifaceted and regional strategy which ensures that all communities receive better protection regardless of socioeconomic status.

  • Artificial levees on Mississippi River dramatically increased extreme floods

    A new study has revealed for the first time the last 500-year flood history of the Mississippi River. It shows a dramatic rise in the size and frequency of extreme floods in the past century—mostly due to projects to straighten, channelize, and bound the river with artificial levees. The new research also uncovered a clear pattern over the centuries linking flooding on the Mississippi with natural fluctuations of Pacific and Atlantic Ocean water temperatures.

  • Diminutive robot defends factories against cyberthreats

    It’s small enough to fit inside a shoebox, yet this robot on four wheels — called HoneyBot — has a big mission: keeping factories and other large facilities safe from hackers. The diminutive device is designed to lure in digital troublemakers who have set their sights on industrial facilities. HoneyBot will then trick the bad actors into giving up valuable information to cybersecurity professionals.

  • Why you stink at fact-checking

    People are very bad at picking up on factual errors in the world around them. Research from cognitive psychology shows that people are naturally poor fact-checkers and it is very difficult for us to compare things we read or hear to what we already know about a topic. In what’s been called an era of “fake news,” this reality has important implications for how people consume journalism, social media and other public information.

  • A country's wealth growth is indicated by slowing of metal use – or does it?

    It is widely believed that a nation’s metal use plateaus when that country’s gross domestic product (GDP) reaches a threshold of $15,000 per person; with rising affluence, the theory goes, nations achieve a new level of resource efficiency. This might not be the case, a new study finds.

  • First direct observations of methane's increasing greenhouse effect

    Scientists have directly measured the increasing greenhouse effect of methane at the Earth’s surface for the first time. A research team from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) tracked a rise in the warming effect of methane — one of the most important greenhouse gases for the Earth’s atmosphere — over a 10-year period at a DOE field observation site in northern Oklahoma.

  • Nuclear waste may soon be a thing of the past

    During the Cold War, the U.S. Department of Energy produced tons of nuclear material for the development of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. Today, the United States is awash in radioactive material from weapons production and some from nuclear power plants that could take 100,000 years to go away. A recent FIU chemistry graduate might help researchers unlock the secrets to make nuclear waste safer.

  • Flood risk denial in U.S. coastal communities

    Rising sea levels have worsened the destruction that routine tidal flooding causes in the nation’s coastal communities. On the U.S. mainland, communities in Louisiana, Florida and Maryland are most at risk. Stemming the loss of life and property is a complex problem. Elected officials can enact policies to try to lessen the damage of future flooding. Engineers can retrofit vulnerable buildings. But, in the face of a rising tide, changing hearts and minds might be the most formidable obstacle to decreasing the damage done by flooding.

  • Climate change could increase food insecurity risk

    Weather extremes caused by climate change could raise the risk of food shortages in many countries, new research suggests. The study examined how climate change could affect the vulnerability of different countries to food insecurity – when people lack access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

  • Proposed border wall will harm Texas plants, animals: Scientists

    In the latest publication on the potential impacts of a border wall on plants and animals, conservation biologists say that border walls threaten to harm endangered Texas plants and animals and cause trouble for the region’s growing ecotourism industry.

  • A court case could set precedent for climate change litigation

    A closely watched federal trial pitting two cities against major oil companies has taken surprising and unorthodox turns. Stanford researchers examine the case, which could reshape the landscape of legal claims for climate change-related damages.

  • U.K.'s best cyber defenders compete for chance to take on the U.S. cyber best

    Inter-ACE, now in its third year, was established to help resolve the vast and growing cyber security skills gap, with an estimated shortfall of 1.8 million workers worldwide by 2022. More than 130 students representing eighteen of the U.K.’s top cybersecurity universities battled it out at the Inter-ACE 2018 cybersecurity challenge, hosted by the University of Cambridge. The competition, supported by GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Center, and designed to attract the next generation of cybersecurity talent.

  • Efficient extraction may improve management of nuclear fuel

    After used nuclear fuel is removed from a reactor, it emits heat for decades and remains radioactive for thousands of years. The used fuel is a mixture of major actinides (uranium, plutonium), fission products (mainly assorted metals, including lanthanides) and minor actinides (i.e., americium, curium and neptunium). After the cesium-137 and strontium-90 fission products decay in a few hundred years, the minor actinides and plutonium generate the most heat and radioactivity. Removal of the minor actinides, especially americium, can help nuclear power producers reduce and better manage the waste stream.

  • Water crisis spurring protests in Iran

    A lack of water has been spurring protests in Iran against the regime since the beginning of the year, Reuters reported Thursday. The water crisis have taken place mostly in Isfahan, located in central Iran, and, the Khuzestan province in the west, which is largely inhabited by non-Persian Arabs who call the region Ahwaz.

  • Active shooter drills may reshape how a generation of students views school

    Increasingly, schools are turning to active shooter drills and videos to prepare students and staff to face a gunman. As a sociologist who studies the social impacts of security strategies, I am concerned about the unintended ethical and political consequences of these exercises.