• Self-healing concrete being tested

    At present, billions of pounds are spent every year maintaining, fixing, and restoring structures such as bridges, buildings, tunnels, and roads. It is estimated that around £40 billion a year is spent in the United Kingdom on the repair and maintenance of structures, the majority of which are made from concrete. Researchers are testing three separate concrete-healing technologies for the first time in real-world settings, with a view to incorporating them into a single system that could be used to automatically repair concrete in the built environment.

  • Update issued for southeast Florida regional sea level rise projections

    The four-county Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact (Compact) has prepared an update to the regional sea level rise projections used for important planning purposes. Overall, the update includes minor changes to the short-term curves, but a more significant increase in the mid-and long-term projections. The 2015 update estimates sea level rise of 6 to 10 inches by 2030, or 3 to 5 inches above average sea level in 2015. Predictions for the mid-term are between 11 and 22 inches of additional sea level rise by 2060, and longer-term between 28 and 57 inches by 2100.

  • New York proposes new sea-level rise projection regulations

    New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced last week that to better prepare New York State coastal communities and business owners for extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy three years ago, DEC is proposing new state sea-level rise projections which will help state agencies and project planners develop more resilient structures. “The sea-level rise projections DEC is proposing today reflect the best science available,” said DEC acting commissioner. “Sea level projections will help state agencies, developers, planners and engineers to reduce risks posed by rising seas and coastal storms over the next several decades.”

  • NSF highlights more than forty years of supporting cybersecurity research and education

    New report highlights NSF-funded cybersecurity research and education. Today, NSF invests nearly $160 million each year in interdisciplinary research, education, and workforce development help protect national and personal security. This support helps scientists develop the tools, training, and people that will keep the nation safe and maintain online privacy.

  • California releases plan for preparing the state for extreme effects of climate change

    In response to a directive from California governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., the California Natural Resources Agency has been seeking public comment on a draft plan for how California will prepare for and adapt to the catastrophic effects of climate change, including extended droughts and wildfires, rising sea levels and increasingly extreme weather. The draft plan — Safeguarding California: Implementation Action Plans — identifies the state’s vulnerabilities to climate change and details steps that need to be taken across ten sectors including water, transportation, agriculture, biodiversity and habitat, emergency management, and energy.

  • Wildfires may double erosion across a quarter of western U.S. watersheds by 2050

    Wildfires, which are on the rise throughout the west as a result of prolonged drought and climate change, can alter soil properties and make it more vulnerable to erosion. A new study shows that the increase in wildfires may double soil erosion in some western United States by 2050, and all that dirt ends up in streams, clogging creeks and degrading water quality.

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  • FBI delays release of interactive tool to identify violent extremists

    Facing criticism, the FBI has decided to delay the release of “Don’t Be a Puppet,” an interactive program aiming to help teachers and students identify young people who show signs of flirting with radicalism and violent extremism. The program was scheduled for release Monday (yesterday). Civil rights advocates and American Muslim leaders, invited by the agency to preview the program, harshly criticized it for focusing almost exclusively on Islamic extremism. They noted that practically all the mass school shootings – and most of the violence perpetrated by extremists — in the United States had nothing to do with Islamic militants.

  • Online tool maps terrorist networks, behavior over time

    To allow a better understanding of how terrorist organizations network and function over time, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) has launched the Big Allied and Dangerous (BAAD) online platform. The tool features updated, vetted, and sourced narratives and relationship information and social network data on fifty of the most notorious terrorist organizations in the world since 1998, with additional network information on more than 100 organizations. The research team plans to expand the database and online platform to include more than 600 terrorist organizations.

  • Identifying students cognitively equipped to succeed in cybersecurity

    The University of Maryland Center for Advanced Study of Language (CASL) will partner with the U.S. Air Force to conduct a two-year study designed to advance the cyber workforce. The Air Force says that by assessing abilities rather than knowledge, it will broaden its cyber pipeline while improving outcomes and maintaining a highly skilled workforce.

  • Online residential fire simulation tool for training firefighters

    Firefighting is not what it used to be. Whether it is a complex blaze raging in an urban high-rise or a seemingly straightforward single-level home fire, modern building construction and furnishings have made fighting fires more difficult: Flames burn hotter, produce more smoke, and spread more quickly. But fire research has advanced, too, and researchers are working with five major urban fire departments to build new knowledge on modern residential firefighting into game-based online simulations with an engaging, dynamic format.

  • Walking robots a step nearer

    Engineers suggests that they have achieved the most realistic robotic implementation of human walking dynamics that has ever been done, which may ultimately allow human-like versatility and performance. The system is based on a concept called “spring-mass” walking that was theorized less than a decade ago, and combines passive dynamics of a mechanical system with computer control. It provides the ability to blindly react to rough terrain, maintain balance, retain an efficiency of motion, and essentially walk like humans do.

  • Study: Persian Gulf could experience deadly heat

    Detailed climate simulation shows that the Persian Gulf region would likely cross the threshold of survivability unless mitigation measures are taken. That tipping point involves a measurement called the “wet-bulb temperature” which combines temperature and humidity, reflecting conditions the human body could maintain without artificial cooling. That threshold for survival for more than six unprotected hours is 35 degrees Celsius, or about 95 degrees Fahrenheit, according to recently published research (the equivalent number in the National Weather Service’s more commonly used “heat index” would be about 165 F). The researchers say that hot summer conditions that now occur once every twenty days or so “will characterize the usual summer day in the future.”

  • Deadly extreme weather events to intensify, become more frequent over the next 50 years

    European heat wave of 2003, during which 35,000 people died. It was the most extreme event of its kind since 1500 AD. In May 2015, India was struck by a severe heat wave that killed more than 2,500 people. “Heat waves that [were once] expected to occur twice a century [are now], in the early 2000s, expected to occur twice a decade. Human influence has very likely at least doubled the likelihood of such an event,” says one expert.

  • Concrete innovation makes Seattle skyscraper stable

    All coupling beams in the 1.5 million-square-foot Lincoln Square Expansion — which includes luxury condos, a hotel, dining, retail and office space in two 450-foot towers in the heart of Seattle suburb Bellevue, Washington — are made of fiber-reinforced concrete using a unique design. These concrete coupling beams span doorways and windows, helping walls with such openings in them to function as a single structural unit, while bolstering the building as a whole against earthquakes. Traditionally, coupling beams are reinforced with a labyrinth of rebar, adding a great deal of time, cost and complexity to the construction process.

  • Steam thermography may compete with luminol in solving crimes

    Luminol gets trotted out pretty frequently on TV crime shows, but a new technique might someday compete with the storied forensics tool as a police procedural plot device and, perhaps more importantly, as a means of solving real crimes. Researchers developed what they term “steam thermography,” which has the ability to detect blood spots in all kinds of spots — even in spots where luminol cannot.