• The manipulation of social media metadata

    Bad actors manipulate metadata to create effective disinformation campaigns. and a new study provides tips for researchers and technology companies trying to spot this “data craft.” “Data craft” is the term the report’s author uses to describe all those “practices that create, rely on, or even play with the proliferation of data on social media by engaging with new computational and algorithmic mechanisms of organization and classification.”

  • Warmer winter temperatures linked to increased crime

    Milder winter weather increased regional crime rates in the United States over the past several decades, according to new research that suggests crime is related to temperature’s effect on daily activities. A new study finds U.S. crime rates are linked to warmer temperatures, and this relationship follows a seasonal pattern.

  • Soot: Current climate models underestimate warming by black carbon aerosol

    Soot belches out of diesel engines, rises from wood-  and dung-burning cookstoves and shoots out of oil refinery stacks. According to recent research, air pollution, including soot, is linked to heart disease, some cancers and, in the United States, as many as 150,000 cases of diabetes every year. Beyond its impact on health, soot, known as black carbon by atmospheric scientists, is a powerful global warming agent. It absorbs sunlight and traps heat in the atmosphere in magnitude second only to the notorious carbon dioxide. Researchers call the absence of consensus on soot’s light absorption magnitude “one of the grand challenges in atmospheric climate science.”

  • Levitating particles could lift nuclear detective work

    Laser-based ‘optical tweezers’ could levitate uranium and plutonium particles, thus allowing the measurement of nuclear recoil during radioactive decay. This technique, proposed by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory, provides a new method for conducting the radioactive particle analysis essential to nuclear forensics.

  • The bitter lesson of the Californian fires

    California is burning, again. Dozens of peoples have been killed and thousands of buildings destroyed in several fires, the most destructive in the state’s history. The California fires are just the most recent in a series of major wildfires, including fires in Greece in July this year that killed 99 people, Portugal and Chile in 2017, and Australia. Why do wildfires seem to be escalating? Despite president Donald Trump’s tweet that the California fires were caused by “gross mismanagement” of forests, the answer is more complex, nuanced, and alarming.

  • World’s biggest student-led cybersecurity games announce winners of CSAW 2018

    A team of four computer science students from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) once again took home top honors at the 15th anniversary edition of  Cyber Security Awareness Week (CSAW), the world’s largest student-run cyber security event.

  • Natural solutions can reduce global warming

    Restoring the United States’ lands and coastal wetlands could have a much bigger role in reducing global warming than previously thought, according to the most comprehensive national assessment to date of how greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced and stored in forests, farmland, grasslands and wetlands.

  • Better drone detection through machine learning, cameras

    Visual detection of drones has never been considered as effective as its thermal, radio or acoustic counterparts. The trouble is always discriminating between different moving objects in view. Typically, a bird or even a plastic bag caught in the wind might be mistaken for a drone, which is why most discrimination methods have primarily focused on heat and acoustic signatures in the past (though acoustic signatures also tend to become less useful in urban areas with higher levels of background noise). Combined with machine learning, however, a camera can tell a different story.

  • Methods for protecting England’s coastal communities “not fit for purpose”

    In October 2018, a stark report suggested that current methods being used to protect England’s coastal communities are “not fit for purpose.” The Committee on Climate Change’s Managing the coast in a changing climate report showed that between 2005 and 2014, over 15,000 new buildings were built in coastal areas at significant risk of coastal flooding and/or erosion. Experts say that evidence suggests there should be far stricter controls on coastal developments.

  • He got mugged, then revamped 911 for the next generation

    Israeli company Carbyne has re-engineered the infrastructure for 911 services from the ground up, to take advantage of all the innovations that have come along in the 20 to 30 years since most emergency systems were built. Those innovations include the ability to see the location of a caller on a map, to chat by text if a voice call is not possible, to use VoIP (Voice over IP) services like WhatsApp and Skype, and to stream video so the 911 operator can see what’s happening in real time.

  • AI systems: Understanding and controlling religious conflict

    Artificial intelligence can help us to better understand the causes of religious violence and to potentially control it, according to a new research. The study is one of the first to be published that uses psychologically realistic AI – as opposed to machine learning.

  • More people are getting bigger, requiring more food

    Food demand is growing as people get bigger. Feeding a population of 9 billion in 2050 will require much more food than previously calculated. The number of people on Earth could level off at around nine billion in a few years, compared to just over 7.6 billion now. But an average person in the future will require more food than today. Changes in eating habits, attitudes towards food waste, increases in height and body mass, and demographic transitions are some of the reasons.

  • Severe Caribbean droughts would magnify food insecurity

    Climate change is impacting the Caribbean, with millions facing increasing food insecurity and decreasing freshwater availability as droughts become more likely across the region, according to new research. Since 1950, the Caribbean region has seen a drying trend and scattered multiyear droughts. But the recent Pan-Caribbean drought in 2013-16 was unusually severe and placed 2 million people in danger of food insecurity.

  • Bolstering resilience to withstand floods

    Historically, flooding is the most destructive natural disaster in this country. Facing this ever-growing threat, many wonder, “What can be done to protect life and property, reduce insurance claims, as well as help communities become more resilient?” DHS S&T has initiated multiple projects across the nation through its Flood Apex Program to offer an answer to this question.

  • Technologies to remove CO2 from air and sequester it key to climate change mitigation

    To achieve goals for climate and economic growth, “negative emissions technologies” (NETs) that remove and sequester carbon dioxide from the air will need to play a significant role in mitigating climate change, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences.