• Chemical weaponsPreventing chemical weapons as sciences advance and converge

    Revolutionary advances in science and technology are threatening the ability of the Chemical Weapons Convention to prevent the development, possession and potential use of chemical weapons. Scientists warn of this increased chemical weapons risk, which is the result of rapid scientific change. Alarming examples of the dangers from chemical weapons have been seen recently in the use of industrial chemicals and the nerve agent sarin against civilians in Syria, and in the targeted assassination operations using VX nerve agent in Malaysia and novichok nerve agent in the U.K.

  • U.S. militaryWith military edge eroding, U.S. may lose military conflict with Russia or China

    A commission investigating Donald Trump’s defense strategy has said the United States could lose a military conflict with China or Russia. It argued that the U.S. ability to defend itself and its allies was in doubt. The report suggested that if the U.S. went to war with countries such as China and Russia, it may not win. “The U.S. military could suffer unacceptably high casualties and loss of major capital assets in its next conflict. It might struggle to win, or perhaps lose, a war against China or Russia,” the commission said. “The United States is particularly at risk of being overwhelmed should its military be forced to fight on two or more fronts simultaneously.”

  • Iran’s nukesNuclear experts: Archive shows that Iran had “advanced capabilities” to produce nukes

    The documents in an archive seized by Israel show that Iran had “more advanced capabilities to make nuclear weapons themselves,” according to a paper being prepared by an anti-proliferation think tank, experts say. Foreign Policy, which saw an early draft of the paper being produced by the Institute for Science and International Security, reported that the information contained in the archive “demonstrates that Washington and the IAEA were constantly underestimating how close Tehran was to a bomb.”

  • HateScotland Yard investigating anti-Semitism in British Labour Party ranks

    The Scotland Yard is investigating many instances of anti-Semitism among the rank and file of the British Labour Party since Jeremy Corbyn took over the party’s leadership in 2015. The Scotland Yard’s dossier, which was leaked to the press, consists of 80 pages of allegations about the Labour Party’s anti-Semitism, including Holocaust denial. Statements attributed to party members include “We shall rid the Jews who are cancer on us all” and “Zionist extremist MP who hates civilized people about to get a good kicking.”

  • DronesBetter 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.

  • Tattoo recognitionFederal researchers complete second round of problematic tattoo recognition experiments

    By Dave Maass

    Despite igniting controversy over ethical lapses and the threat to civil liberties posed by its tattoo recognition experiments the first time around, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently completed its second major project evaluating software designed to reveal who we are and potentially what we believe based on our body art.

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

    By Brian Blum

    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.

  • GunsU.S. doctors slam NRA for telling them to “stay in their lane”

    The NRA told U.S. physicians to “stay in their lane” after a medical association recommended steps for reducing gun violence. Some U.S. doctors responded with graphic images of their attempts to treat gunshot victims.

  • GunsMost Californians who own “assault rifles” have 10+ guns

    The AR-15 has been called “America’s rifle,” a weapon emblematic of our national gun culture. But a new survey finds that in the country’s most populous state, a small contingent of hardcore collectors own the vast majority of ARs and other so-called assault rifles.

  • GunsHigh-capacity magazines, like the one used by the California mass shooter, are deadly and easily available

    By Brian Freskos

    The high-capacity ammunition magazine used to fatally shoot at least 12 people at a bar in California on Wednesday night would have been outlawed under a state ban. But a federal judge blocked it from taking effect, leaving plenty of them in circulation.

  • Mass shootingWhat mass shootings do to those not shot: Social consequences of mass gun violence

    By Arash Javanbakht

    Mass shootings seem to have become a sad new normal in the American life. They happen too often, and in very unexpected places. Concerts, movie theaters, places of worship, schools, bars and restaurants are no longer secure from gun violence. Often, and especially when a person who is not a minority or Muslim perpetrates a mass shooting, mental health is raised as a real concern or, critics say, a diversion from the real issue easy access to firearms. Less is discussed, however, about the stress of such events on the rest of the society. That includes those who survived the shooting, those who were in the vicinity, including the first responders, those who lost someone in the shooting, and those who hear about it via the media. I am a trauma and anxiety researcher and clinician psychiatrist, and I know that the effects of such violence are far-reaching. While the immediate survivors are most affected, the rest of society suffers, too.

  • Mass shootingWhat we know about Ian David Long, the California gunman

    Ian David Long, a 28-year old Marine Corps veteran with mental health issues, killed 12 and injured scores at a California bar, before turning his gun on himself. Long owned the Glock .45 handgun legally, but he used an extended magazine, which allowed him to fire more rounds before reloading. Such magazines are illegal in California.

  • GunsLax state gun laws linked to more child, teen gun deaths

    States with strict gun laws have lower rates of gun deaths among children and teenagers, and laws to keep guns away from minors are linked with fewer gun suicides in this age group, a Stanford study found.

  • Seismic warnings“Majority rules” when looking for earthquakes, explosions

    Finding the ideal settings for each sensor in a network to detect vibrations in the ground, or seismic activity, can be a painstaking and manual process. Researchers at Sandia are working to change that by using software that automatically adjusts the seismic activity detection levels for each sensor. The new software reduces false, missed detections of seismic activity.

  • Considered opinion: The Russia connectionCountering Russian election hacks

    By Eric Jensen

    According to a Center for Public Integrity report, the “U.S. military hackers have been given the go-ahead to gain access to Russian cyber systems as part of potential retaliation for any meddling in America’s elections.” Eric Jensen writes in Just Security that this signals a significant change to the U.S. cyber policy and is a clear indication that cyber actions have now entered the mainstream of national security tools. “For years, the “newness” of cyber capabilities have caused the level of authorization to remain at very high levels and subject to extensive interagency dialogue before even simple cyber tasks could be taken. These procedural requirements undoubtedly had the practical effect of limiting the number of cyber activities undertaken. By allowing DoD and other government agencies to function more autonomously within pre-approved guidelines reflects a normalization of cyber capabilities that has been too long in coming.”