• Why Are Cops around the World Using This Outlandish Mind-Reading Tool?

    The creator of Scientific Content Analysis, or SCAN, says the tool can identify deception. Law enforcement has used his method for decades, even though there’s no reliable science behind it. Even the CIA and FBI have bought in.

  • Building Standards Give Us False Hope. There's No Such Thing as a Fireproof House

    Bushfires have killed 33 people and destroyed nearly 3,000 houses across Australia so far this fire season. Canberra is under threat right now. It isn’t only houses. Significant commercial buildings have been destroyed, among them Kangaroo Island’s iconic Southern Ocean Lodge. In New South Wales alone, 140 schools have been hit. Many require extensive work. Trouble is, Australia’s National Construction Code provides false, and dangerous, hope. The sad truth is that any practical building that is exposed to an intense bushfire will probably burn down, whether it complies with Australia’s National Construction Code or not.

  • Preparing for the Big One: Oregon to Fund ShakeAlert

    With a vision for preparing the state for a large Cascadia earthquake, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced on Monday a resiliency agenda for the upcoming legislative session that would include $7.5 million in funding to the University of Oregon to build out the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system.

  • Forensic Methods for Getting Data from Damaged Mobile Phones

    Criminals sometimes damage their mobile phones in an attempt to destroy evidence. They might smash, shoot, submerge or cook their phones, but forensics experts can often retrieve the evidence anyway. Now, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have tested how well these forensic methods work.

  • Science Helps Improve Eyewitness Testimony

    As we move through the world, looking at objects and people, we generally trust that we are accurately perceiving what’s out there. But research has shown that part of what we see sometimes originates in our own minds — that our brains fill in blanks in our vision based on our expectations or past experiences. Now science — and the insights it provides about the pitfalls in our vision and memory — is improving the way eyewitness testimony is taken and used.

  • It Is Now 100 Seconds to Midnight

    The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock is now closer to midnight than ever in its history. The Bulletin cites worsening nuclear threat, lack of climate action, and rise of “cyber-enabled disinformation campaigns” in moving the clock hand. December 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the first edition of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, initially a six-page, black-and-white bulletin and later a magazine, created in anticipation that the atom bomb would be “only the first of many dangerous presents from the Pandora’s Box of modern science.”

  • How Russia May have Used Twitter to Seize Crimea

    Online discourse by users of social media can provide important clues about the political dispositions of communities. New research suggests it can even be used by governments as a source of military intelligence to estimate prospective casualties and costs incurred from occupying foreign territories. New research shows real-time social media data may have been a source of military intelligence for the Kremlin and potentially other governments.

  • Keeping Guns Away from Potential Mass Shooters

    The United States currently averages twenty mass shootings per year. Researchers measured the extent to which mass shootings are committed by domestic violence perpetrators, suggesting how firearm restrictions may prevent these tragedies.

  • Better – and Broader – Contingency Plans

    Life, they say, is uncertain. This is why governments and businesses make contingency plans that detail what to do in a disaster and how to handle the unexpected. But some events can be catastrophic across a region, and that calls for a more comprehensive approach.

  • Germany Bans Neo-Nazi Group “Combat 18”

    The German government has banned the neo-Nazi group Combat 18, and the German police conducted raids across Germany, after links were discovered connecting the group to the killing last June of pro-immigration politician from Angela Merkel’s conservative party. Combat 18 is the armed wing of the Blood & Honor neo-Nazi network which was founded in Britain in 1992 and established its German branch in 2000. Europol has warned that the network is getting stronger in more than a dozen European countries. The group chose the number “18” for its name because these numbers are the first and eighth letters in the alphabet —A and H— which are Adolf Hitler’s initials. The group’s motto is “Was Es braucht” (“What it takes”).

  • “Phantom Effect”: Short Police Platform Patrols Cuts Crime in London Tube Stations

    A major experiment introducing proactive policing to London Underground platforms finds that short bursts of patrolling create a “phantom effect”: 97 percent of the resulting crime reduction was during periods when police were not actually present.

  • Inaccurate Dispatch Information Linked to Police Shootings

    A new study finds a relationship between inaccurate dispatched information about the presence of a weapon and police shooting errors, especially shootings of unarmed people. “Pre-event information about the presence of a weapon before an officer arrives on scene can have an enormous impact on officer decision-making, and consequently their actions,” says a researcher.

  • The Drone Beats of War: The U.S. Vulnerability to Targeted Killings

    The explosions from the recent U.S. drone attack that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani have sent shock waves reverberating across the Middle East. David Baron and Nora Bensahel write that those same shocks should now be rippling through the American national security establishment too. “Regardless of what happens next, one thing is certain: The United States has now made it even more likely that American military and civilian leaders will be targeted by future U.S. foes,” they write.

  • Caution: How to Measure Racial Bias in Policing

    Racial bias and policing made headlines last year after a study examining records of fatal police shootings claimed white officers were no more likely to shoot racial minorities than nonwhite officers. There was one problem: The study was based on a logical fallacy.

  • Securing Radiological Sources on the Go

    Radioactive materials are a critical tool in a number of industrial applications, particularly oil and gas drilling and welding. While these sources are safe and well-regulated for their intended use; if lost or stolen the materials could be used by terrorists to make dirty bombs.