• After Aurora shooting, lawmakers revive proposal to disarm unlawful gun owners

    Illinois revokes thousands of gun licenses every year. But it’s rare for law enforcement to remove firearms from owners barred from having them. Legislators in Illinois are scrambling to address a gap in state law that many have blamed for allowing the gunman who killed five people in Aurora last week to keep his handgun even after he was banned from possessing firearms.

  • 700,000 submunitions demilitarized by Sandia-designed robotics system

    More than 700,000 Multiple Launch Rocket System submunitions have been demilitarized since the Army started using an automated nine-robot system conceptualized, built and programmed by Sandia Lab engineers. The automated system was built for the Army’s demilitarization program that aims to dismantle obsolete ammunition and missiles.

  • Marine organisms as detectors of enemy undersea activity

    Goliath grouper, black sea bass, and snapping shrimp, along with bioluminescent plankton and other microorganisms, are set to be the unlikely additions to protecting U.S. assets. Researchers are developing new types of sensor systems that detect and record the behaviors of these marine organisms and interpret them to identify, characterize, and report on the presence of manned and unmanned underwater vehicles operating in strategic waters. The incorporation of biological signals will extend the range, lifetime, and performance of undersea surveillance technologies in strategic waters.

  • U.S. Coast Guard officer to be charged with mass terrorism plot

    Christopher Paul Hasson, a U.S. Coast Guard officer will appear in court today (Thursday), charged with plotting a massive, 2-prong attack modeled after the 2011 Anders Behring Breivik’s terrorist attack in Norway. Breivik killed eight people in Oslo as a diversion, before killing 69 teenagers in a summer camp organized by the Norwegian Social Democratic Party. Hasson compiled a hit list of liberal politicians, Supreme Court judges, and journalists – but his violent plans extended to trying to “establish a white homeland,” and using biological weapons to “kill almost every last person on Earth.”

  • U.S. hate groups hit record number last year amid increased violence

    American hate groups had a bumper year in 2018 as a surge in black and white nationalist groups lifted their number to a new record high, the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a report issued Wednesday. The increase was driven by growth in both black and white nationalist groups, the SPLC said. The number of white nationalist groups jumped from 100 to 148, while the number of black nationalist groups — typically anti-Semitic, anti-LGBTQ and anti-white — rose from 233 to 264. Some conservative groups have accused the SPLC of unfairly labeling them as “hate groups,” and last month, the Center for Immigration Studies sued the SPLC for “falsely designating” it as a hate group in 2016, saying the SPLC has produced no evidence that the group maligns immigrants as a class.

  • Disguises are surprisingly effective

    Superficial but deliberate changes in someone’s facial appearance – such as a new hairstyle or complexion - are surprisingly effective in identity deception, new research suggests.

  • On rogues and peers: Russian, Chinese challenges to U.S. national security

    Russia and China represent distinct challenges to U.S. national security. Russia is not a peer or near-peer competitor but rather a well-armed rogue state that seeks to subvert an international order it can never hope to dominate. In contrast, China is a peer competitor that wants to shape an international order that it can aspire to dominate.

  • Keeping the lights on during and after a disaster

    The threat of an inevitable earthquake is the uncomfortable truth we all face in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which stretches from Alaska to California. Because the last major earthquake in the area was in the 1700s, our infrastructure developed without an appreciation and understanding of earthquake resilience. That means the next major earthquake will likely devastate our buildings, roads, bridges, and utility providers, posing immediate risks for the health and safety of those who live in the region. And later, there will be long-term economic aftershocks.

  • Using data utilization to augment community resilience, disaster response

    A civil engineering who researches resilience against extreme events and natural hazards is responding to lessons learned from California’s deadly Camp Fire by outlining how to utilize the power of data to improve disaster response and minimize economic loss and human harm in similar events.

  • Russia, China threaten U.S. space dominance: Pentagon

    The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Pentagon’s lead intelligence agency, has warned that Russia and China are building technologies which will soon threaten U.S. dominance in space. Both countries “are developing a variety of means to exploit perceived U.S. reliance on space-based systems and challenge the U.S. position in space,” the report said. Russian doctrine “involves employing ground, air, and space-based systems to target an adversary’s satellites, with attacks ranging from temporary jamming or sensor blinding to destruction of enemy spacecraft and supporting infrastructure,” the report said.

  • School shooters usually show these signs of distress long before they open fire, our database shows

    Our initial analysis of the school shooting data found some noteworthy patterns. All mass school shooters since 1966 had a large number of risk factors for violence. Forty-five percent had witnessed or experienced childhood trauma, 77 percent had mental health concerns, as evidenced in a prior diagnosis, previous counseling or hospitalization, or medication use, and 75 percent had an interest in past shootings, as evidenced in their writing, social media posts or other activities. The majority of mass school shooters – 87 percent – showed signs of a crisis, as exhibited in their behavior, before the shooting. Seventy-eight percent revealed their plans ahead of time, often on social media. As juveniles, they also used guns that they stole from parents, caregivers and other significant adults in their lives. Our analysis found that about 80 percent of mass school shooters were suicidal. These findings make it clearer why current strategies are inadequate.

  • Mental illness not to blame for gun violence: Study

    Counter to a lot of public opinion, having a mental illness does not necessarily make a person more likely to commit gun violence. According to a new study, a better indicator of gun violence was access to firearms. Researchers found that the majority of mental health symptoms examined were not related to gun violence. The researchers found instead was that individuals who had gun access were approximately 18 times more likely to have threatened someone with a gun. Individuals with high hostility were about 3.5 times more likely to threaten someone.

  • Hardcore white supremacists elevate Dylann Roof to cult hero status

    When Dylann Roof murdered nine people in a racially motivated shooting spree at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015, reactions from fellow white supremacists were all over the map. While some praised the shootings, others claimed the attack was fabricated by the government or Jews to cast a bad light on white supremacists. Within the past two years, a number of zealous Roof fans and would-be copycats have emerged, including some who have crossed the line into criminal activity:

  • Survey shows that Britain had record number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2018

    The year 2018 saw a record number of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain, a fact that comes down to “anti-Semitic” politics, not news about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to a new survey by the Community Security Trust (CST). The number of recorded anti-Semitic events rose 16 percent in the last year to 1,652 incidents around the country.

  • Lawmakers tell Pentagon to redo climate change report

    Earlier this month, the Pentagon, in compliance with a congressional mandate, released a landmark report which identified the 79 American military installations most vulnerable to the “effects of a changing climate.” Several Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee welcomed the report – but at the same time harshly criticized it for failing to include details requested by Congress, among them the estimates by each of the armed services of the cost of protecting or replacing the ten most vulnerable military bases.