• Getting the Nukes Out of Turkey: A How-To Guide

    Almost as soon as Turkish troops began their invasion of Syria, old debates resurfaced about whether or not the United States should withdraw the roughly 50 B61 nuclear gravity bombs at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey also began resurfacing. Unlike in years prior, however, this time such a move may actually be in the offing. Pulling the nuclear weapons out of Turkey may seem like a bold step, but the United States has been reducing the number of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe and consolidating the remaining ones at ever fewer bases since the end of the Cold War.

  • If Germany Can’t Stop the Rise of White Nationalism, How Can Canada?

    Between 2017 and 2018, anti-Semitic and xenophobic crimes both rose nearly 20 percent in Germany. In June, following the assassination by a neo-Nazi of Walter Lübcke, a conservative politician who supported Chancellor Angela Merkel’s immigration policies, the BfV, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, busted Nordkreuz, an extremist organization which compiled a kill list of 25,000 liberal politicians considered “pro-refugee” while also acquiring weapons, 200 body bags, and quicklime, which prevents the rotting that makes corpses smell. The BfV says that it is now tracking 24,100 known right-wing extremists in the country, of which 12,700 have been classified as violent. “That these developments are happening in Germany, a country known for an unflinching view of its own horrific past, might be considered surprising,” Sadiya Ansari writes. “And if Germany is struggling to contain this [extremists’] threat, what does that mean for countries that haven’t been as vigilant?”

  • Monitoring Hurricanes: Better Life-Saving, Property-Preserving Decisions

    When a natural disaster strikes, first responders step in to reduce harm and save lives. They risk their lives in highly unpredictable environments — often without clear knowledge of the dangers they are facing or where they are needed most. Now, imagine if responders could make use of cutting-edge disaster forecasting models in conjunction with real-time data to predict a disaster’s impact and then use that information to make better-informed decisions. Fewer lives would be lost and more people would receive the help they need.

  • The Intelligence Fallout from Trump’s Withdrawal in Syria

    The chaotic nature of the U.S. withdrawal from Syria—following an impulsive, snap decision by President Donald Trump during a phone call with the Turkish president earlier this month—is unnerving those who have been involved in all levels of the fight against ISIS. This is because “forever war” in Iraq and Syria was built around the work done by local U.S. allies. The fight against ISIS was America’s, but it was also being fought by Syrians, Kurds, and Iraqis—a U.S. strategy known as “by, with and through.” These partnerships have proved invaluable to the war against ISIS – but at the same time, they have also opened a small hole in the secrecy which typically shrouds the U.S. special operations community—by giving the local partners who work with those forces a rare and up-close view of who they are and how they do their jobs. Experts worry that any potential deal between the Kurds and Assad will include “not just speaking with Syrian intelligence officers but Russians and Iranians,” one expert said. “It’s going to turn out that all of a sudden the ways that elite American counterterrorism forces operate are known to the opposition.” Another expert said: “None of these issues were thought through or prepared, no consequences considered. It’s a disaster.”

  • A Cheaper Nuclear Sponge

    “With today’s technology, land-based [ballistic] missiles are an embarrassment,” the late, great strategist Thomas Schelling wrote in 1987. Steve Fetter and Kingston Reif write that so long as U.S. adversaries possess nuclear weapons, we believe the United States should maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear arsenal to deter nuclear attacks against itself and its allies. But the Trump administration’s approach to sustaining and upgrading the arsenal is unnecessary, unsustainable, and unsafe. Nowhere is this more evident than with respect to its plan to build a new ICBM.

  • Why We Must Ban Facial Recognition Software Now

    Facial recognition technology, once a darling of Silicon Valley with applications for policing, spying and authenticating identities, is suddenly under fire. Conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats have strongly criticized the technology. San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Somerville, Mass., have barred all of their government agencies, including the police, from using it. And several Democratic candidates for president have raised deep concerns about it, with one, Senator Bernie Sanders, calling for an outright ban for policing.

  • Keeping Students Safe Is a Growth Industry Struggling to Fulfill Its Mission

    There is a lot of federal, state and local money spent to “harden” school buildings and campuses. It’s a booming business that by 2017 had become an estimated $2.7 billion industry with about $1.5 billion directed toward K-12 school safety. But based on my research on school safety practices, I believe that – in addition to doing more to regulate access to automatic weapons – what’s actually needed is more funding for mental health services in communities and schools to help heed and address warning signs before someone becomes violent.

  • Robotic Lifeguard EMILY Proves Itself in the Wake of Hurricane Dorian

    The responders who came to the rescue a day after Hurricane Dorian finished lashing Abaco Island in the Bahamas had a tool to get ashore, so they could provide medical care and supplies to stricken islanders. It was EMILY the robotic lifeguard—officially known as the Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard—a remote-controlled unmanned surface vehicle that has proven its mettle saving imperiled swimmers during natural disasters and humanitarian crises.

  • Forget North Korea's Nukes: A Dying Regime and Collapse Is Far Scary

    Starvation, loose nukes, chaos, and even a Chinese intervention are all likely. What is left to say at this point when it comes to that “Hermit Kingdom” everyone loves to hate? Harry J. Kazianis writes for Yahoo News that North Korea, or also known as the so-called Democratic People’s Republic, is the ultimate Pandora’s Box and every president’s worst nightmare: A-bombs, chemical toxins, biological weapons and missiles to lob them all over the world—including now at the continental United States. And yet, while North Korea flexing its atomic muscles is certainly a big deal, the world is missing the real story: What happens if someday North Korea falls apart through a mass uprising, economic disaster, or war?

  • U.S. Nuclear Weapons at Incirlik Air Base, in effect, “Erdogan’s hostages”: U.S. Official

    Trump announced his hasty decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria in a series of Tweets on Sunday, following a phone call with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – despite months of warnings from the Pentagon, the NSC, the U.S. intelligence community, and the Department of State. As a result, no plans were made to deal with the fifty or so tactical nuclear weapons kept under U.S. control at the Incirlik Air Base in south-central Turkey, which the United States shares with Turkey. One official told the New York Times that the nuclear bombs at the base were now effectively Erdogan’s hostages.

  • Whole-House Fire Blanket Protects Buildings from Short Wildfires

    Wrapping a building in a fire-protective blanket is a viable way of protecting it against wildfires, finds the first study to scientifically assesses this method of defense. Existing blanket technology can protect an isolated building from a short wildfire attack, but technological advancements are needed for severe fire situations.

  • Why the Guillotine May Be Less Cruel than Execution by Slow Poisoning

    Concerns about the drugs used for executions are being raised again after the federal government announced it will once again execute inmates convicted of capital crimes almost 16 years after the last execution was carried out. while the death penalty is the ultimate punishment meted out by the state, it is not meant to be torture. The guillotine remains a quick method of execution – it takes about half a second for the blade to drop and sever a prisoner’s head from his body. Although the guillotine may be the bloodiest of deaths, it does not cause the prolonged physical torment increasingly delivered by lethal injections. Should the U.S. consider using the guillotine to administer capital punishment?

  • Tearing Down the Nuclear Firewall

    In the U.S. nuclear community, you’ll often hear a strangely contradictory statement about nuclear weapons. It goes something like this: “We have nuclear weapons so that nuclear weapons will never be used.” U.S. nuclear deterrence, however, hinges on the assumption that adversaries believe that the United States has a functioning stockpile of nuclear weapons that can and will be used. The national security enterprise and the general public thus need to understand the U.S. military’s concept of nuclear weapons use and its associated theory of victory.

  • 12 Hours. 4 Syrian Hospitals Bombed. One Culprit: Russia.

    The Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria represents the Alawite minority (in 2011, about 75 percent of the Syrian population was Sunni , and about 12 percent were Alawites). Since the civil war in Syria began in 2011, the Assad regime, in the largest ethnic cleansing campaign since the end of the Second World War, has methodically, and successfully, pursued the goal of drastically reducing the number of Sunni Muslims in Syria. So far, the Assad regime has killed more than 500,000 Syrian Sunnis; has driven more than 5.6 million Sunnis out of Syria; and internally displaced more than 6.6 million Sunnis. One of the keys to Assad’s ethnic cleansing campaign has been the systematic destruction of hospitals and medical facilities in Sunni-majority areas and the killing of medical personnel. This strategy increases the number of dead and untreated wounded among the Sunnis, and along with the methodical destruction of water and sewage treatment facilities, makes life even more unbearable in Sunni areas of Syria. Since September 2015, the Russian air force has been doing most of the destruction of medical facilities and other civilian infrastructure in Sunni-majority areas.

  • AI Could Be a Force for Positive Social Change – but We’re Currently Heading for a Darker Future

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already re-configuring the world in conspicuous ways. Data drives our global digital ecosystem, and AI technologies reveal patterns in data. Smartphones, smart homes, and smart cities influence how we live and interact, and AI systems are increasingly involved in recruitment decisions, medical diagnoses, and judicial verdicts. Whether this scenario is utopian or dystopian depends on your perspective.