• First Responder Radiological Preparedness

    A radiological dispersal device (RDD), or “dirty bomb,” detonation in a local jurisdiction will have significant consequences for public safety, responder health and critical infrastructure operations. First responders and emergency managers must quickly assess the hazard, issue protective action recommendations, triage and treat the injured, and secure the scene in support of the individuals, families and businesses in the impacted community.

  • What to Expect from Wildfire Season This Year and in the Future

    The new normal for Western wildfires is abnormal, with increasingly bigger and more destructive blazes. Understanding the risks can help communities avert disaster. Throughout Western North America, millions of people live in high-risk wildfire zones thanks to increasingly dry, hot summers and abundant organic fuel in nearby wildlands.

  • The Russian Submarine that Caught Fire and Killed 14 May Have Been Designed to Cut Undersea Internet Cables

    A Russian navy submarine caught fire on Monday, killing 14 sailors on board. Two independent Russian news outlets reported that the vessel was the AS-12 “Losharik,” a nuclear-powered vessel that US officials have said is designed to cut undersea cables that keep the world’s internet running. Alexandra Ma and Ryan Pickrell write in Business Insider that Moscow officials have remained secretive about the type of vessel and whether it was nuclear-powered, prompting accusations of a cover-up. President Vladimir Putin canceled a scheduled event on Tuesday and told his defense minister to “personally receive reports” on the investigation into the accident, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

  • Iranian enriched uranium limit breached, IAEA confirms

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed Monday that Iran has surpassed the stockpile of low-enriched uranium allowed under the 2015 nuclear accord with world powers, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

  • Any single hair from the human body can be used for identification

    Any single hair from anywhere on the human body can be used to identify a person. This conclusion is one of the key findings from a nearly year-long study by a team of researchers. The study could provide an important new avenue of evidence for law enforcement authorities in sexual assault cases.

  • Rectifying a wrong nuclear fuel decision

    In the old days, new members of Congress knew they had much to learn. They would defer to veteran lawmakers before sponsoring legislation. But in the Twitter era, the newly elected are instant experts. That is how Washington on 12 June witnessed the remarkable phenomenon of freshman Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Norfolk), successfully spearheading an amendment that may help Islamist radicals get nuclear weapons. The issue is whether the U.S. Navy should explore modifying the reactor fuel in its nuclear-powered vessels — as France already has done — to reduce the risk of nuclear material falling into the hands of terrorists such as al-Qaida or rogue states such as Iran. Luria says no. Alan J. Kuperman writes in the Pilot Online that more seasoned legislators have started to rectify the situation by passing a spending bill on 19 June that includes the funding for naval fuel research. They will have the chance to fully reverse Luria in July on the House floor by restoring the authorization. Doing so would not only promote U.S. national security but teach an important lesson that enthusiasm is no substitute for experience.

  • Private prisons have a political role in corrections issues in the U.S.

    Private prisons hold more than 120,000 inmates, about 8 percent of all prisoners, for 29 states and the federal government. The two largest private prison companies also operate more than 13,000 beds for immigrant detention. Private prisons play a political role in immigration and incarceration issues in the United States and the industry may face obstacles as well as opportunities in the current political landscape, new research finds.

  • AI helps protect emergency personnel in hazardous environments

    Whether it’s at rescue and firefighting operations or deep-sea inspections, mobile robots finding their way around unknown situations with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) can effectively support people in carrying out activities in hazardous environments.

  • National emergency alerts potentially vulnerable to spoofing

    On 3 October 2018, cell phones across the United States received a text message labeled “Presidential Alert.” It was the first trial run for a new national alert system, developed by several U.S. government agencies as a way to warn as many people across the United States as possible if a disaster was imminent. Now, a new study raises a red flag around these alerts—namely, that such emergency alerts authorized by the President of the United States can, theoretically, be spoofed.

  • Mass surveillance is coming to a city near you

    The tech entrepreneur Ross McNutt wants to spend three years recording outdoor human movements in a major U.S. city, KMOX news radio reports. Conor Friedersdorf writes in The Atlantic that if that sounds too dystopian to be real, you’re behind the times. McNutt, who runs Persistent Surveillance Systems, was inspired by his stint in the Air Force tracking Iraqi insurgents. He tested mass-surveillance technology over Compton, California, in 2012. In 2016, the company flew over Baltimore, feeding information to police for months (without telling city leaders or residents) while demonstrating how the technology works to the FBI and Secret Service.

  • Several German pro-immigration politicians receive death threats

    As the investigation of the killing of pro-immigration politician Walter Lübcke intensifies, Cologne’s mayor and several other German politicians who support generous refugee admission policies have had their lives threatened. Two of these politicians, in 2017, have already been attacked by knife-wielding far-right extremists.

  • Shoe scanner may improve airport security

    The types of shoes you wear when flying matter. And not just shoe types. Size, material, soles and heels are also very important. Why? Shoes can become dangerous vehicles for terrorists’ plots. DHS wants to prevent future incidents, and this is why S&T is working on a millimeter wave technology for screening shoes as part of the larger Screening at Speed Program.

  • New technology to measures WMD threat exposures

    Researchers are looking to find molecular signatures in blood that identify previous exposures and time of exposure to materials that could be associated with weapons of mass destruction (including infectious agents, chemicals, and radiation). The epigenome is biology’s record keeper, and Epigenetic technology will provide a new tool in the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

  • How close was Nazi Germany to the bomb?

    How close did Nazi Germany get to a working nuclear reactor? Researchers exploring the German quest and failure to build a working nuclear reactor during the Second World War say that Germany was close – but that the effort was hampered by decentralization and lack of scientific communication. “If the Germans had pooled their resources, rather than keeping them divided among separate, rival experiments, they may have been able to build a working nuclear reactor,” says an expert.

  • Satellite observations help in earthquake monitoring, response

    Researchers have found that data gathered from orbiting satellites can provide more accurate information on the impact of large earthquakes, which, in turn, can help provide more effective emergency response.