• Purdue launches Institute for Global Security and Defense Innovation

    Purdue University president Mitch Daniels announced last Thursday that the university is opening a new Institute for Global Security and Defense Innovation in Discovery Park. In the 2016 fiscal year, the university was awarded more than $50 million for advanced defense-related research projects. The new institute will centralize defense and security research efforts across campus, and, it is hoped, will make Purdue the pre-eminent university in national defense and security. “We can no longer rely on decades of military superiority via so-called technology ‘off-sets,’” said Tomás Díaz de la Rubia, chief scientist and executive director of Purdue’s Discovery Park. “In the future we must out-invent, out-discover, and out-innovate our adversaries every day.”

  • A license to print: how real is the risk posed by 3D printed guns?

    3D printed guns are back in the news after Queensland Police reported last week that they had discovered a 3D printer in a raid on what appeared to be a “large-scale” weapons production facility as a part of Operation Oscar Quantum. But the fact is that 3D printing technology is not yet at the stage where it can readily produce weapons. Although it can be used to help rogue gunsmiths work their shady trade. And we should remember that it’s not only 3D printing that enables people to build illicit firearms. With the right tools, a skilled gunsmith can make a weapon in their back shed. However, 3D printing can make that process easier and more accessible to less skilled individuals.

  • Expert: Don’t ignore Iran’s chemical, biological weapons threat while enforcing nuclear deal

    While President-elect Donald Trump will likely be stricter in enforcing the terms of the nuclear deal with Iran, the incoming administration should not ignore the threat that Iran’s chemical and biological weapons programs pose, says an expert.

  • It is time to stop using bite marks in forensics: Experts

    Forensic dentists claim that they can accurately associate a bite mark to the one and only set of teeth in the world that could have produced the crime scene bite mark. There is, however, no sound basis for believing that forensic dentists can do such a thing, and researchers are increasingly skeptical about the validity of bite-mark identification as trial evidence.

  • Police say they lack powers to probe phone involvement in crashes

    Four out of five collision investigators surveyed for the research indicated mobile phone involvement in non-fatal accidents was under-reported, with half agreeing the role of phones was even overlooked in fatal crashes. Police officers are worried they lack the right powers and resources properly to investigate whether a mobile phone was being used by a driver at the time of a crash, a new study has found.

  • Expert: Iran falsely accusing U.S. of violating nuclear deal to gain more concessions

    Iranian warnings against the passage of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) reflect “a broader strategy” in pursuit of additional sanctions relief, a senior analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote in a policy brief on Saturday. The ISA was originally passed in 1996, targeting Iran’s energy sector and expanding U.S. secondary sanctions. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a ten-year extension of the act earlier this month. In order to be renewed, the legislation must now pass the Senate and be signed into law by President Barack Obama.

  • How social media is energizing crisis response

    Natural disasters, such as the recent Hurricane Matthew in the Caribbean, present a huge challenge for governments, non-governmental organizations, and of course the individuals and communities affected. But studies of the effectiveness or otherwise of the responses to these disasters typically focus on official activities, producing a top-down view of what unfolded. Researchers studying the 2011 Thailand flooding disaster – the world’s fourth most severe natural disaster at that time instead looked at how individuals on the ground used social media to share information and offer support, often in areas where the official response was lacking or ineffective.

  • Number of Americans kidnapped, killed in Mexico increases

    The number of U.S. citizens kidnapped in Mexico each year is uncertain due to false reporting and underreporting, but in 2014 the FBI investigated at least 199 kidnappings of U.S. citizens in Mexico, a substantial increase from twenty-six kidnappings in 2006. The number of U.S. citizens reported to the Department of State as murdered in Mexico was 100 in 2014 and 103 in 2015.For the family of Norma Magallanes Benitez, a U.S. citizen who was kidnapped on 21 October 2016 while visiting her family ranch in the municipality of Luvianos, Mexico State, these figures are not dry statistics.

  • Extreme-right terrorism threat growing: U.K. police

    Neil Basu, deputy assistant commissioner to the U.K. national coordinator for counter-terrorism policing, has said police fear the threat of far-right violence is growing and poses a similar danger to communities as other forms of extremism. “Over the past twelve months, there have been indications that the threat from [the] extreme right wing could be increasing and we are alive to this,” he said. Figures release by the police show that concerns over potential extreme rightwing radicalization led to a 73.5 percent increase in referrals to the counter-radicalization program Prevent last year, compared with the previous twelve months.

  • Israel: Iran is smuggling missile technology to Hezbollah inside commercial flights

    Iran is smuggling weapons to the terrorist group Hezbollah inside commercial flights to Lebanon, the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations has charged in a letter to the UN Security Council. Such actions would violate several Security Council resolutions. The arms were either shipped directly to Hezbollah on commercial flights to Lebanon, or flown to Damascus, Syria, and then shipped to the terror group over land.

  • Japan’s latest tsunami reaction shows lessons learned from previous disasters

    Parts of Japan were on tsunami alert today following a magnitude 6.9 earthquake off the east coast of the country. This was the first real test for Japan since the 2011 earthquake which led to a deadly tsunami. The lessons learned from 2011 saw higher seawalls, more effective public education and evacuation protocols, a beefed-up response from the nuclear industry and so on, but would it pass the test? The good news is that Japan came through this with flying colors. It wasn’t long after the earthquake hit that the tsunami warnings were later downgraded. Undoubtedly there will have been one or two glitches, but the tsunami was managed well by a country that has experienced more of these events that any of us would ever like to contemplate.

  • Army issues “Hack the Army” challenge

    Army Secretary Eric Fanning announced plans to launch the federal government’s most ambitious “bug bounty” challenge, known as “Hack the Army.” Building off the Army’s previous “Hack the Pentagon” program earlier this year and similar initiatives advanced by private sector companies, the Army will offer cash rewards to hackers who find vulnerabilities in select, public-facing Army Web sites. unlike the Hack the Pentagon program, which offered hackers static Web sites that were not operationally significant as targets, Hack the Army will offer dynamic exchanges of personal identifiable information, sites considered critical to the Army’s recruiting mission.

  • Using drones, insect biobots to map disaster areas

    Researchers have developed a combination of software and hardware that will allow them to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and insect cyborgs, or biobots, to map large, unfamiliar areas – such as collapsed buildings after a disaster. “The idea would be to release a swarm of sensor-equipped biobots – such as remotely controlled cockroaches – into a collapsed building or other dangerous, unmapped area,” says one of the researchers.

  • Stronger gun laws linked to decreased firearm homicides

    Stronger firearm laws are associated with reductions in firearm homicide rates, concludes a study which reviewed all available articles published in peer-reviewed journals from January 1970 to August 2016 that focused specifically on the connection between firearm homicide and firearm laws. Specifically, the laws that seemed to have the most effect were those that strengthened background checks and those that required a permit to purchase a firearm. Laws that banned assault weapons, improved child safety, or aimed to limit firearm trafficking had no clear effect on firearm homicide rates. Laws that aimed to restrict guns in public places had mixed results.

  • Most border arrests by Texas troopers are not for drug smuggling

    Officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) have recorded 31,786 law violations along the Texas-Mexico border from late June 2014 through September 2016. Just 6 percent of the offenses were felony drug possession by “high-threat criminals,” or HTC — the criminals troopers were largely sent to stop. The other HTC priority is supposed to be human smugglers, but they made up just 1 percent of offenses. DPS has added more troopers to the border under the assumed objective that they are going after drug and human smugglers — but a close examination shows that most of their arrests are for drunk driving and misdemeanor drug possession.