• Blacks believe police view them as “suspects first, civilians second”: Study

    Most of the Ferguson protestors believed police view black people as worthless thugs and white people as innocent and superior — perceptions which, true or not, affect police-community relations in an era of persistent racial strife. “The protestors did not view police brutality and discrimination as an isolated phenomenon,” says a the researcher who conducted interviews with the protesters. “Rather, they believed that it’s reflective of broader social inequality and discrimination in society at large.”

  • FBI may be able to break into San Bernardino terrorist’s phone without Apple’s help

    Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym has postponed until 5 April a court hearing about the FBI’s request that the court would order Apple to unlock the phone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists. The FBI asked the judge to postpone the hearing after the agency said it may have found a way to unlock the phone without Apple’s help.

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  • Better tracking of police homicides

    Official counts of homicides by police seriously undercount incidents, according to a study, but a relatively new national data system, currently in use in thirty-two states, could be a crucial tool for gathering more comprehensive information, say the researchers.

  • Helping inspectors locate and identify underground nuclear tests

    Through experiments and computer models of gas releases, scientists have simulated signatures of gases from underground nuclear explosions (UNEs) that may be carried by winds far from the point of detonation. The work will help international inspectors locate and identify a clandestine UNE site within a 1,000 square kilometer search area during an on-site inspection that could be carried out under the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

  • Three gun-safety laws in effect in some states could significantly reduce gun deaths

    A nationwide study which analyzes the impact of gun-control laws in the United States has found that just 9 of 25 state laws are effective in reducing firearm deaths. The research suggests that three laws implemented in some states could reduce gun deaths by more than 80 percent if they were implemented nationwide. Laws requiring firearm identification through ballistic imprinting or microstamping were found to reduce the projected mortality risk by 84 percent; ammunition background checks by 82 percent; and universal background checks for all gun purchases by 61 percent. Nineother states laws — such as the so-called “Stand your Ground” laws — were associated with increased mortality.

  • 1,500 people killed in 160 documented chemical attacks in Syria since 2011

    The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) earlier today (Monday) released a report detailing 161 chemical attacks in Syria since the conflict emerged in 2011. These attacks have killed nearly 1,500 people in Syria, according to the report. A UN war crimes expert says the documentation of the attacks will allow for international prosecution in the future.

  • Social media used to assess damage caused by natural disasters

    A new study concludes that it is possible to determine the damage caused by a natural disaster in just a few hours by using data from social networks. “Twitter, the social network which we have analyzed, is useful for the management, real-time monitoring and even prediction of the economic impact that disasters like Hurricane Sandy can have,” says one of the researchers.

  • U.K. to destroy biometric information of 45 terror suspects due to botched paperwork

    British security agencies will have to destroy fingerprints and DNA of forty-five terror suspects because the police retained the biometric samples longer than the law allows. The law does allow the police to keep biometric information of terrorism suspects indefinitely, but certain paperwork must be completed within a certain period of time to allow that, and if the paperwork is not completed, the samples must be destroyed. A new report reveals that Britain holds biometric information and materials on nearly 8,000 suspects.

  • Modern buildings have an alarming flaw when people need to escape quickly

    The landscapes in which many of us live would have been unimaginable to previous generations. We now have skyscrapers so striking and tall they would make Icarus turn pale. Yet in emergency situations, our seemingly brilliant designs sometimes turn against us – and become death traps when disaster strikes. There is a major problem with the way we evaluate the safety of the structures in which we live and work. Until we address it, our chances of survival are a little like those of the characters from Greek legend – in the lap of the gods.

  • Snowden dismisses FBI's claim it cannot unlock San Bernardino killers’ iPhone

    Edward Snowden has joined the debate over the FBI’s attempt to force Apple to help it unlock the iPhone 5C used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists. The FBI says that only Apple can deactivate certain passcode protections on the iPhone — for example, the 10-attempt limit, which makes the phone permanently inaccessible after ten attempts to guess the password —which would allow law enforcement to guess the passcode by using brute-force.

  • Pastor leading prayers at a Trump rally says Sandy Hook school massacre was a hoax

    Carl Gallups an evangelical pastor who led prayers at a Donald Trump campaign rally, has been a Sandy Hook “truther,” claiming that the school massacre never happened and that the parents of the child victims were “Hollywood actors” hired by the Obama administration to help promote gun safety laws.

  • New laser-based aircraft tracking system to aid in disaster relief efforts

    A ground-breaking tracking system called HYPERION, based on eye-safe lasers, could enable aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and even orbiting satellites to transmit vital data to ground stations more securely, quickly and efficiently. HYPERION, offering major benefits compared with the traditional radio frequency (RF) data transmission systems currently relied on in the UAV sector, could allow UAVs engaged in disaster monitoring, surveying, search and rescue, and other humanitarian missions to send detailed images more rapidly back to the ground for analysis.

  • DARPA announces VTOL X-Plane Phase 2 design

    For decades, aircraft designers seeking to improve vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities have endured a substantial set of interrelated challenges. Dozens of attempts have been made to increase top speed without sacrificing range, efficiency or the ability to do useful work, with each effort struggling or failing in one way or another. DARPA says that its VTOL Experimental Plane (VTOL X-Plane) program aims to overcome these challenges through innovative cross-pollination between fixed-wing and rotary-wing technologies.

  • Senior defense officials discuss arctic, Antarctic science and research

    To address the need for collaborative research in the Polar Regions, Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Mat Winter met in Finland two weeks ago with counterparts from five nations in a first-ever gathering of senior defense officials to coordinate science and technology research in high latitudes. While the U.S. Navy has long experience with polar operations, changing climates present new challenges — particularly for surface ships, as new water passages open up.

  • Apple versus FBI: All Writs Act’s age should not bar its use

    A federal magistrate judge in California has issued a warrant ordering Apple to assist the FBI in accessing data on an iPhone used by a suspect in the December 2015 San Bernardino mass shooting. Apple’s public refusal to comply with the order – and its motion asking a judge to reverse the order – have set up a legal showdown that has captivated the technology world. It’s hard not to think that marketing and economics are at least somewhat behind Apple’s actions. But my guess is most people understand that the FBI would not be getting into their phones without a probable cause search warrant. In addition, I would think Apple would not want to have a market composed of people who want to use iPhones for dangerous and illegal activity. The company might actually lose more future customers because of its uncooperative attitude than it would ever lose by helping the government by complying with a court order.