• Crack Down on Genomic Surveillance

    Across the world, DNA databases that could be used for state-level surveillance are steadily growing. Yves Moreau writes that “Now the stakes are higher for two reasons. First, as technology gets cheaper, many countries might want to build massive DNA databases. Second, DNA-profiling technology can be used in conjunction with other tools for biometric identification — and alongside the analysis of many other types of personal data, including an individual’s posting behavior on social networks.”

  • Underwater Telecom Cables to Be Used as Seismic Detection Network

    About 70 percent of Earth’s surface lies under the sea, which means that, until now, most of the Earth’s surface had been largely without early-warning seismic detection stations. Scientists say that fiber-optic cables that constitute a global undersea telecommunications network could one day help in studying offshore earthquakes.

  • Crisis Architecture: Building to Defend against Active Aggressors

    A study of mass shootings in the United States shows that a consistent feature of these attacks is that they are over quickly. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Tadd Lahnert write that “The average time between an attacker entering a structure and the end of the shooting was a mere 9 minutes and 48 seconds.” They call for the adoption of an architectural paradigm they call crisis architecture – “The focus of this paradigm is designing the built environment in a way that increases the likelihood that individuals will survive an active aggressor incident,” they write.

  • London Bridge Attack: I Told Ministers We Were Treating Terrorist Prisoners with Jaw-Dropping Naivety. Did They Listen?

    Usman Khan, a 28-year old terrorist who on Friday killed two people on the London Bridge before being killed by the police, served time in jail for “terrorist offenses” and was monitored by the British police. Ian Acheson, who, in 2016, at the request of then-Justice Minister Michael Gove, led a team of investigators who wrote a detailed and highly critical report about the way radicalized Islamist terrorists are managed in jail and after their release, writes: “What we found was so shockingly bad that I had to agree to the language in the original report being toned down. With hindsight, I’m not sure that was the right decision.”

  • Officials Confirm Santa Clarita Shooter Used a Ghost Gun

    The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department last week confirmed that the weapon used in the Santa Clarita, California, school shooting was a homemade, unserialized pistol, otherwise known as a ghost gun. more and more homemade, unserialized weapons are popping up at crime scenes across California. Ghost guns provide a host of challenges for law enforcement. Chief among them is that they enable minors or those with criminal records to acquire firearms without having to go through a background check or create a trail of paperwork surrounding a gun purchase.

  • The Icebreaker Gap Doesn’t Mean America is Losing in the Arctic

    A warming Arctic is potentially creating a colder regional security environment. Exchanges of whiskey and schnapps may have been sufficient for the Canadians and Danes, as they have done over the disputed Hans Island — but may not be enough as new contentious issues emerge. Paul C. Avey writes that there are growing worries that a region long characterized by international cooperation will no longer enjoy that exceptional status.

  • Do Lockdown Drills Do Any Good?

    School lockdown drills and exercises are controversial today, due in large part to some troubling examples making headlines. Parents who fear that these experiences could be traumatizing their children say that rather than reduce the harm caused during mass shootings, dramatic approaches cause harm by amplifying students’ fears about the danger of being shot at school. This raises a good question I seek to answer through my research: Is it possible to be prepared without being scared?

  • Lack of Preparation Hampers Protection against Bushfires

    As Australia confronts devastating bushfire conditions, people across the nation are doing all they can to ensure the safety of their homes, property and loved ones. But while many individuals are responding well to bushfire risks, a lack of preparation on the community level could be hampering their efforts, according to a new research.

  • Nazi Symbols and Racist Memes: Combating School Intolerance

    The number of Americans between the ages of 15 and 21 who saw extremist content online jumped by about 20 percent, to 70.2 percent from 58.3 percent, between 2013 and 2016, according to a new study. As more such material spills from the web to young people and into classrooms nationwide, educators increasingly find themselves under pressure to combat this new front of hate. Many educators say they feel ill-equipped to recognize what students absorb from the web, much less to address it.

  • Fourth Spy Unearthed in U.S. Atomic Bomb Project

    The United States detonated world’s first atomic bomb on 16 July 1945. Four years later, in August 1949, the Soviet Union detonated a nearly identical device in Central Asia – an event which stunned the U.S. military and scientific communities, which did not believe the Soviet Union had the scientific and technical know-how to do so. By 1950s, it became clear that the Soviet quick march to the bomb was aided by spies that the USSR managed to place in Los Alamos – three of them were identified early on. The identity of the fourth has just been revealed.

  • The U.S. Wants to Bury SC’s Plutonium Stockpile Forever. Its New Home Isn’t Sure It Wants It.

    How long will it take for weapons-grade plutonium stockpile, temporarily stored at the South Carolina’s Savanah River nuclear weapons complex, to decay, that it, to have its radioactivity reduced to a level at which it will no longer pose radiation risks or turned into nuclear weapons? About seven billion years, or a little more than double the age of planet Earth. The government’s plutonium plan calls for expanding a nuclear waste burial ground located inside an abandoned salt mine near Carlsbad, New Mexico, which is known as the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP. But New Mexico objects.

  • Earthquake Conspiracy Theorists Are Wreaking Havoc During Emergencies

    Scientists have been trying hard to be able to predict earthquakes, because accurately predicting an earthquake would save lives, decrease property damage, and allow people to have some measure of control over one of nature’s most frightening and unpredictable events. Scientific predictions of the location and time of specific tremors are modest in scope – which have created an opening for earthquake conspiracy theorists who “claim that they have discovered the key to accurate quake prediction, as well as the hidden secrets behind why these tremors happen,” Anna Merlan writes.

  • System Locates Shooters Using Smartphone

    Researchers have developed a system that can accurately locate a shooter based on video recordings from as few as three smartphones. When demonstrated using three video recordings from the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead and hundreds wounded, the system correctly estimated the shooter’s actual location - the north wing of the Mandalay Bay hotel. The estimate was based on three gunshots fired within the first minute of what would be a prolonged massacre.

  • Victory: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Police Can’t Force You to Tell Them Your Password

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a forceful opinion on Wednesday holding that the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from being forced to disclose the passcode to their devices to the police. The court found that disclosing a password is “testimony” protected by the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination.

  • Cryptocurrency and National Insecurity

    A recent exercise at Harvard’s Kennedy School explored the dangers of large sums of money being secretly sent to hostile nations. The exercise brought together administration veterans, career diplomats, and academics to dramatize a very real prospect — the rise of an encrypted digital currency that would upend the U.S. dollar’s dominance and effectively render ineffective economic sanctions, like those currently applied to North Korea.