• Melting ice sheet could release frozen cold war-era radioactive waste

    Camp Century, a U.S. military base built within the Greenland Ice Sheet in 1959, was decommissioned in 1967, and its infrastructure and waste were abandoned under the assumption they would be entombed forever by perpetual snowfall. But climate change has warmed the Arctic more than any other region on Earth, and as portion of the ice sheet covering Camp Century melt, the camp’s infrastructure will become exposed, and any remaining biological, chemical, and radioactive waste could re-enter the environment.

  • In dirty bomb prevention, Texas fails a crucial test

    The clandestine group’s goal was clear: Obtain the building blocks of a radioactive “dirty bomb” — capable of poisoning a major city for a year or more — by openly purchasing the raw ingredients from authorized sellers inside the United States. It should have been hard. The purchase of lethal radioactive materials — even modestly dangerous ones — requires a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a measure meant to keep them away from terrorists. But a team of undercover bureaucrats with the investigative arm of Congress discovered that getting a license and then ordering enough materials to make a dirty bomb was strikingly simple.

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  • “Liquid fingerprinting” technique identifies unknown liquids instantly

    A new company — Validere — will commercialize sensing technology invented at Harvard University that can perform instant, in-field characterization of the chemical make-up and material properties of unknown liquids. Validere aims to develop the licensed technology, called Watermark Ink (W-INK), into a pocket-sized device that could be used by first responders to quickly identify chemical spills, or by officials to verify the fuel grade of gasoline right at the pump.

  • Accessing a murder victim’s fingerprint-protected smartphone to help solve a crime

    Last month, when the Michigan State University Police Department approached professor Anil Jain to see if he could access a fingerprint-locked deceased man’s smartphone to aid in a police investigation, Jain accepted the scientific challenge. On Monday, 25vJuly, it was mission accomplished – Jain and his team unlocked the phone.

  • Live-streaming crime incidents a challenge U.S. privacy law

    In July, the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile went viral on social media. The aftermath of the Castile shooting was first shared via Facebook Live, which is a type of mobile streaming video technology (MSVT) that allows users to stream live video to followers, similar to Periscope and Meerkat. The two incidents focus attention on the legal rights of people to record and live stream and any potential right to be free from being recorded and streamed in public places.

  • “Second skin” uniform protects soldiers from biological, chemical agents in the field

    In work that aims to protect soldiers from biological and chemical threats, scientists have created a material that is highly breathable yet protective from biological agents. This material is the first key component of futuristic smart uniforms that also will respond to and protect from environmental chemical hazards.

  • 600 armed police officers to protect London

    The London police has launched Operation Hercules in which additional firearms officers will be deployed in visible roles in the capital. The Met will add 600 additional firearms officers to protect London against any attack. The first are now fully trained and operationally ready.

  • Researchers projecting epidemic’s spread say Zika cases are under-reported

    With the report from Florida governor Rick Scott on Monday that fourteen people in the state have been infected with the Zika virus most likely through mosquito transmission, the concern about outbreaks in the United States has intensified. A new study, along with interactive maps, provides current numbers as well projections for the number of Zika cases in the Americas through January 2017. It also provides projections for the number of microcephaly cases associated with the disease through October 2017, a date chosen to allow for the nine months of pregnancy.

  • Public safety consolidation works well for some communities, but not for others

    In the first comprehensive work of its kind, a Michigan State University criminologist has completed a study on the implementation and outcomes of public safety consolidation — the merging of a city’s police and fire departments. The study finds that while public safety consolidation can work well for some communities, it is not the best solution for others.

  • Swimming, crawling, climbing robot to help in security, search & rescue missions

    Researchers have developed the first single actuator wave-like robot (SAW). SAW can climb over obstacles or crawl through unstable terrain like sand, grass, and gravel, reaching a top speed of 22.5 inches. The robot will be useful for traveling through the intestine for imaging and biopsies, and for infiltrating problematic, complex security areas, such as tunnels, destroyed buildings, and pipes.

  • False earthquake smartphone alert sends Japanese into panic

    Thousands of Tokyo residents were sent into panic by an erroneous alert that a massive earthquake had hit the Japanese capital. The alert also disrupted some train services. The Japanese Meteorological Agency issued, and then sent, the alert just after 5 p.m., saying a magnitude-9.1 quake had struck the city. The agency cancelled the alert a few seconds later, but tens of thousands of smartphone owners who subscribe to the popular Yurekuru disaster warning app had already received the alert.

  • Remotely disabling non-cooperative vehicles

    As they strive to keep the public safe, one of the key challenges facing European security services is the ability to control and stop, at distance, non-cooperative vehicles posing a threat. However, this ability presents more than a technical challenge. To comply with EU legislation, as well as adhere to ethical concerns, the technology would also have to be safe for the user, the driver (and passengers), as well as members of the public and the material infrastructure of the surrounding environment. In lab bench testing, researchers evaluated signal frequency, waveform, and duration — principally of electromagnetic pulses (EMP) and high power microwaves (HPM) — to determine which could best disrupt the functioning of a vehicle’s electronic components.

  • Reducing U.S. firearm suicide rates

    In 2014, of the more than 33,500 firearm deaths in the United States, over 21,000 were the result of suicide. Studies in the United States showed that greater firearm availability is associated with greater risk of firearm suicide. Globally, four studies in other developed countries found that per capita gun ownership correlates with national firearm suicide rates. To reduce firearm suicide rates in the United States, the authors recommended several measures, such as targeted legislation to limit firearm access to individuals at risk for suicide, using smart gun technology, offering public education on firearm suicide, and research to evaluate the effectiveness of prevention methods.

  • Crime victims should call the police

    As law enforcement agencies, community organizations, and public health officials work to develop effective crime-prevention strategies, new research finds that individuals who report being victims of crime to police are less likely to become future victims of crime than those who do not report their initial experiences.

  • New tool keeps track of violent groups without having to geolocate the tweets

    Researchers have developed new sentiment analysis algorithms which can monitor the social network Twitter in search of violent groups. The system analyzes both the messages these individuals share and how their relationships develop. The police and other law enforcement agencies could use the tool to detect critical points, threats, and areas with concentrations of potentially dangerous people.