• The bonus effects of California's water saving

    Measures to cut water use by 25 percent across California were implemented in 2015, following a four-year drought in the state that caused the fallowing of 542,000 acres of land, total economic costs of $2.74 billion, and the loss of approximately 21,000 jobs. The UC Davis researchers found that, while the 25 percent target had not quite been reached over the one-year period — with 524,000 million gallons of water saved — the measures’ impact had positive knock-on effects for other environmental objectives, leading to substantial reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and electricity consumption in the state.

  • Russian hackers who hacked DNC are now targeting U.S. Senate: Experts

    Russian hackers from the group known as “Fancy Bear” are targeting the U.S. Senate with a new espionage campaign, according to cybersecurity firm TrendMicro. Fancy Bear was one of the Russian government’s hacking groups employed by the Kremlin in 2016 to help Donald Trump win the presidency, and TrendMicro analysts say the group has spent the past few months laying the groundwork for an espionage campaign against the U.S. Senate. Analysts say that the group’s efforts to gather the emails of America’s political elite suggest that the Kremlin plans to continue to interfere in the American political process.

  • Balloon-borne infrasound sensor array detects explosions

    Infrasound is sound of very low frequencies, below 20 hertz, which is lower than humans can hear. African elephants produce infrasound for long-distance communication at around 15 hertz. For comparison, a bumblebee’s buzz is typically 150 hertz and humans hear in the range of 20 to 20,000 hertz. Infrasound is important because it’s one of the verification technologies the U.S. and the international community use to monitor explosions, including those caused by nuclear tests. Traditionally, infrasound is detected by ground-based sensor arrays, which don’t cover the open ocean and can be muddled by other noises, such as the wind. Sandia Lab scientists is using sheets of plastic, packing tape, some string, a little charcoal dust, and a white shoebox-size box to build a solar-powered hot air balloon for detecting infrasound.

  • Detect illicit drone video filming

    Researchers have demonstrated the first technique to detect a drone camera illicitly capturing video. Their study addresses increasing concerns about the proliferation of drone use for personal and business applications and how it is impinging on privacy and safety.

  • Report details two decades of Putin’s attacks on democracy, U.S. vulnerability to Kremlin's interference

    A Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democratic staff report released Wednesday details Russian president Vladimir Putin’s nearly two decades-long assault on democratic institutions, universal values, and the rule of law across Europe and in his own country. The report finds that President Trump’s refusal to publicly acknowledge the threat posed by the Russian government has hampered efforts to mobilize the U.S. government, strengthen U.S. institutions, and work with U.S. European allies to counter Putin’s interference in democracies abroad. In the absence of unequivocal presidential leadership, the United States remains vulnerable to Russian interference. The report includes more than thirty recommendations for the United States and its allies.

  • Sputnik partner “required to register” under U.S. Foreign-Agent law

    State-supported Russian media outlet Sputnik says its U.S.-based partner company RIA Global LLC has been ordered to register as a foreign agent by the U.S. government. According to Sputnik, the Justice Department said that RIA Global produces content on behalf of state media company Rossiya Segodnya and thus on behalf of the Russian government.

  • Smart sensor could revolutionize crime, terrorism prevention

    Crime, terrorism prevention, environmental monitoring, reusable electronics, medical diagnostics and food safety, are just a few of the far-reaching areas where a new chemical sensor could revolutionize progress. Engineers at the University of Oxford have used material compounds, known as Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs), to develop technology that senses and responds to light and chemicals. The material visibly changes color depending on the substance detected.

  • Russia’s Europe meddling; 2018 election security plan; Russia hacks Winter Olympics, and more

    · Intelligence Committee prepares election security plan to thwart Russian hacking

    · Everything we know so far about Russian election meddling in Europe

    · Congress’ grilling of tech companies in 2017 foreshadows the debates of 2018

    · Why is WikiLeaks trying to kneecap Michael Wolff’s book?

    · The digger who commissioned the Trump-Russia dossier

    · Czechs fear Russian fake news in presidential election

    · We are being defeated in a digital war – but there is still time to fight back

    · Sneaky malware disguises itself as an Adobe Flash Player installer

    · Fancy Bear: Alleged Russian hackers leak ‘emails and documents’ from Olympic body

    · Republicans work to frustrate Mueller’s Russia investigation as probes close in on Trump White House

  • Netanyahu hints Israel has thwarted plots to crash hijacked planes into European cities

    Israel’s prime minister tells NATO ambassadors that Israeli intelligence has thwarted “several dozen major terrorist attacks” against countries in Europe — some involving crashing highjacked planes into urban centers. Netanyahu expressed Israel’s growing concern with the de facto control Iran and Hezbollah are gaining over Syria. Last week, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said the most serious immediate threat to Israel was posed by Hezbollah, followed by other Iran-supported jihadist groups positioned on the Syrian border.

  • Israeli security cabinet holds “significant” meetings to discuss threat on northern border

    Israel’s security cabinet has convened several times in recent days, holding “extremely significant” meetings to discuss the threats on Israel’s northern border, as well as necessary diplomatic activity to prevent Syria from turning into a foothold for Iranian forces. News media reports stated that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held telephone conversations with world leaders and warned them of Iran’s growing influence in Lebanon and Syria through their terror proxy Hezbollah and Iranian-backed Shiite militia forces in Syria.

  • Russia says 13 drones used in attack on its air base, naval facility in Syria

    Russia says thirteen armed drones have recently been used to attack its air base and its naval facility in western Syria. The Russian Defense Ministry said on 8 January that there were no casualties or damage as a result of the attacks on the Hmeimim air base and Tartus naval facility. Russian forces were able to overpower radio signals for some of the drones and gain control of them during the attacks overnight on 5-6 January, a statement said.

  • FDA indefinitely delays enforcing 4 FSMA provisions

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that, for now, it will not enforce four rules related to the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), a law passed in 2011 that signaled the biggest overhaul in the U.S. food safety laws in seventy years. The provisions the FDA does not intend to enforce include aspects of the “farm” definition, requirements related to written assurances from a manufacturer’s customers, requirements for importers of food contact substances, and requirements related to certain human food by-products for use as animal food within three of FSMA’s rules that relate to human and animal food safety, foreign supplier verification, and growing standards for human food.

  • Charlie Hebdo changed the way the French say ‘liberté, égalité, fraternité’

    It has been three years since gunmen attacked the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people. In the days that followed, five more lost their lives while police hunted for the perpetrators – brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi. Eventually, they were shot dead after an eight-hour standoff involving hostages. These events, and the way they have been memorialized since, have triggered a shift in some elements of French national identity – the collection of ideas, symbols and emotions that define what it means to be French – particularly the national motto, “liberté, égalité, fraternité.” In the aftermath of terror, the ideals of France’s past have subtly morphed, as its people look for ways to defend the right to free speech, while mourning the harsh reality of its cost. Amid all this conflict, there is some reassurance to be found: Paris’s contested sites and spaces are proof that freedom of speech is alive and well in France. Satire, after all, has a longer history than terrorism.

  • Election hacking, as we understand it today, is not a cybersecurity issue

    Many lawmakers and analysts argue that the Kremlin’s successful 2016 campaign to undermine American democracy, increase societal conflict and political polarization, and help Donald Trump win the presidency, had to do with weak cybersecurity measures – and that the way to prevent similar efforts by foreign powers to influence U.S. elections is to bolster U.S. cybersecurity. Herb Lin writes that it is not at all obvious that the success of Russian meddling in the 2016 election was primarily the result of failures in the nation’s cybersecurity posture. Rather, much more decisive in Russia’s successful meddling was the Kremlin’s sophisticated disinformation campaign on social media platforms. Even fully funded and well-implemented measures the strengthen the cybersecurity aspects pf American elections will not ameliorate the effects of Russian efforts to increase the polarization of the U.S. electorate. “For this reason, a focus on preventing the hacking of election systems is misleading and dangerous—it distracts us from the real danger to the republic today, which is the toxic nature of political discourse in an internet-enabled information environment that Russia can manipulate in entirely legal ways.”

  • U.S. imposes sanctions on Iran over ballistic missiles, signals further measures

    The United States imposed sanctions on Thursday on five Iranian entities over their involvement in developing ballistic missiles and signaled that more punitive measures are in play in response to the Islamic Republic’s crackdown of anti-government protests. The five designated companies are all subsidiaries of Iran’s Shahid Bakeri Industrial Group (SBIG), which is part of the Iranian Defense Ministry.