• European Muslims perceive the EU more positively than non-Muslim Europeans

    A new study found that Muslims in Europe have a more positive view of the European Union (EU) compared to all other groups of the European population. “On average, Muslims have a higher level of trust in EU institutions than members of other religious or non-religious groups such as Christians and those unaffiliated with any religion,” says a researcher.

  • With more superstorms predicted, there’s a dream project to keep New York above water

    Five years ago, on 29 October 2012, the coasts of New York and New Jersey were devastated by a rare late-October superstorm. Superstorm Sandy killed seventy-two people in the United States and caused more than $70 billion in damage. Over the next thirty years, floods of 7.4 feet or more, which used to occur in the New York area once every 500 years and are now happening every 25, could strike as frequently as every five years. Scientists say that sea-level rise caused by climate change is the biggest factor. One big idea to prevent massive destruction from the next, inevitable superstorm: A constellation of giant underwater gates which would rise in New York Harbor and beyond when disaster looms.

  • Int’l military experts: Next Hezbollah war with Israel is inevitable

    A war between Israel and the Iranian-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah is inevitable and will likely be “more violent and destructive” than previous conflicts, according to a report released on Wednesday by former senior defense officials, known collectively as the High Level Military Group (HLMG). The HLMG’s report describe Hezbollah as being “widely considered to be the most powerful non-state armed actor in the world.”

  • Deeper understanding of ISIS propaganda can help in the fight against terrorism

    New research argues that ISIS propaganda is a form of strategic communication and that analyzing their materials through a neo-institutional framework (a theory that examines how a group’s cultural norms and rules guide their choices,) can help researchers and military better investigate extreme propagandists’ techniques and develop ways to combat them.

  • Too much browser functionality creates unnecessary security, privacy risks

    Modern website browsers provide an incredibly broad range of features, with more and more capabilities being added every day. New research has identified numerous browser functionalities rarely used or needed by websites, but which pose substantial security and privacy risks to web surfers. Blocking website access to unnecessary browser functionality would help reduce these risks.

  • The dangerous combination of civil war and threat of global pandemics

    There are thirty civil wars underway around the globe, where civilians are dealing with death and destruction as well as public health emergencies exacerbated by the deadly march of conflict. And yet today, of the nearly 200 countries on this planet, only six nations — three rich ones and three poor ones — have taken steps to evaluate their ability to withstand a global pandemic. “The bottom line is that despite the profound global threat of pandemics, there remains no global health mechanism to force parties to act in accordance with global health interests,” says one expert. “The unpredictability of a serious infectious outbreak, the speed with which it can disseminate, and the fears of domestic political audience can together create a powerful destabilizing force,” says another.

  • Unprecedented levels of cross-border cooperation among extreme right groups: Report

    New research released the other day by ISD, a counter-extremism NGO, reveals increasing collaboration among extreme far-right groups globally. The report shows how extreme right groups have been opportunistically, and effectively, bridging ideologies and adapting their tone to manipulate legitimate social grievances – immigration, freedom of speech, and terrorism – in order to reach and radicalize mainstream parties and movements.

  • DOD to remove Kaspersky software from Pentagon systems

    The Department of Defense is reviewing its computer systems to make sure that software from under-suspicion Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky does not touch any military systems. In September DHS issued a directive to all civilian government agencies to remove Kaspersky software from their systems. The directive, which gave agencies three months to complete the removal, referred to deepening concerns in the U.S. intelligence community about the close relationship between Kaspersky and the Russian intelligence agencies.

  • DOD to remove Kaspersky software from Pentagon systems

    The Department of Defense is reviewing its computer systems to make sure that software from under-suspicion Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky does not touch any military systems. In September DHS issued a directive to all civilian government agencies to remove Kaspersky software from their systems. The directive, which gave agencies three months to complete the removal, referred to deepening concerns in the U.S. intelligence community about the close relationship between Kaspersky and the Russian intelligence agencies.

  • Tracing communism’s reach, 100 years after the Russian Revolution

    One hundred years ago Wednesday, 25 October, the Bolsheviks overthrew the Provisional Government in Petrograd (St. Petersburg), which came to power on 3 March 1917 after the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II. The Bolsheviks, or communists, under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin, were now in power in Russia, ending nearly two centuries of monarchic rule. A civil war followed, leading to the creation of the Soviet Union (USSR) in 1922. So great was the Soviet Union’s outsize impact over the course of its brief life, that its dissolution, on 25 December 1991, led to debate over what to expect in a world without it. In a 1989 essay titled “The End of History” – expanded in a 1992 book — political scientist Francis Fukuyama argued that the end of communism meant that the last challenge to Western liberal democracy had ended, and that humanity had reached an endpoint, with the “universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.” NYU politics professor Joshua Tucker, the co-author of a new book, Communism’s Shadow, suggests that communist thought continues to have a real impact today, and that the legacy of the Soviet Union is very much alive.

  • Facebook’s evidence of Russian electoral meddling is only ‘the tip of the iceberg’

    “First of all, let’s step back and put the Russian involvement in 2016 in the overall context,” says Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee. “It was approved at the highest level. It was coordinated in ways that were unprecedented. It included the things that have been much reported on, like hacking into both political parties and releasing information harmful to one candidate, Clinton, and helpful to Trump.” Warner adds: “I think our government and the platform companies were more than a little bit caught off guard. I don’t think anyone had seen anything of this scale before.”

  • Are many hate crimes really examples of domestic terrorism?

    This growing domestic menace deserves more attention than it’s getting. I consider domestic terrorism a more significant threat than the foreign-masterminded variety in part because it is more common in terms of the number of attacks on U.S. soil. The number of violent attacks on U.S. soil inspired by far-right ideology has spiked since the beginning of this century, rising from a yearly average of 70 attacks in the 1990s to a yearly average of more than 300 since 2001. Despite an uptick in far-right violence and the Trump administration’s plan to increase the Department of Homeland Security budget by 6.7 percent to $44.1 billion in 2018, the White House wants to cut spending for programs that fight non-Muslim domestic terrorism. The federal government has also frozen $10 million in grants aimed at countering domestic violent extremism. This approach is bound to weaken the authorities’ power to monitor far-right groups, undercutting public safety.

  • Normalizing white nationalist hate

    A panel of experts met last week at Harvard University’s Kennedy School (HKS) to examine the U.S. white nationalist movement’s rise to prominence and discuss ways to counter it. One panelist was R. Derek Black, a former white nationalist activist whose father, Don Black, created Stormfront, the internet’s first and largest white nationalist site. When the moderator asked whether white nationalists tended to be seen as “people from Alabama,” Black replied that most of the stereotypes are inaccurate. “There’s a strange misconception that it’s a trailer park movement, or that it’s people who haven’t thought through their beliefs. But think about it. Who has the resources to travel across the country for rallies? It’s not a wealthy movement, but it’s bankers, lawyers, people with good jobs.”

  • New early-warning intelligence system alerts civilians to impending chemical attacks

    Since 2011, the Assad regime has killed hundreds of Syrian, and injured thousands, through the use of chemical weapons. Chemical agents are different from explosive chemicals, which cause localized destruction through force. Sarin gas, for example, a nerve agent which has been used in many attacks in Syria, can diffuse into the atmosphere and spread for hundreds of miles. Researchers are working to develop an intelligence system for chemical plume trajectory tracking, which is critical for national safety against impending chemical threats.

  • Three million Americans carry loaded handguns daily

    An estimated three million adult American handgun owners carry a firearm loaded and on their person on a daily basis, and nine million do so on a monthly basis, new research indicates. The vast majority cited protection as their primary reason for carrying a firearm.