• Sea level rise will make Oregon’s existing flooding problems worse

    The hot spots of sea level rise in the United States tend to be located on the East and Gulf Coasts, where sinking land and changes in ocean circulation are amplifying the global sea level rise rate. But when we take a deeper dive into our interactive maps of chronic flooding due to sea level rise, it’s clear that small but significant areas within many of Oregon’s idyllic coastal towns–Coos Bay and Tillamook, for example–are also at risk of chronic inundation in the coming decades. Because it will take decades for the benefits of emissions reductions to be felt, today’s business owners may not benefit from such reductions themselves. But for the towns of coastal Oregon to continue to be dynamic, thriving places for the next generation of entrepreneurs and residents, the case for building resilience to flooding and reducing carbon emissions is clear.

  • Alarming increase in white supremacist propaganda on U.S. college campuses

    New data released Thursday by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) shows an alarming increase in white supremacist propaganda on U.S. college campuses during the 2017 fall semester. Since 1 September 2016, ADL’s Center on Extremism has recorded 346 incidents where white supremacists have used fliers, stickers, banners, and posters to spread their message. These incidents targeted 216 college campuses — from Ivy League schools to local community colleges — in 44 states and Washington, D.C. During the fall semester of 2017 (1 September through 31 December), there were 147 such incidents, a staggering 258 percent increase over the 41 incidents that took place during the fall semester of 2016.

  • 2017 anti-Semitic incidents in the U.K. on the rise

    The Community Security Trust’s (CST) 2017 Anti-Semitic Incidents Report, published Thursday, shows that CST recorded 1,382 anti-Semitic incidents in the United Kingdom in 2017, the highest total CST has ever recorded for a calendar year. This is a 3 percent increase from the 1,346 incidents recorded during 2016, which was itself a record annual total. The previous record high was in 2014, when CST recorded 1,182 anti-Semitic incidents. A copy of the report can be downloaded here. In addition to the 1,382 anti-Semitic incidents, a further 872 reports of potential incidents were received by CST in 2017 but were not deemed to be anti-Semitic and are not included in this total. Many of these 872 potential incidents involved suspicious activity or possible hostile reconnaissance at Jewish locations; criminal activity affecting Jewish people and buildings; and anti-Israel activity that did not include anti-Semitic language, motivation or targeting.

  • Lawmaker demands documents on Kaspersky Lab, threatens use of compulsory process against DHS

    U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) yesterday sent a letter to the DHS demanding a complete response to the committee’s 5 December request and threatening the use of compulsory process to obtain documents related to the DHS Binding Operational Directive (BOD) 17-01. The BOD required all government agencies to identify and remove Kaspersky Lab software from their computer systems.

  • Tillerson urges Latin America to beware of Russia, China

    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned countries of the Western Hemisphere to beware of “alarming” actions by Russia and China in their region, urging them to work with the United States instead. “Latin America doesn’t need new imperial powers that seek only to benefit their own people,” Tillerson said in speech in Texas on 1 February before arriving in Mexico to begin a tour of regional countries. Tillerson said that “strong institutions and governments that are accountable to their people also secure their sovereignty against potential predatory actors that are now showing up in our hemisphere.”

  • The big squeeze on American democracy

    The weakening and sometimes collapse of liberal democracies around the world has long been a focus of research for Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, but the Harvard professors of government only recently felt compelled to turn their analysis to this country. In their new book How Democracies Die (Crown), Levitsky and Ziblatt argue that democracy in the United States faces threats that parallel those that led to its diminishment and demise in other nations. Political polarization has risen dangerously high over race, religion, and culture. While the ascent of President Trump is a particular focus now, the authors argue that the nation’s drift toward authoritarianism, including the breakdown of political norms, predates his rise to power.

  • Digital deceit: Tacking the technologies behind precision propaganda on the internet

    Over the past year, there has been rising pressure on Facebook, Google, and Twitter to account for how bad actors are exploiting their platforms. The catalyst of this so-called “tech-lash” was the revelation last summer that agents of the Russian government engaged in disinformation operations using these services to influence the 2016 presidential campaigns. The investigation into the Russian operation pulled back the curtain on a modern Internet marketplace that enables widespread disinformation over online channels. The authors of a new report say we have only begun to scratch the surface of a much larger ecosystem of digital advertising and marketing technologies.

  • IvySys Technologies awarded $4.6 million DARPA contract to combat Weapons of Mass Terror (WMT)

    Reports of chemical weapons use around the world raises serious concerns about non-state actors’ access to weapons of mass terror (WMT) and reinforces fears of a possible terrorist attack with chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) weapons in the West. Today’s terrorist networks move operatives, money and material across borders and through the crevices of the global economy, making tracking such adversaries a daunting challenge. In this new norm, the security of the United States will rely on novel, game-changing modeling techniques and solutions to curtail mass terror events.

  • Chiefs of three Russian intelligence agencies travel to Washington

    The directors of Russia’s three main intelligence and espionage agencies all traveled to the U.S. capital in recent days, in what observers said was a highly unusual occurrence coming at a time of heightened U.S.-Russian tensions. CIA directors regularly meet and hold talks with their Russian counterparts on a variety of issues. But veteran and retired U.S. intelligence officers say the presence of all three Russian officials in Washington at the same time, and at a time of intense scrutiny over Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, is highly unusual.

  • Vice president, House speaker should be included in nuclear launch decisions: Experts

    The U.S. protocol for ordering a nuclear attack should be revised to require not only an order from the president, but consent by the next two officials in the presidential chain of succession — the vice president and speaker of the House of Representatives, three experts argue in a new paper. “No one person should be able to order a nuclear attack,” said one of the paper’s authors. “There’s no reason to maintain this dangerous policy, since there are viable alternatives that would allow other officials to take part in any decision to use nuclear weapons, whether it’s a first use or a launch responding to a nuclear attack.”

  • Some real “bombshell news” in the Mueller investigation

    Former Trump team legal spokesperson Mark Corallo, in the summer of 2016, had concerns that White House communications director Hope Hicks may be considering obstructing justice after a comment she made in a conference call about emails between Donald Trump Jr. and Russians with ties to the Kremlin. “Mark Corallo is a pro’s pro who went to work for the Trump legal team completely on board and who wanted to help the president … well, make America great again. When he left after two months with some reports that he was troubled by what he was seeing … that was a deeply ominous sign,” Jim Geraghty writes in National Review. “If Corallo ends up offering sort of critical testimony, this is not because he’s a Judas or because he’s part of the establishment or some sort of ‘Deep State’ sellout. It’s because he saw stuff that genuinely struck him as either illegal or unethical or both and he’s not the kind of person who’s willing to lie under oath about it.”

  • ISIS bomb-making videos continue to be available on Google platforms

    One of ISIS’s most notorious bomb-making videos is frequently and continually uploaded to Google web platforms, and there is little indication that the company is taking the appropriate steps to prevent these reuploads. “You Must Fight Them O Muwahhid” is one of ISIS’s most infamous videos, urging attacks in the West, displaying knife attack tactics on a live human target, and notably, providing instructions for building an explosive device with easily obtainable materials.

  • Number of Muslim-Americans involved in terrorism continues to drop in 2017: Report

    The annual report from the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security documents a continuing decline in the number of Muslim-Americans associated with violent extremism in 2017. The total for the first year of the Trump administration continued a downward trend which was visible in the final year of the Obama administration. Muslim-American extremists have caused 140 deaths in more than 16 years since September 11, 2001. Over the same period, there have been approximately 260,000 murders in the United States, and 267 lives were lost in mass shootings in 2017 alone (this figure does not include the victims of Muslim-American extremists). Since 2012, 78 Muslim-Americans have been identified as joining militants abroad, according to the report. More than half of these individuals have since been killed or detained.

  • Wanted: A firewall to protect U.S. elections

    As the FBI and Congress work to unravel Russia’s hacking of the 2016 presidential election and learn whether anyone in Donald Trump’s campaign supported the effort, one thing has become clear: U.S. elections are far more vulnerable to manipulation than was thought. A U.S. Department of Homeland Security warning and offer last year to help state election officials protect voter registration rolls, voting machines, and software from tampering was coolly received, perhaps out of skepticism or innate distrust of federal interference in a domain historically controlled by the states. Now, as federal and state officials are partnering to examine voting and election security, a new initiative at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) is working to shore up another at-risk component of the U.S. election system: political campaigns.

  • Netanyahu tells Putin Israel won’t allow Iranian bases in Syria, missile plants in Lebanon

    In talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Putin that Israel would not tolerate an Iranian military presence in Syria or making Lebanon into “factory for precision missiles” to attack Israel. Regarding Iranian efforts to establish a base of operations in Syria, Netanyahu said, “I made clear to Putin that we will stop it if it doesn’t stop by itself. We are already acting to stop it.”