• How do forensic engineers investigate bridge collapses, like the one in Miami?

    On 15 March, a 950-ton partially assembled pedestrian bridge at Florida International University in Miami suddenly collapsed onto the busy highway below, killing six people and seriously injuring nine. Forensic engineers are taking center stage in the ongoing investigation to find out what happened and why – and, crucially, to learn how to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

  • Senate Intel Committee: Initial election security recommendations for 2018 election cycle

    The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will hold an open hearing today, Wednesday, 21 March 2018, on the threats to election infrastructure. The hearing will cover Russian attempted attacks on state election infrastructure in 2016, DHS and FBI efforts to improve election security, and the view from the states on their cybersecurity posture. The committee yesterday made available its initial recommendations on election security after investigating Russian attempts to target election infrastructure during the 2016 U.S. elections.

  • Living sensor may prevent environmental disasters from fuel spills

    The Colonial Pipeline, which carries fuel from Texas to New York, ruptured last fall, dumping a quarter-million gallons of gas in rural Alabama. By the time the leak was detected during routine inspection, vapors from released gasoline were so strong they prevented pipeline repair for days. Now, scientists are developing technology that would alert pipeline managers about leaks as soon as failure begins, avoiding the environmental disasters and fuel distribution disruptions resulting from pipeline leaks.

  • Preventing hurricanes using air bubbles

    In recent years we have witnessed intense tropical storms that have taken many thousands of lives and caused massive destruction. For example, in 2005, hurricane Katrina killed more than 2,000 people and caused damage estimated to be in the billions of dollars. In 2016, hurricane Matthew swept across Haiti, taking 852 lives and destroying many towns on the island. Many people have tried to find ways of preventing hurricanes before they make landfall. Norwegian researchers believe that the answer lies in cold bubbles.

  • Hackers attacking 4G LTE networks could send fake emergency alerts

    Researchers have identified several new vulnerabilities in 4G LTE networks, potentially allowing hackers to forge the location of a mobile device and fabricate messages. Ten new and nine prior attacks were outlined in a new study, including the authentication relay attack, which enables an adversary to connect to core networks without the necessary credentials. This allows the adversary to impersonate and fake the location of a victim device.

  • Russia planted sabotage-enabling malware in U.S. energy grid, other critical infrastructure

    Russia has not only attacked the infrastructure of American democracy: The U.S. government now says that Russia has engaged in a pervasive, wide-ranging cyber-assault on U.S. energy grid and other key components of the U.S. critical infrastructure. These sustained attacks on U.S. critical infrastructure – along with the Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Russian-launched NoPetya malware — were the reasons the administration on Thursday imposed a new round of sanctions on Russia.

  • South Africa can avoid a national water crisis

    Even if South Africa uses less water and applies all of government’s existing plans, the country will still face a water crisis in the next twenty years. Solutions are within reach – but turning things around will take significant financial investment and political will. A new study sets out aggressive measures to offset guaranteed water shortages in the future.

  • More homes built near wild lands lead to greater wildfire risk

    More than 10 million acres burned across the country during the 2017 U.S. wildfire season at a cost of more than $2 billion — the largest bill ever. And while many factors affect the risk for wildfires, new research shows that a flurry of homebuilding near wild areas since 1990 has greatly increased the number of homes at risk from wildfires while increasing the costs associated with fighting those fires in increasingly dense developments.

  • Several ways limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C

    There are several ways to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C by 2100, new research says. The study is the first to look at how socioeconomic conditions such as inequalities, energy demand, and international cooperation might affect the feasibility of achieving these goals, and also considers technological and resource assumptions.

  • Small differences in the rate of global warming make a big difference in coastal areas

    The risk from extreme events is exacerbated by the rising global sea level, which in turn depends on the trajectory of global mean surface temperature. Even if global temperatures are stabilized, sea levels are expected to continue to rise for centuries, due to the long residence time of anthropogenic carbon dioxide, the thermal inertia of the ocean, and the slow response of large ice sheets to forcing. Higher temperatures will make extreme events much more common. In New York City, for example, they estimate that “100-year floods” will become annual events under a 1.5 degree rise and twice-annual events with a 2.0 degree rise.

  • Startup offering a solution to deter dangerous railway hacking

    Rail transport is undergoing a huge transformation thanks to automated, wireless and connected technologies that whoosh passengers down the tracks faster and more efficiently than ever before possible. However, these same technologies have opened a door to new types of cyber-attacks that can threaten passenger safety, disrupt service and cause serious economic damage. A new startup has raised $4.7 million in seed money to develop its proactive solution to protect railways and metros.

  • Sinking ground in San Francisco Bay exacerbates flooding from rising sea levels

    New research shows that sections of the San Francisco Bay shoreline are sinking at rates of nearly half an inch (10 millimeters) a year. But knowledge of where the ground in the Bay Area is sinking, and by how much, is not included in the official planning maps that authorities use to assess the local flooding risk from rising sea levels. The researchers used radar imaging to measure elevations to discover important gap in planning for sea level rise in Bay Area.

  • Combining old and new to create a novel power grid cybersecurity tool

    An innovative R&D project that combines cybersecurity, machine learning algorithms and commercially available power system sensor technology to better protect the electric power grid has sparked interest from U.S. utilities, power companies and government officials. Creating innovative tools and technologies to reduce the risk that energy delivery might be disrupted by a cyber incident is vital to making the nation’s electric power grid resilient to cyber threats.

  • Microgrids have a large impact

    As many as 1.3 billion people lack access to electrical power. Engineers make strides in technologies that promise to make electrical power more accessible almost anywhere on the planet. One of his solutions is microgrids, which provide independent power generation and storage systems capable of operating as mobile or standalone systems or as a supplemental part of larger conventional power grids.

  • Metal-eating microbes are cost-effective for recycling rare earth elements

    Today’s high-tech devices usually contain components made of rare earth elements (REEs), a class of metallic elements including neodymium and dysprosium. Despite this demand, and despite the fact that REEs are relatively common in the earth’s crust, REEs are difficult to obtain, and the U.S. currently does not produce a domestic supply. This scarcity of domestic REEs leaves manufacturers of everything from cellphones and computers to wind turbines and telescope lenses vulnerable to supply disruptions. have developed an economical way to recycle REEs using a bacterium called Gluconobacter oxydans.