• Engineers solve the 500-year-old Leaning Tower of Pisa mystery

    Why has the Leaning Tower of Pisa survived the strong earthquakes that have hit the region since the middle ages? After studying available seismological, geotechnical and structural information, researchers concluded that the survival of the Tower can be attributed to a phenomenon known as dynamic soil-structure interaction (DSSI).

  • Helping rebuild eroding lands in coastal Louisiana

    As coastal lands in Louisiana erode, researchers, environmentalists and engineers are all searching for ways to preserve the marsh coastline. Now, researchers have developed a model to help stakeholders figure out what factors they need to consider to rebuild land in this fragile wetland.

  • Aliens can’t reach Earth because of gravity

    If there are aliens out there, on large planets like Jupiter or on slightly smaller planets called super-Earths, why have they not yet come to visit us? Scientists say aliens living on distant planets can’t cruise the cosmos because of gravity. To launch the equivalent of an Apollo moon mission, a rocket on a super-Earth would need to have a mass of about 440 000 tons because of fuel requirements.

  • Critical industrial software flaws left U.S. infrastructure vulnerable to hackers

    Tenable Research, a Maryland-based cybersecurity firm, has discovered vulnerabilities in two applications widely used by manufacturers and power plant operators. These vulnerabilitiers may have given hackers a foothold in U.S. critical infrastructureg.

  • EU supports Africa single digital market

    The EU said it was committed to helping Africa build a single digital market so the continent could enjoy the transformative power of e-commerce, as is the case in like Europe. The EU said that assuring affordable broadband connectivity, improving digital literacy and skills, promoting digital entrepreneurship, and using digitalization would be an enabler of sustainable development by deploying e-government, e-commerce, e-health, e-education, and e-agriculture in Africa.

  • South Florida mangroves are on a death march, marking a new era for Earth

    The problem is so clear, it might be the first real sign Earth has entered a new geological era. Using a combination of aerial photographs from the 1930s, modern satellite imagery and ground sediment samples, tracked the mangroves’ westward retreat from the coastal Everglades. Now, their backs are to the wall – literally.

  • Seismic early warning could save lives in Nepal’s next Big One

    Just before noon on 25 April 2015, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that maxed out the seismic intensity scale shook the entire nation of Nepal. Originating about 100 km northwest of the capital city of Kathmandu, this earthquake along with a magnitude 7.1 aftershock on 12 May killed nearly 9,000 people and injured nearly 22,000 more while damaging or destroying more than 600,000 structures. Scientists say that if sensors had been near the epicenter of the 2015 earthquake, they could have detected it up to 80 seconds before it reached Kathmandu. Even factoring in the time it would take to corroborate the signal with other sensors and transmit a warning to everyone’s cell phones—which are just as abundant in Nepal as they are in America—people could have gotten more than a minute warning.

  • New algorithm could add more life to bridges

    Many authorities and organizations use structural health monitoring systems to keep track of the health of bridges, along with the weight of the traffic that it withstands on a day-to-day basis. A new algorithm developed could help structural engineers better monitor the health of bridges and alert them to when they need repair faster.

  • Many low-lying atoll islands uninhabitable by mid-21st century

    Sea-level rise and wave-driven flooding will negatively impact freshwater resources on many low-lying atoll islands in such a way that many could be uninhabitable in just a few decades. Scientists found that such flooding not only will impact terrestrial infrastructure and habitats, but, more importantly, it will also make the limited freshwater resources non-potable and, therefore, directly threaten the sustainability of human populations.

  • Resilience vs. retreat in the face of climate change

    More than 250 million people will be displaced by climate change by 2050. No nation will be able to escape the consequences of climate change, but Small Island Developing States (SIDS)—such as the Maldives, the Marshall Islands, and the Bahamas—will be some of the hardest hit. “Retreat” is a word that frequently comes up in this context: the idea being that people will need to move out of the lands that are most at risk.

  • Exploring Arctic clues to secure future

    The Arctic is undergoing rapid change, with sea ice melting and temperatures rising at a faster pace than anywhere else in the world. Its changing environment affects global security, politics, the economy and the climate. Understanding these changes is crucial for shaping and safeguarding U.S. security in the future, Sandia scientists say.

  • East U.S. vs. West Coast earthquakes

    Why was an earthquake in Virginia felt at more than twice the distance than a similar-sized earthquake in California? The answer is one that many people may not realize. Earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains can cause noticeable ground shaking at much farther distances than comparably-sized earthquakes in the West.

  • Next California's Big One could kill hundreds, cause $100 billion in losses, trap 20,000 in elevators

    What will happen when the next big earthquake hits northern California? Researchers say that if a tremor similar in magnitude to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake were to hit today, it could kill 800 people, cause more than $100 billion in economic losses from the shaking and subsequent fires, and trap roughly 20,000 people in elevators across northern California.

  • The HayWired scenario: a major earthquake in the San Francisco Bay area

    Last week the USGS, along with approximately sixty partners, released a new fact sheet that summarizes a report from a larger study of what could happen during a major earthquake in the San Francisco Bay area along the Hayward Fault – arguably one of the most urbanized and interconnected areas in the nation. Earthquakes pose a threat to the safety of more than 143 million people living in the United States, and estimated long-term annualized earthquake losses in the United States are more than $6.1 billion per year.

  • Coastal surveillance benefits from enterprise information sharing

    Initially, DHS S&T wanted to empower maritime responders with better surveillance technology. Adding more radars and cameras alone was expected to make the difference, but further evaluation of the input from operational sponsors told a different story—it extended the benchmark for what S&T was asked to provide. Today, the Integrated Maritime Domain Enterprise - Coastal Surveillance System (IMDE-CSS) has evolved well beyond the initial information-gathering requirement into an information-sharing capability.