• Container heist unrelated to Port of Los Angeles

    Investigators in Los Angeles described the heist of three containers as “terminal robbery” — but the heist had nothing to do with the Port of Los Angeles / Long Beach; the facility where the robbery occurred is located miles inland from the port, is not part of a federally regulated port area, and is not governed by the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) protocol; since stricter port regulations came into effect following the 9/11 attacks, zero containers have been stolen from the Port of Los Angeles

  • Nuclear power faces waste, weapons proliferation problems

    New report concludes that nuclear power will continue to be a viable power source but that the current fuel cycle is not sustainable; due to uncertainty about waste management, any projection of future costs must be built on basic assumptions that are not grounded in real data; the “once-through” policy, mandated by the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act, creates a lot of highly radioactive waste; reprocessing and recycling of spent fuel lessens the waste problem, but significantly increases the risk of weapons proliferation

  • Declining energy quality root cause of current recession

    A new concept — the Energy Intensity Ratio (EIR) — measures how much profit is obtained by energy consumers relative to energy producers; the higher the EIR, the more economic value consumers (including businesses, governments and people) get from their energy; to get the U.S. economy growing again, Americans will have to increase the U.S. EIR by producing and using energy more efficiently

  • Haiti's escalating crises come down to lack of clean water

    Haiti’s corrupt and indifferent government has done little to improve water and sanitation since a 12 January earthquake, making it likely that the cholera epidemic there will continue to spread; even before the quake, more than a third of Haitians lacked access to clean water; now, more than two-thirds of Haitians have no access to clean water; less than one-fifth of the population has access to a simple latrine or toilet

  • Nature's desalination: bacteria turn salty water fresh

    The growing global shortage of water has led to a growing interest in desalination to produce fresh water from seas and estuaries; conventional desalination plants, however, consume large amounts of energy; the solution: a bug-powered desalination cell that takes salt out of seawater

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  • Royal Society paints unsettling picture of a world 4 °C warmer

    If present warming trends continue, the world could warm by 4 °C by 2060; a new, detailed study by the U.K. Royal Society would make global water shortages acute; most of sub-Saharan Africa will see shorter growing seasons, with average maize production will drop 19 percent and bean production by 47 percent compared with current levels; the extreme weather, sea-level rise, and water shortages will drive many people to migrate

  • LIDAR technology helps to map landslides

    Researchers use Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) to identify and accurately measure changes in coastal features following a catastrophic series of landslides that occurred in New Zealand in 2005; the findings are important for assessing geological hazards and reducing the dangers to human settlements

  • World running out of cheap coal

    Most estimates of coal reserves suggest there is plenty to last at least a couple of hundred years, and a new report does not dispute this; the report says, rather, that using this coal will become progressively more expensive as the world is running out of coal that can be easily and cheaply recovered

  • DHS to set cybersecurity standards for some private networks

    A new law — “The Homeland Security Cyber and Physical Infrastructure Protection Act of 2010” — will empower DHS to set cybersecurity standards for some private networks that are considered critical infrastructure

  • Panama Canal is due a big earthquake

    The Panama Canal is at greater risk of a catastrophic earthquake than previously assumed, a seismological survey of faults around the canal has warned; the survey estimate that quakes occur every 300 to 900 years. The most recent one was in 1621, so another could happen at any time

  • DHS official: Stuxnet a "game changer"

    The head of the Cybersecurity Center at DHS said Stuxnet is an incredibly large, complex threat with capabilities never seen before; “This code can automatically enter a system, steal the formula for the product you are manufacturing, alter the ingredients being mixed in your product, and indicate to the operator and your anti-virus software that everything is functioning as expected,” he said

  • Minneapolis bridge collapse spawning new bridge research

    Oregon State University developed a new system to analyze the connections that hold major bridge members together; the work also brings focus to a little-understood aspect of bridge safety — that most failures are caused by connections, not the girders and beams they connect, as many people had assumed. The issues involved are a concern with thousands of bridges worth trillions of dollars in many nations

  • Bacteria knit together cracked concrete

    Students at Newcastle University genetically modified a microbe, programming it to swim down fine cracks in the concrete; once at the bottom, it produces a mixture of calcium carbonate and a bacterial glue which combine with the filamentous bacterial cells to “knit” the building back together

  • Purdue engineers test effects of fire on steel structures

    Building fires may reach temperatures of 1,000 degrees Celsius, or more than 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit; at that temperature, exposed steel would take about twenty-five minutes to lose about 60 percent of its strength and stiffness; Purdue researchers experiment with ways to make steel more fire-resistant