• Truth decayFinnish students outperform U.S. students on “fake news” digital literacy tasks

    A recent study revealed students at an international school in Finland significantly outperformed U.S. students on tasks which measure digital literacy in social media and online news. The researchers suggest this may be due to the Finnish and International Baccalaureate curricula’s different way of facilitating students’ critical thinking skills compared to the U.S. system and curriculum.

  • Truth decayWhy do some people believe the Earth is flat?

    By Anders Furze

    Why, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, is the flat-Earth movement gaining traction in the twenty-first century? One expert says that, in part, it is due to a general shift toward populism and a distrust in the views of experts and the mainstream media. There is an “increasing distrust in what we once considered to be the gatekeepers of knowledge – like academics, scientific agencies, or the government,” she says. In this kind of environment, “it becomes really easy for once-fringe views to gain traction.”

  • China syndromeChina catching up to the U.S. in innovation

    If China is only a copier, not an innovator, then the competitive threat it poses to advanced economies would be limited. But there is no reason to believe China won’t follow the path of “Asian tigers” that rapidly evolved from copiers to innovators, which poses a serious threat.

  • BiothreatsBiotechnology advances offer opportunities for actors with malicious intent

    Over the past decade, the biotechnology economy has experienced remarkable growth, resulting in the rapid expansion of biological knowledge and application. These advances create openings for actors with malicious intent to harness readily available tools and techniques to create biological threats or bioweapons.

  • BiothreatsDo we need a moratorium on germline gene editing?

    In the wake of the news from China about He Jiankui’s gene-edited babies, many scientists are calling for a moratorium on germline gene-editing. Nature considered the topic sufficiently important to publish the call by several top researchers and ethicists for a moratorium.

  • Voice securityHuman brains vulnerable to voice morphing attacks

    A recent research study investigated the neural underpinnings of voice security, and analyzed the differences in neural activities when users are processing different types of voices, including morphed voices.The results? Not pleasing to the ear. Or the brain.

  • Infectious diseaseNew layer of medical preparedness to combat emerging infectious disease

    Researchers supporting the PREventing EMerging Pathogenic Threats PREEMPT program will model viral evolution in animal populations, quantify the probability of human pathogen emergence, and pursue proof-of-concept interventions to prevent viral spread to humans.

  • Grid securityNext-generation grid security tech

    Researchers will demonstrate the effectiveness of metro-scale quantum key distribution (QKD) as a means of secure communication for the nation’s electricity suppliers. This initial milestone is part of the team’s three-year project focused on next-generation grid security.

  • Truth decayDon’t be fooled by fake images and videos online

    By Hany Farid

    Advances in artificial intelligence have made it easier to create compelling and sophisticated fake images, videos and audio recordings. Meanwhile, misinformation proliferates on social media, and a polarized public may have become accustomed to being fed news that conforms to their worldview. All contribute to a climate in which it is increasingly more difficult to believe what you see and hear online. There are some things that you can do to protect yourself from falling for a hoax. As the author of the upcoming book Fake Photos, to be published in August, I’d like to offer a few tips to protect yourself from falling for a hoax.

  • BiothreatsGain-of-function (GoF) research set to resume, and unease grows

    Gain-of-function (GoF) research involving H5N1 is set to resume – but without review comments, as the review panel has kept mum. Many scientists are worried, arguing that certain studies that aim to make pathogens more potent or more likely to spread in mammals are so risky they should be limited or even banned.

  • VaccinesProducing vaccines without the use of chemicals

    Producing vaccines is a tricky task – especially in the case of inactivated vaccines, in which pathogens must be killed without altering their structure. Until now, this task has generally involved the use of toxic chemicals. Now, however, an innovative new technology developed by Fraunhofer researchers – the first solution of its kind – will use electron beams to produce inactivated vaccines quickly, reproducibly and without the use of chemicals.

  • China syndromeChina exerting “sharp power” influence on American institutions

    China is penetrating American institutions in ways that are coercive and corrupt, while the United States has not fully grasped the gravity of the situation, a Hoover Institution expert says. “An ultimate ambition for global hegemony” is driving China’s multifront efforts to manipulate US state and local governments, universities, think tanks, media, corporations, and the Chinese American community, said Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at Hoover.

  • AliensTo find life beyond Earth,"take off the blinkers": Expert

    Is there life beyond Earth? Recent discoveries point to tantalizing possibilities. But to understand the possibilities, we have to do one important thing: Stop thinking that life as we know it – that which depends on oxygen – is the only kind of life.

  • CybersecuritySignificance vulnerabilities discovered in high-performance computer chips

    Researchers have uncovered significant and previously unknown vulnerabilities in high-performance computer chips that could lead to failures in modern electronics. The researchers found they could damage the on-chip communications system and shorten the lifetime of the whole computer chip significantly by deliberately adding malicious workload.

  • Insect AlliesInsect Allies: Friend or foe?

    In 2016 DARPA launched the Insect Allies project, budgeting $45 million over four years to transform agricultural pests into vectors that can transfer protective genes into plants within one growing season. Scientists are concerned that such technology might be used for nefarious purposes. In a recent Science article, the scientists note the profound implications of releasing a horizontal environmental genetic alteration agent – implications that touch on regulatory, economic, biological, security, and societal issues.