• FloodwaterDeveloping ‘Smart City’ Floodwater Management

    In a world of smart watches, smart homes and smart appliances that monitor their environments to keep users safe and informed, can whole cities be smarter? Short answer: Probably, using cutting-edge information technologies to keep citizens and property safer.

  • ForensicsNew chip device identifies miniscule blood residues for forensic applications

    Criminologists use luminol to identify microscopic blood drops, as well as low hydrogen peroxide concentrations, proteins and DNA. These are all invisible to the naked eye but become visible through a chemical reaction known as “chemiluminescence.” Detecting biological residues using this method is cost effective and advantageous since the detected signal does not depend on an external light source.

  • Perspective: Earthquake warningsQ&A: How Ridgecrest Earthquakes Helped Scientists with ShakeAlert

    U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Sarah Minson was in the thick of efforts to develop an earthquake warning system in California when a series of major temblors struck the sparsely populated community of Ridgecrest in the Mojave Desert this summer. The largest, a magnitude 7.1 quake on July 5, was the biggest to hit the state in decades. The Mercury News asked her about her work — and how this month’s big quakes is helping scientists refine California’s fledgling earthquake alert system.

  • CybersecurityTackling Emerging Cyber-Social Threats

    DoD has awarded a $2.4 million grant to researchers to support the development of research infrastructure to assess social media and blogs in real time and respond to the growing weaponization of online discourse in influencing peacekeeping, and tactical, operational, and strategic operations.

  • Explosives detectorsAssessing Handheld Explosives Trace Detectors

    Individuals who carry explosives or have been involved in bomb making are likely to be contaminated with trace explosives, microscopic particles invisible to the naked eye. Without the right equipment, detecting trace explosives can be challenging for responders and security personnel. Handheld explosives trace detectors (ETDs) can be used to complement bomb-sniffing canines, which are still the gold standard in trace explosives detection. These detectors can be used to find trace explosives on individuals, hopefully preventing a dangerous incident.

  • InfrastructureInnovative ways to repair and construct bridges, roadways

    A 2016 American Society of Civil Engineers Infrastructure assessment reported that more than 9 percent of the nation’s bridges are considered structurally deficient and 1 out of every 5 miles of highway pavement is in poor condition. Researchers will develop innovative techniques to repair and construct bridges and roadways through a new U.S. Department of Transportation-funded research center.

  • EarthquakeNew Sensor Improves Earthquake Response Efforts

    The recent massive southern California earthquakes shut down Ridgecrest Regional Hospital throughout the 4 July holiday weekend while the tiny town of Ridgecrest assessed the damages. Researchers developed a new optical sensor which could speed up the time it takes to evaluate whether critical buildings like these are safe to occupy shortly after a major earthquake.

  • GeoengineeringPreventing West Antarctic Ice Collapse by Snowing Ocean Water onto It

    The ice sheet covering West Antarctica is at risk of sliding off into the ocean. The slow, yet inexorable loss of West Antarctic ice is likely to continue even after climate warming is stabilized. A collapse will raise sea levels worldwide by more than three meters. Researchers are now scrutinizing a daring way of stabilizing the ice sheet: Generating trillions of tons of additional snowfall by pumping ocean water onto the glaciers and distributing it with snow canons.

  • Radiation risksHelping first responders deal with dirty bombs

    If a radiological dispersal device (RDD), or “dirty bomb,” ever explodes in the United States, emergency crews may be better prepared because researchers have developed a new simulator, which show first responders what an optimal response to an RDD would look like.

  • PerspectiveThe Coming AI Metamorphosis

    Humanity is at the edge of a revolution driven by artificial intelligence. This revolution is unstoppable. Attempts to halt it would cede the future to that element of humanity more courageous in facing the implications of its own inventiveness. Instead, we should accept that AI is bound to become increasingly sophisticated and ubiquitous, and ask ourselves: How will its evolution affect human perception, cognition, and interaction? What will be its impact on our culture and, in the end, our history?

  • Perspective: TechnologyDo Patents Protect National Security?

    On 12 June, the Wall Street Journal broke the story that Chinese firm Huawei Technologies Co. had asserted more than 200 patents against Verizon Communications Inc., reportedly demanding more than $1 billion in licensing fees. On its face, this would seem to be a private patent dispute. But, in fact, it is an important turn of events for national security: The Verizon-Huawei dispute contradicts a view espoused by many experts, and even the Trump administration, about the relationship between national security and intellectual property rights such as patents.

  • InfrastructureTimber Skyscrapers Can Rewind the Carbon Footprint of the Concrete Industry

    Recent innovations in engineered timber have laid the foundations for the world’s first wooden skyscrapers to appear within a decade, a feat that is not only achievable, but one they hope will beckon in an era of sustainable wooden cities, helping reverse historic emissions from the construction industry.

  • Water safety“Liquid Forensics” Checks Safety of Drinking Water

    Ping! The popular 1990 film, The Hunt for Red October, helped introduce sonar technology on submarines to pop culture. Now, nearly thirty years later, a team of scientists is using this same sonar technology as inspiration to develop a rapid, inexpensive way to determine whether the drinking water is safe to consume.

  • Perspective: Truth decayIf Aliens Call, What Should We Do? Scientists Want Your Opinion.

    The answer to this question could affect all of our lives more than nearly any other policy decision out there: How, if it all, should humanity respond if we get a message from an alien civilization? And yet politicians and scientists have never bothered to get our input on it. Sigal Samuel writes in Vox that in the age of fake news, researchers worry conspiracy theories would abound before we could figure out how — or whether — to reply to an alien message.

  • Truth decayBipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Tackle Rising Threat of Deepfakes

    New bipartisan bill would require DHS secretary to publish annual report on the state of digital content forgery. “Deepfakes pose a serious threat to our national security, homeland security, and the integrity of our elections,” said Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Washington), one of the bill’s sponsors.