• Flight Tests Show B61-12 Compatible with F-15E Strike Eagle

    Dropped from above 25,000 feet, the mock B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb was in the air for approximately 55 seconds before hitting and embedding in the lakebed, splashing a 40- to 50-foot puff of desert dust from the designated impact area at Sandia National Laboratories’ Tonopah Test Range in Nevada. That strike was the last in a series of flight tests designed to demonstrate the refurbished B61-12’s compatibility with the U.S. Air Force’s F-15E Strike Eagle jet fighter.

  • “Black Box” Study: Testing the Accuracy of Computer, Mobile Phone Forensics

    Digital forensics experts often extract data from computers and mobile phones that may contain evidence of a crime. Now, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will conduct the first large-scale study to measure how well those experts do their job. But rather than testing the proficiency of individual experts, the study aims to measure the performance of the digital forensics community overall.

  • Forensics Laser Technology Can Detect Crime Scene Smokers

    Raman spectroscopy is a technique that shines a monochromatic light (i.e. from a laser) on a sample and measures the intensity of scattered light. No two samples will produce the same Raman spectrum, offering a unique measurement that is similar to a fingerprint. Results are instantaneous and nondestructive, preserving the sample for future testing. Researchers developed a laser-light technology which allows investigators to determine if a smoker was at the crime scene based on biological evidence.

  • China’s Quantum Satellite Enables First Totally Secure Long-Range Messages

    In the middle of the night, invisible to anyone but special telescopes in two Chinese observatories, satellite Micius sends particles of light to Earth to establish the world’s most secure communication link. Micius is the world’s first quantum communications satellite and has, for several years, been at the forefront of quantum encryption. Scientists have now reported using this technology to reach a major milestone: long-range secure communication you could trust even without trusting the satellite it runs through.

  • Norway Pulls Its Coronavirus Contacts-Tracing App after Privacy Watchdog’s Warning

    One of the first national coronavirus contacts-tracing apps to be launched in Europe is being suspended in Norway after the country’s data protection authority raised concerns that the software, called “Smittestopp,” poses a disproportionate threat to user privacy — including by continuously uploading people’s location. Natasha Lomas writes in Tech Crunch that following a warning from the watchdog Friday, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHIsaid today it will stop uploading data from tomorrow — ahead of a June 23 deadline when the DPA had asked for use of the app to be suspended so that changes could be made. It added that it disagrees with the watchdog’s assessment but will nonetheless delete user data “as soon as possible.”

  • Ensuring Complex Programs Are Bug-Free without Testing

    A team of researchers have devised a way to verify that a class of complex programs is bug-free without the need for traditional software testing. Called Armada, the system makes use of a technique called formal verification to prove whether a piece of software will output what it’s supposed to. It targets software that runs using concurrent execution, a widespread method for boosting performance, which has long been a particularly challenging feature to apply this technique to.

  • DHS CBP Selects JEOL Mass Spectrometers for Five Labs

    JEOL USA has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection (DHS-CBP) for five JEOL AccuTOF-DART Direct Analysis in Real Time, Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometers. The AccuTOF-DART systems will be used by CBP scientists as a non-destructive, rapid means to analyze many types of forensic samples including drugs, suspected controlled substances, unknown substances, and general organic materials.

  • Ensuring Safety of Migrants at the U.S. Borders

    Every day, undocumented migrants attempt to enter the U.S. between the ports of entry, specifically at our southwest border. Oftentimes, they face life-threatening circumstances. They are miles away from shelter, food, and water; exposed to harsh terrain and drastic changes in temperature; and lack the means to receive help if they need it. To better monitor migrant activity and provide life-saving aid when needed, ICE and DHS S&T collaborated to implement the Missing Migrants Program.

  • From ocean waves to electricity: clean power for our planet

    The prevailing wisdom for wave energy capture has been to construct a large installation offshore, a few kilometers in the middle of the sea. But, says one expert, that’s expensive and unreliable. Offshore waves can reach tsunami-like heights that can pulverize the equipment, so few insurance companies have been willing to cover these kinds of installations and, if they do, it’s at a high cost. There is a less expensive, safer alternative: Installing “floaters” on existing manmade structures – piers, jetties and breakwaters – and putting the main energy-creating equipment with its sensitive computers and generators on land.

  • High-Tech Surveillance Amplifies Police Bias and Overreach

    Local, state and federal law enforcement organizations use an array of surveillance technologies to identify and track protesters, from facial recognition to military-grade drones. Police use of these national security-style surveillance techniques – justified as cost-effective techniques that avoid human bias and error – has grown hand-in-hand with the increased militarization of law enforcement. Extensive research, including my own, has shown that these expansive and powerful surveillance capabilities have exacerbated rather than reduced bias, overreach and abuse in policing, and they pose a growing threat to civil liberties.

  • Digital Twins of Nuclear Reactors Could Bring Down Nuclear Energy Costs

    Safe and more affordable nuclear energy is the goal of a new project which brings together researchers who specialize in nuclear energy technology and computer science. Among other things, the project will develop virtual copies of nuclear reactors, enabling smarter maintenance for current reactors and more automation for advanced reactors.

  • Calls for New Federal Authority to Regulate Facial Recognition Tech

    A group of artificial intelligence experts — citing profiling, breach of privacy and surveillance as potential societal risks — recently proposed a new model for managing facial recognition technologies at the federal level. The experts propose an FDA-inspired model that categorizes these technologies by degrees of risk and would institute corresponding controls.

  • The Importance of Building Trust in Contact Tracing Apps

    In the very real need for speed around excellent contact tracing in the COVID-19 environment, the voice of the people is getting lost, according to an expert. New researchhighlights the need for digital contact tracing solutions to have exceptional speed, high take-up rates, and demonstrable value. Researchers say that without significant uptake of the technology, digital contact tracing is close to useless.

  • Slime Scene: Unusual Forensic Investigation Technique Put to the Test

    Could household slime become a tool to help solve crimes? This is the question researchers sought to answer in a recent study that tested a popular children’s “slime” recipe as a technique to enhance the appearance of hard-to-see fingerprints in forensic investigations.

  • Search-and-Rescue Algorithm Identifies Hidden “Traps” in Ocean Waters

    When an object or person goes missing at sea, the complex, constantly changing conditions of the ocean can confound and delay critical search-and-rescue operations. Now researchers have developed a technique they hope will help first responders quickly zero in on regions of the sea where missing objects or people are likely to be.