• DOMESTIC TERRORISMExtremist Couple Charged in Plot to Destroy Baltimore’s Power Grid

    Two extremists have been charged Monday with conspiracy to attack and destroy energy facilities around Baltimore in a plot to “completely destroy” the city. The man, the founder of the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen, and his accomplice appear to be part of trend among domestic violent extremists to target the U.S. electrical grid. In recent years, DHS and the FBI have discovered several such conspiracies to take down the power system, with the most recent attacks taking place in North Carolina and Washington State.

  • SPY BALOONSChinese Spy Balloon Over the U.S.: An Aerospace Expert Explains How the Balloons Work and What They Can See

    By Iain Boyd

    Balloons are much closer to the ground than any satellites, so they can see even more clearly. And balloons are moving relatively slowly, so they also have a degree of persistence. However, spying is not usually done these days with balloons because they are a relatively easy target and are not completely controllable.

  • CHINA WATCHHow Dangerous Is TikTok?

    By Janosch Delcker

    The rapid ascent of the Chinese video-streaming app TikTok has alarmed lawmakers and privacy watchdogs around the world. What are they worried about? Why is TikTok in the crosshairs of so many authorities and monitoring bodies.

  • SURVEILLANCEEFF Files Amicus Briefs in Two Important Geofence Search Warrant Cases

    By Jennifer Lynch

    Unlike traditional warrants for electronic records, a geofence warrant doesn’t start with a particular suspect or even a device or account; instead police request data on every device in a given geographic area during a designated time period, regardless of whether the device owner has any connection to the crime under investigation. The EFF argues these warrants are unconstitutional “general warrants” because they don’t require police to show probable cause to believe any one device was somehow linked to the crime under investigation.

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  • POLARIZATIONWhy 1968 Still Matters

    By Peter Dizikes

    A new book argues that perception of the media coverage of the 1968 Democratic National Convention explores gave rise to anger at the media which became part of our culture wars. Matters have moved to a new extreme today, with claims from many quarters that factual reported news is simply fake, with no attempt to demonstrate such assertions. False claims about the 2020 presidential election, for instance, have flourished despite no evidence supporting them.

  • TRUTH DECAYDeepfakes Could Create Audience Trust Issues

    Deepfakes could ‘shatter’ moviegoers’ trust and lead to big job cuts in the film industry. That’s the verdict from deepfake expert after it was revealed the latest development in the technology is set to be used in “Here,” an upcoming film starring Tom Hanks and directed by Robert Zemeckis.

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  • PANDEMICSDisease X: How to End Pandemics

    A new book tracks how the world can stop future pandemics. It offers a perspective on the COVID-19 response and lays out a roadmap to prepare to beat the next Disease X. The book challenges us to understand continual and growing infectious disease threats, but also offers hope and looks ahead to a pandemic-free future.

  • WATER SECURITYClimate Change-Driven Water Crises More Severe Than Previously Thought

    The interference of climate change with the planet’s water cycle is a well established fact. New analyses suggest that in many places, runoff responds more sensitively than previously assumed.

  • OUR PICKSThe $10 Trillion Case for Decentralized Cybersecurity | The Good News About Vaccine Hesitancy | Software Supply Chain Risk, and more

    ··  The Inside Story of How the U.S. Shot Down the Chinese Balloon
    Intelligence analysts distinguish between secrets and mysteries

    ··  Cybersecurity Budgets Are Going Up. So Why Aren’t Breaches Going Down?
    Growing sophistication of hackers is only one of the reasons

    ··  The $10 Trillion Case for Decentralized Cybersecurity
    As long as cybersecurity is centralized, it will always fail

    ··  Software Supply Chain Risk Is Growing, but Mitigation Solutions Exist
    Software supply chain risk has emerged as a leading concern for private sector firms and government agencies

    ··  Responding to the Firearm Violence Crisis: Are Some Newly Enacted Laws Making Things Worse?
    While some restrictive gun laws reduce gun violence, other more-permissive gun laws worsen it

    ··  Could a Chatbot Teach You How to Build a Dirty Bomb?
    Despite being programmed to align with human values, could ChatGPT be tricked into doing harm

    ··  The Pentagon Saw a Warship Boondoggle. Congress Saw Jobs.
    The Navy wanted to save $4.3 billion over the next five years, but lawmakers were not interested

    ··  An Even Deadlier Pandemic Could Soon Be Here
    Bird flu — known more formally as avian influenza — has long hovered on the horizons of scientists’ fears

    ··  The Good News About Vaccine Hesitancy
    The future of vaccination in America may be no worse than its recent past

  • WORLD ROUNDUPChina’s Covid Fog | This Is Not 1943 | Britain Is Worse Off Than It Understands, and more

    ··  Czech Voters Deal a Blow to Populism
    The election of Petr Pavel is important to Czechs—and to Americans.

    ··  This Is Not 1943
    How Putin twists the history of World War II

    ··  The World’s Most, and Least, Democratic Countries in 2022
    The EIU’s global democracy index shows several authoritarian rulers tightened their grip

    ··  Britain Is Much Worse Off Than It Understands
    Things weren’t nearly this bad in the 1970s—but the country’s leaders haven’t grasped that yet

    ··  Germany’s Scholz Calls for a New Approach to the Lithium Rush
    On a visit to South America, the chancellor pitched partnership rather than exploitation

    ··  Don’t Underestimate Xi’s Ambitions Toward Taiwan, CIA Says
    Xi had ordered his military to be ready to conduct an invasion of self-governed Taiwan by 2027

    ··Belgium Looks to Extend Lives of Oldest Nuclear Reactors
    Citing a need to “reduce risks in the energy supply”

    ··  In China’s Covid Fog, Deaths of Scholars Offer a Clue
    Obituaries of China’s top academics offer clues about the true toll of the outbreak

    ··  In West Bank, Settlers Sense Their Moment After Far Right’s Rise
    The most right-wing government in Israel’s history emboldens Jewish settlers

  • CHINA WATCHChina 'Spy Balloon:' Why Doesn't the Pentagon Shoot It Down?

    By Zulfikar Abbany

    Espionage is all about secrets — keeping and revealing them. But here’s what we can say about the alleged spy balloon.

  • ARGUMENT: DEMOCRACY REFORMThe Lessons of the Electoral Count Reform Act: Next Steps in Reform

    The passage of the Electoral Count Reform Act (ECRA), which President Biden signed into law on 29 December 2022, suggests there are achievable goals of democracy reform even as polarization retains its grip, we now have a divided government, and a presidential election is less than two years away.

  • ARGUMENT: DEMOCRACY WATCHJohn Eastman and the Limits of Bar Discipline

    The memos prepared by John Eastman constitute some of the most disturbing documentation of the plot to overturn the 2020 election in favor of Donald Trump. Eastman’s legal analysis sets out a range of supposed options by which swing-state electors from states supporting Joe Biden could be disregarded, thus handing Trump a second term in office. The State Bar of California announced that it will be seeking his disbarment from the practice of law over his role fomenting the Jan. 6 insurrection. Eastman “has now entered the select club of lawyers finally facing bar discipline for their involvement in efforts to overturn the 2020 election,” Quinta Jurecic writes.

  • MINERALSU.S. Nonfuel Mineral Production Jumps $3.6 Billion in 2022

    U.S. mines produced approximately $98.2 billion in nonfuel mineral commodities in 2022—an estimated $3.6 billion increase over the 2021 revised total of $94.6 billion.

  • INFRASTRUCTURE ROTECTIONCreating Buildings That Can Withstand the Most Extreme Stress Loads

    By Sølvi Normannsen

    Combined ballistic impacts pose a major challenge for engineers who build structures that must withstand extreme stresses. An explosion can hurtle fragments and debris at enormous velocities so they strike the surroundings. Then comes the shock wave. It’s a scary combination.

  • WILDFIRESWestern Wildfires Destroyed 246% More Homes and Buildings Over the Past Decade

    By Philip Higuera and Jennifer Balch

    It can be tempting to think that the recent wildfire disasters in communities across the West were unlucky, one-off events, but evidence is accumulating that points to a trend. In nearly every Western state, more homes and buildings were destroyed by wildfire over the past decade than the decade before, revealing increasing vulnerability to wildfire disasters.

  • WATER SECURITYThere’s a Deal to Save the Colorado River — If California Doesn’t Blow It Up

    By Jake Bittle

    After months of tense negotiation, a half-dozen states have reached an agreement to drastically cut their water usage and stabilize the drought-stricken Colorado River — as long as California doesn’t blow up the deal. The plan would cut water use on the river by roughly a quarter, drying up farms and subdivisions across the Southwest.

  • EVsElectric Cars Reach Peak EU Market Share in 2022

    Battery electric vehicles have climbed to a record share of new car sales in the EU, albeit still a modest 12.1%. In the last quarter, alternatively powered vehicles outsold petrol and diesel for the first time.

  • OUR PICKSStop Passing the Buck on Cybersecurity | DHS & Radicalization | Chinese Espionage on the Great Plains, and more

    ··  Did the FBI’s Charles McGonigal Help Throw the 2016 Election to Trump?
    Trump, thoroughly compromised by Russia, was a grave threat to national security

    ··  Bias and Human Error Played Parts in FBI’s Jan. 6 Failure, Documents Suggest
    The FBI wasblinded by a narrow focus on “lone wolf” offenders and a misguided belief that the threat from the far left was as great as that from the far right

    ··  Stop Passing the Buck on Cybersecurity
    Why companies must build safety into tech products

    ··  Preparing for Strategic Competition: The Need for Irregular Warfare Professional Military Education
    The U.S. lacks the operational level and campaign planning necessary for irregular warfare above the tactical level

    ··  USCIS Strategic Plan Takes Three-Pronged Approach to Building a More Resilient, Efficient Agency
    Improving efficiency while pulling the agency out of its recent history of crippling backlogs

    ··  Homeland Security Intel Chief Describes Revamp of Department Amid Radicalization in the U.S.

    The U.S. must navigate a period of heightened polarization and radicalization

    ··  Air Force Opposes Chinese-Owned Corn Plant for North Dakota
    Chinese plans to build a wet corn milling plant near an Air Force a “significant threat to national security”

  • WORLD ROUNDUPGlobal Scramble to Tackle Deepfakes | Something Has to Give in Postwar Syria | China’s Nuclear Ambitions, and more

    ··  Missing Radioactive Capsule Is Recovered from Western Australia Roadside
    The capsule went missing when it fell from a truck

    ··  How China’s Nuclear Ambitions Will Change Deterrence
    The consequences of shifting from a bipolar system to a tripolar one

    ··  Something Has to Give in Postwar Syria
    Thirteen years of constant crisis is heading toward inevitable breakdown

    ··  Is the U.K. the Security Leader Europe Needs?
    An unlikely candidate to take the lead in European security matters has now appeared: Great Britain

    ··  Finding a Way Out of the Societal War Over Ukraine
    This conflict has predominantly been a societal confrontation

    ··  U.S. Guns Are Fueling Violence in Central America, Here’s How to Help Stop the Arms Flow
    In 2022, exports of semi-automatic rifles (including assault weapons like the AR-15 rifle) hit a new record

    ··  Seeing Is Believing? Global Scramble to Tackle Deepfakes
    Deepfake detectors are vastly outpaced by creators

    ··  Is the U.S. Military Capable of Learning from the War in Ukraine?
    The Pentagon has learned painful lessons in the past—and may have to do so again

    ··  Hungary Most Corrupt EU Member in 2022: Watchdog
    Hungary replaces Bulgaria as the most corrupt member of the EU

    ··  Assessing the Russian and Chinese Economies Geostrategically
    The geopolitical tensions have resurrected Cold War blocs

  • CHINA WATCHU.S. General's Bellicose China Memo Highlights Civilian-Military Divide

    By Rob Garver

    A controversial memo from a U.S. Air Force general predicting war with China in 2025 may reflect a growing disconnect between the way the United States’ civilian and military leadership view the relationship between the world’s two largest economic powers.

  • IRANSuspected Israeli Drone Strike in Iran Part of New 'Containment Strategy'

    By Golnaz Esfandiari

    Four Israeli kamikaze quadcopters hit and destroyed an Iranian military facility in Isfahan on January 28. The production facility, located inside a military base, was used to produce drones and mid-range missiles. In the last months, Israel has expanded its attacks on Iran’s military, targeting not only nuclear weapons-related targets but also production facilities for advanced arms.