• As States Replace Lead Pipes, Plastic Alternatives Could Bring New Risks

    Across the country, states and cities are replacing lead pipes to address concerns over lead-contaminated drinking water, an urgent health threat. But critics say that substituting PVC for lead pipes “may well be leaping from the frying pan into the fire.”

  • Economic Earthquake Risk in the United States

    Earthquakes cost the nation an estimated $14.7 billion annually in building damage and associated losses, a new report finds. The new estimate is twice that of previous annual estimates due to increased building value and the fact that the report incorporates the latest hazards as well as improvements to building inventories.

  • The Rise and Fall of the Belt and Road Initiative

    Amidst accusations of “debt-trap diplomacy,” Chinese companies seek more overseas direct investment opportunities and fewer foreign contracted projects as Xi’s flagship initiative is stymied by poor risk management.

  • Are 15-minute Cities a Plan to Create Lockdowns?

    It’s an urban planning concept aimed at reducing emissions and travel distances by reducing everyday journeys to a quarter of an hour on foot, by bike or by public transport, with the goal of helping citizens to better meet basic needs. But some fear it will limit movement, lead to lockdowns, or increase surveillance. What do the details tell us?

  • Sea-Level Rise Poses Particular Risk for Asian Megacities

    Sea-level rise this century may disproportionately affect certain Asian megacities as well as western tropical Pacific islands and the western Indian Ocean. Among the Asian megacities that may face especially significant risks: Chennai, Kolkata, Yangon, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, and Manila.

  • How the U.S. Rail System Works

    A spate of train derailments, most notably in East Palestine, Ohio, has reinvigorated the debate over the nation’s railroad infrastructure. Here’s how U.S. rail could be brought up to speed.

  • Buildings Left Sanding in Turkey Offer Design Guidance for Future Earthquake-Resilient Construction

    The Feb. 6, 2023, earthquakes in Turkey and Syria put to the test advanced building technologies that can minimize damage and keep buildings functioning after a quake. Several hospitals built with one such technology – called a seismic isolation system – survived the earthquakes with almost no harm.

  • AI Could Set a New Bar for Designing Hurricane-Resistant Buildings

    Being able to withstand hurricane-force winds is the key to a long life for many buildings on the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf Coast of the U.S. Determining the right level of winds to design for is tricky business, but support from artificial intelligence may offer a simple solution.

  • What Is the National Cybersecurity Strategy? What the Biden Administration Has Changed

    On 2 March 2023 the Biden administration released its first National Cybersecurity Strategy. Some of the key provisions in the Strategy relate to the private sector, both in terms of product liability and cybersecurity insurance. It also aims to reduce the cybersecurity burden on individuals and smaller organizations. It provides some innovative ideas that could strengthen U.S. cybersecurity in meaningful ways and help modernize America’s technology industry, both now and into the future.

  • Is Your Cybersecurity Strategy Undermined by These Six Common Pitfalls?

    Many security specialists harbor misconceptions about lay users of information technology, and these misconceptions can increase an organization’s risk of cybersecurity breaches. These issues include ineffective communications to lay users and inadequately incorporating user feedback on security system usability.

  • Preventing Fires and Explosions

    Lines in natural gas grids have to be maintained and serviced regularly. This entails using flares to vent the natural gas. With FlareSimulator, research scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF have developed an assistive tool that calculates the correct distance of flares to houses, trees and other nearby objects. This makes it easy to maintain minimum distances and prevent potential hazards and explosions.

  • New Method Helps Locate Deposits of Critical Metals

    The global shift to a carbon-free energy system is set to drive a huge increase in the demand for rare or limited earth minerals. This presents an urgent need to locate new sustainable sources of these elements. New technique could help locate new deposits of critical metals needed to enable the green-energy transition.

  • An Early Warning System for Landslides Protects Sitka, Alaska

    A hard rain was rattling against the rooftops of Sitka, Alaska, as day broke on August 18, 2015. Just before 10 a.m., a hillside gave way. A river of mud, rocks, and broken trees surged down the slope and crashed through the subdivision.

  • New “Cosmic Concrete” Is Twice as Strong as Regular Concrete

    Building infrastructure in space is currently prohibitively expensive and difficult to achieve. Future space construction will need to rely on simple materials that are easily available to astronaut. Scientists have created a new material, dubbed “StarCrete,” which is made from extra-terrestrial dust, potato starch, and a pinch of salt. It could be used to build homes on Mars.

  • Taiwan’s High-End Semiconductors: Supply Chain Interdependence and Geopolitical Vulnerability

    What are the geopolitical implications of Taiwan’s dominance in global semiconductor production? How would the peaceful annexation or outright invasion of Taiwan by China affect the United States, its allies and partners, and the global economy? What are the United States’ options for mitigating or reversing the unfavorable effects of either unification scenario?