• Cyber Attacks Can Shut Down Critical Infrastructure. It’s Time to Make Cyber Security Compulsory

    The 7 May attack on the Colonial Pipeline highlights how vulnerable critical infrastructure such as fuel pipelines are in an era of growing cyber security threats. In Australia, we believe the time has come to make it compulsory for critical infrastructure companies to implement serious cyber security measures.

  • How Coastal Towns Can Meet the Challenge of Sea Level Rise

    A group of Florida students was invited to participate in the community presentation of the “Envision Resilience Nantucket Challenge,” a competition that tasked participating teams with reimaging how Nantucket, a small island off Cape Cod, could meet the challenges of climate change and sea level rise.

  • Why Hurricanes Devastate Some Places over and over Again – a Meteorologist Explains

    Every coastline in the North Atlantic is vulnerable to tropical storms, but some areas are more susceptible to hurricane destruction than others. To understand why as the region heads into what’s forecast to be another busy hurricane season, let’s look more closely at how tropical storms form and what turns them into destructive monsters.

  • Volcanic Eruption: How Long Would It Take to Evacuate Auckland?

    Scientists are working to understand how long it might take for people to move out of harm’s way ahead of a future eruption near Auckland, New Zealand. “The next eruption in the Auckland Volcanic Field could happen anywhere in the existing field, either on the land, or in the sea, so estimating how many people might be impacted carries a lot of uncertainty,” says one expert.

  • Previously Unrecognized Tsunami Hazard to Coastal Cities Identified

    A new study found overlooked tsunami hazards related to undersea, near-shore strike-slip faults, especially for coastal cities adjacent to faults that traverse inland bays. Several areas around the world may fall into this category, including the San Francisco Bay Area, Izmit Bay in Turkey and the Gulf of Aqaba in Egypt.

  • Colonial Pipeline is a Harbinger of Things to Come in Business

    Six days after the Colonial Pipeline was attacked by cyberhackers and left millions hanging at the gas pump, they have gained control of their operations once again. But not before the refinery paid their attackers $5 million in untraceable cryptocurrency, according to several news outlets. While the worst is over for now, experts say that it’s a harbinger of things to come and more preparation and alternative modes of supply chain are needed to ward off future attacks.

  • Engineers and Economists Prize Efficiency, but Nature Favors Resilience – Lessons from Texas, COVID-19 and the 737 Max

    The damage from Winter Storm Uri, the economic devastation from the COVID-19 pandemic and the fatal Boeing 737 Max accidents show the price society pays for a relentless pursuit of efficiency. Modern society has prioritized free-market economics and efficient computer systems to the detriment of other priorities. Studies of algorithms show that efficiency can come at a high cost. Sexual reproduction and car insurance highlight the benefits of resilience.

  • Panic at the Pump and the Real Threat to Energy Security

    On Friday, May 7, the Colonial Pipeline was taken offline by a cyber attack. A major piece of the national energy infrastructure, the 5,500-mile-long line carries 45% of all the fuel — including gasoline, aviation fuel, and home heating oil — consumed on the East Coast. Gregory Brew writes that “almost immediately, commentators compared the situation to the Arab oil embargo of 1973 to 1974. “Such thinking reflects years of scholarship and public discourse focusing on energy security: the ability of consumers and governments to maintain access to energy flows, at reasonable prices, and handle potential disruptions,” he writes. Such analogies, while tempting, focus attention on mythical dangers at the expense of real ones.

  • Can the West Devise an Alternative to China's Belt and Road?

    Since it was announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has channeled hundreds of billions of dollars into foreign infrastructure, boosting trade, and clearing the way for China to forge political and economic links around the world. But a combination of growing disillusionment among partner countries with the resulting projects, room for more investment, and increased unease about the strategic implications of the BRI might have opened the door for an alternative to emerge.

  • Enhancing Defenders’ Predictive Power in Cyberspace

    How can organizations proactively protect themselves against cyber threats? What are the current frameworks in use to protect organizations against cyber threats? Researchers have developed a new model which focuses on cyber threats from state-sponsored actors but without the assumption of access to classified information or assets.

  • The U.S. Is Trying to Reclaim Its Rare-Earth Mantle

    Rare earths elements (REEs) are used in cancer treatment and electric engines, telescope lenses and TVs, cellphones and fighter jets. Many REEs are extracted and refined almost entirely in China. The U.S. was 100% net import reliant on rare-earth elements in 2018, importing an estimated 11,130 metric tons of compounds and metals valued at $160 million. The Department of Energy is funding research to make separating rare earths easier and more efficient, and to promote recycling. “There is a clock ticking in the background of this race for a rare-earth supply chain. There is a danger that the electric vehicle market, which will demand large quantities of critical minerals including rare earths, may move faster than the rare-earth supply chain, which would feed it,” Sabri Ben-Achour writes.

  • Supply Chains and National Security—the Lessons of the COVID-19 Pandemic

    National power relies on globally efficient and intertwined supply chains. These highly interconnected supply chains are a fact of life, bringing benefit and vulnerability. Supply chain vulnerability stretches across whole sectors of the U.S. economy and is a national security issue in that sense: a set of interests that if disrupted could directly affect the health and well-being of the United State and its allies.

  • Crashing Chinese Rocket Highlights Growing Dangers of Space Debris

    This weekend, a Chinese rocket booster, weighing nearly 23 tons, came rushing back to Earth after spending more than a week in space—the result of what some critics have attributed to poor planning by China. The event has shown the potential dangers that come from humanity’s expanding presence in space.

  • The TSA Should Regulate Pipeline Cybersecurity

    Fuel deliveries to the east coast of the United States have been brought to a standstill by cybercriminals that have gained access to Colonial Pipelines’ networks and forced the company to shut down its distribution system. After two decades of trying to make a voluntary partnership with industry work, this incident demonstrates that neither thoughts, prayers, nor information sharing is sufficient. It is time for the federal government to exercise its existing authority to regulate the cybersecurity of pipelines.

  • Seeking Inclusive Strategies to Help Coastal Communities Adjust, Plan for Sea-Level Rise

    Recurring flood damage to homes and powerful storms that threaten infrastructure are realities facing many coastal North Carolina communities. However, for three predominately African-American, rural communities near the coast, NC State researchers documented additional injustices that threaten the communities’ ability to adapt to a changing climate.