• The U.S. Water and Wastewater Crisis – How Many Wake-up Calls Are Enough?

    In February, much of Texas plunged into darkness when the state’s electricity grid failed due to extreme cold weather conditions. What started as a foreseeable blackout quickly became a life-threatening calamity. “This catastrophe illustrates what happens when aging and inadequate infrastructure is hit by extreme rain or snow—an increasingly regular occurrence due to climate change,” Lucía Falcón Palomar, Obinna Maduka, and JoAnn Kamuf Ward write. “And, the matter extends well beyond Texas. It is easy to forget that, within U.S. borders, communities have long endured the conditions seen in Texas in February.”

  • What Has the Pandemic Revealed about the U.S. Health Care System — and What Needs to Change?

    With vaccinations for Covid-19 now underway across the nation, seven MIT scholars engaged in health and health care research share their views on what the pandemic has revealed about the U.S. health care system — and what needs to change.

  • Retaining Knowledge of Nuclear Waste Management

    Sandia National Laboratories have begun their second year of a project to capture important, hard-to-explain nuclear waste management knowledge from retirement-age employees to help new employees get up to speed faster. The project has experts share their experience with and knowledge of storage, transportation, and disposal with next generation scientists.

  • Florida Governor Working to Prevent “Catastrophic Flood” of Toxic Wastewater in Tampa Area

    Florida governor Ron DeSantis has vowed to prevent a “catastrophic flood” near the major city of Tampa. A leaking toxic wastewater reservoir has the potential to cause an environmental crisis in the region.

  • Monitoring Current and Future Biological Threats

    DHS S&T has awarded $199,648 to Mesur.io Inc., for analysis and reporting of outbreak-related data. The Mesur.io project proposes to adapt their Earthstream Platform to provide DHS and NBIC with data that tracks metrics related to an outbreak or emergence to predict various risks of a biological threat.

  • U.K. Launches the U.K. Health Security Agency

    On Thursday, 1 April, the U.K. launched the U.K. Health Security Agency, tasked with protecting the U.K. from future health threats and ensure the U.K. can respond to pandemics quickly and at greater scale. The primary focus for UKHSA in its initial phase of operation will be the continued fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, but the longer term goal is to work with global partners in an effort to create “a more robust international health architecture that will protect future generations.”

  • Intentional Youth Firearm Injuries Linked to Sociodemographic Factors

    Firearm injuries are a leading and preventable cause of injury and death among youth - responsible for an estimated 5,000 deaths and 22,000 non-fatal injury hospital visits each year in American kids. The researchers  identified distinct risk profiles for individuals aged 21 and younger, who arrived at emergency departments with firearm injuries over an 8-year period.

  • One in Five Colorado High School Students Has Access to Firearms

    Twenty percent of high school students in Colorado have easy access to a handgun, according to a new study. “Our findings highlight that it is relatively easy to access a handgun in Colorado for high school students. This finding, combined with the high prevalence of feeling sad or depressed and suicide attempts, is concerning for the safety of adolescents,” said the lead author of the study.

  • Understanding Mass Shootings in America

    A mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, left 10 people dead less than a week after a spate of shootings at three spas in the Atlanta area claimed eight lives. There is no official definition of “mass shooting,” though it is often understood as an incident in a public place that claims four or more lives, and attracts widespread media coverage. In the last five decades, these events have become far more common. Mass shootings are both tragedy and spectacle. As a result, they attract a huge amount of attention, which tends to distort views about the prevalence of incidents, the most common victims, and how the weapons that are used are obtained.

  • Stanford’s John Donohue on Mass Shootings and the Uniquely American Gun Problem

    As Americans emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, the reality of the other U.S. epidemic—gun violence—has been made very clear after two mass shootings within a week. On 16 March, a gunman killed eight people at three Atlanta-area massage businesses, and on 22 March ten people were gunned down in a Boulder, Colorado grocery store. Stanford Law School’s John J Donohue III, a gun law expert, discusses mass shootings in the U.S., the challenges facing police when confronting powerful automatic weapons, and the prospect of gun control laws.

  • Homeland Security for Radiological and Nuclear Threats

    Radiation exposure events are complicated: there is a variety of radiation sources, and since radiation is invisible, and its effect may not always be immediately apparent, first responders and emergency services must prepare for a “worried well” of people requiring attention: individuals who do not have other physical injuries but are concerned about whether they have received a radiation exposure.

  • Many QAnon Followers Report Having Mental Health Diagnoses

    QAnon followers, who may number in the millions, are often viewed as a group associated with baseless and debunked conspiracy, terrorism, and radical action, such as the 6 January Capitol insurrection. But radical extremism and terror may not be the real concern from this group. A social psychologist who studies terrorists, and a security scholar, in their research for their forthcoming book — Pastels and Pedophiles: Inside the Mind of QAnon — noticed that QAnon followers are different from the radicals they usually study in one key way: They are far more likely to have serious mental illnesses.

  • Health Risk? More than 500,000 Americans Live within 3 Miles of Natural Gas Flares

    More than a half-million Americans are exposed to oil and gas “flaring” events — the burning off of excess natural gas at production sites — resulting in potentially serious health risks.

  • Safeguarding the Nation’s Public Transit Systems

    While millions of Americans are working from home due to the ongoing pandemic, using public transportation remains a daily necessity for many. Public health measures like wearing a mask, installing new ventilation systems and filters, and reducing capacity all help to keep commuters safe – but there is always more that can be done to ensure the continued safety and security of mass transit nationwide.

  • Integrated Approaches to Disease Elimination

    The novel coronavirus pandemic has demanded an unprecedented, coordinated global response, which has culminated in increased global funding, and more importantly, increased attention to healthcare. But whilst efforts to produce and rollout effective diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines in record time are being widely acclaimed, there is a danger that this focus on COVID-19 threatens to derail decades of progress in the control and elimination of preventable infectious diseases, including malaria, polio and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).