• Revolutionary horizontal space launch nears

    Scientists examine a proposal that calls for a wedge-shaped aircraft with scramjets to be launched horizontally on an electrified track or gas-powered sled; the aircraft would fly up to Mach 10, using the scramjets and wings to lift it to the upper reaches of the atmosphere where a small payload canister or capsule similar to a rocket’s second stage would fire off the back of the aircraft and into orbit; the aircraft would come back and land on a runway by the launch site

  • U.K. funds £12 million project for quick detection of farm-based disease

    A new device will be able to detect a variety of different infections, making it useful for outbreaks of human diseases, as well as animal ones; by providing a fast verdict on whether an area such as a farm is subject to an outbreak and needs to be quarantined, it could help stop the spread of the disease

  • Northeastern to build homeland security research center

    A $12 million gift from an alum will allow Northeastern University to build a homeland security research facility on its Burlington campus; the George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security will be designed to Department of Defense specifications so Northeastern can gain clearances to conduct secure research on areas pertaining to national security, including cryptography, data security, information assurance, explosives detection, and energy harvesting

  • New portal to serve as a forum for the Arab world's scientific community

    The Arab world has a rich and impressive history of scientific inquiry, and during the Golden Age of science Arab scientists contributed great discoveries and inventions such as algebra, optics, medicine, and many others; indeed, for more than 500 years Arabic was the language of science; for a variety of historical and political reasons, the Arab world lost the position of scientific preeminence it had enjoyed, but the potential of the Arab world’s contribution to science has not disappeared, and the prestigious journal Nature has recognized this fact by launching a new portal, Nature Middle East

  • End-of-world anti-Hadron Collider case thrown out on appeal

    Walter L Wagner, a cantankerous botanist from Hawaii, has been waging a battle against the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) for more than two years now, claiming that the continuing operation of the powerful particle accelerator risks bringing about doomsday by creating a large black hole which would swallow Earth; he sued to have the LHC operation stopped, but a court says that Wagner is basing his motion on “speculative fear of future harm,” and that such fear “does not constitute an injury in fact sufficient to confer standing”; moreover, “— the alleged injury, destruction of the earth, is in no way attributable to the U.S. government’s failure to draft an environmental impact statement”

  • New explosives detection technologies show promise

    An adversary who is willing to die trying to carry out a mission is one of the reasons why more conventional security organizations find it so difficult to pursue their protection mission effectively in an asymmetrical war — the kind of war terrorists engage in; new explosive detection technologies may be of help

  • High-tech opportunities of lab-produced silk

    Tougher than a bullet-proof vest yet synonymous with beauty and luxury, silk fibers are a masterpiece of nature whose remarkable properties have yet to be fully replicated in the laboratory; thanks to their amazing mechanical properties as well as their looks, silk fibers have been important materials in textiles, medical sutures, and even armor for 5,000 years; Tufts researchers are getting close to producing silk in the lab

  • Research shows promise for nuclear fusion test reactors

    Fusion powers the stars and could lead to a limitless supply of clean energy. A fusion power plant would produce ten times more energy than a conventional nuclear fission reactor, and because the deuterium fuel is contained in seawater, a fusion reactor’s fuel supply would be virtually inexhaustible

  • U.S. Air Force's Technology Horizons highlights service's futuristic plans

    U.S. Air Force scientists intend to maintain the service’s superiority in 2020, 2030, and beyond; Technology Horizons, unveiled last week, outlines the Air Force’s major science and technology objectives through the next decade; highly adaptable, autonomous systems that can make intelligent decisions about their battle space capabilities and human-machine brainwave coupling interfaces are but two significant technologies discussed in the document

  • To qualify for lucrative defense research work, Florida research park undergoes anti-terrorism makeover

    Florida’s largest research park, located in east Orange County, has quietly and subtly transformed some of its most prominent facilities into anti-terrorism fortresses for the high-tech military agencies located there; the research center has now become a defense-industry “nerve center” that looks and operates more like a military base than ever before

  • L.I. homeland security research center to get $1 million from DHS

    Long island’s Morelly Homeland Security Center to receive $1 million in earmarks in DHS Appropriations Act; the center aims to adapt next-generation technologies to be used by first responders in case of a terrorist attack or natural disaster

  • GAO: U.S. lacks cybersecurity R&D master plan, leadership, coordination

    GAO says United States does not have prioritized national cybersecurity research and development agenda; “Without a current national cybersecurity R&D agenda, the nation is at risk that agencies and private sector companies may focus on their individual priorities, which may not be the most important national research priorities,” auditors wrote

  • DARPA looking for solar cells that can withstand the rigors of war

    DARPA is investing $3.8 million into the creation of high-powered, lightweight solar cells that can “stand up to battle conditions and environmental extremes”; thin-film, flexible solar cells are a major priority for the military, because they can be applied onto almost everything — from tents to uniforms — and would minimize the number of generators and portable battery packs needed by troops in battle

  • Forecasting the misuse, and abuse, of evolving technologies

    New project aims to identify and assesses future threats posed by the abuse of evolving science and technology knowledge; examples could include the development of new infectious bacteria or viruses resistant to known medical treatments, or the invention of materials with camouflaging properties for covert activity

  • A first: plastic antibodies pass initial test

    Plastic antibodies, which mimic the proteins produced by the body’s immune system, were found to work in the bloodstream of a living animal; the discovery is an advance toward medical use of plastic particles custom tailored to fight an array of antigens