• New methodology evaluates risk of scarce metals

    China produces more than 95 of the world’s rare Earth metals, making governments and businesses around the world uneasy; researchers develop a methodology ti answer two important questions: how do we know what is scarce? If we know a metal is scarce, how do we know whether we should worry about it?

  • Researchers: new forms of torture leave “invisible scars”

    Use of torture around the world has not diminished but the techniques used have grown more complex and sophisticated; a new study suggests that these emerging forms of torture, which include various types of rape, bestiality, and witnessing violent acts, are experienced by people seeking asylum in the United Kingdom

  • Brain's failure to appreciate others may permit atrocities

    A person can become callous enough to commit human atrocities because of a failure in the part of the brain that is critical for social interaction; this function may disengage when people encounter others they consider disgusting, thus “dehumanizing” their victims by failing to acknowledge they have thoughts and feelings; this also may help explain how propaganda — depicting Tutsi in Rwanda as cockroaches and Hitler’s classification of Jews in Nazi Germany as vermin — has contributed to torture and genocide

  • Cyber-attackers think as regular crooks

    An engineer and a criminologist are applying criminological concepts and research methods in the study of cybercrime; their work has produced recommendations for IT managers to use in the prevention of cyber attacks on their networks

  • Game to improve defense, homeland security decision making

    Raytheon BBN Technologies has been awarded a $10.5 million multi-year contract to develop serious games that result in better decision-making by teaching participants to recognize and mitigate the effects of their own biases when analyzing information used to make decisions

  • Fighting terrorism by changing narratives

    DARPA’s “Narrative Networks” project aims to find out how susceptible some people are to “narratives” (oral stories, speeches, propaganda, books, etc.) which might dispose them to engage in terrorist actions — and then replace such offer such people “better” narratives

  • Arab Spring is different thing for different people

    New research shows true picture of what and who is behind the political uprisings; although the idea of the “Arab Spring” is accepted by a large proportion of people in Arab countries, the reasons they are aligning themselves with it are very different and have grown more diverse the longer it has gone on

  • Behavioral observation as a security method questioned

    Agencies in charge of airport security believed they had a good idea: why not add behavioral observation of passengers as an added layer of security on top of the various screening and scanning machines already placed at airports around the United States; experts question the method’s efficacy

  • Belief that others can change could bring peace

    Psychologists find that members of groups engaged in conflict are more willing to compromise if they believe people are capable of changing; when researchers presented Israelis and Palestinians with evidence that groups of people are capable of change, the information increased the subjects’ willingness to compromise on key political issues

  • DHS "pre-crime" detectors draw criticism

    A plan by DHS officials to use automated machines to identify people before they commit a criminal or terrorist act is drawing sharp criticism from privacy advocates; DHS is currently developing intention detectors under the Future Attributer Screening Technology (FAST) program; the FAST security checkpoints are outfitted with a sophisticated suite of sensors that are designed to identify several physiological indicators like heart rate or the steadiness of a person’s gaze

  • Designing a more effective crystal ball

    A new model for crowdsourcing predictions called Aggregative Contingent Estimation System (ACES) is transforming the way future events are forecast — combining the collective knowledge of many individual opinions in a unique way that improves accuracy beyond what any one person or small group of experts could provide

  • Anxious Searchers Miss Multiple Targets

    Research shows that when people search for objects — say, air port security personnel screening baggage for weapons — they typically miss the second of two objects once they find the first one; missing a second target is a well-known issue called “satisfaction of search,” and it manifests itself in both airport screening and looking for cancerous tumors in a lab; now researchers find that anxiety heightened the satisfaction-of-search problem

  • Suicide bombers: expedient tactics, not expression of Islam

    New study argues that female suicide bombing is a political and military tactic, not a religious act; according to mainstream scholars of Islam, the Qur’an, the Hadith (traditions and practices of the Prophet Muhammad), and other principles of Shari’a (Islamic law) clearly condemn terrorist acts and oppose suicide operations; in order to justify suicide bombings, leaders of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and al Qaeda have formulated their own interpretations of Islam, which are based more on military strategy than theology

  • DHS completes tests on mind reading technology

    DHS officials recently completed an initial round of tests for its new intent detecting technology; with the Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) program, DHS hopes to be able to identify terrorists or criminals before they execute an attack; FAST relies on remote sensors to measure several physical indicators like heart rate and how frequently one’s eyes flit back and forth; so far the technology has only been tested in a laboratory setting, but DHS says that it has been able to achieve a 70 percent accuracy rate; in the next battery of tests, officials will examine how FAST fares in more realistic settings; many scientists criticize the program for the dubious science behind it

  • New anti-piracy tool: 1,000-participant Internet wargame

    The U.S. Navy is recruiting a community of more than 1,000 players from across the U.S. government to collaborate on solving real-world problems facing the U.S. Navy: high-seas piracy; the participants will be asked to suggest ways to combating piracy off the coast of Somalia