• Hemispheric securityVenezuela Failed Raid: U.S. Has a History of Using Mercenaries to Undermine Other Regimes

    By Andrew Thomson

    In early May, the Venezuelan military intercepted a group of dissidents and American mercenaries. These events in Venezuela echo past U.S. secret sponsorship of private armies to overthrow governments elsewhere. The U.S. has an extended history of sponsoring insurgents and mercenaries to undermine unwanted foreign regimes.

  • Seismic warningsSeparating Industrial Noise from Natural Seismic Signals

    For the first time, seismologists can characterize signals as a result of some industrial human activity on a continent-wide scale using cloud computing. A transformative, cloud-computing approach to analyzing data helps researchers better understand seismic activity.

  • Floods & emergency responseFloods and Emergency Response Time

    First responders, such as fire and ambulance services, will likely struggle to reach urgent cases in a timely manner during flooding in England, researchers found. The researchers investigated how various levels of flooding impact the ability of emergency services to reach urgent cases.

  • SurveillanceGermany: Revised Domestic Surveillance Bill Submitted to Bundestag

    A draft law to reform Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency is to be re-submitted to parliament after long debate. It will allow German domestic intelligence and law enforcement to conduct electronic surveillance of telephone calls and SMS text services, including encrypted “chats” via services such as WhatsApp and Telegram, but will  not allow the use of cyber “Trojan” trawling tools.

  • VolcanoesMount St. Helens’ 1980 Eruption Changed Volcanology

    If scientists armed with today’s monitoring tools and knowledge could step back in time to the two months before 18 May 1980, they would have been able to better forecast the forthcoming devastating eruption.

  • NukesCold War Nuclear Tests Changed U.K. Rainfall

    Nuclear bomb tests during the Cold War may have changed rainfall patterns thousands of miles from the detonation sites, new research has revealed. Scientists have researched how the electric charge released by radiation from the test detonations, carried out predominantly by the U.S. and Soviet Union in the 1950s and 1960s, affected rainclouds at the time.

  • Surveillance stateCOVID Is Ushering in a Surveillance State That May Never Be Dismantled

    Is the “new normal” to be a surveillance society, with tracing apps and facial recognition health passports? Philip Johnston writes in The Telegraph that the British government insists not; but if we are hit by a second wave of COVID-19, the temptation to extend the monitoring will be hard to resist.

  • ExtremismIn Germany, Vaccine Fears Spark Conspiracy Theories

    The increasing number of gatherings in German cities, some under the motto “Resistance 2020,” have attracted all sorts of supporters: people who belong to the far-right Reichsbürger movement, conspiracy theorists, liberals, and people from the neo-right — and increasingly, those who support the anti-vaccine movement. The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which is keeping an eye on the protests, has noted an increase in right-wing extremists in attendance, as well as growing anti-Semitic and anti-democratic symbols and slogans.

  • Digital forensicsStudents Take Witness Stand in Virtual Courtroom

    USC students took the stand as part of the capstone project in their advanced digital forensics class at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. In years past, students in the class traveled to a real courtroom, but this year the COVID-19 pandemic pushed them to a digital venue: a videoconference on Zoom.

  • Ethnic cleansingRussian, Syrian Forces Continue a Campaign of War Crimes in Syria: Amnesty

    In a new report, Amnesty International offers details of a continuing Syrian and Russian campaign to destroy hospitals, clinics, and schools in the Sunni-majority province of Idlib, in order to drive as many Sunnis as possible out of Syria. Since 2011, the Assad regime has conducted the largest ethnic cleansing campaign since the Second World War, aiming to change the ethnic composition of Syria. “Even by the standards of Syria’s calamitous nine-year crisis, the displacement and humanitarian emergency sparked by the latest onslaught on Idlib has been unprecedented,” said Amnesty.

  • PPESecond Skin Protects against Chem, Bio Agents

    Recent events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the use of chemical weapons in the Syria conflict have provided a stark reminder of the plethora of chemical and biological threats that soldiers, medical personnel and first responders face during routine and emergency operations. Researchers have developed a smart, breathable fabric designed to protect the wearer against biological and chemical warfare agents. Material of this type could be used in clinical and medical settings as well.

  • Infection rateGerman Study Suggests Infections Are 10 Times the Number of Confirmed Cases

    More than 10 times as many people in Germany have likely been infected with the coronavirus than the number of confirmed cases, researchers from the University of Bonn have concluded from a field trial in one of the worst hit towns. Thilo Schmuelgen writes for Reuters that The preliminary study results, which have yet to be peer reviewed for publication in a scientific journal, serve as a reminder of the dangers of infection by unidentified carriers of the virus, some of whom show no symptoms, the researchers said.

  • IranIran Pulling Military Out of Syria in Response to Intensified Israeli Attacks

    Israeli defense officials told reporters Tuesday that Iranian forces are pulling out of Syria and closing military bases, arms depots, arms manufacturing facilities, and military research labs there. In recent months, Israel has intensified its air attacks against Iranian forces, and against Hezbollah targets, in Syria, as well as against the Assad regime forces protecting Iranian and Hezbollah targets.

  • CybersecurityPredicting and Countering Cyberttacks

    The U.K Defense and Security Accelerator (DASA) announce nearly £1m to further develop technology that predicts and counters cyber-attacks. “This work will develop, adapt and merge the novel approaches explored in Phase 1 of the competition, to proactively defend deployed U.K. military systems and networks from the rapidly growing threat of offensive cyber action from aggressive adversaries,” DASA said.

  • Nuclear detectionCatching Nuclear Smugglers: Fast Algorithm Enable Cost-Effective Detectors at Borders

    Nations need to protect their citizens from the threat of nuclear terrorism. Nuclear security deters and detects the smuggling of special nuclear materials—highly enriched uranium, weapons-grade plutonium or materials that produce a lot of radiation—across national borders. A new algorithm could enable faster, less expensive detection of weapons-grade nuclear materials at borders, quickly differentiating between benign and illicit radiation signatures in the same cargo.

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