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        • 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.

        • Food securityGame-Changing Technologies to Transform Food Systems

          In the next three decades, the world will need a 30–70 percent increase in food availability to meet the demand from an increasing population. In addition, the global food system will need to change profoundly if it is going to provide humanity with healthy food that is grown sustainably in ways that are not only resilient in the face of climate change but also do not surpass planetary boundaries. According to new research, a pipeline of disruptive technologies could transform our food systems, ecosystems, and human health, but attention to the enabling environment is needed to realize their potential.

        • Last frontierIncreased Extraterrestrial Ambitions Threaten the Future of Space

          As the number of nations and businesses across sectors look outward to space for new opportunities — and commercial space activities grow — the sustainability of space exploration is more important than ever. as more private sector entities get involved in commercial space activities, the more important it becomes for stakeholders to agree on norms and rules if we are to coordinate space activities to the benefit of everyone.

        • Last frontierU.S. Seeks to Change the Rules for Mining the Moon

          By Scott Shackelford

          At the moment, no company – or nation – is yet ready to claim or take advantage of private property in space. But the $350 billion space industry could change quickly. Several companies are already planning to explore the Moon to find raw materials like water; Helium-3, which is potentially useful in fusion nuclear reactors; and rare earth elements, which are invaluable for manufacturing electronics. Anticipating additional commercial interest, the Trump administration has created new rules through an executive order following a 2015 law change for how those companies might profit from operations on the Moon, asteroids and other planets. Those rules conflict with a longstanding international treaty the U.S. has generally followed but never formally joined.

        • SurveillanceGovernments Shouldn’t Use “Centralized” Proximity Tracking Technology

          By Bennett Cyphers and Gennie Gebhart

          Companies and governments across the world are building and deploying a dizzying number of systems and apps to fight COVID-19. Many groups have converged on using Bluetooth-assisted proximity tracking for the purpose of exposure notification. Even so, there are many ways to approach the problem, and dozens of proposals have emerged. One way to categorize them is based on how much trust each proposal places in a central authority.

        • BiometricsLend Me Your Ears: Securing Smart-Home Entry with Earprints

          Fingerprints and DNA are well-known forms of biometrics, thanks to crime dramas on television and at the movies. But as technology drives us toward the Internet of Things—the interconnection of computer devices in common objects—other forms of biometrics are sure to enter the cultural consciousness beyond use as forensics tools such as face recognition and retinas, veins, and palm prints. Researchers say that “earprints” could one day be used as person identification to secure smart homes via smartphones.

        • 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.

        • Climate challengesNew App Helps Combat Climate Change

          Researchers studying the relationship between road designs and conditions and excess fuel consumption and environmental impact, designed an app aiming to reduce carbon pollution, conserve fuel, and minimize the environmental impact of driving.

        • Coastal challengesHarnessing Wave Power to Rebuild Islands

          Many island nations, including the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, are facing an existential threat as a result of a rising sea level induced by global climate change. Researchers are testing ways of harnessing nature’s own forces to help maintain and rebuild threatened islands and coastlines.

        • AI diagnosticNew AI Diagnostic Can Predict COVID-19 without Testing

          Researchers at King’s College London, Massachusetts General Hospital and health science company ZOE have developed an artificial intelligence diagnostic that can predict whether someone is likely to have COVID-19 based on their symptoms. Their findings are published today in https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0916-2. Click or tap if you trust this link.">Nature Medicine. King’s College London says that the AI model uses data from the COVID Symptom Study app to predict COVID-19 infection, by comparing people’s symptoms and the results of traditional COVID tests. Researchers say this may provide help for populations where access to testing is limited. Two clinical trials in the UK and the US are due to start shortly.

        • SurfacesBGU Scientists Develop Anti-Coronavirus Surface Coating Based on Nanomaterials

          In light of the possibility that the virus can spread through contaminated surfaces, it is important to be able to sterilize surfaces with high contamination potential, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons or handrails in public areas in general, and in hospitals and clinics in particular. However, current disinfectants are mainly based on chemicals such as poisonous sodium hypochlorite (bleach) or alcohol, both of which provide only a temporary measure until the next exposure to the virus. Israel’s Ben Gurion University said that Prof. Angel Porgador, from the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics at BGU and the National Institute of Biotechnology in the Negev (NIBN), and Dr. Mark Schvartzman, Department of Materials Engineering at BGU, are developing novel surface coatings that will have a long term effect, and contain nanoparticles of safe metal ions and polymers with anti-viral and anti-microbial activity.

        • PrivacyEnhancing Privacy Protections for Android Applications

          From navigation to remote banking, mobile device users rely on a variety of applications to streamline daily tasks, communicate, and dramatically increase productivity. While exceedingly useful, the ecosystem of third-party applications utilizes a number of sensors – microphones, GPS, pedometers, cameras – and user interactions to collect data used to enable functionality. Troves of sensitive personal data about users are accessible to these applications and as defense and commercial mobile device users become increasingly reliant on the technology, there are growing concerns around the challenge this creates for preserving user privacy.

        • VolcanoesSpeech Recognition Techniques Help Predict Volcanoes’ Behavior

          Researchers are aiming to automatically analyze volcanic activities to develop early-warning models that could save the lives of people living near volcanoes. Machine learning has been used for  pattern identification in speech recognition, and researchers say the same technique can be used to understand patterns of volcanic “behavior.”

        • PerspectiveAll’s Clear for Deep Fakes: Think Again

          A few analysts are claiming that the bark of deepfakes is worse than their bite. Robert Chesney, Danielle Citron, and Hany Farid disagree, writing that “Now is not the time to sit back and claim victory over deep fakes or to suggest that concern about them is overblown. The coronavirus has underscored the deadly impact of believable falsehoods, and the election of a lifetime looms ahead. More than ever we need to trust what our eyes and ears are telling us.”

        • Critical suppliesWeb App Helps Truck Drivers Move Critical Supplies

          As the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved, a patchwork of well-intentioned, state-level restrictions has emerged. They have impeded interstate commerce and the rapid delivery of critical food, medical and sanitation supplies. As truckers work to move products throughout the country, they are often confronted with closed rest areas, local curfews, and in some cases, 14-day quarantines. INL researchers developed a web application to visually display route restrictions, alternative routes and other pertinent information pulled from publicly available sources, including state websites and databases.

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