Even cyberwar has rules, and one group of experts is putting out a manual to prove it. Their handbook, the Tallinn Manual, due to be published later this week, applies the practice of international law to the world of electronic warfare in an effort to show how hospitals, civilians and neutral nations can be protected in an information-age fight.
The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory this week announced the release of the Transportation Energy Futures study, an assessment of avenues to reach deep cuts in petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. The project suggests opportunities for 80% reductions by 2050
One of the government's top spy agencies, the National Security Agency, has teamed with Carnegie Mellon University to interest high school students in a game of computer hacking. Their goal with "Toaster Wars" is to cultivate the nation's next generation of cyber warriors. The free, online "high school hacking competition" is scheduled to run from April 26 to May 6, and any U.S. student or team in grades six through 12 can apply and participate.
A Canadian research center said Wednesday that it had identified 25 different countries that host servers linked to FinFisher, a Trojan horse program which can dodge anti-virus protections to steal data, log keystrokes, eavesdrop on Skype calls, and turn microphones and webcams into live surveillance devices. This finding doesn't necessarily mean those countries' governments are using FinFisher, but it is an indication of the spyware's reach.
Facing public outrage over smog-choked cities and filthy rivers, China's leaders are promising to clean up the country's neglected environment—a pledge that sets up a clash with political pressures to keep economic growth strong.
Hydraulic fracturing may soon be approved for the state of New York. However, a new study finds that it is technically and economically feasible to convert New York's all-purpose energy infrastructure to one powered by wind, water, and sunlight. The authors say that overall switch would reduce New York's end-use power demand by about 37% and stabilize energy prices.
According to a recent study from Rice University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, there is good news and better news about ground-level ozone in American cities. While dangerous ozone levels have fallen in places that clamp down on emissions from vehicles and industry, the report suggests that a model widely used to predict the impact of remediation efforts has been too conservative.
The European Union has fined Microsoft €561 million ($733 million) for breaking a pledge to offer personal computer users a choice of Internet browsers when they install the company's flagship Windows operating system. The penalty imposed by the EU's executive arm, the Commission, is a first for Brussels: no company has ever failed to keep its end of a bargain with EU authorities before.
India's patent appeals office has rejected Bayer AG's plea to stop the production of a cheaper generic version of a patented cancer drug in a ruling that health groups say is an important precedent for getting inexpensive lifesaving medicines to the poor. Bayer sells a one month supply of the drug for about $5,600. Natco's version would cost Indian patients $175 a month, less than 1/30th as much.
An Obama administration adviser says the White House believes smartphone and tablet users should be allowed to unlock their phones and use the devices on the network of their choosing. The administration's opinion on the matter also goes for tablets, since they are becoming similar to smartphones.
President Barack Obama announced today that he intends to nominate Ernest J. Moniz to head the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Moniz is the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as the director of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment. At MIT, Moniz has also served previously as head of the Department of Physics and as director of the Bates Linear Accelerator Center.
A grieving Oregon mother who battled Facebook for full access to her deceased son's account has been pushing for years for something that would prevent others from losing photos, messages and other memories—as she did. The Oregon Legislature took up the cause as well, only to be turned back by pressure from the tech industry, which argued that both a 1986 federal law and voluntary terms of service agreements prohibit companies from sharing a person's information. Still, lawmakers pushed forward, seeking to treat digital information, from photos to intellectual property, as material property for estate purposes.
In a 2012 report, the Obama administration announced that it was "jumpstarting" the nuclear industry and injected significant funding into two new nuclear reactor projects in Georgia. But this investment—the first of its kind in three decades—belies an overall dismal U.S. nuclear power landscape, according to a recently published report. Where Japan and many European countries responded to the Fukushima disaster with public debate and significant policy shifts in the nuclear arena, the U.S. has scarcely broached the subject.
Late last week, the National Science Foundation , along with federal partners, announced its commitment to expand public access to the results of its funded research. This announcement follows a memorandum issued from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy directing science-funding agencies to develop plans to increase access to the results of federally funded research.
Russia may suspend its lease for some facilities at the Baikonur space complex in Kazakhstan, opening the way for its joint administration by the two countries, a senior Russian space official says. The launch pad for satellite-deploying Zenit rockets at the complex will be the first facility to be reviewed, Roscosmos deputy head Sergei Savelyev told the Ivzestia newspaper in an interview published Thursday.
High-level talks with the Chinese government to address persistent cyberattacks against U.S. companies and government agencies haven't worked, so officials say the Obama administration is now considering a range of actions. China-based hackers have long been an economic and national security concern, but as cybersecurity experts report an increase in attacks, U.S. leaders are looking at ways to better address the threat and analyze its impact.
The National Institutes of Health Council of Councils Working Group on Tuesday approved a to retire all but 50 of hundreds of chimpanzees kept for federally funded research. The chimps would be sent to a national sanctuary, and no return to breeding them for research would take place. The proposal also calls for major cuts in grants to study chimps in laboratories.
Recent research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory finds utility customer-funded energy efficiency programs expanding across the United States. Spending on these programs, which are funded by mandatory charges on utility bills, will double to nearly $10 billion per year by 2025. Drivers for this growth include energy efficiency resource standards required of utilities.
Western U.S. coal companies looking to expand sales to China will likely succeed, according to Stanford University economist Frank Wolak. But, due to energy market dynamics in the United States, those coal exports are likely to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases.
A special panel of scientists convened by the government issued Friday a 1,146-page draft report that details in dozens of ways how climate change is already disrupting the health, homes and other facets of daily American life. The blunt report takes a global environmental issue and explains what it means for different U.S. regions, for various sectors of the economy and for future generations.
The wind energy and ethanol industries celebrated a victory Wednesday with the inclusion of tax credit extensions in the tax relief bill approved by Congress, but that may not mean lost jobs will come back anytime soon. The measure approved Tuesday night as part of the bill extending tax cuts for most taxpayers also helps wind energy and ethanol producers by extending tax credits, most of which expired Monday.
Global R&D spending is forecast to grow by 3.7%, or $53.7 billion in 2013 to $1.496 trillion, according to research by analysts at Battelle, Columbus, Ohio, and R&D Magazine, Rockaway, N.J. The largest share of this increase, $22.9 billion, is expected to come from China, which continues its decade-long annual double digit increases in R&D investments.
The watchword heading into 2013 is uncertainty, and the effect on the U.S. research and development enterprise is more unclear than ever. The current economic condition and uneasy prospects for the future combined with a federal government funding projection that could range anywhere from flat to significant declines have limited the prospects for 2013.
With significant fiscal debates ongoing, a detailed discussion of FY 2013 federal R&D funding would be of limited value at this time. Instead we highlight a few key issues and describe how the current budget will likely be developed. For an up-to-date analysis of federal R&D appropriations, we recommend the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program.
R&D is generally a long-term investment, building upon the results of previous years' expenditures, leading first to the generation of new knowledge through basic research and ultimately to products and services through applied research, development, and commercialization. These are considered to be functional impacts.