News Briefs

March 12, 2014
By Cyndy Hogan

Recent analysis of 2012 airborne radar data NASA collected remotely suggests the data could predict large sinkholes before they occur, such as one that caused evacuations near Bayou Corne, Louisiana. Researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) examined interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) imagery of the Bayou Corne area and determined that the ground surface layer showed significant malformations at least a month before the collapse, moving mostly horizontally about 10 inches toward where the sinkhole eventually formed.

March 7, 2014
By Jim Sweeney

Gen. Tom Lawson, RCAF, chief of the Defence Staff, outlined four priorities for the Canadian Armed Forces in a speech last month at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. The highest priority is delivering excellence in operations. That is followed, Gen. Lawson said, by preparing the armed forces for tomorrow’s challenges, providing warfighters with training and professional development, and caring for warfighters and their families.

March 5, 2014
By Helen Mosher

Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, is requiring the U.S. Defense Department to rewrite and resubmit the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) for 2014, saying that it "has more to do with politics than policy and is of little value to decision makers." Among his criticisms: The QDR is written to reflect the current funding level in the president’s budget without identifying unfunded resources the Defense Department still needs, and it only provides five years of guidance instead of the required 20 years and assumes a higher risk than can be accepted under current requirements.

March 3, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is asking for the public’s help to create an online, interactive tool that uses federal travel data to increase government agencies’ budget transparency and accountability. GSA Travel Data Challenge participants will be given sample GSA travel data sets to develop a tool that can be updated with data from additional agencies. However, challenge solvers are not limited only to the information provided; in fact, they are encouraged to be creative and use other public data sets that would improve a user’s understanding of travel options.

February 27, 2014
By Cyndy Hogan

The Port of Honolulu will host a demonstration of a portable hydrogen fuel cell unit in 2015 with the goal of developing a commercial-ready technology to provide sustainable power to ports worldwide. Hydrogen researchers at Sandia National Laboratories working with several partners will produce a self-contained unit that can fit in a 20-foot shipping container and consist of four 30-kilowatt fuel cells, a hydrogen storage system and power conversion equipment that can be transported anywhere power is needed.

February 27, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

Who can you trust? The answers to that question can be both difficult and essential for society in general, but particularly vital for the intelligence community. So what if an algorithm existed that could identify neural, psychological, physiological and behavioral signals to determine a person's trustworthiness? Thanks to a new competition from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), that could be possible.

February 24, 2014
By Cyndy Hogan

The Obama administration has launched a voluntary Cybersecurity Framework, meant to serve as a how-to guide for industry to manage cyber risks. The framework, developed by the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology during the past year with input from organizations and individuals from around the world, offers broad guidelines to strengthen “the security and resiliency of critical infrastructure in a model of public-private cooperation,” according to a White House press release.

February 14, 2014
By Helen Mosher

Five universities have received funding to implement UTeach science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) preparatory programs, thanks to a $22.5 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The UTeach program, supported by the National Math and Science Initiative, helps generate awareness of the need for STEM education among college students interested in these fields and prepares these students for successful teaching careers. Currently, more than 6,000 students are in the UTeach program at 35 universities nationwide.

February 6, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has released a catalog of some of its fundamental and applied research in computer science. The catalog includes software, publications, data and detailed results of experiments.

January 21, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

The U.S. Army recently encouraged science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education by sponsoring a robotics contest for Texas middle and high school students. The VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) held in San Antonio comprised more than 50 teams from Texas schools.

January 17, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

The U.S. Defense Department will deploy version 1.0 of its unclassified mobility capability on January 31 with plans to expand the capacity to support up to 100,000 users by the end of the fiscal year. The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is the lead agency for the program and has made substantial progress toward delivering the capability.

January 14, 2014
By Cyndy Hogan

Researchers have taken the concept of radar and sonar imaging a step further to track people, even through walls. Wi-Vi, which Dina Katabi and her graduate student Fadel Adib are developing at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, transmits a low-power Wi-Fi signal and uses its reflections to track human movement. Katabi is a professor in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The system uses two transmit antennas and a single receiver.

January 16, 2014
By Helen Mosher

A competition for student programmers will recognize the importance of other disciplines and focus areas than the ones commonly associated with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), such as art (design), diversity and digital literacy. “Dream it. Code it. Win it.” is organized by MIT and TradingScreen and will award more than $50,000 in scholarships and prizes to winners of the competition. Entrants must be at least 18 years old and enrolled at accredited colleges and universities in the United States. The deadline for entry is March 30, 2014.

January 10, 2014
By Helen Mosher

Florida State University (FSU) has received more than $14 million in grants to create a program that will provide focused training, resources and support to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers.

January 9, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. intelligence community has taken some flak lately for infiltrating online games, such as Second Life and World of Warcraft. A just-released report commissioned by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, however, posits that the technology could be abused by extremists.

January 7, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) selected eight teams eligible to receive up to $1 million to continue their work following the conclusion of the agency’s Robotics Challenge trials. These top teams will now prepare for the finals, which will occur at some point in the next 12-18 months. The robots performed a series of eight simple tasks, such as walking a short distance or cutting a hole in a wall, at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, Florida. DARPA designed the tasks to simulate what a future robot might have to do to safely enter and effectively work inside a disaster zone.

January 2, 2014

Students interested in science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics (STEM) need to mark their calendars to apply to attend the U.S. Naval Academy’s 2014 summer STEM program. Participants will learn what it takes to become an engineer through exploration, problem solving and discovery. The application process opens online on January 6 and closes on April 15. The session for students who will enter 8th and 9th grades in the 2014-2015 school year takes place June 2-7. Rising 10th graders will attend sessions June 9-14. The rising 11th graders session takes place June 16-20.

December 31, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

NASA could send a team of astronauts into space to explore an asteroid located close to the Earth's orbit, according to Harvard University. The NASA Asteroid Robotic Retrieval Mission would involve capturing a near Earth object called NEO 2009BD, dragging it onto a new trajectory that traps it in the Earth-moon system and investigating it. A near Earth object is an asteroid whose orbit brings it close to the Earth's orbit.

This particular asteroid was discovered in January 2009. Its orbit pattern puts the object close to the Earth-moon system again in late 2022, when the proposed mission would take place.

January 3, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) is seeking comments on a request for proposals partial draft in preparation for contracting a company to operate a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) that will focus solely on securing U.S. information systems. The plan is to award a single indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract with firm fixed price, labor hour or cost reimbursement task orders. Currently, the proposed base period for the maximum $400 million contract is five years.

December 30, 2013
By Maryann Lawlor

The Federal Aviation Administration has announced the six unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) sites available for conducting operations research and testing. Test site operators will perform their research at the University of Alaska; Griffiss International Airport, New York; Texas A&M University; and Virginia Tech, as well as in the states of Nevada and North Dakota. Investigations will include system safety and data gathering; aircraft certification; command and control link issues; control station layout and certification; ground and airborne sense and avoid capabilities; and environmental impacts.

Pages