USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace

Center of Innovation for Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, January 6 - 12, 2011

Table of Contents

Why Climate Science Divides Us, but Energy Technology Unites Us
It wasn't that long ago that much of the American political establishment came to believe that the science of climate would result in common national and global action. The idea was that climate scientists would tell us what the safe level of atmospheric emissions was, and that nations would take shared steps to reducing their emissions over the next 50 years. But things didn't work out that way.
See the full article (Forbes, Michael Shellenberger, 1/11/11)
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China Tests Stealth Aircraft Before Gates, Hu Heet
China's military tested a stealth fighter jet Tuesday, hours before U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates met with Chinese President Hu Jintao - a blunt demonstration of the military's willingness to challenge both the United States and its own president. Conducting such a test while the top U.S. defense official is visiting is unprecedented for China. The test of the J-20 aircraft prototype at an airfield in western China underscores the opposition China's military has to Gates's trip.
See the full article (Washington Post, John Pomfret, 1/11/11)
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The Top Four Cyber Threats for 2011
The U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs marked the attack [on an Iranian nuclear facility] as the beginning of a new era: The Age of Stuxnet. While the Stuxnet worm may be the most identifiable, ominous new threat to cyber security as the new year begins, security experts have predicted 2011 will also be a year of dynamic shifts in online threats in other areas, including social media and political "hacktivism."
See the full article (ABC, Lee Ferran, 1/7/11)
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2011 Spells Desperate Search for Rare Earth Minerals
The recent spate of energy diplomacy between China and United States has resulted in the Asian giant slashing export quotas of rare earth mineral by half in 2011. Chinese authorities have announced their country will lower its ceiling on rare earth exports for the first half of this year by 35 percent from the same period last year.
See the full article (International Business Times, Anil Das, 1/7/11)
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New Israeli Military Technology Allows Forces to Wage War Quickly Through Interactive Maps
Israel is among several nations harnessing digital and satellite technology to develop C4I systems - short for "command, control, communications, computers and intelligence" - that integrate battlefield information. The goal is to have "all the elements of a force ... seeing the same tactical picture, and you can move information from one to the other completely seamlessly," said Britain-based Giles Ebbutt.
See the full article (AP, Ben Hubbard, 1/7/11)
Click to read "On the Issues: Arab/Israeli Outlook," by USIP's Scott Lasensky.
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The Growth of New Cyber Threats Slowed in 2010, Study Finds
Cyber criminals have created 34% of all existing malware in the past 12 months, according to the 2010 Annual Security Report by researchers at Panda Security. Despite this growth, the report says the speed with which the number of new threats is increasing has dropped with respect to 2009. Since 2003, new threats grew by at least 100% every year, but in 2010, the increase was around 50%.
See the full article (Computer Weekly, Warwick Ashford, 1/6/11)
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