USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace

 

Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, April 11 - 17, 2013

Table of Contents

**Click here to subscribe to USIP's Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding News Roundup,
which includes a special section on Internet and social media.**


Combating Tech's Conflict Minerals With Disclosure
Some of our most advanced technology products have helped finance the deadliest conflicts of our time. Perhaps, if tech companies change some of their habits, that can change. An essential part of most cellphones is the mineral tantalite, which is frequently obtained from the Democratic Republic of Congo under murky circumstances.
See the full article (New York Times, Quentin Hardy, 4/15/13) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Cyber War is Just a Dangerous Guessing Game
Getting to the bottom of Stuxnet is a sticky business. What is not so clear is who was behind the attack, nor whether a Stuxnet-like virus could potentially knock out a city's power grid or other critical infrastructure - and panic around the latter has led to much rhetoric around the growing threat of cyber war.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, Shona Ghosh, 4/15/13)
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Pain Rays and Robot Swarms: The Radical New War Games the DOD Plays
In the year 2025, a rogue state--long suspected of developing biological weapons--now seems intent on using them against U.S. allies and interests. Anticipating such an event, we have developed a secret "counter-virus" that could infect and destroy their stockpile of bioweapons. Should we use it? These are part of actual discussions last month at an unusual wargame sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense's Rapid Reaction Technology Office and the U.S. Naval Academy.
See the full article (Atlantic, Patrick Lin, 4/15/13)
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Stuxnet and the Dawn of Algorithmic Warfare
Though autonomous, destructive robots are a long-time, hackneyed science fiction plot, for some time, this new kind of warfare has been shifting from yesterday's movie to today's reality. But unforeseen by the imaginations of both headline and science fiction writers, it was not a missile-laden drone or humanoid Terminator that introduced this new kind of combat, but a piece of software.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Jason Healey, 4/16/13)
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China Is a Cyber Victim, Too
China not only has a cyber problem, it has a valid U.S. cyber problem -- and it's one that Secretary of State John Kerry appears to have agreed to address. The Chinese press has reported that the websites of 85 public institutions and companies were "hacked" between September 2012 and March 2013, with 39 of those attacks traced back to the United States.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, Jason Healey, 4/16/13) *Foreign Policy sign-up may be required to view the full article
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GDELT: A Big Data History of Life, the Universe and Everything
Everybody is searching for bigger and bigger data: how about this? A comprehensive list of every event in human history. GDELT: Global Data on Events, Location and Tone is literally a giant list: over 250m events in over 300 categories from riots and protests to diplomatic exchanges and peace appeals. Crucially, it contains latitude and longitude for every event.
See the full article (Guardian, Simon Rogers, 4/12/13)
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