USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, October 6 - 12, 2011

Table of Contents

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The Digital Revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa
Much has been written about the role technology played in bringing social and political change across much of the Middle East and North Africa, but less is known about the technological revolution that is taking place and transforming people's lives in sub-Saharan Africa. To improve educational quality and student achievement, a number of primary schools in the country are now using mobile and video technology to assist teachers.
See the full article (Al Jazeera, Laila Ali, 10/12/11)
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Computational Model of Peace Predicts Social Violence, Harmony
A systems model of how ethnic tensions flare into violence has passed a test in Switzerland, where harmony prevails except for one region flagged by the analysis. The model runs census data through an assembly line of high-powered mathematical processes, but at its root is one basic assumption: that community-level violence is primarily a function of geography, modulated by the overlap of political, topographical and ethnic borders.
See the full article (Wired, Brandon Keim, 10/11/11)
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Raytheon Shows the Army a Universal Translator App
It's been a white whale for the Army during a decade at war: building a translator that can let English-only troops communicate with Arabic, Dari and Pashto speakers in war zones. Now a huge defense contractor think it's speared the elusive quarry - in app form.
See the full article (Wired, Spencer Ackerman, 10/10/11)
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Coming Soon: The Drone Arms Race
Eventually, the United States will face a military adversary or terrorist group armed with drones, military analysts say. But what the short-run hazard experts foresee is not an attack on the United States, which faces no enemies with significant combat drone capabilities, but the political and legal challenges posed when another country follows the American example.
See the full article (New York Times, Scott Shane, 10/8/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Private University in North Korea Offers Lessons in Science and World Peace
In communist North Korea - tightly sealed off from the Internet and foreign news - a fledgling private university is offering hand-picked students a rare window to the outside world. The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, backed by evangelical Christians and Western-trained scientists, aspires to give future leaders tools to develop the country's backward economy and promote peace on the Korean Peninsula.
See the full article (Washington Post, Michael Alison Chandler, 10/7/11)
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Computer Virus Hits U.S. Drone Fleet
A computer virus has infected the cockpits of America's Predator and Reaper drones, logging pilots' every keystroke as they remotely fly missions over Afghanistan and other warzones. The virus, first detected nearly two weeks ago by the military's Host-Based Security System, has not prevented pilots at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada from flying their missions overseas.
See the full article (Wired, Noah Shachtman, 10/7/11)
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Afghan Taliban Evolves with Technology
Since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan 10 years ago, the Taliban has kept pace with changing technology - using the latest forms of communication to spread their message. Some analysts say the insurgents are more effective at outreach than even the Afghan government.
See the full article (VOA, Sean Maroney, 10/7/11)
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