USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, November 10 - 16, 2011

Table of Contents

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How an iPhone Revolution Could Turn the Army Upside-down
An Army pilot program is putting smart phones in the hands of soldiers as a warfighting tool. It [is] a simple idea - allowing soldiers to use the smart phones they're familiar with to be more connected on the battlefield, whether to check maps or relay information. But the project challenges traditional Army command culture as well as the military industry.
See the full article (Christian Science Monitor, Anna Mulrine, 11/15/11)
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Iran Says it Has 'Controlled' Duqu Malware Attack
The Iranian news agency, IRNA, reported that the country's cyber defence unit was taking steps to combat the infection, which believed to have been designed to steal data to help launch further cyber attacks. Officials now describe the Duqu attack as the "third virus" to hit Iran.
See the full article (BBC, 11/14/11)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "What's Parliament Got to do With it?: Elections in the Islamic Republic of Iran" on November 18 at 2:00pm. You can also watch the live webcast!
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Defense Science Panel: Climate a National Security Threat
The National Academy of Science has concluded that climate change, largely driven by fossil fuel use releasing greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, has led to a 1.4 degree increase in average global surface temperatures over the last century, and will likely drive a 2 to 11 degree increase in the next century. Particularly in Africa, the report warns of increasing challenges to national security caused by global warming.
See the full article (USA Today, Dan Vergano, 11/14/11)
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Smaller Powers More at Risk for Cyber War, Experts Say
Most Americans who worry about cyber warfare are concerned that it will be directed against the United States. But the truth is that cyber conflict is far more likely to involve smaller players - and the dangers associated with that possibility are just as real. That's because war is more common in small, unstable areas: it's where the most conflicts are.
See the full article (SecurityNewsDaily, Jesse Emspak, 11/14/11)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Rewiring the Diagram: Regional Conflict Management and Global Security" on December 1 at 9:00am.
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Google's Lab of Wildest Dreams
Even as Google has grown into a major corporation and tech start-ups are biting at its heels, the [Google X] lab reflects its ambition to be a place where ground-breaking research and development are happening. At Google, which uses artificial intelligence techniques and machine learning in its search algorithm, some of the outlandish projects may not be as much of a stretch as they first appear.
See the full article (New York Times, Claire Cain Miller and Nick Bilton, 11/13/11) *NYT sign-up may be required to view the full article
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Future Wars May Be Fought by Synapses
As global conflicts become murkier, technologies based on infiltrating brains may soon enter countries' arsenals, neuroethicists claim in a paper published online October 31 in Synesis. Analysts with a brain chip could quickly sift through huge amounts of intelligence data, and fighter pilots merged with computer search algorithms could rapidly lock onto an enemy target, for instance.
See the full article (ScienceNews, Laura Sanders, 11/11/11)
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Sentiment Analysis Reveals How the World is Feeling
Researchers have been exploring the possibilities of sentiment analysis in areas other than national security and intelligence. The availability of large amounts of textual data online makes mood tracking of large groups easier than ever. [On the Media] host Bob [Garfield] spoke with Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing Professor Johan Bollen about the different applications for sentiment analysis.
See the full article (NPR, 11/11/11)
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U.S. Calls for NetApp Probe on Syria Spy Tech
Senators Mark Kirk and Robert Casey will send a letter today to the State and Commerce departments requesting an investigation into two U.S. companies whose technology has been used to "monitor activities of Syrian citizens." The Syrian Internet surveillance project, headed by the Italian company Area SpA, is designed to intercept and catalog virtually every e-mail that flows through the country.
See the full article (Bloomberg, Ben Elgin and Vernon Silver, 11/10/11)
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Beyond the Roomba: How iRobot's Technology is Making War Zones Safer for Soldiers
The Packbot is a military robot that has been on the front lines of the war in Afghanistan, the rocky rubble of the World Trade Center and the radioactive turf of Japan's nuclear reactors. While the Packbot can be implemented in myriad situations, it's been most useful for IED defeat; more than 4,000 Packbots have been deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
See the full article (Mashable, Lauren Drell, 11/10/11)
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which includes a special section on Internet and social media.

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Please note: There will be no News Roundup distributed next week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
Happy Thanksgiving from USIP's Center of Innovation for Science, Technology and Peacebuilding!



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