U.S. and Japan Seeking to Break China’s Grip on Rare Earths Production

IEEE Spectrum  July 23, 2020 Over time China has monopolized the rare earth elements (RREs) production with government partnerships and lax production regulations. China restricts REE exports when aggrieved. The Japanese were quick to respond to the threat of blocked exports by encouraging recycling and diversification of REE supplies. The state and private sector collaborated to and importing more rare earth from Asian countries. They discovered rich supplies of REEs in deep sea mud within Japan’s exclusive economic zone in the Pacific Ocean. In 2016 the U.S. and Australia agreed to work together on securing REE resources and to support […]

For 75 Years, The US Had an ‘Endless Frontier’ of Science. Now It’s Coming to an End

Science Alert  March 14, 2020Science The Endless Frontier released by the first US presidential science adviser engineer Vannevar Bush in 1945 became the blueprint for postwar science. It led to the development of the modern American research university, the National Science Foundation and increased government funding for science research from the 1940s to 1960s. According to the attendees at a symposium marking the 75th anniversary of the report, many facets of the plan aren’t working anymore, and the structural framework laid out in The Endless Frontier needs refreshing for 2020. Maintaining and bolstering trust in science has never been more […]

The World Could Soon Run Out of a Crucial Resource And Nobody Is Talking About It

Science Alert  October 7, 2019 Phosphorous is an essential mineral for all plants and animals on Earth, including humans. It is not a renewable element, and there are currently no known substitutes and there are very few areas in which it is mined. In a report a group of 40 international experts have warned that if nothing is done to conserve this crucial element, our planet might soon run out completely. The world is entirely unprepared for the looming phosphorous crisis. There is no collaboration or coordination on a global scale that takes the responsibility of governing the global P-resource, […]

Beyond borders: Understanding migration requires understanding changing land systems

Science Daily  September 9, 2019 With a focus on Latin America, an international team of researchers (USA – Utah State University, Ohio University, Pennsylvania State University, Indiana State University, Mexico, Chile, Norway, Germany) reviews research on how land change affects migration and how migration affects land systems, to demonstrate that the relationship is complex and context-specific. Various types of migration evidence the challenges of managing land for multiple goals and the needs of diverse groups. Land system science must understand how the movement of people is integral to land system transitions both at the origin of migration and at its […]

Bangladesh, China and India Could Have Conflicts Over the Brahmaputra River

Next Big Future  August 2, 2019 The Brahmaputra River starts in China and runs through India and Bangladesh. There are serious concerns for regional stability in conflicts over the water of the Brahmaputra River. China and India are actively constructing dams and considering water diversion plans to meet domestic needs, especially for irrigation. India has plans to build hundreds of dams in the Northeast region. Bangladesh faces human security pressures that will be magnified by upstream river practices. The Brahmaputra basin has been comparatively underexamined, despite the complex geopolitics involved and potential threats to regional stability. The Brahmaputra basin covers […]

Soaring temperatures will raise the risk of armed conflict

MIT Technology Review   June 13, 2019 According to an international team of researchers (USA – Stanford University, National Bureau of Economic Research, University of Denver, Peterson Institute for International Economics, UK, Norway, Belgium, Germany, Sweden) climate change has likely played a relatively small role in driving armed conflict so far. Other factors were far more influential in raising conflict risks, including greater levels of poverty, inequality between groups, and a recent history of violent conflict. But if temperatures rise by 2 °C, there is a 13% chance of substantial increase in the risk of armed conflict, the analysis found. That […]

Spanish flu may have lingered two years before 1918 outbreak and vaccine could have treated it

Science Daily  May 23, 2019 A team of researchers in the UK revisited the literature published in Europe and the United States, and the notes left by physicians who lived at the time. According to them the science of 2018 provides us with tools which did not exist at the time. Two such tools are ‘gain of function’ where a potential pandemic virus, such as influenza A (H5N1), can be deliberately mutated in the laboratory in order to change its virulence and spreadability. Key mutations can then be identified. A second tool lies in phylogenetics, combined with molecular clock analysis. […]

This Chilling Simulation Shows What a Measles Outbreak Could Do to Your City

Science Alert  May 15, 2019 A team of researchers in the US (University of Pittsburgh, University of South Florida) used a customized simulation tool called FRED (A Framework for Reconstructing Epidemiological Dynamics) to realistically represent the infection risks faced by individual schools in each Floridian county with actual school vaccination data. The tool reveals what could happen if a single student with measles attended schools in the locality – alongside a separate simulation showing what an epidemic might look like if the vaccination rate in schools in the same place were decreased by 10 percent…read more. The US-wide FRED Measles […]

In 2025 the USA Could Produce More Oil Than Saudi Arabia and Russia Combined

Next Big Future  May 2, 2019 The US Energy Information Agency Annual Energy Outlook high projection for oil and natural gas liquids would be 24 million barrels per day by 2025. If the technology goes right, the US could produce 28 million barrels per day by 2035-2045. Russia and Saudi Arabia have had flat oil and gas production at about 10-12 million barrels per day each. Russia and Saudi Arabia should have combined production of about 20-24 million barrels per day…read more.

A New Layer of Medical Preparedness to Combat Emerging Infectious Disease

DARPA  February 19, 2019 DARPA has selected five teams of researchers to support PREventing EMerging Pathogenic Threats (PREEMPT), a 3.5-year program first announced in January 2018  to reinforce traditional medical preparedness by containing viral infectious diseases in animal reservoirs and insect vectors before they can threaten humans. The PREEMPT researchers will model how viruses might evolve within animal populations and assess the safety and efficacy of potential interventions. According to the World Health Organization approximately 60 percent of emerging infectious diseases reported globally are zoonoses…read more.