Tag Archives: USA

A Different Plan for Federal Cybersecurity?

In the United States today, if someone were to ask a hundred people at random about what the country’s biggest concern for protecting the country, many might answer “cybersecurity.” For years, the United States has fought to protect itself against the cybernetic threats, but all of that could change after a recent policy change.

Is the United States safe from a massive cyberattack?  Photo from news.fiu.edu
Is the United States safe from a massive cyber-attack? Photo from news.fiu.edu

The U.S. federal government has more power to go on the offense against foreign foes under a new strategy that was signed on Thursday by President Donald Trump.

John Bolton, the national security adviser to President Trump gave no details about what types of operations or who they would go after as that information is classified but he did state to numerous news outlets that “We will respond offensively as well as defensively.”

The plan also gives direction to agencies to review and update defenses against cyber-attacks and to also have federal government work with state and local level governments, as well as private companies to improve the usual defense against cyberwarfare.

Bolton also stated that adversaries should know that the U.S. is going to be doing much more on the offense side of things.

This change in foreign and federal government policy ends the Obama policy which was at first classified but became public due to leaks from Edward Snowden. The policy had stated that the military was required to consult with the State Department, intelligence community and other agencies before even starting a cyberattack.

The new Trump policy would most likely assume that the military has much more rein when it comes to launching an attack.

In past years, the U.S. has accused China of hacking into the personal flies of the government and Russia for influencing the 2016 election using many different digital methods. The Russian scandal even has a current investigation going on that involves Trump and his supposed involvement.

Either way, the big concern for the country is what Bolton said here, “the United States and its allies are under attack every day in cyberspace.”

The forgotten war that nobody talks about or mentions has just gotten even more attention.

Notable News in Science From This Summer

While everyone was enjoying their vacation, including the staff here at Whim, science didn’t take a break for anybody. Here are some of the biggest stories in science that happened during the summer.

A wildfire that occured in 2016 in California; photo from nbclosangeles.com
A wildfire that occurred in 2016 in California; photo from nbclosangeles.com

 

Does Mars have water? Scientists say yes: One of the most important findings in the pursuit of life on other planets, scientists working on the European Space Agency’s Mars Express mission announced back in July that they had found a 12 mile-wide underground liquid pool, not just the normal damp spots that have been seen in the past. The water was detected in Mars’s south pole using radar.  As of now, there’s plenty of more plans to research the area for possible life and if it’s ever possible, to drill at the area. But that won’t happen until Earth gets humans on the Red Planet.

Another bad year for wildfires: While science does tell you that it is good for the ecosystem to have some wildfires, it does get to a point where too much is way too much. Wildfires have spread across the western United States, from California to Montana. Because of the wildfires, the northwestern part of the country has experienced the worst air pollution in 30 years according to a July 16 report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This is even worse when considering that when we have wildfires, the fires release chemicals like sulfate and black carbon which do not hurt the environment in the long run but are harmful in the current time period.

Spiders do have a “spider-sense”: Research done by Erica Morley and Daniel Robert of the University of Bristol in Britain found that electrical charges in the air give spiders a cue on when to fly. This signal will most likely explain why the timing of a spider’s takeoff is so unpredictable. In order to fly, spiders use their web and they have to wait for gentle wind conditions in order to take off.  For more about this, Morley and Robert’s research appeared in July’s issue of Current Biology.

Learning language in the womb

We typically think babies learn to talk around one to two years old. It seems that the beginnings of language starts with that first word such as “ma ma” or “da da” or maybe even that first coo or baby talk. However, research suggests that infants begin learning language far earlier than that. Continue reading Learning language in the womb