War

Hot and bothered: Climate change amplifies violence, study says

Publication: NBC News   Date: August 1, 2013   View Article

As the planet’s climate changes, humans everywhere should brace for a spike in violence, a new study suggests. Civilization as we know it may even be at risk.

The dramatic finding comes from a synthesis of several dozen studies that examine the relationship between climate and conflict. The studies cover most regions of the world and points in time over the past 10,000 years. Across all, the findings are consistent: changes in temperature or rainfall amplify violence.

“As long as future populations continue to respond to climatic events the same way … we should probably expect an amplification of interpersonal and intergroup conflict moving forward,” Solomon Hsiang, a public policy researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, told NBC News.

Laser detects roadside bombs

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: September 19, 2011   View Article

Lab scientists are pitching a new high-tech laser that is able to detect roadside bombs before they explode, potentially thwarting the deadliest weapon in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Roadside bombs, known as improvised explosive devices or IEDs, account for 60 percent of coalition soldiers’ deaths, according to NATO figures. Finding a way to improve on — or at least replace — bomb sniffing dogs is therefore a priority abroad and at home.

Navy gets fix for speed need

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: September 15, 2011   View Article

The future of war at sea is looking fast and agile.

The U.S. Navy will christen on Saturday a catamaran-style cargo ship that can zip through shallow waters at speeds up to 40 miles per hour, loaded down with 1.2 million pounds worth of gear.

The joint high speed vessel, named Spearhead, is the first of ten 338-foot-long aluminum dual-hull boats that are being constructed by Austral USA in Mobile, Ala., as part of a contract worth a reported $1.6 billion.

Software pinpoints Afghan fighters

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: April 5, 2011   View Article

The ongoing military campaign against Afghan insurgents may get a boost from new computer software designed to zero in on the locations of weapons caches and warlords.

“The idea is to say, look, this is a large area, where do you target your resources,” Venkatramanan Subrahmanian, co-director of the Lab for Computational Cultural Dynamics at the University of Maryland, told me today.

Seven priceless treasures lost to war

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: October 11, 2010   View Article

During the fall of Baghdad in 2003, thousands of artifacts were taken from the Iraqi capital’s National Museum, whose holdings documented the rise of civilization in ancient Mesopotamia. Scholars called the losses a tragedy for all of humanity.

Since the looting, about 5,000 artifacts have been recovered and returned to Iraq, including the antiquities shown here that were seized by Syrian authorities after they were smuggled across the border. About 600 of the artifacts that had been returned went missing once more – and were found again just this month, misplaced among kitchen supplies at the Iraqi prime minister’s office.

Experts believe more than 15,000 artifacts remain at large.

Check out six more historical and archaeological treasures lost to wars and conflict, from the invasion of Iraq to a 17th century attack on the Parthenon. Some treasures have been restored or replicated; others are gone forever.

Radioactive Rabbit Droppings Help Spur Nuclear Cleanup

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 21, 2009   View Article

Putting a new spin on the term “nuclear waste dump,” radioactive droppings from Cold War-era critters have spurred a high-tech cleanup funded by the current U.S. government economic stimulus program.

Government contractors this September flew a helicopter equipped with radiation detectors and GPS equipment over scrubland in eastern Washington State near the vast Hanford Site, a 1950s plutonium-production complex.

Heart Drug May Block Stress of Traumatic Memories

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 29, 2005   View Article

Memories of wailing sirens, mangled bodies, and smoldering debris in the wake of this month’s terrorist attacks in London and Egypt will produce widespread distress in thousands of people.

Can a common drug snuff out the debilitating emotions these memories trigger?

Researchers say the beta-blocker propranolol, commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure and heart problems, disrupts the way the brain stores memories.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach