New Defense Bill Would Reestablish Cybersecurity Position Previously Nixed by Trump Administration

A provision to establish a national cybersecurity director at the White House has been included in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which outlines the budget for national defense spending. In 2018, the administration of President Donald Trump eliminated a similar position.



James Langevin wearing a suit and tie sitting on a stage: The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act could provide for a new national director of cybersecurity, according to Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin.


© Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for The Buoniconti Fund To Cure Paralysis/Getty
The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act could provide for a new national director of cybersecurity, according to Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin.

Rhode Island Democrat Congressman Jim Langevin, a senior member of the House Armed Servies Committee, co-introduced separate legislation in June to create the position. The provision included in the 2021 NDAA is based on that legislation, known as the National Cyber Director Act.

“I’ve been working on bolstering our nation’s cybersecurity for more than a decade, and it is abundantly clear the country needs someone in charge of cybersecurity at the highest levels

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Medication used to treat a range of inflammatory diseases may be less safe than previously thought — ScienceDaily

Glucocorticoids are steroids widely prescribed to treat a range of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. While high doses of steroids are known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, the impact of lower doses is unknown. A study published in PLOS Medcine by Mar Pujades-Rodriguez at Leeds University and colleagues suggests that even low doses of glucocorticoid may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

To quantify glucocorticoid dose-dependent cardiovascular risk, researchers analyzed medical records of 87,794 patients diagnosed with 6 different immune-mediate inflammatory diseases receiving care from 389 United Kingdom primary care clinics in 1998-2017. The researchers found that for patients using less than 5 miligrams prenisolone per day, the absolute risk of cardiovascular disease nearly doubled compared to patients not using glucocorticoids (Hazard Ratio = 1.74; 95% confidence interval 1.64-1.84). Increased dose-dependent risk ratios were found across all CVDs measured, including atrial figrillation, heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, peripheral arterial disease,

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Voyager Probes Spot Previously Unknown Phenomenon in Deep Space

Artistic conception of a Voyager spacecraft.

Artistic conception of a Voyager spacecraft.
Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Voyager spacecraft may be billions of miles away and over 40 years old, but they’re still making significant discoveries, as new research reveals.

A paper published today in the Astronomical Journal describes an entirely new form of electron burst, a discovery made possible by the intrepid Voyager probes. These bursts are happening in the interstellar medium, a region of space in which the density of matter is achingly thin. As the new paper points out, something funky is happening to cosmic ray electrons that are making their way through this remote area: They’re being reflected and boosted to extreme speeds by advancing shock waves produced by the Sun.

By itself, this process, in which shock waves push particles, is nothing new. What is new, however, is that these bursts of electrons are appearing far ahead of the advancing

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Earth is 2,000 light years closer to the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole than previously thought

A new map of the Milky Way created by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan shows Earth is spiraling faster and is 2,000 light years closer to the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy than was previously thought. 

In 1985, the International Astronomical Union announced that Earth was 27,700 light years away from the black hole, named Sagittarius A*. But a 15-year analysis through Japanese radio astronomy project VERA found that the Earth is actually only 25,800 light years away. They also found that Earth is moving 7 km/s faster than they previously believed.

Sagittarius A* and black holes of the like are dubbed “supermassive” for a reason — they are billions of times more massive than the sun. 

But the NAOJ said there is no need to worry, as the latest data does not indicate the planet is “plunging towards the black hole.” It just means

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Researchers light-up mouse brain, revealing previously hidden areas susceptible to opioids — ScienceDaily

Winding and twisting like a labyrinth, the brain consists of an elaborate network of passages through which information flows at high speeds, rapidly generating thoughts, emotions, and physical responses. Much of this information is relayed by chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters — like dopamine and serotonin.

Although fine-tuned and evolved for complex processing, the brain and its neurotransmitters are vulnerable to hijacking by chemical substances, including opioid drugs such as oxycodone, psychostimulants such as cocaine, and alcohol. Chronic use of any of these substances enhances the activity of a molecule known as the kappa opioid receptor (KOR), which is active in the brain’s reward circuitry. KOR activation produces dysphoria and an inability to feel pleasure. Its enhanced activity following chronic drug or alcohol use plays a crucial role in substance abuse.

KORs have been known to exist in certain brain regions, particularly those involved in pain processing, reward, and stress responses,

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Study reveals a previously unknown function of a human gene — ScienceDaily

A genetic disposition that plays a role in the development of the heart in the embryo also appears to play a key role in the human immune system. This is shown by a recent study led by the University of Bonn (Germany). When the gene is not active enough, the immune defense system undergoes characteristic changes, causing it to lose its effectiveness. Doctors speak of an aging immune system, as a similar effect can often be observed in older people. In the medium term, the results may contribute to reduce these age-related losses. The study is published in the journal Nature Immunology.

The gene with the cryptic abbreviation CRELD1 has so far been a mystery to science. It was known to play an important role in the development of the heart in the embryo. However, CRELD1 remains active after birth: Studies show that it is regularly produced in practically

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Exposure to Ebola viruses may be more frequent and widespread than previously thought — ScienceDaily

Scientists found antibodies to Ebola virus in people up to a year before the 2018 Ebola virus disease outbreak began in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC. This suggests that either early cases may have been missed or that exposure occurs more commonly than previously thought, according to a study led by the University of California, Davis.

The study, published today in the journal One Health Outlook, also documents the first detection of antibodies to Bombali ebolavirus in a person, showing that spillover of that virus from bats to humans has likely occurred. Scientists from the UC Davis One Health Institute and Columbia University discovered Bombali virus — a sixth ebolavirus species — in bats in Sierra Leone in 2018.

“This study highlights that, yes, these are lethal diseases, but there’s a range of severity — not everyone who is exposed dies,” said lead author Tracey Goldstein,

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memory T cells are formed earlier than previously thought — ScienceDaily

When a virus enters the body, it is picked up by certain cells of the immune system. They transport the virus to the lymph nodes where they present its fragments, known as antigens, to CD8+ T cells responsible control of viral infections. Each of these cells carries a unique T cell receptor on the surface that can recognize certain antigens. However, only very few T cell receptors match a given viral the antigen.

To bring the infection under control and maximize the defenses against the virus, these few antigen-specific T cells start dividing rapidly and develop into effector T cells. These kill virus-infected host cells and then die off themselves once the infection is cleared. Some of these short-lived effector cells — according to the generally accepted theory — turn into memory T cells, which persist in the organism long term. In case the same pathogen enters the body again,

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Coastal permafrost more susceptible to climate change than previously thought — ScienceDaily

If you flew from the sea towards the land in the north slope of Alaska, you would cross from the water, over a narrow beach, and then to the tundra. From the air, that tundra would look like a landscape of room-sized polygonal shapes. Those shapes are the surface manifestations of the ice in the frozen ground below, a solidified earth known as permafrost.

Scientists long believed the solid permafrost extended offshore: from the tundra, below that narrow beach and below the seafloor declining at a gentle slope. They viewed that permafrost like solid brick, locking the subsurface — and the vast amounts of carbon it holds — in place.

But new research led by Micaela Pedrazas, who earned her masters at The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences working with Professor Bayani Cardenas, has upended that paradigm. They found permafrost to be mostly absent throughout the

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