News + Media

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Sunday repeated a debunked conspiracy theory about coronavirus and Chinese bioresearch. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

In the News

February 17, 2020

Tom Cotton keeps repeating a coronavirus conspiracy theory that was already debunked

Paulina Firozi The Washington Post

Vipin Narang quoted: After Cotton’s Sunday remarks, Narang said, “These kinds of conspiracy theories are unhelpful. I don’t think it’s particularly helpful, and it’s borderline irresponsible to — and it’s without evidence, so at this point it’s a conspiracy theory — peddle it,” he said. “Cotton should spend more time funding the agencies in the United States that can help contain and combat the virus rather than trying to assign blame.”

Ben Chang

In the News

February 10, 2020

Might technology tip the scales?

Leda ZimmermanDepartment of Political Science

Benjamin Chang, a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science, is using his understanding of computer science to explore the impacts of artificial intelligence on military power, with a focus on US and China.

 Copies of President Trump’s FY2021 budget are shown after being delivered to the House Budget Committee on February 10, 2020, in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

In the News

February 10, 2020

The 2 most controversial national security items in Trump’s new budget

Alex WardVox

Vipin Narang quoted: Experts are split on whether a nuclear modernization program, which gained steam in the Obama years, is a good idea. “If you’re going to have the force, make sure it’s safe, secure, and reliable,” says Vipin Narang, a nuclear expert at MIT. “Some, not all, of the force and the delivery platforms are decades old.” He added that “it just can’t sit and rot.”

Analysis + Opinion

February 7, 2020

Iraqi protesters will likely push forward despite violence

Marsin AlshamaryThe World | PRI

Despite violence, Iraqi protesters have made political gains, the most significant of which is the recognition by all parties that legitimacy can only come from the people.

Public service announcements telling people to wear protective face masks are placed in a subway as the coronavirus continues to threaten Beijing on Thursday. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI |

In the News

February 6, 2020

China's 'grand gestures,' propaganda aim to calm fears about coronavirus

Elizabeth ShimUnited Press International (UPI)

Grad student Kacie Miura quoted: In building the new hospitals, the Chinese government could have had other objectives aside from treating sick patients. Authorities allow the construction to be viewed live online, creating a spectacle and an image of a government "in control of the situation and capable of accomplishing monumental tasks," Miura said.

Nuclear sub's torpedo room

In the News

February 4, 2020

US military deploys new type of nuclear weapon seen as key to countering Russia

Ryan Browne, Barbara Starr and Zachary CohenCNN

Vipin Narang quoted: The real difference is the ability to threaten "and penetrate targets deep in adversary territory that current aircraft deliverable low yield nuclear weapons cannot reach," according to Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT.

Harvard University professor Charles Lieber is surrounded by reporters as he leaves the Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston Thursday. (Charles Krupa/AP)

In the News

February 3, 2020

Beyond Harvard prof's arrest, increased scrutiny over research conflicts sparks 'a whole lot of anxiety'

Carrie JungWBUR

Joel Brenner quoted: "The FBI and other counterintelligence officials have been warning of these problems for at least 20 years now," he said. "The academic community has been very skeptical."

A swarm of fireflies on Shikoku, in southern Japan.Credit...Kei Nomiyama/Barcroft Media, via Getty Images

Analysis + Opinion

February 3, 2020

Fireflies have a mating problem: The lights are always on

Shola LawalThe New York Times

These are tough times for fireflies. Like a lot of other insects, they face increasing threats from habitat loss, pesticides and pollution. But they also have a problem that’s unique to luminous bugs: It’s getting harder for them to reproduce because light pollution is outshining their mating signals.

In a photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, a medical staff member wearing a protective suit works in the department of infectious diseases at Wuhan Union Hospital on Jan. 28. (Xiao Yijiu/Xinhua/AP)

In the News

January 29, 2020

Experts debunk fringe theory linking China’s coronavirus to weapons research

Adam Taylor The Washington Post

Vipin Narang quoted: Vipin Narang, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote in a message on Twitter that a good bioweapon “in theory has high lethality but low, not [high], communicability” and that spreading such ideas would be “incredibly irresponsible.”

The Thwaites glacier, above, helps to keep the much larger West Antarctic Ice Shelf stable.Credit...NASA/OIB/Jeremy Harbeck

Analysis + Opinion

January 29, 2020

Temperatures at a Florida-size glacier in Antarctica alarm scientists

Shola LawalNew York Times

Scientists in Antarctica have recorded, for the first time, unusually warm water beneath a glacier the size of Florida that is already melting and contributing to a rise in sea levels.