3Qs: Why for-​​profit prisons are on the rise

Pri­vate prisons are a par­tic­u­larly hot topic these days, the set­ting of the Net­flix dramedy Orange is the New Black and the sub­ject of a recent 35,000-word Mother Jones exposé. Here, Natasha Frost, asso­ciate pro­fessor in Northeastern’s School of Crim­i­nology and Crim­inal Jus­tice, explains how for-​​profit prisons are changing the crim­inal jus­tice system.

Students design levitating pod for Hyperloop contest that could revolutionize the future of transportation

Stu­dents from North­eastern and five other top uni­ver­si­ties have joined forces to form Open­Loop, a team ded­i­cated to designing, building, and testing the best scaled-​​down ver­sion of the futur­istic Hyper­loop, a novel mode of com­muter and cargo trans­port that travels close to the speed of sound. Their approach takes the com­pe­ti­tion to new heights.

Northeastern receives $9M grant to fast track the discovery of new antibiotics

A team led by Uni­ver­sity Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor of Biology Kim Lewis received a five-​​year, $9 mil­lion grant from the National Insti­tute of Health’s National Insti­tute of Allergy and Infec­tious Dis­eases to launch a novel plat­form for devel­oping antibi­otics that kill pathogens without encoun­tering resistance.

Professor explores diplomacy nuance in new book

Pro­fessor Mary Thompson-​​Jones knows the intri­ca­cies of diplo­macy oper­a­tions, with more than two decades of expe­ri­ence in for­eign policy. In her new book, To the Sec­re­tary: Leaked Embassy Cables and America’s For­eign Policy Dis­con­nect, she explores the intri­ca­cies exposed by the 2010 Wik­iLeaks scandal.

3Qs: Trapped in social media ‘echo chambers’

Social media has become a go-​​to plat­form for people to express their opin­ions on the hot topics of the day. But in many cases, people are sharing those thoughts with those who have sim­ilar opin­ions. Here, assis­tant pro­fessor Brooke Fou­cault Welles explains how this trend cor­re­lates to offline debates.

In Slovenia, Northeastern students present research on international criminal tribunal

Inspired by an expe­ri­ence on a Dia­logue of Civ­i­liza­tions pro­gram in 2014, a group of stu­dents exam­ined whether there is inherent bias in the Inter­na­tional Crim­inal Tri­bunal for the former Yugoslavia, which han­dles war crimes stem­ming from the con­flicts in the Balkans in the early 1990s.

Miniature flying robots automatically inspect, analyze, and assess damage to infrastructure

Northeastern’s Jerome Hajjar and col­leagues are devel­oping a sophis­ti­cated system that uses autonomous small flying robots cou­pled with 3-​​D imaging and state-​​of-​​the art plan­ning, mod­eling, and analysis to inspect struc­tures from bridges to build­ings and auto­mat­i­cally iden­tify prob­lems, track their progress, and assess the need for follow-​​up.

Researchers challenge federal law in attempt to prevent ‘Big Data’ discrimination

Northeastern’s Alan Mis­love and Christo Wilson have been researching whether the algo­rithms e-​​commerce and other web­sites use to ana­lyze user pro­file data, web-​​browsing choices, and other online infor­ma­tion may lead to dis­crim­i­na­tion. Now the ACLU has sued the gov­ern­ment on their and others’ behalf so they can con­tinue to do so without prosecution.

Survey finds youth in Boston summer jobs program gain job readiness skills, higher academic aspirations

After youth par­tic­i­pated in Boston’s summer jobs pro­gram, a greater number reported having job readi­ness skills, higher aca­d­emic aspi­ra­tions, and improved con­nec­tions with their neighborhoods—with the largest gains in some areas among minority groups—according to a new report co-​​authored by Northeastern’s Alicia Sasser Modestino.

The House sit-​​in: examining the political and cultural significance

Wednesday morning House Democ­rats, led by U.S. Rep. John Lewis, began a sit-​​in on the House floor demanding votes on gun-​​control leg­is­la­tion. C-​​SPAN picked up the live feeds that mem­bers streamed from their smart­phones after Repub­li­cans shut down the chamber. Here, North­eastern fac­ulty mem­bers shed light on the sig­nif­i­cance of the protest and the role of social media in its impact.

Comfort dogs bring healing in times of tragedy

Twelve golden retrievers recently arrived in Orlando to bring com­fort to the sur­vivors and those grieving after the mass shooting at the gay night­club Pulse. Here, Northeastern’s Lisa Feldman Bar­rett, who spe­cial­izes in the psy­chology of emo­tion, explains how dogs help bring our ner­vous sys­tems back into bal­ance and, at least tem­porarily, make us feel safe.

What Brexit could mean for Europe

The United Kingdom will hold a ref­er­endum on Thursday on whether Britain should leave the Euro­pean Union. If there is high voter turnout, “there is no ques­tion that the ‘remain’ side will easily win,” pre­dicts Northeastern’s Mai’a K. Davis Cross, an expert on Euro­pean pol­i­tics. Cross also cau­tions that a vote to leave could also “trigger the breakup of the United Kingdom.”