A high-voltage electric substation with transformers.

A high-voltage electric substation with transformers.

Power plants, water and electric systems targeted: The Trump administration on Thursday accused Russia of engineering a series of cyberattacks that targeted American and European nuclear power plants and water and electric systems, and could have sabotaged or shut power plants off at will. United States officials and private security firms saw the attacks as a signal by Moscow that it could disrupt the West’s critical facilities in the event of a conflict. They said the strikes accelerated in late 2015, at the same time the Russian interference in the American election was underway. READ MORE

CYBER SECURITY

An open door for hackers: Meat processors have gotten plenty of information about food defense, but know frighteningly little about cyber defense. At the same time, an increasingly automated and programmable production plant all but rolls out the red carpet to the next generation of hackers.The Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) automates and connects all the devices on industrial control systems, improving efficiency and reducing labor costs. But each connected device adds another network entry point for a hacker. READ MORE

THE FUTURE

What the heck is a robotic bee? Like an episode out of Black Mirror, Walmart has filed a patent for autonomous robotic bees, technically called pollination drones, that could potentially pollinate crops just like real bees. The drones would carry pollen from one plant to another, using sensors and cameras to detect the locations of the crops. First spotted by CB Insights, the robot bee patent appears along five other patents for farming drones, including one that would identify pests and another that would monitor crop health. Walmart did not immediately respond to a press request for comment. READ MORE

The scariest scarecrow of them all: The scarecrow is an ancient device; they’ve been found all over the world and its use predates written language. With that such a long history, it’s hard to get a sense for superlatives. That said, we’re confident that this new scarecrow from Japan might be the craziest of them all. It’s name? The “Super Monster Wolf.” READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Conventional vs. ‘cage-free’ eggs: The Iowa Senate gave final passage Monday to a controversial bill requiring Iowa grocers in a supplemental food program to offer conventional eggs if they sell eggs from chickens housed in a cage-free, free-range or enriched colony cage environment. Supporters said the bill assured that a low-cost choice for protein is available when many low-income Iowans head to the grocery store. Free-range or cage-free eggs are typically more expensive than conventional eggs from large farming operations. READ MORE

TERRORISM

Teen was going to be arrested, but he stabbed three first: A Florida teenager who allegedly told police he stabbed three people, one fatally, after he was mocked for being a Muslim was already on the FBI’s radar and about to be arrested on federal charges, police reports show. The FBI, which met with suspect Corey Johnson, 17, of Jupiter last year, began monitoring his social media accounts because of terror-related activity, including interest in ISIS,  almost a year before Monday’s bloody knife attack on two 13-year-old boys and the mother of one of the boys at a birthday sleepover, according to a police report. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

Could ‘white slime’ be responsible for world’s worst listeriosis outbreak? Is there a link between the world’s worst listeriosis outbreak in South Africa and Brazil’s broken and scandal-plagued meat and poultry industries? And could that link be something called “white slime?” By law, South African meat processors must produce a product that is 75 percent “meat equivalent” (determined by the amount of nitrogen present). Mechanically deboned chicken, sometimes called “white slime,” is a popular choice, and South Africa imported more than 445 million pounds of “while slime” in 2017. Most of it came from Brazil, which has been troubled by massive meat-inspection scandals recently. READ MORE

Johnsonville recalls 55 tons of sausage: Johnsonville LLC of Sheboygan Falls, Wisc.,  is recalling some 55 tons of smoked pork sausage products that may be contaminated with plastic fragments, according to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The production error was discovered after the company received three consumer complaints about pieces of hard, green plastic in the sausages. No injuries have been reported. READ MORE