All posts by Nicholas Gerbis

Is Progress Outpacing Precaution? Experts Weigh In

Illustration by An Arres.

No one expects the machinery of progress to roll backwards, but sometimes it seems that no one is watching the speedometer (or manning the brakes, assuming any exist).  Is this a fair assessment? If so, should we be worried — and what can we do about it?

In this feature, experts on technology, risk, science, policy and neuroscience discuss risk, innovation and how our values affect our conceptions of both.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
ASU Experts Weigh the Risks of Innovation

Genome Map Hints at How Desert Tortoise Overcomes Natural, Human Dangers

Photo by Sandra Leander, Arizona State University.

Researchers have finished the first full genome map of the threatened Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), also known as Agassiz’s desert tortoise.

They hope their findings will inform conservation efforts, improve understanding of its evolutionary past and potentially contribute  to  human medicine.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Desert Tortoise Genome Reveals Genetic Keys to Surviving Harsh Conditions, Threats

NASA Moves Up Psyche Mission Timetable

Image courtesy Space Systems Loral/Arizona State University/Peter Rubin

NASA’s mission to 16 Psyche, the solar system’s only known iron-nickel asteroid, will launch in the summer of 2022, one year earlier than originally planned.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
NASA’s Psyche Mission Will Launch a Year Early, Arrive at Target Four Years Sooner

The Foggy Future of Refrigerants

Freon tanks await recycling. Image courtesy U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Stable, nontoxic refrigerants changed the world, transforming food storage, expanding Sun Belt populations, even helping early movie theaters succeed. But they also wrecked the ozone layer — Earth’s shield against harmful ultraviolet radiation.

Today, as stockpiles dwindle — and prices rise — due to phase-outs set by the Montreal Protocols 30 years ago,  the future of Freon and its successors remains in doubt.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
As Stockpiles Dwindle, Freon Prices Rise

Using Nature to Start a Managed Fire

Photo courtesy Central Arizona Wildland Response Team (CAWRT)

For fire managers, the Pinal Fire burning hundreds of acres near Globe, Arizona,  presents not just a challenge, but an opportunity.

For years, they’ve planned to use a low-intensity burn to restore the resiliency of the fire-adapted ponderosa pine and mixed-conifer forest.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Pinal Fire Presents Opportunity