Phoenix, Arizona, is not known for strong winds, but that all changes when monsoons annually deliver destructive downdrafts like the one that damaged its five-story Burton Barr Central Library. In this piece, and in the interview that follows it, I clear up some of the confusion that still whirls around these blasts.
Unlike AM signals, FM is confined to line-of-sight, so Phoenix’s KBAQ radio station doesn’t typically reach much beyond the Valley of the Sun, let alone to a Volkswagen Beetle 875 miles away. So it’s no wonder that Ken Baker of the Radio Kansas Network was surprised to see what resolved on his HD tuner that day.
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.
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.