Category Archives: Engineering

Mantle Mystery Yields to Diamond Vise

Cross section of a diamond anvil cell. Illustration by Tobias1984.

Improved imaging of the Earth’s interior has unlocked new subsurface mysteries, including an area 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) down where the mantle’s usual flow pattern changes.

Now, at a lab bench on the planet’s surface, a team of researchers might have found the reason why.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Researchers Use Diamond Vise To Crack Mantle Mystery

We’re Not in Phoenix Anymore: How Radio Signals “Skipped” All the Way to Kansas

Yes, it’s that exciting.

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.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
How Phoenix-Area Radio Signals Can Bounce All The Way To Kansas

Air Conditioners Cool House by Heating City

Image by Genieclimatique

Parents tell their kids, “Shut the front door, I’m not paying to cool the entire neighborhood.”

But research shows that, during Phoenix summers, we do pay to heat the neighborhood — to the tune of 1 to 2 degrees Fahrenheit — thanks to waste heat vented by our air conditioners.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Air Conditioners Heat Up Metro Phoenix Nights

Doctor-Hackers Warn of Medical Device Security Flaws

Image by Lucien Monfils.

Members of the medical and hacker communities are raising concerns about cybersecurity vulnerabilities affecting medical records, infrastructure and devices.

Experts have long warned of security flaws in medical devices — insulin pumps that can deliver deadly doses, for example. Many devices include wireless connectivity capability.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Doctor-Hackers Raise Awareness Of Medical Device Vulnerabilities

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