The consequences and costs of climate risks

Climate risks are increasing in the United States and in many other parts of the world. Yet, some areas that are particular climate “hot spots”–increasingly prone to excessive heat or drought or powerful hurricanes or floods or sea level rise or destructive wildfires, etc. and sometimes more than just one risk–are currently seeing more population growth and development than areas with lesser risks. Why is…

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The health benefits and risks of cannabis

People have promoted the health benefits of cannabis/marijuana for decades. That has been a factor in the loosening of marijuana use restrictions in the United States in recent years. And yet, restrictions at the Federal and some State levels remain intact. What does research actually say about the benefits and risks of medical cannabis? Is there actual evidence or are the reports largely anecdotal? Featured…

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Microplastics: impacts on the environment and human health

Hundreds of millions of tons of plastics are produced each year. Millions of those tons enter our air, soil, and water as waste. As waste, some of this material–still many millions of tons–breaks down into smaller particles, or microplastics (< 5 mm in size); microplastics come from many sources including the manufacture of industrial products and the physical, chemical, and biological breakdown of larger pieces…

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Ransomware: malware and cybercrime

What exactly is ransomware? And what happens in a ransomware attack? What does research say about ransomware and the pervasive and increasing threat and damage caused by cybercrime? Featured articles (these articles have been added to the Science Primary Literature database): *Bae, S. I., Gyu, B. L., & Im, E. G. (2020). Ransomware detection using machine learning algorithms. Concurrency and Computation, 32(18), e5422. [Cited by]…

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Extreme weather and a changing climate

Our climate is changing, and rapidly. The evidence is all around us. One result of our changing climate is the increased frequency of weather and weather-related extremes across the Earth–stifling and dangerous heatwaves, prolonged and profound drought, torrential rain leading to deadly and destructive flooding, inexorable sea level rise, explosive wildfires and then smoke affecting skies, air quality, and health thousands of miles away, lives…

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Race and class and heat in cities

Hot temperatures in cities and towns are not experienced the same by residents. Neighborhoods with more minority residents (especially), neighborhoods with lower-income residents, and neighborhoods with residents with lower education levels “experience hotter temperatures during summer heatwaves than nearby white residents” and residents with higher incomes and more formal education. This trend has been documented for years in major cities but research also shows that…

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