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Articles on Risk assessment

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Sunscreens for sale at a Walgreens drug store. Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Do chemicals in sunscreens threaten aquatic life? A new report says a thorough assessment is ‘urgently needed,’ while also calling sunscreens essential protection against skin cancer

Rising concern about possible environmental damage from the active ingredients in sunscreens could have ripple effects on public health if it causes people to use less of them.
Repairing storm damage is expensive, and insurance covers less than many people realize. Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Flood risk ratings: Translating risk to future costs helps homebuyers and renters grasp the odds

Telling people they have a flood risk rating of 10 is less powerful than explaining how much they’re likely to pay to deal with flooding over the next five years.
Before the pandemic, an intergenerational tea party wouldn’t have seemed a risky proposition. fotostorm/E+ via Getty Images

It’s impossible to determine your personal COVID-19 risks and frustrating to try – but you can still take action

People want a simple answer. Is this action safe? But despite Anthony Fauci bouncing responsibility for COVID-19 risk assessment to individuals, your risk can’t be boiled down to one probability.
However Rodgers came to his decision to remain unvaccinated, he did not follow the tenets of critical thinking. Patrick McDermott/Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

Aaron Rodgers dropped the ball on critical thinking – with a little practice you can do better

Critical thinking means seeking out new information – especially facts that might run contrary to what you believe – and being willing to change your mind. And it’s a teachable skill.
A cabin is illuminated by firetruck lights as the Caldor Fire burns near Lake Tahoe in California on Aug. 31, 2021. Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A new ratings industry is emerging to help homebuyers assess climate risks

Private companies rate all kinds of investments, from stocks to used cars. Now, they’re starting to analyze climate risks to local real estate – but how reliable are their findings?
A ‘100-year flood’ doesn’t mean you’ll be flood-free for the next 99 years. Win McNamee/Getty Images

What’s a 100-year flood? A hydrologist explains

Flood plain statistics can be confusing. There are better ways to think about the risk of severe weather than 100-year storm or flood.
In 2018 scientists of the Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control tested a new way to suppress mosquito populations carrying the Zika virus. RHONA WISE/AFP via Getty Images

Genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in Florida and Texas beginning this summer – silver bullet or jumping the gun?

Release of GM mosquitoes in Florida is imminent. But a multidisciplinary team of scientists believe that more studies are needed first. They encourage a publicly accessible registry for GM organisms.
A black swan event must meet three criteria: it must be an outlier, must have a major impact and must be declared predictable in hindsight. (Buiobuione/Wikimedia)

Coronavirus is significant, but is it a true black swan event?

The danger of treating COVID-19 as an astronomically rare and improbable event is that we will treat it as such and fail to prepare for the next pandemic. And there will be another pandemic.
The Royal New Zealand Navy during a recovery operation on Whakaari/White Island, on December 13. Rescue and recovery efforts have been hampered by hazardous conditions on the island, and the danger of another eruption. EPA/Royal NZ Navy

Call for clearer risk information for tourists following Whakaari/White Island tragedy

The tragedy at Whakaari/White Island highlights the need for consent forms to ensure tourists are fully informed when choosing to visit dangerous locations.
The U.S. incarcerates more people than any other place in the world. Warehousing people in prison is costly and unsustainable. Shutterstock

Prisons are not the answer to preventing crime

Putting more people in prison is not the answer to reducing crime. New fair and bias free assessment tools may help.

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