New freelance writings: priority for nukes, science’s demons, and deepfakes

In case you missed them, here’s a few pieces I’ve recently written and published in Undark magazine, Nature magazine, and Engineering News. Thanks as usual to my excellent editors! I’m only posting brief excerpts here, so if you’re interested, please check out the whole thing using the links below.

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For the Next President, Nuclear Weapons Policy Must Be a Priority

President Trump has been inching us toward nuclear catastrophe. A Biden presidency could bring us back from the brink.

It may take days, or even weeks, for disputes over the results of the U.S. presidential election to be resolved. But this much is certain: Whoever takes the helm will be leading the country into a new era of global nuclear weapons policy.

That’s because in January, two days after Inauguration Day, the United Nations’ Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will take effect. For the 50 nations who have ratified it, the legally binding agreement will prohibit the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use, and threat of use of nuclear weapons. Although the U.S. is currently not party to the treaty, our next president — be it Donald J. Trump or Joe Biden — should take note of the historic agreement. And they should also take to heart the international call to reduce the world’s supply of nukes.

Nukes have posed a threat to humanity since the 1940s, and the doctrine of mutual assured destruction still looms behind many conflicts around the world. But nukes have drawn little attention since the fall of the Soviet Union, and they rarely came up as a presidential campaign issue. While policymakers are right to be concerned about the Covid-19 pandemic and worsening climate change, a nuclear disaster could easily arrive at any moment with a president authorizing a launch…

[Read the entire opinion piece in Undark magazine, published on 5 November.]

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