Patrick J. Kiger has written for HowStuffWorks since 2008 covering a wide array of topics, from history and politics to pop culture and technology. He worked as a newspaper reporter for the Pittsburgh Press, and the Orange County Register in California, where he covered one of the biggest serial murder cases in U.S. history, and also as a staff writer at Baltimore Magazine. As a freelancer, Patrick has written for print publications such as GQ, Mother Jones and the Los Angeles Times, and on the web for National Geographic Channel, Discovery News, Science Channel and Fast Company, among others. In recent years, he's become increasingly interested in how technological advances are altering urban life and the design of cities, and has written extensively on that subject for Urban Land magazine. In his spare time, Patrick is a longtime martial arts student and a fan of crime fiction, punk rock and classic Hollywood films.

Recent Contributions

President Biden wants to increase taxes on capital gains for the wealthiest Americans to help pay for some of his economic programs. But what are capital gains and how might this affect you?

By Patrick J. Kiger

Purdue University researchers have developed an ultra-white paint that reflects more than 98 percent of sunlight and could reduce the need for energy-consuming air conditioning.

By Patrick J. Kiger

Crumpling is a physical process that occurs when a thin sheet is forced to adapt to a smaller space and is seen in everything from DNA packing in a cell nucleus to the formation of mountains.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are a way to turn digital art into an asset that can be stored in a blockchain ledger. They could revolutionize the art business. Still confused? Enter the brave new world of NFTs.

By Patrick J. Kiger

Rational numbers can be expressed as the ratio of two integers, while irrational numbers, such as square roots, cannot. So, why does the difference matter?

By Patrick J. Kiger

Only 25 percent of glass containers used by U.S. consumers were recycled in 2018, the most recent year for statistics. So, why aren't Americans doing better?

By Patrick J. Kiger

You may remember from math class that a prime number is a number that can only be divided by 1 and itself. But why are they important anyway?

By Patrick J. Kiger

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What's the real reason you can't make a phone call during a flight? Is there really any interference between the aircraft equipment and your cellphone signal?

By Patrick J. Kiger

According to an 1885 pamphlet, a man named Thomas J. Beale buried a treasure somewhere in Virginia, and left behind what appeared to be coded messages about its location. But was it all just a hoax?

By Patrick J. Kiger

Since the mid-1970s, vice presidents have had use of a mansion on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory, a short distance from the White House.

By Patrick J. Kiger

When choosing an antivirus program for your computer or other electronic devices, there's no one-size-fits-all solution, but here are five things you need to consider.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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Though a highly publicized 1989 cold fusion breakthrough was subsequently discredited, research is still being conducted in hopes of future success.

By Patrick J. Kiger

Until recently, Arecibo had the biggest radio telescope in the world, and its ability to detect distant signals made it a very powerful tool for studying the universe. It even starred in two movies.

By Patrick J. Kiger

Galileo Galilei made huge discoveries in physics and astronomy, helping to establish the modern scientific method of experiments and mathematics. Along the way, he fought for intellectual freedom and became the first celebrity scientist.

By Patrick J. Kiger

In 1961, the Soviet Union detonated the biggest, most powerful nuclear bomb ever built. One of the cameramen who recorded the event said it sounded "as if the Earth has been killed."

By Patrick J. Kiger

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The 1883 Krakatoa eruption was gigantic and deadly, but the advent of modern communications and mass media helped to make it one of the earliest and best-known modern natural catastrophes.

By Patrick J. Kiger

Lots of things contributed to Napoleon's loss at Waterloo — including bad weather, superior British defense tactics and perhaps a bad case of hemorrhoids.

By Patrick J. Kiger

The annual Leonid meteor shower is back, and peaks in the early-morning hours of November 17. It's made up of tiny bits of debris from the comet Tempel-Tuttle. Here's how to see it.

By Patrick J. Kiger

A distant asteroid made mostly of iron is potentially worth $10,000 quadrillion, making it many times more valuable than the global economy.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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First developed in the 1920s, Geiger counters still use the same basic technology to detect radiation, but today can be the size of a smartphone.

By Patrick J. Kiger