Patrick Kiger

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

What Is Martial Law, and Could the U.S. Declare It Due to COVID-19?

The U.S. has declared martial law in the past, but only sparingly and in dire situations. So, what would it take for the president to use it now?

We're Getting Closer to the Quantum Internet, But What Is It?

The quantum internet of the future would use the quirky behavior of tiny particles to transmit vast amounts of information and enable applications not possible with today's internet. Still with us? Here's how it works.

How Do Ventilators Work? Why Are They So Critical for the COVID-19 Pandemic?

A ventilator is a machine that helps a person breathe by blowing oxygen into the lungs and removing carbon dioxide out of the lungs. They're a critical piece of equipment for coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.

How Are Airplane Cabins Pressurized?

Without the system that pumps unused air from an aircraft's engines into the cabin, passengers and crew would be unable to breathe at 30,000 feet. But how does that system work?

Can the Feds Close State Borders to Stop COVID-19?

Some legal experts say that the U.S. government lacks the authority to close state borders or quarantine entire cities to stop the coronavirus from spreading. Others aren't so sure.

Video Software System Syncs Lips to Other Languages

A new video translation technology not only converts speech into another language, but makes a speaker's lips move accurately in that language.

Can You Really Start Your Own Bank?

Sure, you can start your own bank. Well, you can as long as you have enough money. And a solid business plan. And the courage to make it through the byzantine startup process.

6 Ways to Get a Quick Personal Loan

If you need money in a hurry, there are numerous ways to get it. But many quick loan options come with serious drawbacks.

Which Loan Is Best for Home Renovations: Personal, Credit Card or Home Equity?

A personal loan is a great way to pay for small-scale home renovations, but for bigger jobs, a home equity loan or line of credit may be a better option.

7 Common Reasons People Apply for Personal Loans

Lenders don't ask your reason for wanting one, but our experts discuss some typical motivations for taking out a personal loan.

Taking Out a Personal Loan? Some Mistakes to Avoid

Taking out a personal loan can be a great way to fulfill a short-term goal or finance a dream, but there are definitely some mistakes to avoid.

What Exactly Is a Personal Loan?

Personal loans generally are installment loans that can be obtained without collateral. They have many uses and may be cheaper than running up a big credit card balance.

What's the Difference Between Restarting and Shutting Down My Computer?

Both shutdown and restart cause your computer screen to go black, but what happens after that? And which one should you use?

How the White House Press Briefing Went From Daily to Done

White House press briefings, which date back to the McKinley administration, could be the most important means of communication between the White House and the American people. Are they a thing of the past?

Why Countries Use Economic Sanctions to Prevent Conflict

Economic sanctions are one way of pressuring another nation to comply without resorting to war. But the penalties often target the population and not the government. So do they work?

8 Surprising Things Your Homeowners Insurance Doesn't Cover

If you own a home, you most likely have homeowners insurance, but how sure are you about what is and isn't covered under your policy?

What You Need to File a Homeowners Insurance Claim

So you have homeowners insurance, but do you know exactly what you will need in order to file a claim when the time comes?

How to Save Money on Homeowners Insurance

The annual cost of homeowners insurance can vary by hundreds of dollars and depend on many different factors. How can you save money on this necessary expense?

Is Homeowners Insurance Required?

Homeowners insurance generally is required only if you have a mortgage on your home. But even when your home is paid off, you'd be wise to maintain coverage.

How to Figure Out How Much Homeowners Insurance You Need

Many people may not have enough homeowners insurance coverage to replace their homes in the event of a disaster. Are you covered?