The Science of Sustainability

KQED Science News Round-Up

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Here's today's round-up of science, nature and environment news from the Bay Area and beyond.

2 innovators share $1.5 million technology prize – The Sacramento BeeTwo leading international innovators, Linus Torvalds and Shinya Yamanaka, have shared this year's (EURO)1.2 million ($1.5 million) Millennium Technology Prize. Torvalds, a Finnish-American, was presented the prize for creating the Linux kernel, an open source operating system used in millions of computers.

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Read more about Dr. Yamanaka's contributions to stem cell research.

NASA launches X-ray telescope over PacificLOS ANGELES (AP) — NASA is poised to launch its latest X-ray space telescope on a two-year hunt for hard-to-see objects lurking in the heart of the Milky Way and other galaxies. The telescope was perched atop a rocket at a remote Pacific island launch site.

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Stay tuned for a future QUEST TV story on black holes that will air in September and learn more from KQED News.

California braces for tsunami debris – San Jose Mercury NewsThe flotsam of the Japanese tsunami has so far included a massive dock, an empty ship and teenager

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Learn more about tsunamis.

Genetically modified foods may get label in Calif.SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California voters will soon decide whether to require special labels for food made from genetically modified ingredients, in a closely watched test of consumer attitudes about the merits of genetically engineered crops. Advocates collected more than half a million signatures supporting the stronger labeling requirements, and the secretary of state this week certified the measure for the state's November ballot.

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Use of imaging tests soars, raising questions on radiation riskThe use of CTs, MRIs and other advanced medical imaging tests has soared over the last 15 years, according to new research that raises questions about whether the benefits of all these scans outweigh the potential risks from radiation exposure and costs to the healthcare system.

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Supporters struggle to buy time for endangered state parksSAN RAFAEL – When Ernest Chung started mountain biking in China Camp State Park two decades ago, he never worried about where the money came from to preserve the tree-covered hills, dirt trails and rocky shoreline. Now that the Marin County park is scheduled to close because of budget cuts, it's always on his mind.

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Diesel Fumes Cause Lung Cancer, W.H.O. SaysDiesel fumes cause lung cancer, the World Health Organization declared Tuesday, and experts said they were more carcinogenic than secondhand cigarette smoke. The W.H.O. decision, the first to elevate diesel to the "known carcinogen" level, may eventually affect some American workers who are heavily exposed to exhaust.

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Food Prize for Pioneer in Drip-by-Drip Farming EfficiencyI've intersected a few times with Daniel Hillel, a pioneering agricultural innovator from Israel, and each time I've come away with new insights, often about subjects far broader than the efficient irrigation methods he devised and refined, which have helped dry regions around the world feed themselves.

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Thinner Arctic Ice Sparks Massive Algae Bloom : NPRWhen scientist Kevin Arrigo set out to lead a joint Stanford University-NASA expedition into the Chukchi Sea between Russia and Alaska, he believed the ecosystem below the Arctic pack ice was a watery desert. What he found under the ice though was an algae bloom spanning at least 60 miles.

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Mars rover to try out new strategy for finding alien lifeUnlike previous missions to the Red Planet, the Mars Curiosity rover will focus on Martian geology. This summer, if all goes well, a robotic geologist will arrive on Mars to try out a new strategy for searching for life beyond Earth.

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Learn more about the Mars rover.

What killed the woolly mammoth? A whole bunch of things, say scientists. (+video)A combination of climate change, shifting habitats, and human predation drove the woolly mammoth to extinction, says a new study that rules out a single cause for the creature's demise. Woolly mammoths were apparently driven to extinction by a multitude of culprits, with climate change, human hunters and shifting habitats all playing a part in the long decline of these giants, researchers say.

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Learn more about mammoths.

100 Amazon Bird Species Are at Greater Risk of Extinction Due to DeforestationThis story first appeared on the Scientific American website and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Deforestation in the Amazon has put nearly 100 bird species at greater risk of extinction, the International Union for Conservation of Nature announced (IUCN) on Thursday.

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Alzheimer's gene found to affect women over menA gene that's been known for two decades as the largest inheritable risk for developing Alzheimer's disease mostly affects the brains of women, not men, according to a team of researchers from Stanford and UCSF. The…

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Learn more about Alzheimer's.

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Bob Barker donation will give California research monkeys a home – San Jose Mercury NewsFive rhesus monkeys from a California research lab are being retired to an Oklahoma sanctuary because of a $200,000 donation from animal activist Bob Barker.

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Traces Of Virus In Man Cured Of HIV Trigger Scientific Debate : NPRTop AIDS scientists are scratching their heads about new data from the most famous HIV patient in the world – at least to people in the AIDS community. Timothy Ray Brown, known as the Berlin patient, is thought to be the first patient ever to be cured of HIV infection.

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Learn more about AIDS and HIV from QUEST and KQED News.

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Jenny Oh

About the Author ()

Jenny is happy to wear multiple hats at KQED; she works as an Interactive Producer for the Science & Environment unit and blogs for Bay Area Bites, KQED's popular food blog. Jenny graduated with honors from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Film and Television program and has worked for WNET/PBS, The Learning Channel, Sundance Channel and HBO.