After a century of logging, California's old growth redwood forests are only a fraction of what they once were. Today, they remain a narrow coastal band that extends from Monterey Bay to the Oregon border. But redwoods are facing a new threat. As Lauren Sommer reports, scientists are trying to understand how these trees are responding to a changing climate.
Audio Report on Dec 20, 2010 by from QUEST Northern California
If you plan to take any long plane trips this holiday season, here are a few things to keep in mind: jet lag, scientists say, often hits women harder than men. The direction you're flying matters, too. Jet lag is worse when traveling from west to east. In fact, studies suggests that jet lag can do a lot more than just wear us out
California fishermen once hauled in groundfish as if there were an unlimited supply, but now fish stocks have plummeted. Beginning in January, fishermen in California, Oregon and Washington will try something new. They'll become owners of the fishery, much like shareholders in a company. But as Lauren Sommer reports, not everyone is happy about it.
At UC Berkeley, scientists studying how to feed our growing need for energy have turned to a surprising source. As Lauren Sommer reports, researchers there are trying to produce the next generation of green power by mimicking something every weekend gardener works to clean up.
In the wake of mid-term elections, most pundits agree that a national climate change policy is farther from reach. Several science museums and aquariums are currently showing exhibits on climate change in an effort to educate the public on this complicated topic. But as Marjorie Sun reports, these institutions have to walk a fine line through a thicket of sensitive issues.
Park rangers in the Santa Cruz Mountains are protecting a decades-old secret: albino redwood trees. Pale and fragile, these so-called "ghost trees" are deliberately off the beaten track, as Amy Standen found out.
As soldiers continue to return from Iraq and Afghanistan, doctors who treat them find themselves at the forefront of scientific research. That's the case at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Palo Alto, where scientists have made a surprising discovery. Amy Standen reports.
Air pollution may seem like an urban problem, but it's becoming an increasing concern in California's national parks. In Yosemite National Park, researchers are trying to gauge that impact using an unexpected tool: a fungus called lichen. Lauren Sommer has the story.
QUEST Radio looks at a controversial casino project in Richmond that would allow construction of a $1.2 billion resort with 4,000 slot machines. Supporters of Measure U say it will bring jobs and tax revenue to a neglected former industrial site. Opponents say a Vegas-style operation would destroy habitat along the Richmond shore. Also on the ballot: several local measures on urban growth boundaries. Amy Standen and Lauren Sommer report.
Can brain performance be improved? The $300 million-a-year "brain-fitness" industry is betting that the answer to that question is yes. Some companies say that an 80-year old brain can perform just as well as a 25-year old brain after some specialized video game training. What about crossword puzzles and regular old exercise? QUEST takes a look at the growing brain fitness industry and the science behind it.
Detroit has been at the center of the country's auto industry ever since Henry Ford rolled his first Model T off the assembly line in 1908. But as hard times have fallen on America's Rust Belt, there's a new region hoping to give Detroit a run for its money.
Every year buzzwords enter the American lexicon. Like "octo-mom" or "crowdsourcing." Next year "range anxiety" may top the list. It's the fear of being stranded in an electric car because the battery has run out. Andrea Kissack continues to explore the brave new world of electric cars. Today, she goes in search of a charge.
The first mass-produced electric vehicles ever sold in the United States will begin to hit auto show rooms by the end of this year. The Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt already have tens of thousands of pre-orders. Until now, electric cars had been the domain of small groups of tech hobbyists and hard core environmentalists. But how feasible are they for everyday drivers? Take a drive with Andrea Kissack and find out.
Take a waste product like cow manure or trash, let it decompose for a bit and you'll soon end up with methane gas. Methane is powerful contributor to climate change. But it can also be captured and used to make renewable electricity. That's something farmers are experimenting with across California. But by solving one environmental problem, they're running headlong into another. Lauren Sommer has more.
The wireless age has introduced countless devices that many of us can't live without, like cell phones, laptop computers and wifi routers. Like all electronics they communicate using electromagnetic frequencies – or EMFs. Some people worry that EMFs are making them sick – and say that technology should slow down, as Amy Standen reports.
This is the classic environmental story: a species in trouble because of what our species is doing. It's happening all over the world. But there are people tackling these problems one by one, coming up with simple ways of changing our behavior. This week we take a look at the plight of the foothill yellow-legged frogs.
Indian reservations hold an estimated 10 percent of the nation's renewable energy resources — hot, windy tracts that suddenly seem more valuable than ever. The Campo tribe, near San Diego, has taken the lead, building the country's only utility-scale wind installation on Indian land. Plans are afoot to triple the project. But tribe members say tax incentives and other federal programs put Indians at a disadvantage.
This week, we continue our series "33 by 20," a look at California's ambitious renewable energy goals. Solar and wind power are booming across the state. But renewables have a downside: there are times when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow. California utilities are looking to smooth out those bumps with a new strategy: storing electricity.
Audio Report on Jul 30, 2010 by from QUEST Northern California