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Land Preservation on the Chopping Block

Land Preservation on the Chopping Block

For more than four decades, much of California's ranchland has been protected by the Williamson Act. But with the state's budget woes, its funding is threatened – and that has both ranchers and environmentalists concerned.

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Local Cheese Makers Fear a Raw Deal

Local Cheese Makers Fear a Raw Deal

After a series of high-profile recalls, the FDA says it's reconsidering rules that allow cheese makers to use unpasteurized milk in their products. That could mean big changes in Northern California, which has become a hub of artisanal cheese making.

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A Happy Medium For Solar

A Happy Medium For Solar

Solar power is booming in California. Last year, state officials approved an unprecedented amount of new solar energy. But large solar farms and small home rooftop installations have run into challenges. As Lauren Sommer reports, that's why a new sector of solar is emerging — one that benefits from being in the middle.

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How CFLs Got Their Bad Rap

How CFLs Got Their Bad Rap

This month begins America's long goodbye to the incandescent light bulb. The most common replacement bulbs, CFLs, are just as bright and warm-colored as the old incandescents. So why do so many people complain about them?

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California's Basement Bargains on Home Efficiency

California's Basement Bargains on Home Efficiency

Once upon a time, the job of your local utility — say, PG&E, or SMUD in Sacramento was simple: to sell you energy. Well, that business model is changing. Amy Standen reports.

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Visiting the Dentist Chair of the Future

Visiting the Dentist Chair of the Future

It probably goes without saying: the dentist's chair isn't the most popular place to visit. But going the dentist may soon be a very different experience. As Lauren Sommer reports, researchers at the University of California San Francisco are developing new technology that may make dentists' drills less common.

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California's Redwoods Face Climate Change

California's Redwoods Face Climate Change

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.

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How Jet Lag Resets the Body Clock

How Jet Lag Resets the Body Clock

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

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Fish and Fishermen Go To Market

Fish and Fishermen Go To Market

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.

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Building an Artificial Leaf

Building an Artificial Leaf

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.

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When Teaching Climate Gets Controversial

When Teaching Climate Gets Controversial

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.

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Albino Redwoods: Ghosts of the Forest

Albino Redwoods: Ghosts of the Forest

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.

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VA Doctors Solve a Medical Mystery

VA Doctors Solve a Medical Mystery

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.

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Lichen Point to Pollution

Lichen Point to Pollution

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.

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Environment on the Ballot

Environment on the Ballot

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.

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When Brains Hit The Gym

When Brains Hit The Gym

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.

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Silicon Valley: The New Detroit?

Silicon Valley: The New Detroit?

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.

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Looking For A Charge

Looking For A Charge

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.

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Greening Your Drive

Greening Your Drive

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.

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Backyard Seed Banks

Backyard Seed Banks

It's the time of year when backyard gardeners are gathering the last few tomatoes and squash of the summer harvest. But there's one thing most gardeners don't harvest: seeds.

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