The Science of Sustainability

Amy Standen

As a radio reporter for KQED Science, Amy's grappled with archaic maps, brain fitness exercises, albino redwood trees, and jet-lagged lab rats, as well as modeled a wide variety of hard hats and construction vests. Long before all that, she learned to cut actual tape interning for a Latin American news show at WBAI in New York, then took her first radio job as a producer for Pulse of the Planet. Since then, Amy has been an editor at Salon.com, the editor of Terrain Magazine, and has produced stories for NPR, Living on Earth, Philosophy Talk, and Pop Up Magazine. She's also a founding editor of Meatpaper Magazine.

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Amy Standen's Latest Posts

Water Recycling Comes Of Age In Silicon Valley

Water Recycling Comes Of Age In Silicon Valley

Though engineers can purify sewage water to make it cleaner than what’s coming out of your tap, there's a bigger challenge: convincing people to drink it.

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In Search of the Bacterial Garden of Eden

In Search of the Bacterial Garden of Eden

Now that scientists are starting to get a handle on what kinds of microbes live in the human body and, roughly, how those populations differ from one individual to another, a key question will be whether there is such a thing as an “ideal” microbiome.

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Two Local Kids Are Semi-Finalists in a National Wildlife Art Contest

Two Local Kids Are Semi-Finalists in a National Wildlife Art Contest

A pair of local young artists have won a big environmental prize.

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Brain Mapping: From the Basics to Science Fiction

Brain Mapping: From the Basics to Science Fiction

Obama's BRAIN Initiative directs $100 million in public money toward basic brain research. But what's the goal?

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The Great Cancer Cell Mix Up

The Great Cancer Cell Mix Up

Under a microscope many cancer cells look the same. And since cell lines used in cancer research are anonymous, often shared informally between labs, the only way to definitively know where they came from is with DNA. But many scientists don't do this.

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What Are Richmond Residents Breathing?

What Are Richmond Residents Breathing?

Chevron's Aug. 6 fire re-ignited questions many Richmond residents have asked for years. What does it mean to live next to the largest refinery on the West Coast? What are people living in the city breathing?

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In Livermore, Still Waiting on Nuclear Fusion

In Livermore, Still Waiting on Nuclear Fusion

The National Ignition Facility in Livermore, California, has been called a modern-day moon-shot, a project of "revolutionary science," and "the mother of all boondoggles." NIF, as it's known, is a five-billion dollar, taxpayer-funded super laser project whose goal is to create nuclear fusion – a tiny star – inside a laboratory. But so far, that hasn't happened.

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Can Meditation Ease PTSD in Combat Vets?

Can Meditation Ease PTSD in Combat Vets?

The crisis of mental disorders such as PTSD has forced the military to rediscover therapies that would have considered from-the-fringes a generation ago.

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Space Shuttle Endeavour Makes a Bay Area Victory Lap

Space Shuttle Endeavour Makes a Bay Area Victory Lap

The Endeavour flyover will make for a striking sight: Piggybacked to a 747, the shuttle will be flying at a low altitude of 1500 feet in some parts of the Bay Area.

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Is Nail Biting a Pathology? Or Just a Bad Habit?

Is Nail Biting a Pathology? Or Just a Bad Habit?

Nail biting — like skin picking and hair tending — stems from an evolutionarily adaptive behavior: grooming. But in "pathological groomers," as they're known in in the world of psychiatry, that healthy urge goes haywire.

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California's Prop. 37: Are GMO Labels a Scarlet Letter?

California's Prop. 37: Are GMO Labels a Scarlet Letter?

Proposition 37 could make California the first state in the country to require "Made with GMO" labels on genetically-engineered foods. But would the labels inform people? Or scare them?

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NASA's Mars Lander: The Exploration Begins

NASA's Mars Lander: The Exploration Begins

NASA's Curiosity lander has ended its 352 million-mile journey, landing safely on the surface of Mars. For scientists at NASA Ames in Moffet Field, the work is just beginning.

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From Alvin to Robots: Deep Changes in Ocean Science

From Alvin to Robots: Deep Changes in Ocean Science

Ocean technology has come a long ways since the submersible Alvin made its first dive in 1964. Increasingly, scientists rely on robots, rather than manned subs like Alvin, to explore the earth's depths. But can remote-control exploration capture the thrill of science?

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Diversity in the Valley: The NewME Accelerator (Part Two)

Diversity in the Valley: The NewME Accelerator (Part Two)

This week we’re back in Silicon Valley, with a program called NewME, or New Media Entrepreneurship. It’s designed to encourage women and minorities to found technology companies. Seven participants from around the country shared a house in San Francisco for three months, got coached on their business plans and attempted to perfect the art of the pitch.

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Life on The Gate: Working on the Golden Gate Bridge 1933-37

Life on The Gate: Working on the Golden Gate Bridge 1933-37

This year marks the 75th anniversary of an icon. When it opened in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge ever built, constructed in one of the world’s most challenging settings. For the men who poured the concrete, and drove in each iron rivet, it was a life-changing experience.

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A Happy, Noisy Mess: Community Science Workshops Take Root in California

A Happy, Noisy Mess: Community Science Workshops Take Root in California

One Bay Area man brings "hands-on" science to low-income neighborhoods.

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The Political Firestorm Inside Your Sofa

The Political Firestorm Inside Your Sofa

To comply with California law, furniture makers treat the foam in cushions with flame-retardant chemicals, up to two pounds of chemicals in an average-sized sofa. Those chemicals can turn up in household dust, blood, and breast milk. But efforts to remove them have been blocked by the chemical industry.

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The Salmon are Back! (But Why?)

The Salmon are Back! (But Why?)

Biologists say more than 800,000 Sacramento Chinook are off the coast right now. It’s the biggest number they've seen since 2005.

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Tsunami Program Faces Cuts One Year After Disaster

Tsunami Program Faces Cuts One Year After Disaster

Just one year after the disaster in Japan, proposed budget cuts could impact the US tsunami warning program.

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Eavesdropping on the Heart: A Patient’s Campaign for Access

Eavesdropping on the Heart: A Patient’s Campaign for Access

You could call it a sort of Silicon Valley approach to health: Campos has had his genome sequenced; he sleeps with a sleep monitor, and goes nowhere without his pedometer. He wants the same access to the information coming out of his own heart.

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