The Science of Sustainability

David Gorn

David Gorn is the former Deputy News Director of KQED Radio, and currently works as a freelancer for National Public Radio. He has worked for three daily Bay Area newspapers, has been Editor-in-Chief of several magazines, and has taught journalism at San Jose State University and San Francisco State University.

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David Gorn's Latest Posts

Reporter's Notes: Where's my Hydrogen Highway

Reporter's Notes: Where's my Hydrogen Highway

Hydrogen is not exactly a fuel. That is, we don't burn it to make energy. It's used more as a medium for storing and transporting energy.

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Reporter's Notes: Crash Landing

Reporter's Notes: Crash Landing

When the LCROSS satellite, nicknamed Centaur, smacks into the south pole of the moon in late October, it is expected to produce a plume of dust 37 miles high, which may be visible from Earth with a good backyard telescope. It will be visible in an arc from Hawaii to Texas.

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Sudden Oak Death

Sudden Oak Death

Sudden Oak Death is devastating oak forests along the coast, killing trees that are key to the ecology of the coastal hills. Researchers have found a way to inoculate individual trees from the disease, but are struggling in their search to find a more sweeping answer to the threat.

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Reporter's Notes: Sudden Oak Death

Reporter's Notes: Sudden Oak Death

There is no proven cure for Sudden Oak Death. But that doesn't mean you can't find people selling cures. In fact, the Internet is full of theories – and their related products – that explain how to treat Sudden Oak Death. The problem with them, says UC Berkeley researcher Matteo Garbelotto, is that they don't work. And in fact, he adds, they could actually harm people's backyard oak trees.

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Sewage Spills Increasing

Sewage Spills Increasing

How much sewage makes its way into our water? Plenty. Statewide, it's likely that last year's record number, 20 million gallons of raw sewage dumped in California waterways, is going to be broken this year. Decrepit pipes, lack of money and the growing severity of storms could all add up to a disaster of septic proportions.

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Reporter's Notes: Sewage Spills Increasing

Reporter's Notes: Sewage Spills Increasing

The biggest problem can be the smallest thing, and that's the case in the sewer world. More than 20 million gallons of raw sewage spilled into California waterways last year, according to the state Department of Water Resources Control Board. That's not counting the partially treated sewage that makes its way into our water from overflows and sewer system malfunctions.

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Reporter's Notes: Tracking Carbon through Your Cell Phone

Reporter's Notes: Tracking Carbon through Your Cell Phone

"Do I get to keep the phone?"

Not exactly the environmentally-conscious line of thinking that organizers were hoping for, but understandable for those high-schoolers holding a brand new, latest version of the Nokia in their hands.

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Reporter's Notes: Playing with Lead

Reporter's Notes: Playing with Lead

It's easy to get scared. You look around the Oakland office of the Center for Environmental Health, and lead is everywhere. Piles of toys that are loaded with lead. Lunch boxes and kids' backpacks that have tested positive for high levels of lead. Samples of artificial turf.

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Redesigning the Bay

Redesigning the Bay

The predictions for climate change all warn that San Francisco Bay waters will rise. The latest estimate is the bay will be about 5 feet higher by the end of this century, and 16 inches higher by 2050. If the water rises high enough, a lot of expensive Bay-front property could be inundated. What can we do about it? And how do we plan for that? That's the subject of an innovative design contest that launches this week.

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Reporter's Notes: Redesigning the Bay

Reporter's Notes: Redesigning the Bay

The most recent estimate looks pretty dire. The Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), a state planning agency, says it expects San Francisco Bay to rise about 16 inches by 2050, and 55 inches by the end of the century.

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Reporter's Notes: Investigating Darwin's Legacy

Reporter's Notes: Investigating Darwin's Legacy

This year marks the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin – and the 150th anniversary of his landmark work, "On the Origin of Species". One of the iconic fossils that supports Darwin's theory of evolution is called the Archaeopteryx.

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Reporter's Notes: Birds vs. Planes

Reporter's Notes: Birds vs. Planes

Dave Feliz calls it "the bird highway in the sky." Feliz works for California Department of Fish and Game, as area manager for the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, and he's talking about the Pacific Flyway. Millions of migratory birds travel the same route every year, called the Pacific Flyway, stretching from the north slope of […]

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New Life for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

New Life for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Soon after Barack Obama is sworn in as President next week, he is expected to reverse the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. The resulting boom in this cutting-edge medical technology will benefit California's research institutes in a big way.

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Reporter's Notes: New Life for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Reporter's Notes: New Life for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Researchers call stem cell technology a "revolution" in medicine, along the lines of the development of antibiotics in the 1940s, or the manufacturing of insulin and other therapies from recombinant DNA breakthroughs.

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Reporter's Notes: Tracking Urban Lions

Reporter's Notes: Tracking Urban Lions

It's amazing that such large animals can live so near to urban areas and remain unseen – particularly since these animals inspire such fear and alarm whenever there is a reported sighting.

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Reporter's Notes: Last Minute Rules

Reporter's Notes: Last Minute Rules

The Bush Administration has recently passed dozens of so-called "midnight regulations" – last-minute rules and amendments. Many of those new laws affect the environment, including a change to the Endangered Species Act that has California environmentalists deeply worried.

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Reporter's Notes: Dialing in on Traffic

Reporter's Notes: Dialing in on Traffic

The pilot project at UC Berkeley called Mobile Millennium uses cell phones as data points to show traffic patterns in real time. To become an early adopter of the technology, you must have an unlimited data plan on a mobile phone with a GPS system.

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Reporter's Notes: Get the Soot Out

Reporter's Notes: Get the Soot Out

It's not just truckers that will have to spend a lot of money to retrofit their diesel engines. And quite a few trucks on California roads will actually be unaffected by a new California diesel regulation. The California Air Resources Board is expected to vote on a new diesel-emissions regulation when the board meets on December 11 and 12 in Sacramento.

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Reporter's Notes: Underwater Laboratory

Reporter's Notes: Underwater Laboratory

The Eye in the Sea is one of the coolest, gee-whiz scientific projects you'll see. It's part of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute's so-called MARS project (that stands for Monterey Accelerated Research System). MARS is an undersea laboratory, set up deep on the sea floor about 30 miles offshore from Monterey.

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Reporter's Notes: Oil Spill Anniversary

Reporter's Notes: Oil Spill Anniversary

November is the month when thousands of migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway make their stop in the San Francisco Bay Area. It's also the month when herring arrive in the Bay in gigantic schools – tons and tons of the tiny fish. And November's the month last year when the Cosco Busan crashed, leaking 53,000 gallons of black goo into San Francisco Bay.

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