The Science of Sustainability

QUEST Community Science Blog

Boom Time for Open Space

Boom Time for Open Space

This month marks an anniversary no one will celebrate: two years ago, the economic downturn many call "The Great Recession" began. Here in Northern California, like just about everywhere else, housing prices have tumbled. But for some, there's a silver lining to the real estate bust, as Amy Standen reports.

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Reporter's Notes: Boom Time for Open Space

Reporter's Notes: Boom Time for Open Space

It'll take about $13 million to buy Bruin Ranch – the 2,500 acre spread outside Auburn. Two land trusts are working hard to raise the cash: Trust for Public Land, one of the largest national land conservancy organizations, and a local group, Placer County Land Trust.

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New Evidence of Martian Life Found in Antarctica?

New Evidence of Martian Life Found in Antarctica?

On Monday, November 30th, 2009, NASA/Johnson Space Center announced that a recent study strengthens the argument that chemical and structural features in a Martian meteorite—ALH84001—may be evidence of fossilized microbial life on Mars from the distant past.

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Science Event Pick – H1N1 Update

Science Event Pick – H1N1 Update

Art Reingold will provide an update concerning the global pandemic of novel H1N1(swine) influenza; the current state of affairs in the US and California; and options for prevention, including a pandemic influenza vaccine.

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Cash for Caulkers: A Pretty Good Idea

Cash for Caulkers: A Pretty Good Idea

Heard of the “Cash for Caulkers” program? This is the nickname for HOME STAR, a program to provide incentives for homeowners to upgrade their homes to be more energy efficient, healthy, and affordable to live in.

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Decoding the Emotional Brain

Decoding the Emotional Brain

People with pseudobulbar affect — a neurological condition common in patients with Lou Gehrig's disease — have overwhelming emotions at inappropriate times: They laugh uncontrollably at funerals, cry even when they aren't sad. Scientists at UC San Francisco believe that by putting these people into MRI scans, they can learn more about how emotions are created and controlled in the human brain — and what happens when those systems break down.

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The Science Behind Brining a Turkey

The Science Behind Brining a Turkey

One of the things I hated growing up at Thanksgiving was overcooked turkey. It is dry, flavorless and feels like eating cardboard. I would often forgo turkey because of how dry it was. Brining has been my preference for the past three years because it is far healthier than deep fat frying and it cuts the cooking time in half. Most importantly is creates a juicy delicious Thanksgiving turkey.

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Who Owns My DNA?

Who Owns My DNA?

If a DNA testing company gets bought out, what happens to their customers' DNA? Image by Molly Eyres. / CC BY 2.0 One niggling worry I had when I decided to get some genetic testing from 23andMe was what would happen to my DNA if the company failed. By all accounts, 23andMe is a very […]

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Web Extra: Photosynthesis and Foosball

Web Extra: Photosynthesis and Foosball

Photosynthesis seems like a simple process, but scientists are still trying to understand how it works. They've discovered that plants may be using quantum physics. As Lauren Sommer found out, the best way to understand it is through foosball.

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Reporter's Notes: Building an Artificial Leaf

Reporter's Notes: Building an Artificial Leaf

When I began this story, it seemed pretty simple. I'd heard that scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab were working to mimic photosynthesis and create a man-made version of the process that could supply us with renewable energy.

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Lunar Ice Smack-down a Success!

Lunar Ice Smack-down a Success!

NASA's LCROSS mission found water on the Moon, no bones about it. Though NASA is still analyzing all the data they reaped from the LCROSS impact event on October 9th, and will be for a long time to come, they seem confident enough about the preliminary findings to make this a definite declaration of discovery!

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Exploring Angel Island

Exploring Angel Island

On October 12, 2008, Angel Island was ravaged by a wildfire. In just 2 days, 303 acres went up in smoke. We're visiting the island a year later to see how the land is recovering and learn how the fire helped one scientist unearth a bit if the island's history.

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Science Event Pick: Geek Out: Surviving on Mars

Science Event Pick: Geek Out: Surviving on Mars

The Lawrence Hall of Science presents Geek Out: Mars Survival Challenge, an opportunity to design your own Mars colony under the guidance of some Martian science experts. Geek Out is a new evening series at LHS for adults only; there will be music, a cash bar, and plenty of eye-popping science.

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Unlocking the Mysteries of Graphene

Unlocking the Mysteries of Graphene

Researchers in Alex Zettl’s group at Berkeley have endeavored recently to isolate suspended membranes of graphene for study and image them at Lawrence Berkeley Lab’s TEAM 0.5, the world’s most powerful transmission electron microscope (TEM).

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A Bumpy Ride for High Speed Rail

A Bumpy Ride for High Speed Rail

Last year a majority of California voters approved a multi-billion-dollar high-speed rail project. Now comes the hard part: squeezing a 220-mph train system into California's densely populated cities. Some communities that voted in favor of the train now say they don't want it rolling through their neighborhoods. QUEST looks at the stretch between San Francisco and San Jose and how the train might change the local landscape.

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Reporter's Notes: A Bumpy Ride for High Speed Rail

Reporter's Notes: A Bumpy Ride for High Speed Rail

We'd been wanting to do an update on the California high speed rail project for months now. Luckily, there's no bad time to cover high speed rail.

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Dispatches from Greenbuild 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona

Dispatches from Greenbuild 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona

It took me about six hours to travel from my bed in Walnut Creek to the Phoenix Convention Center, the location of this year’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. There are more than 1,000 companies and organizations here, representing every fact of green building.

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Is There Something Dangerous Lurking In Your Purse?

Is There Something Dangerous Lurking In Your Purse?

Each October, within Breast Cancer Awareness Month, my friends and I get into a flurry organizing and putting on Beats for Boobs.

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Fostering Sustainable Behavior – A Powerful, New Perspective

Fostering Sustainable Behavior – A Powerful, New Perspective

What would it take you to change your shower to a low-flow shower head? Be honest.

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Trick or Trait

Trick or Trait

"Mysteries of DNA" image courtesy Mark H. Adams. Full-size version. As anyone who follows this blog knows, I recently took a 23andMe genetic test and have been blogging about it ever since. Today I thought I would focus on one of the fun parts of the service: traits. Lots of our traits are at least […]

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