The Science of Sustainability

QUEST Community Science Blog

Lessons From Chile

Lessons From Chile

The 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Chile last month may offer some clues for how California would withstand such a massive quake. Andrea Kissack spoke with one Bay Area engineer who just returned from Chile where he was looking at how U.S. building codes held up in the quake.

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Reporter's Notes: Lessons From Chile

Reporter's Notes: Lessons From Chile

The next big one. Many of us are trying to avoid even thinking about it. But the reality is it is going to happen.

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Sun-Earth Day: Magnetic Magic

Sun-Earth Day: Magnetic Magic

Saturday, March 20th, was not only Vernal Equinox, but the annual Sun-Earth Day: a NASA-promoted effort around the country to focus attention on the special connections between the Sun and the Earth. This year's theme: magnetism!

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Alcatraz Goes Green

Alcatraz Goes Green

Alcatraz, the iconic former prison in San Francisco Bay, goes green. Extra stimulus funds have made it possible to replace two aging diesel generators with solar panels that will power up to 60 percent of the island. Amy Standen reports on how the National Park Service plans to hide more than 1300 dark blue solar panels from public view.

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Reporter's Notes: Alcatraz Goes Green

Reporter's Notes: Alcatraz Goes Green

Getting power to Alcatraz is its own special conundrum. At various stages of its existence, the island has run on coal, wood, bunker oil, and now diesel fuel, all ferried from the mainland.

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Alcatraz Goes Green (Slideshow Version)

Alcatraz Goes Green (Slideshow Version)

Alcatraz, the iconic former prison in San Francisco Bay, goes green. Extra stimulus funds have made it possible to replace two aging diesel generators with solar panels that will power up to 60 percent of the island. Amy Standen reports on how the National Park Service plans to hide more than 1300 dark blue solar panels from public view.

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Corporations Behaving Badly… and Well

Corporations Behaving Badly… and Well

There are those who, for selfish, near-term interests, work hard to obscure the truth and only pretend to be part of the solution. When it comes to products and information, buyer beware.

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The Largest Land Mammal That Ever Lived

The Largest Land Mammal That Ever Lived

With Extreme Mammals opening in less than a month, new boxes and displays are popping up every day.

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Singularities Surround Us

Singularities Surround Us

Thinking about our robotic future is interesting and important, but don't trust anyone who thinks they know exactly what and when.

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An Urban Layover for Birds: MLK Jr. Regional Shoreline

An Urban Layover for Birds: MLK Jr. Regional Shoreline

Squeezed between the Oakland International Airport and the Coliseum lies one of the best kept secrets of the bay: Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline Park, a birding hot spot. I had no idea.

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23andMe: Not Just for Fun Anymore

23andMe: Not Just for Fun Anymore

23andMe has gone away from being a place where you get your DNA tested for coolness’ sake to one with a focus on health and/or ancestry.  With this change has come a much-improved product for people interested in what their DNA tells them about their carrier status for a variety of genetic diseases.

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Battle Over Public Power

Battle Over Public Power

This week, voters on both sides of a contentious measure set for California's June ballot will take the stage in a public hearing in San Francisco. Proposition 16 has to do with how electricity will be delivered to our homes, and by whom. The issue is shaping up to be an epic showdown between local non-profit groups and the utility giant PG&E. Amy Standen has more.

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Shifting Sands of Far-Off Lands

Shifting Sands of Far-Off Lands

What started out to be a workaday chore—replacing a broken motor in an exhibit—panned out to be a voyage of discovery to the shifting sands of another world.

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Reporter's Notes: Battle Over Public Power

Reporter's Notes: Battle Over Public Power

Three months before the state election, Prop 16 has made headlines in every major state newspaper.

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Wither The Lawn

Wither The Lawn

After three years of drought, California is finally getting some wet relief. Yet a series of strong storms doesn't end the state's need to conserve water. A new California law will impose restrictions on landscaping for decades to come. Katharine Mieszkowski reports on the future of the suburban lawn.

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Fighting Words

Fighting Words

Words matter to scientists. The scientific method is a structure through which scientists test theories through experiment, and then share the results with other scientists.

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Reporter's Notes: Putting Landscaping on a Water Budget

Reporter's Notes: Putting Landscaping on a Water Budget

Is your yard a dated relic of California's water guzzling past, or, an exemplar of the drought-tolerant future that the state's trying to nudge us all towards?

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Holding Hands with an Octopus

Holding Hands with an Octopus

A week ago on Tuesday morning, a co-worker and I were able to go behind the scenes and visit with the Giant Red Octopus and his trainer.

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22andHim

22andHim

A doctor from China contacted me through this blog with some exciting news.  He had found a patient with 44 chromosomes instead of the usual 46

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Teaching the Brain To See

Teaching the Brain To See

Thanks to stem cells and other cutting-edge technologies, doctors hope they may one day be able to restore sight to people who were born without it, or lost it, later in life. But a rare case here in the Bay Area suggests that curing blindness may be more than meets the eye.

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