The Science of Sustainability

QUEST Community Science Blog

Reporter's Notes: Power Up With Leftovers

Reporter's Notes: Power Up With Leftovers

The story intrigued me because it seemed like converting food waste to methane for energy use was a no- brainer. Why isn't everyone doing this?

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Do We Have Enough Fresh Water?

Do We Have Enough Fresh Water?

Blue Gold is a documentary that focuses on the controversy that has arisen by the marketing and privatization of water.

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Careful What You Choose

Careful What You Choose

People often think about certain versions of a gene as either good or bad. One that leads to depression is bad while one that protects you from HIV infection is good. For most genes this is almost certainly too simplistic a view. Many versions of genes can be good or bad depending on your situation.

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Flash! Lakes Confirmed in Titan's Northern Hemisphere!

Flash! Lakes Confirmed in Titan's Northern Hemisphere!

In a literal flash of insight, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has confirmed the existence of lakes of liquid in the Northern Hemisphere of Saturn's moon, Titan.

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Tactile Maps

Tactile Maps

Human beings have used maps to describe the world for thousands of years. Blind people have used Braille for about 150. But there's never been a way for the blind to have easy access to maps of everyday places. Until now. Amy Standen reports.

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Exploring the Pulgas Water Temple area

Exploring the Pulgas Water Temple area

The San Francisco Peninsula Watershed, managed by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, is home to trails that offer access to remote wilderness, Northern California geology, and opportunities to appreciate the complexity of providing 2.4 million people with a clean water supply.

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Dark Matter Tests Positive (Sort of)

Dark Matter Tests Positive (Sort of)

Dark matter – think of matter as a fancy word for stuff – is one of the most exciting but also potentially frustrating phenomena in cosmology today.

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Solar Thieves

Solar Thieves

Solar panels are a hot commodity these days and not just for residents and business owners who want to go green. It turns out that thieves are also embracing clean technology: Solar panel thefts are on the rise. And among the most popular targets are California wineries.

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Reporter's Notes: Solar Thieves

Reporter's Notes: Solar Thieves

The economy may be in the tank but business is booming for solar security companies. A rash of solar panel thefts in the Napa Valley, and elsewhere, have spawned an entire new industry.

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In Conversation with Copenhagen

In Conversation with Copenhagen

Last Thursday night at NightLife, Healy Hamilton called in from Copenhagen to give an update on the Copenhagen conference. This year is the 15th annual conference of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change.

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Don't Forget about Life Style Choices

Don't Forget about Life Style Choices

As readers of this blog might remember, I was recently diagnosed with metabolic syndrome just as I was undergoing DNA testing. This was a wake up call in a couple of different ways.

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The Future of Phone Books

The Future of Phone Books

For many Bay Area residents, 'tis the season for egg nog, evenings by the fireplace, and…phone books! The new Yellow and White pages will land on hundreds of thousands of doorsteps this month. But if two California lawmakers get their way, this holiday tradition may soon change. Amy Standen reports.

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Reporter's Notes: The Future of Phone Books

Reporter's Notes: The Future of Phone Books

The white pages will be nearly eliminated, thanks to a bill facing the state legislature in 2010. But what will happen to the few Californians who still rely on an outmoded resource? One of the many interesting little side avenues (or, maybe it’s more like a rabbit hole) that I found myself pursuing while working […]

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Spirit Digs a Little Deeper into Martian Geology

Spirit Digs a Little Deeper into Martian Geology

NASA's Mars rover Spirit has recently made an major accidental discovery in the course of trying to free itself from a sand trap….

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Climate Talks in Copenhagen: No Silver Bullet?

Climate Talks in Copenhagen: No Silver Bullet?

Between the aquarium of drowning-delegate sea-level rise protesters, the chicken flock of animal rights protesters, and the cocktail party of fur-coated protest protesters, there will certainly have been a lot to see these past two weeks in Copenhagen during the latest United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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Rainwater Harvesting: Is It All Wet?

Rainwater Harvesting: Is It All Wet?

It's an El Niño year, which raises hopes for significant rainfall this winter. But after years of drought, some local homeowners aren't counting on it. They're conserving water by reviving the ancient practice of rainwater harvesting. But how much can they really save? Katharine Mieszkowski reports.

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Reporter's Notes: DIY Rainwater Harvesting

Reporter's Notes: DIY Rainwater Harvesting

If you're hoping to catch some rain yourself this winter in the Bay
Area, you shouldn't have any problems with supply. There's likely to
be plenty of water gushing off your roof, since even small ones shed
thousands of gallons over the course of a typical rainy season.

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The Paper Battery Chase

The Paper Battery Chase

Scientists at Stanford University are learning how to coat ordinary paper with an ink composed of carbon nanotubes and silver nanowires to make an excellent energy storage device.

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San Francisco Science Scene

San Francisco Science Scene

I love researching and I always have. In high school, the librarians knew me by name because I spent more time with books than peers. In college, I would pick paper topics specifically to gain access to the Bancroft rare books library at Cal. In school, it was easy to fuel my nerdy interests and get lost into a battle of wits amongst friends but in adulthood, I have had to search for like-minded people and events. Below is my list of favorites intellectual haunts in the city.

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Working Dogs for Conservation

Working Dogs for Conservation

With unemployment at an all time low, it seems controversial that some very solid jobs are going to non-humans, but there are just some things that humans will never be qualified to do.

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