The Science of Sustainability

QUEST Community Science Blog

Reporter's Notes: California at the Tipping Point

Reporter's Notes: California at the Tipping Point

The conventional wisdom is that a warming planet means more wildfires–and in many cases the conventional wisdom is right. But globally it's a more complex question.

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Smart Grid at Home

Smart Grid at Home

President Obama's stimulus plan set aside billions for clean energy. Funding will go to some familiar projects — like wind and solar power — and to some not so familiar ones, like the smart grid. So what is the smart grid? And how will it affect your home energy use?

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Reporter's Notes: Smart Grid at Home

Reporter's Notes: Smart Grid at Home

I've never paid much attention to my electric meter. For most of us, it's just that box on the side of the house with a small white disk spinning inside, keeping track of our energy use. But over the next three years, all the meters for PG&E customers will be getting a major upgrade to a new, digital SmartMeter.

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Web Extra: Smart Grid Technology Slideshow

Web Extra: Smart Grid Technology Slideshow

California is leading the way in a new smart grid. Check out some of the new technology and some of the not-so-new energy tools from decades past in this slideshow.

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Is the Sun Pulling a Rip Van Winkle?

Is the Sun Pulling a Rip Van Winkle?

The Sun seems to be unusually quiet these last few years–and solar scientists are excited by this long, deep slumber….

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Science Event Picks: NIF-ty Laser Talks Coming to Local Science Cafés

Science Event Picks: NIF-ty Laser Talks Coming to Local Science Cafés

In celebration of the operational launch of the world's most powerful laser at the National Ignition Facility in Livermore, CA, engineers & scientists from the facility are presenting a series of talks and discussions geared for the general public.

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Underwater Update

Underwater Update

We heard about the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute's new underwater laboratory in a radio story last fall. When that story aired, the lab (known as the Monterey Accelerated Research System, or MARS) was just getting going, with lots of neat experiments planned. Now, few of those have become a reality.

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Predators in Peril in Uganda

Predators in Peril in Uganda

Last October, I gazed out at the expanse of Queen Elizabeth Park, in Uganda, close to the comfy Mweya Safari Lodge where we were staying. The landscape was beautiful, peaceful…and kind of empty. Though we had seen a large and lovely herd of elephants the evening before, on this fine, clear morning, the habitat was clearly missing one of the most important parts of the eco-system: predators. All we could find were tracks.

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QUEST Quiz: The Moon

QUEST Quiz: The Moon

In an average lifetime, a person experiences about 936 full Moons. So, how old is the Moon? How was it formed? Take the QUEST Quiz to find out how much you REALLY know about Earth's Moon.

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NASA Ames Rocket to the Moon

NASA Ames Rocket to the Moon

Call them demolition derby astrophysicists: NASA scientists in Mountain View deliberately crashed an unmanned rocket into the moon on October 9th, 2009. Their goal? To find water, in the form of ice, which could one day support a moon base. On November 15th, 2009, they announced they had found it. QUEST looks at the planning and run-up to the big event.

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Producer's Notes: LCROSS Rocket to the Moon

Producer's Notes: LCROSS Rocket to the Moon

The goal is to see if water exists on the moon and if it does, buried deep beneath the lunar soil, accumulating over millions of years of impacts with comets, it would accelerate our efforts to establish a permanent lunar base.

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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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An Optimistic Look Forward at Energy Policy

An Optimistic Look Forward at Energy Policy

Home Energy Magazine looks back at the past several decades of energy policy in America, and looks ahead to what may come. Here's a sneak preview of some of what we're thinking.

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Using the Online Photo Community Flickr for Science Education

Using the Online Photo Community Flickr for Science Education

With its powerful, yet easy-to-use features Flickr offers science educators a number of ways to bring abstract concepts to life and add depth and color to theoretical understanding.

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Questions from the Naturalist Center

Questions from the Naturalist Center

The exhibits you see on the museum floor of the California Academy of Sciences are just the tip of the iceberg of the Academy's work. In fact, 90% of what we do is the education and research that happens behind-the-scenes. It is this ongoing research that in turn generates the exhibits and programming that guests enjoy.

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Cool Critters: Opossums

Cool Critters: Opossums

Did you know that opossums are good to have in your backyard? Learn why and a bunch of other cool critter facts when we visit the wildlife ambassadors that live at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek, CA.

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The World's Most Powerful Microscope

The World's Most Powerful Microscope

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab recently turned on a $27 million electron microscope. Its ability to make images to a resolution half the width of a hydrogen atom made it the most powerful microscope in the world.

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Web Extra: Images from the World's Most Powerful Microscope

Web Extra: Images from the World's Most Powerful Microscope

See a selection of the new amazing atomic-scale images from the TEAM microscope seen in our Video "The World's Most Powerful Microscope."

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Producer's Notes for Cool Critters: Opossums

Producer's Notes for Cool Critters: Opossums

Did you know that opossums are good to have in your backyard? Learn why and a bunch of other cool critter facts when we visit the wildlife ambassadors that live at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek, CA.

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