The Science of Sustainability

QUEST Community Science Blog

Reporter's Notes: Swine Flu and You

Reporter's Notes: Swine Flu and You

As this story is being produced, the reports on swine flu are changing hourly. Cases are popping up closer and closer to home, and the CDC is updating several times a day on the spread of the virus, and plans to fight it. The $64,000 question is how worried we should be.

Continue Reading

Swine Flu – A Virus or a Bacteria?

Swine Flu – A Virus or a Bacteria?

Swine Flu has been blanketing the news as of late. On April 29th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the first US fatality occurring in Texas. The CDC has determined that this swine influenza A(H1N1) virus is contagious and spreading from human to human. Yet at this time, they do not know how easily the virus spreads between people. At our museum, we have taken this very seriously and staff has been asked to stay home if symptoms arise.

Continue Reading

Apply now for the QUEST Science Education Institute

Apply now for the QUEST Science Education Institute

Applications are due May 15 for the 2009-2010 QUEST Science Education Institute.

Continue Reading

Superconductivity: an Arsenic-Laced Future?

Superconductivity: an Arsenic-Laced Future?

In February of last year scientists discovered a new champion in their quest for a better superconductor, a material based on iron and, curiously enough, arsenic.

Continue Reading

Tracking Genetics in Popular Culture

Tracking Genetics in Popular Culture

In the last couple of weeks, on another blog of mine there has been a surge in our answers about genetic chimeras. Usually this means that somewhere in the world, a certain episode of CSI is being shown.

Continue Reading

Let's Weatherize

Let's Weatherize

It's easy to get excited about installing solar panels on our houses, but most of us could significantly cut our energy bills for less with a simple trip to Home Depot. Thanks to the new federal stimulus package, $411 million is coming to California to help the state's buildings become more energy efficient.

Continue Reading

Reporter's Notes: Let's Weatherize!

Reporter's Notes: Let's Weatherize!

Since people seem to nod off a bit when I say I'm working on a story about energy efficiency, I've had to re-tool my pitch. "It's a story about how installing solar panels or a wind turbine is the last thing you should do to green your house," I say, perhaps a little over-dramatically.

Continue Reading

Web Extra: Weatherization Slideshow

Web Extra: Weatherization Slideshow

Thanks to the new federal stimulus package, $411 million is coming to California to help the state's buildings become more energy efficient. One program, which helps low-income families weatherize their homes, is seeing its budget triple. Check out images from our radio story as one home is weatherized.

Continue Reading

Springtime on Mars

Springtime on Mars

It's spring again, that time of year when my thoughts return to… blasts of carbon dioxide gas jetting up from beneath the frigid layer of dry ice below

Continue Reading

Have the Energy Munchies? Curb your "Snackwell Effect"

Have the Energy Munchies? Curb your "Snackwell Effect"

Stanley Jevons first described this conundrum in 1865, when he observed that new efficient steam engines decreased coal consumption, which led to a drop in coal prices. But the lower prices meant that more people could afford to use coal, and so coal consumption increased.

Continue Reading

Goodbye to the Bevatron

Goodbye to the Bevatron

For the last 18 years, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has had the physics equivalent of a rusty pickup truck parked in its front yard. Now, the 1950s era Bevatron is being demolished, and a chapter in the Bay Area's history of high level physics research comes to a close.

Continue Reading

Goodbye to the Bevatron

Goodbye to the Bevatron

For the last 18 years, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has had the physics equivalent of a rusty pickup truck parked in its front yard. Now, the 1950s era Bevatron is being demolished, and a chapter in the Bay Area's history of high level physics research comes to a close.

Continue Reading

Web Extra: At the Core of Climate Change

Web Extra: At the Core of Climate Change

How do we know that the climate is changing? In this video, provided by scientist Kendrick Taylor, learn how 8-foot long ice core samples extracted from deep in the ice layer of Antarctica hold key evidence of rapidly changing climactic conditions.

Continue Reading

Climate Watch: California at the Tipping Point

Climate Watch: California at the Tipping Point

The world's climate is changing and California is now being affected in both dramatic and subtle ways. Get an in-depth look at the science behind climate change as we explore the environmental changes taking place throughout the state.

Continue Reading

Reporter's Notes: Goodbye to the Bevatron

Reporter's Notes: Goodbye to the Bevatron

Much as I tried to get Stewart Loken to wax poetic about the demise of the Bevatron, the truth is that he – and, I'll bet, a lot of scientists – just don't think that way.

Continue Reading

UC Berkeley Gets Its Science On: Cal Day 2009, April 18

UC Berkeley Gets Its Science On: Cal Day 2009, April 18

On Saturday April 18th, the University opens up to the public…lectures, interactive events, tours, all of the campus museums (most of which aren't usually open to the public)… and it's all free.

Continue Reading

When a Cosmo's More Than a Cocktail: Yuri's Night at Cal Academy

When a Cosmo's More Than a Cocktail: Yuri's Night at Cal Academy

208 parties in 46 countries on eight continents celebrated Yuri Alexyevich Gagarin between April 6 and 12th of this year. Who is Yuri and why does he deserve such accolades?

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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?

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading