The Science of Sustainability

QUEST Community Science Blog

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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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