The Science of Sustainability

Biology

Science and the Flu: A Little Learning Is A Dangerous Thing

Science and the Flu: A Little Learning Is A Dangerous Thing

The first sniffles of flu season are upon us: a friend of mine was struck down, and couldn't join me in attending a science dialogue on Sunday night. This was darkly humorous, as the topic of the evening was pandemics.

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Genome 3.0: ENCODE Takes Our DNA From Junk to Treasure

Genome 3.0: ENCODE Takes Our DNA From Junk to Treasure

New research is making us rethink how our DNA works – again.

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Black Holes: Ultimate Trash Compactors of the Universe

Black Holes: Ultimate Trash Compactors of the Universe

As bizarre as black holes have been depicted in science fiction, the reality of black holes as described by science is far stranger.

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Culture Clash: Of Cats, Birds and Conservation

Culture Clash: Of Cats, Birds and Conservation

Feral cats threaten native wildlife, from reptiles to birds, and often lead a miserable life. By better understanding the concerns of cat colony caretakers, wildlife biologists hope to find enough common ground to benefit both cats and wildlife.

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Field Notes: Dan Costa in Antarctica

Field Notes: Dan Costa in Antarctica

QUEST Producer Sheraz Sadiq interviews Bay Area filmmaker and musician Jesse Hiatt about the experience of filming in one of the world's most extreme environments. His breathtaking footage was edited into the QUEST segment, "Field Notes: Dan Costa in Antarctica."

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California Wildlife Mural Celebrates Its Third Birthday

California Wildlife Mural Celebrates Its Third Birthday

In 2009, after West Valley College built its brand new biology building, a group of faculty stood in the natural history lab staring at a blank wall. "It's too empty," they agreed. "How about a mural?" suggested biology and genetics instructor Molly Schrey.

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The State of California's Sea Otters

The State of California's Sea Otters

Southern sea otters are local icons, gracing a plethora of souvenirs, murals and postcards throughout central and northern California. With a face like that, it’s easy to see why. But sea otters themselves are not so plentiful. In honor of Sea Otter Awareness Week at the end of September, take a closer look at what’s behind that furry façade.

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Is Nail Biting a Pathology? Or Just a Bad Habit?

Is Nail Biting a Pathology? Or Just a Bad Habit?

Nail biting — like skin picking and hair tending — stems from an evolutionarily adaptive behavior: grooming. But in "pathological groomers," as they're known in in the world of psychiatry, that healthy urge goes haywire.

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X-ray Microscope: Seeing Cells in 3-D

X-ray Microscope: Seeing Cells in 3-D

At the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, scientists are using a cutting-edge microscope, the first of its kind in the world, to image whole cells in 3-D with the penetrating power of x-rays. The new images generated by the microscope are offering a deeper, more precise understanding of cellular structures and how they change with diseases.

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Scientific Whimsy: The Magical Art of Tiffany Bozic

Scientific Whimsy: The Magical Art of Tiffany Bozic

Tiffany Bozic, the first Artist-in-Residence at the California Academy of Sciences, named her first child after a rare bird found in Southeast Asia: Tesia olivea.

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The Results Are In For My Genetics Quiz

The Results Are In For My Genetics Quiz

In my last blog entry, I wrote a quiz that tested some basic knowledge about genetics that experts have found the public struggles with. What I found from the responses I received is that the QUEST public doesn’t struggle with them or, more likely, people only answer quizzes like this if they are pretty confident […]

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California's Prop. 37: Are GMO Labels a Scarlet Letter?

California's Prop. 37: Are GMO Labels a Scarlet Letter?

Proposition 37 could make California the first state in the country to require "Made with GMO" labels on genetically-engineered foods. But would the labels inform people? Or scare them?

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Braking for Beetles: When Recreation and Conservation Converge

Braking for Beetles: When Recreation and Conservation Converge

The endangered Ohlone tiger beetle, found only in Santa Cruz County, depends on disturbed landscapes to hunt and breed. Migrating woolly mammoths and more recently grazing elk helped maintain that habitat. Recreational trails might prove a good replacement–as long as mountain bikers follow rules to reduce beetle casualties.

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The Heat is On For California Wines

The Heat is On For California Wines

You’ve probably heard of the wines that made Napa and Sonoma famous, like Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay. But what about Negroamaro or Nero d’Avola? They’re wine grapes that are well-adapted to hotter temperatures — the kind of conditions that California may be facing as the climate continues to warm.

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Outdoor Labs: The UC Natural Reserve System

Outdoor Labs: The UC Natural Reserve System

The University of California runs a unique set of 38 pristine properties around the state for scientific research.

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Squid Skin: Why Pigment (But Not Glitter) Will Dance to the Beat

Squid Skin: Why Pigment (But Not Glitter) Will Dance to the Beat

Squid and their relatives–a group of animals known as cephalopods–have the world's best skin. And it's not because they moisturize, lack pimples, or tan without ever burning. It's because their skin is a canvas of endless possibilities.

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In Defense of Science: An Interview with NCSE’s Eugenie Scott

In Defense of Science: An Interview with NCSE’s Eugenie Scott

Eugenie Scott, longtime director of Oakland's National Center for Science Education, has won numerous awards for helping the public understand science and defending evolution, especially against threats to replace it with “creation science” in public schools. She shares her thoughts on the challenges of communicating science in a climate of denial.

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Arm Yourselves for the Upcoming (Genetics) Revolution

Arm Yourselves for the Upcoming (Genetics) Revolution

As a nation, we aren’t teaching the right genetics in our schools. And for those of us out of school, the situation is, if anything, even worse. By and large we lack the fundamental knowledge needed to properly interpret the avalanche of data headed our way.

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Building a Better, Tastier Tomato

Building a Better, Tastier Tomato

Many tomatoes have been bred to travel well and look appealing, but now researchers are focusing on making them more nutritious and better tasting.

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Traipsing the Dipsea Trail

Traipsing the Dipsea Trail

A hiking adventure on the Dipsea Trail from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach explores the transect through coastal habitats.

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