The Science of Sustainability

Chemistry

Cassini Martini:  Add Water, Ammonia, Methane; Mix Well

Cassini Martini: Add Water, Ammonia, Methane; Mix Well

Artist concept of a geyser erupting on Enceladus. Credit: David Seal.Back when I was young…okay, a previous generation might have ended that sentence with, "…I’d walk forty miles through the snow to get to school…" But I'm not exaggerating when I say, when I was young we knew next to nothing about faraway places in […]

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Mercury in the Bay – Part 2

Mercury in the Bay – Part 2

Last week, we took a look at how mercury enters the San Francisco Bay. This week: Now that it's here, how is it affecting us? Quest talks to local fisherman, a physician, and a Bay ecologist to find out how we're contending with the Bay's worst toxin.

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Mercury in the Bay – Part 1

Mercury in the Bay – Part 1

You might not know it from the textbooks, but California's gold rush was also a mercury rush. Quicksilver mines near San Jose provided gold miners with the mercury they needed to separate gold from ore. 150 years later, we're still facing the consequences of gold-rush era mercury.

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Super Laser at the National Ignition Facility

Super Laser at the National Ignition Facility

It's the largest laser beam in the world and it's being built in the Bay Area. The National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory will shoot tremendous bursts of energy at an area the size of a pencil eraser. The goal? To create fusion ignition, a potential clean energy source for the 21st century.

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Producer's Notes – Biofuels: Beyond Ethanol

Producer's Notes – Biofuels: Beyond Ethanol

A sample of switchgrass at Sandia National LaboratoriesIt doesn't need to be said that there's a heated debate about how to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions with actions that lessen our society's carbon footprint. Biofuels like ethanol or biodiesel are one option. They're touted as being carbon neutral because the CO2 they emit comes from crops […]

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Alzheimer's: Is the Cure in the Genes?

Alzheimer's: Is the Cure in the Genes?

By 2050, as our population ages, 15 million Americans will suffer from Alzheimer's disease– triple today's number. Researchers at San Francisco's Gladstone Institutes have found that a gene may hold the key to a cure.

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Biofuels: Beyond Ethanol

Biofuels: Beyond Ethanol

For years there's been buzz — both positive and negative — about generating ethanol fuel from corn. But thanks to recent developments, the Bay Area is rapidly becoming a world center for the next generation of green fuel alternatives. Meet the scientists investigating the newest methods for converting what we grow into what makes us go.

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QUEST Lab: Aerogel

QUEST Lab: Aerogel

It looks like frozen smoke. And it's the lightest solid material on the planet. Aerogel insulates space suits, makes tennis rackets stronger and could be used one day to clean up oil spills.

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Producer's Notes – In the Kitchen with Aerogel

Producer's Notes – In the Kitchen with Aerogel

Scientist Alex Gash prepares the "frozen smoke." I've always loved cooking shows. There's something so satisfying about watching an expert gather, wash, peel, macerate, combine and assemble ingredients. And because of the magic of television, we get the whole enchilada neatly packaged within a half hour program. Everything's perfectly cooked, presented and served. And I […]

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SF's Hometown Bacteria

SF's Hometown Bacteria

If Chicago has deep dish pizza and Boston has cream pie, San Francisco has sourdough bread. And just like the pizza and pie, San Francisco sourdough just isn't the same outside its hometown. But that's because only San Francisco is home to a certain bacterium that bears its name– Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis. Of course bread uses […]

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DNA and Love

DNA and Love

Last night, I watched a reality dating show with a seemingly wacky way of finding true love. The male searching for love sniffed the armpits of potential females. He either turned away in disgust or became quite aroused by the wafts of underarm aroma. What is so comical is that a new dating service relies […]

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Famous African American Scientists & Innovators: Part II

Famous African American Scientists & Innovators: Part II

America might be on the pinnacle of a great change–namely having the first black President of the United States. The democratic primary race is still competitive between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I was just in Washington, DC, over the President’s Day weekend and it was truly inspiring to see the support for Mr. Obama […]

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Reporter's Notes: Designer Biofuels

Reporter's Notes: Designer Biofuels

Concern over global warming and rising gas prices has just about everyone, including presidential candidates, touting biofuels. Taking the energy from plants to make a gasoline alternative that can run our cars has great promise. But there are challenges to meeting the nation’s goal to replace 20 per cent of the nations annual gasoline consumption […]

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Your Photos on QUEST TV – Call for Submissions

Your Photos on QUEST TV – Call for Submissions

View our original YPOQ pilot featuring photographer Russ MorrisDo you love photographing Science, Environment and Nature in Northern California? Would you like to collaborate on a 2-minute QUEST TV short about your photography for an audience of over 100,000 viewers? We're launching a call for submissions for our new series of TV shorts, "YPOQ: Your […]

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Famous African American Scientists

Famous African American Scientists

Diversity of thought has always been a cornerstone of science; however, diversity amongst scientists has often gone unnoticed. Martin Luther King’s birthday was just celebrated in remembrance of his leadership in the African American community. However, he is not the only pioneer who has brought about great and lasting change. Below are just two examples […]

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Nursing the marsh-upland transition zone back to health

Nursing the marsh-upland transition zone back to health

In the North Bay, a new nursery is lending Mother Nature a hand. On a recent foggy morning, I drove up to the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge to tour their native plant nursery with biologist Giselle Block and nursery manager Leia Giambastiani. The Refuge hugs the northern reaches of the Bay (If you've […]

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Global Warming on Venus?

Global Warming on Venus?

Credit: T. Credner & S. Kohle, AlltheSky.comYou may be surprised to hear that Venus is the warmest planet in the solar system. Venus has an average temperature of 850 degrees Fahrenheit. This is much warmer than the Earth, at 60 degrees, and even warmer than Mercury, which sits much closer to the sun, at 350 […]

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Cleaning Up Oil in the Bay

Cleaning Up Oil in the Bay

It has been nine days since a Chinese freighter hit the Bay Bridge spilling 58-thousand gallons of bunker fuel into the Bay. After a massive effort only 25 percent of the oil has been cleaned up. And experts say they may not be able to recover much more. As clean-up crews in hazmat suits scour […]

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Cleaning Up Oil in the Bay

Cleaning Up Oil in the Bay

It has been nine days since a Chinese freighter hit the Bay Bridge spilling 58-thousand gallons of bunker fuel into the Bay. After a massive effort only 25 percent of the oil has been cleaned up. And experts say they may not be able to recover much more. Amy Standen reports.

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KQED extended coverage: SF Bay Oil Spill

KQED extended coverage: SF Bay Oil Spill

Oil boom at Crab Cove. Credit: gwenOil Spill update: get KQED's news reports, interviews, analysis and photos as well as links to more coverage, photos from the community, and ways to help in the cleanup efforts. Includes coverage by QUEST radio reporter Amy Standen, and QUEST Managing Editor Paul Rogers. Go to: KQED | News: […]

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