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An Ode to Enrico Fermi

An Ode to Enrico Fermi

The concept of the "Fermi Problem"–a hard question made readily accessible by back-of-the-envelope calculations and familiar knowledge–is still powerful in physics and beyond. Science teachers routinely use these types of questions as brain teasers.

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Being Green on the Way to Work

Being Green on the Way to Work

On Thursday, May 14th, expect a jump in the number of bikes on the road in San Francisco. The reason for the inflation? Bike to Work Day.

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Fearing 1918

Fearing 1918

A lot of people have been commenting about the apparent overreaction of governments to the swine flu. Why go to such extreme measures to deal with simple influenza? The reason has to do with the flu pandemic of 1918-1919.

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Shooting the Moon

Shooting the Moon

Launching a spacecraft bound for the Moon with the deliberate intention of striking the Moon in a spectacular impact! Sounds like something out of a Jules Verne novel…

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Go Go Geo! USGS Open House, May 16 and 17

Go Go Geo! USGS Open House, May 16 and 17

Have you hugged your local geoscientist lately? Science events blogger Kishore Hari gives you his top picks for the 9th Triennial Open House at the USGS, 10 am – 4 PM on May 16th and 17th.

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What's the Scoop on Kitty Poop?

What's the Scoop on Kitty Poop?

I am a cat owner who cares about the environment. What to do about their poop presents quite a conundrum.

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Turning Lemons Into Energy Efficient Homes

Turning Lemons Into Energy Efficient Homes

While new housing is stalled in the United States, there is lots of funding-in the billions of dollars-on the way for weatherization, residential energy efficiency, and renewable energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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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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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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Designer Babies

Designer Babies

A storm of protest broke out a month or so ago when a fertility clinic in Los Angeles announced it would start helping women choose what their babies might look like. The ruckus was loud enough that the clinic has since backed off on this service.

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Producer's Notes: World's Most Powerful Microscope

Producer's Notes: World's Most Powerful Microscope

Today QUEST takes you behind the scenes to see the most powerful microscope in the world, which happens to be in our very own backyard in Berkeley.

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Producer's Notes: Animal Chefs

Producer's Notes: Animal Chefs

Few images will stay as indelibly with me as the sight of a 500 pound grizzly bear devouring a horse bone while standing waist high in water.

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Why Human Cloning Shouldn't be a Big Worry

Why Human Cloning Shouldn't be a Big Worry

President Obama lifted the ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research last Monday. Many researchers breathed a sigh of relief as they could finally get to work using these cells to find treatments and even cures for many debilitating diseases and injuries.

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First Star I See… In My Life!

First Star I See… In My Life!

What's that up in the sky? A… uh… an… uh…. Golly, never seen that before…

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