The Science of Sustainability

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Is Anyone Out There?

Is Anyone Out There?

Planet hunters enter a new phase in their search for extra solar planets and alien life.

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The Political Firestorm Inside Your Sofa

The Political Firestorm Inside Your Sofa

To comply with California law, furniture makers treat the foam in cushions with flame-retardant chemicals, up to two pounds of chemicals in an average-sized sofa. Those chemicals can turn up in household dust, blood, and breast milk. But efforts to remove them have been blocked by the chemical industry.

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Changing Foghorns

Changing Foghorns

Lightkeeper Peter Berkhout takes QUEST radio reporter Craig Miller to see a genuine rarity: one of perhaps two or three remaining vintage foghorns anywhere in the U.S. that’s still in working order.

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The Salmon are Back! (But Why?)

The Salmon are Back! (But Why?)

Biologists say more than 800,000 Sacramento Chinook are off the coast right now. It’s the biggest number they've seen since 2005.

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Feds Pay For Out-of-the-Box Energy Ideas

Feds Pay For Out-of-the-Box Energy Ideas

Did you know the federal government has a clean tech venture fund? QUEST talks with the head of the program, ARPA- E, about some potentially transformational energy ideas.

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Tsunami Program Faces Cuts One Year After Disaster

Tsunami Program Faces Cuts One Year After Disaster

Just one year after the disaster in Japan, proposed budget cuts could impact the US tsunami warning program.

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Lone Wolf’s Historic Trek Provokes Questions and Concerns

Lone Wolf’s Historic Trek Provokes Questions and Concerns

OR7, the lone gray wolf from a pack in Oregon, crossed back into his home state yesterday after two months of wandering in Northern California. With OR7’s arrival, California has been thrown into a national debate about how to manage wolves.

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Eavesdropping on the Heart: A Patient’s Campaign for Access

Eavesdropping on the Heart: A Patient’s Campaign for Access

You could call it a sort of Silicon Valley approach to health: Campos has had his genome sequenced; he sleeps with a sleep monitor, and goes nowhere without his pedometer. He wants the same access to the information coming out of his own heart.

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Up All Night on NASA's Flying Telescope

Up All Night on NASA's Flying Telescope

The Obama Administration’s new budget for NASA was released last week, and calls for cuts to many space programs. But one California-based project is likely to get more money. The SOFIA flying observatory, a telescope mounted on an airplane, is considered more nimble and cost-effective than other projects. Reporter Lauren Sommer recently caught a ride as it flew over the Pacific Ocean.

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Building Better Roads with Next Generation Pavement

Building Better Roads with Next Generation Pavement

A third of Bay Area roads are in poor condition and funding is dwindling on the state and federal level. That’s something Congress is discussing in Washington this week. Meanwhile, researchers at two University of California campuses are trying to find ways to stretch those sparse dollars, by making pavement quieter, greener and more durable.

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The Bay Area's National Park Expands South

The Bay Area's National Park Expands South

The addition of Rancho Corral de Tierra is historic, "the largest land acquisition for Golden Gate National Recreation Area pretty much since it began."

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Surgeons Seek Kid-Sized Tools for the Operating Room

Surgeons Seek Kid-Sized Tools for the Operating Room

If you’ve ever spent time in Silicon Valley or among hi-tech entrepreneurs, you may have heard the term “Valley of Death.” It’s used to describe the huge gulf that can exist between coming up with a new idea, and getting a product to market. Well, this is a real problem in hospitals, too. Especially when it comes to kids.

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California Pushes to Get Clean Cars on the Road

California Pushes to Get Clean Cars on the Road

California officials are considering the toughest regulations in the country to promote sales of cars powered by batteries, hydrogen fuel cells or other technology that produces little or no air pollution. These kind of tough mandates have been tried before but they failed. So is this finally the right time for the clean car?

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Six Bay Area Cities Play the Waiting Game

Six Bay Area Cities Play the Waiting Game

This month may be the moment of truth for six Bay Area communities. Each one is vying to be the new home of a high-profile national research center. But when it comes to development in the Bay Area, there are no easy answers.

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A Census for the Birds

A Census for the Birds

Grab your binoculars and checklist! The annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count is under way. During the last two weeks of the year, from dawn to dusk volunteers spread out over 22,000 count areas, including Peru, Haiti, the U.S. and Canada. Their tally is used by scientists to understand changes in bird populations.

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Climate Change Throws a Wrench in Water and Weather Forecasts

Climate Change Throws a Wrench in Water and Weather Forecasts

2011 has been a record-breaking year for extreme weather events. Both the government and insurance companies try to plan for these events by predicting the risk. But as Lauren Sommer reports, climate change is making that tougher.

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Top KQED QUEST Stories of 2011

Top KQED QUEST Stories of 2011

From hackerspaces to banana slugs, flying telescopes to cheese – it's been a quite a diverse year of storytelling here at QUEST. Here's a round-up of the top 10 video and audio stories and blog posts that you've enjoyed from the past year.

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Biofuels Face a Reality Check

Biofuels Face a Reality Check

Despite the buzz around biofuels, the industry been slow to scale up. But Bay Area researchers are making breakthroughs that could move us one step closer to having our cars run on fuels from plants.

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Can PTSD Nightmares Be Cured?

Can PTSD Nightmares Be Cured?

The hallmark of a healthy dream is its weirdness. PTSD dreams, in contrast, are like a broken record, the same, real-life event, played over and over again, in some patients, for decades.

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Porpoises Return to San Francisco Bay

Porpoises Return to San Francisco Bay

Harbor porpoises haven’t been seen in San Francisco Bay for more than 60 years. Now, they’re returning in growing numbers and researchers are working to understand why.

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