Park rangers in the Santa Cruz Mountains are protecting a decades-old secret: albino redwood trees. Pale and fragile, these so-called "ghost trees" are deliberately off the beaten track, as Amy Standen found out.
As soldiers continue to return from Iraq and Afghanistan, doctors who treat them find themselves at the forefront of scientific research. That's the case at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Palo Alto, where scientists have made a surprising discovery. Amy Standen reports.
Air pollution may seem like an urban problem, but it's becoming an increasing concern in California's national parks. In Yosemite National Park, researchers are trying to gauge that impact using an unexpected tool: a fungus called lichen. Lauren Sommer has the story.
QUEST Radio looks at a controversial casino project in Richmond that would allow construction of a $1.2 billion resort with 4,000 slot machines. Supporters of Measure U say it will bring jobs and tax revenue to a neglected former industrial site. Opponents say a Vegas-style operation would destroy habitat along the Richmond shore. Also on the ballot: several local measures on urban growth boundaries. Amy Standen and Lauren Sommer report.
Can brain performance be improved? The $300 million-a-year "brain-fitness" industry is betting that the answer to that question is yes. Some companies say that an 80-year old brain can perform just as well as a 25-year old brain after some specialized video game training. What about crossword puzzles and regular old exercise? QUEST takes a look at the growing brain fitness industry and the science behind it.
The general idea is that by doing a series of basic and repetitive tasks, which get harder over time, you’re actually changing your brain structure. Over time, the manufacturers claim, you can train an old brain to behave like a new one. But many scientists who study aging are skeptical.
Post on Oct 15, 2010 by Amy Standen
Detroit has been at the center of the country's auto industry ever since Henry Ford rolled his first Model T off the assembly line in 1908. But as hard times have fallen on America's Rust Belt, there's a new region hoping to give Detroit a run for its money.
Amidst start-up companies and corporate office parks, clean tech entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley are plugging into an emerging electric car industry.
Post on Oct 08, 2010 by Andrea Kissack
Every year buzzwords enter the American lexicon. Like "octo-mom" or "crowdsourcing." Next year "range anxiety" may top the list. It's the fear of being stranded in an electric car because the battery has run out. Andrea Kissack continues to explore the brave new world of electric cars. Today, she goes in search of a charge.
The first mass-produced electric vehicles ever sold in the United States will begin to hit auto show rooms by the end of this year. The Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt already have tens of thousands of pre-orders. Until now, electric cars had been the domain of small groups of tech hobbyists and hard core environmentalists. But how feasible are they for everyday drivers? Take a drive with Andrea Kissack and find out.
Today, most backyard gardeners opt for buying seed packets or seedlings at the garden store. But a handful of Bay Area groups are working to create local seed saving networks, where local gardeners can learn to save seeds and share them.
Post on Sep 17, 2010 by Lauren Sommer