The Science of Sustainability

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Web Extra: Nudging with Nukes

Web Extra: Nudging with Nukes

Most scientists agree that using nuclear explosives to deflect an incoming asteroid is a bad idea. But Astrophysicist David Dearborn from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has been heating up the debate with his theories about how nuclear explosives could be used effectively to nudge an asteroid into a new orbit that causes it to miss the Earth entirely.

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QUEST Lab: Five-Cent Battery

QUEST Lab: Five-Cent Battery

How much electrical power will a nickel buy you? This week the Exploratorium shows us how to make an LED flashlight battery for only five cents.

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Asteroid Hunters

Asteroid Hunters

Everyone knows that eight planets orbit the Sun. But thousands of other objects, including icy comets and football field-sized asteroids, are also zooming around our solar system. And some of them could be on a collision course with Earth. QUEST explores how these Near Earth Objects are being tracked and what scientists are saying should be done to prevent a deadly impact.

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Web Extra: Citizen Science – Mud Snails

Web Extra: Citizen Science – Mud Snails

They spend hours in the mud in search of a tiny snail. Meet the volunteers working with the Bay Institute to eradicate an invasive Japanese mud snail on the shores of San Francisco Bay.

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Web Extra: Medicine from the Ocean Floor Slideshow

Web Extra: Medicine from the Ocean Floor Slideshow

Scientists at UC Santa Cruz are using robots to sort through thousands of marine chemicals in search of cures for diseases like cholera, breast cancer, and malaria. Check out images from this story.

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Animal Chefs

Animal Chefs

Ever wonder how to make krill shakes, squid tacos or fishy sausages to tempt the taste buds of a 400-pound mola mola? The chefs at the Monterey Bay Aquarium prepare such meals daily to feed thousands of species, from otters to octopi to sharks. Find out what it takes to come up with nutritious and tasty meals for diners with wild appetites.

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Your Photos on QUEST: Laura Watt

Your Photos on QUEST: Laura Watt

Photographer Laura Watt has lived in the Bay Area for most of her life but it was not until she started sailing in San Francisco Bay at age 35 that she began to appreciate the patterns, textures and colors of the precious water that surrounds us all. Self-described as "trawler trash," she lives aboard her boat in San Rafael's Loch Lomand Marina, granting her a front row seat to the dynamic body of water that she captures so well in her moody, intimate images.

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Zeppelins Resurrected

Zeppelins Resurrected

In 1935, the USS Macon went down in 1000 feet of water off the coast of Monterey, California. Now, as scientists study the recently-discovered wreckage, dirigibles are returning to the Bay Area. But these aren't the same dirigibles – these are new and improved.

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Tracking Carbon through Your Cell Phone

Tracking Carbon through Your Cell Phone

A group of high school students in San Francisco are using high-tech GPS cell phones to track their daily carbon footprint – and to gauge their daily environmental risk. The GPS tracks the students' trips and shows them how much carbon they use and are exposed to each week. As cell phones become more powerful, organizers hope to spread this movement virally.

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Exploring the Natural Bridges State Beach Tidepools

Exploring the Natural Bridges State Beach Tidepools

The intertidal rocks at Natural Bridges State Beach are covered in life: sea stars, seaweeds, urchins, and crabs are just some of the area's intertidal inhabitants. Visit them in their tidepool homes down in Santa Cruz, California.

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Playing with Lead – Artifical Turf

Playing with Lead – Artifical Turf

Even in small amounts, lead can be poisonous. The California Attorney General's office is suing several manufacturers of artificial turf after lead was found in the pigment used to color it. Lead is especially harmful to children and that could be bad news around the state for anyone who has installed turf in playgrounds, soccer fields, child care centers and homes.

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Web Extra: Sights and Sounds of the Natural Bridges SB Tidepools

Web Extra: Sights and Sounds of the Natural Bridges SB Tidepools

The intertidal rocks at Natural Bridges State Beach are covered in life: sea stars, seaweeds, urchins, and crabs are just some of the area's intertidal inhabitants. Visit them in their tidepool homes down in Santa Cruz, California.

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Redesigning the Bay

Redesigning the Bay

The predictions for climate change all warn that San Francisco Bay waters will rise. The latest estimate is the bay will be about 5 feet higher by the end of this century, and 16 inches higher by 2050. If the water rises high enough, a lot of expensive Bay-front property could be inundated. What can we do about it? And how do we plan for that? That's the subject of an innovative design contest that launches this week.

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Mass Transit Housing Plan

Mass Transit Housing Plan

A single-family home with a yard and two-car garage may be the American dream for many Californians. But with real estate at a premium and traffic congestion getting worse, there is a new urban way of living that is becoming increasingly popular. Quest reports on the rise of the transit village and just why the trend has taken so long.

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Chasing Beetles, Finding Darwin

Chasing Beetles, Finding Darwin

It's been 150 years since Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species. Yet his ideas remain as central to scientific exploration as ever. QUEST follows entomologist David Kavanaugh, who predicted that a new beetle species would be found on the Trinity Alps. Find out if his prediction came true…

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Investigating Darwin's Legacy

Investigating Darwin's Legacy

This year marks Charles Darwin's 200th birthday. One of the iconic fossils that supports Darwin's theory of evolution is called the Archaeopteryx and it was recently flown out to Stanford University for an unusual test. Scientists are bombarding this dino-bird with high-tech gadgetry to unlock even more information about how we came to be here.

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Putting a Price on Nature

Putting a Price on Nature

As the economy struggles, a lot of people are thinking about prices these days. That's the focus of a new project at Stanford University, too, but their aim is to put a value on something that's never had a price tag – nature.

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Birds vs. Planes

Birds vs. Planes

Following the recent crash landing of a U.S. Airways jet into the Hudson River, QUEST takes a look at local efforts to avoid collisions between planes and birds. Every year pilots in the U.S. report more than 7,000 bird strikes. The Sacramento International Airport has one of the highest incidences of bird strikes in the nation, thanks to its location next to the Pacific Flyway.

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New Life for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

New Life for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Soon after Barack Obama is sworn in as President next week, he is expected to reverse the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. The resulting boom in this cutting-edge medical technology will benefit California's research institutes in a big way.

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Last Minute Rules

Last Minute Rules

The Bush Administration has recently passed dozens of so-called "midnight regulations" – last-minute rules and amendments. Many of those new laws affect the environment, including a change to the Endangered Species Act that has California environmentalists deeply worried.

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