The Science of Sustainability

KQED serves the people of Northern California with a public-supported alternative to commercial media. Home to the most listened-to public radio station in the nation, one of the highest-rated public television services and an award-winning education program, and as a leader and innovator in interactive technology, KQED takes people of all ages on journeys of exploration — exposing them to new people, places and ideas.

Flame Retardants, Redux: From Toxic Couches to Buildings

Flame Retardants, Redux: From Toxic Couches to Buildings

Last June, Gov. Jerry Brown directed state agencies to change California's flammability standard to ensure fire safety without dousing furniture and other foam products with toxic chemicals. Now activists are focusing on an even bigger market for flame retardants: foam insulation in buildings.

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A Thanksgiving Ode to Dungeness Crab and the Bay

A Thanksgiving Ode to Dungeness Crab and the Bay

Discover the connection between delicious Dungeness crabs and the San Francisco Bay.

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Science on the SPOT: Shadows and Spiders– A Secret Cave in California

Science on the SPOT: Shadows and Spiders– A Secret Cave in California

The rural foothills along the Santa Cruz County Coast hold an ancient secret. Deep below the redwoods, White Moon Cave extends for nearly a mile — making it one of the longest caves in California. But few people have ever been in it. Join the KQED Science team as we squeeze through the narrow clandestine entrance, and meet the uncanny cave inhabitants to bring new light to this hidden realm.

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Turkey Trouble: Genetics Gone Too Far?

Turkey Trouble: Genetics Gone Too Far?

No, this isn’t a blog about genetically modified organisms — that has been argued enough lately! Instead, in honor of Thanksgiving, I want to talk about regular old selective breeding and the monsters it can create.

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The Leonids Are Back!

The Leonids Are Back!

The Leonids are back: the annual meteor shower of November that offers us the chance to see a bit of very ancient history disintegrate in a fiery second.

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Geological Outings Around the Bay: Los Trancos Open Space

Geological Outings Around the Bay: Los Trancos Open Space

Lidar mapping unveils one of the Bay Area's best places to visit the San Andreas fault.

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Trophy Hunting: For the Love of Blood and Money

Trophy Hunting: For the Love of Blood and Money

Trophy hunters routinely pay thousands of dollars for the chance to kill big game like caribou, moose, black bear and especially grizzly bear. Trophy hunting narratives boast a love of nature. But some sociologists find a different story.

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Nothing "Fishy" About Sustainable Seafood

Nothing "Fishy" About Sustainable Seafood

Learn about what we can do to take care of our oceans, both for the fish and ourselves.

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Earthquake Landslides: A Widespread Hazard

Earthquake Landslides: A Widespread Hazard

Earthquakes will always produce landslides, but new knowledge will help us deal with them better.

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Tracing the Origins of the Durian’s Stench

Tracing the Origins of the Durian’s Stench

Researchers in Germany have identified compounds in durian that might be responsible for its unique smell.

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New Clues to Our Ancestors' Mobility

New Clues to Our Ancestors' Mobility

Australopithecus afarensis (the species of the well-known “Lucy” skeleton) was an upright walking species, but the question of whether it also spent much of its time in trees has been hotly debated for 30+ years, partly because a complete set of A. afarensis shoulder blades has never before been available for study.

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Ten Random Astro-Facts to Entertain and Boggle

Ten Random Astro-Facts to Entertain and Boggle

I decided that instead of blogging on just one topic in astronomy, I'd blog about ten of them!

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Watching the Atmospheric Rivers Flow

Watching the Atmospheric Rivers Flow

Researchers are gearing up to monitor the flood-causing weather monsters known as atmospheric rivers.

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Frankenstein vs. Godzilla:  What’s in Your Cereal Bowl?

Frankenstein vs. Godzilla: What’s in Your Cereal Bowl?

In all of the recent discussion about genetically modified (GM) foods here in California, we’ve overlooked regular foods and how new traits are found (or created) in them. There isn’t usually a monk lovingly breeding peas in the Austrian countryside somewhere. Instead, more often than not, there is someone blasting a seed with radiation and/or harmful chemicals.

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Playing Whack-a-Mole with Flame Retardants

Playing Whack-a-Mole with Flame Retardants

Countless consumer products sold in California contain a flame retardant flagged as a possible carcinogen nearly 35 years ago. As of this week, finally, they must carry a warning that the chemical causes cancer. But is it enough when manufacturers simply replace one toxic chemical with another?

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Creepy Yet Compelling: Blood Vessels Blown in Glass

Creepy Yet Compelling: Blood Vessels Blown in Glass

Halloween means time for gore! Blood, bones, brains and more! Severed fingers, severed toes, eyeballs and organs galore! But how accurate are all these loose bits of human anatomy in our front yards, costumes and punch bowls? Can we use that skeleton in the corner to bone up for a biology exam–or are we missing out on a tremendous opportunity to learn medical science?

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Science Behind Vampire Myths

Science Behind Vampire Myths

Why have people around the world always been fascinated by vampires? Did vampire tales begin as a way to explain frightening phenomena actually witnessed? Although there is no scientific evidence for vampires, there is some scientific basis for vampire folklore.

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Owls Around Us

Owls Around Us

Many species of owls share our neighborhoods and parks. Learn more about them on a virtual walk through Redwood Regional Park.

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More Clues About Singing Sand

More Clues About Singing Sand

New research shows that sand can sing by itself, but if so, then why are singing sand dunes so rare?

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Women in Science: Meet a Mathematician, a Physicist and a Geologist Through Art

Women in Science: Meet a Mathematician, a Physicist and a Geologist Through Art

There's nothing like role models for inspiring the scientific spirits of women, today and tomorrow! And Marie Curie isn't the only one out there–history is rife with lesser-known but no less fabulous female scientists, engineers, and mathematicians.

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