The Science of Sustainability

Tag: QUEST

Efficient, Healthy, Sustainable, and Affordable?

Efficient, Healthy, Sustainable, and Affordable?

Photo: John WoodwardThere were many rude awakenings in my transition from the priesthood and life in a religious community (I was a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross, a community of priests, brothers, and sisters founded as a teaching order in France in the mid-18th Century). Religious priests, unlike diocesan priests, take a vow […]

Continue Reading

Falcon Fascination

Falcon Fascination

Photo Credit: Glenn Nevill PhotographyOne of the season's most suspenseful wildlife dramas is now taking place via web cam. Peregrine falcons were almost extinct two generations ago. Now much more prolific, two pairs of Peregrine falcons are carrying out their mating season under the gaze of thousands of observers, both online, thanks to cameras placed […]

Continue Reading

Painting the Town Green

Painting the Town Green

2nd graders at STRAW's Watershed Education Summit use a handmade model to demonstrate how wetlands help filter pollutants from runoffDuring the past couple weeks, I managed to get out from behind my desk to attend two fabulous events. Flanking Earth Day on each side, the events showcased the broad and compelling spectrum of work that […]

Continue Reading

Curing diabetes with stem cells

Curing diabetes with stem cells

Quite a title huh? But some new research in JAMA suggests that it is true. At least these 14 patients haven't had to inject insulin for 1-35 months (so far). These folks were all on their way to having Type 1 diabetes. As you probably know, Type 1 diabetes happens when a patient’s immune system […]

Continue Reading

Video Games– Access for All

Video Games– Access for All

Can someone who's quadriplegic or hearing impaired play a video game? QUEST TV takes you to the international Game Developers Conference celebrated recently in San Francisco, where a group of gamers used colorful tactics to convince mainstream developers to make video games that are accessible for everyone. You may watch the Video Games– Access for […]

Continue Reading

Underwater Flight with Graham Hawkes

Underwater Flight with Graham Hawkes

Graham Hawkes, an internationally renowned ocean engineer/inventor, has been responsible for the design of many of the manned and remote underwater vehicles in use today. Mr. Hawkes currently holds the world record for the deepest solo dive, which he achieved while test piloting his Deep Rover submersible. Now he’s taking that expertise and building new […]

Continue Reading

LIDAR: Lasers Nab Leadfoots

LIDAR: Lasers Nab Leadfoots

LIDAR (Light-Imaging Detection and Ranging) is the new generation replacement for the older Radar systems that police have been using to catch speeders. LIDAR uses an IR Pulsed Laser Diode to measure speed, distance and direction. By using beam width of less than one-degree, it’s significantly more accurate than the older radar systems. As the […]

Continue Reading

Of Arctic sea cows and Russian fur-traders

Of Arctic sea cows and Russian fur-traders

Drawing of a Steller's Sea Cow circa mid 18th centuryWhen we think about kelp forests, we envision froclicking sea otters, kelp fronds, sea urchins and a suite of other nearshore marine organisms. And, until a few hundred years ago, a 30 foot-long dugong. This isn't a joke: Steller's sea cow (Hydrodamalis gigas) was a North […]

Continue Reading

Hinode means sunrise

Hinode means sunrise

A typical, Earth-sized sunspot as seen by Hinode. Credit: Hinode, National Astronomical Observtory of Japan (NAOJ)A new day has dawned– so to speak… Last September, the Japanese space agency, JAXA, launched a new solar observatory satellite, originally designated as "Solar-B." Upon its successful launch, the spacecraft was bestowed its nickname, Hinode (pronounced “heh NO day”), […]

Continue Reading

Relaxing the rules on toxic reporting

Relaxing the rules on toxic reporting

For the past two decades, U.S. factories that put toxic chemicals into the air and water had to report them, in detail, to the federal government and the public. The Bush Administration recently lowered those requirements by rewriting Environmental Protection Agency rules. That means, in California alone, as much as 6-hundred thousand pounds of toxic […]

Continue Reading

Can I keep him?

Can I keep him?

American Robin fledglingFor five years, I was the ZooCamp (www.oaklandzoo.org) director at the Oakland Zoo, a fantastic camp serving preschool to high school and offering campers a week of nature activities, animal observations, hands-on learning and fun. Along with our strategically planned activities always came those unplanned teaching moments that only nature can offer. Like […]

Continue Reading

Nobel Laureate George Smoot and the origin of the Universe

Nobel Laureate George Smoot and the origin of the Universe

QUEST TV talks with George Smoot, big bang researcher at UC Berkeley and winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics. You may watch the George Smoot TV story online. Sudden Oak Death and Science of Big Waves (episode #108), which also features this short story, airs tonight on QUEST at 7:30pm on KQED 9, […]

Continue Reading

Plant Plague: Sudden Oak Death

Plant Plague: Sudden Oak Death

Devastating over 1 million oak trees across Northern California in the past 10 years, Sudden Oak Death is a killer with no cure. But biologists now are looking to the trees' genetics for a solution. You may also watch this story online in its entirety, and see additional photos in our flickr photo set. Sudden […]

Continue Reading

Science of Big Waves

Science of Big Waves

A monster lurks just off the coast of Northern California. Known as "Maverick's," this surf break north of Half Moon Bay generates some of the biggest waves in the world, and draws the big wave surfers that live for them. But what makes these waves so big? QUEST talks with scientists who are getting to […]

Continue Reading

Why does it … matter? Part II

Why does it … matter? Part II

Half hour exposure of star trails above the Keck Telescopes taken by yours trulyThe dark matter that I discussed in my last post is quite bizarre, but makes up only a small fraction of the universe. The dominant material in the universe actually appears to be some kind of "dark energy". Since no one has […]

Continue Reading

Energy efficiency: get your ducts in a row

Energy efficiency: get your ducts in a row

Getting ready for the summer? Want to be more comfortable and save some money? Then pay attention. A good percentage (up to 30% by some estimates) of energy for heating and cooling homes is lost through leaky ducts. The California Energy Commission rightly figures that connecting a high efficiency furnace to leaky ducts is like […]

Continue Reading

Discuss the "Earth Day Special: The History of Environmental Justice" radio report

Discuss the "Earth Day Special: The History of Environmental Justice" radio report

Thirty-seven years after the first Earth Day, studies are still finding that people of color and low-income families have higher rates of exposure to hazardous waste sites and industrial polluters than the general population. A debate continues over why that is and just what to do about it. QUEST radio takes a look at the […]

Continue Reading

The Diablo is in the details

The Diablo is in the details

Students play in caves at rock city. Photo by Jason StalterMount Diablo is a monstrous conniption fit of a geological formation that erupted into Northern California’s landscape 165 million years ago. It juts out of nowhere in the gentle rolling curves of a line of hills that runs from San Jose up to Martinez. At […]

Continue Reading

The Once and Future Bay

The Once and Future Bay

The spot where I am sitting used to be Bay. And yet these days– even from my second story office window at the old Hamilton Army Airfield– you can’t see water. In fact, you’d have to walk past a couple blocks of houses, climb a levee, cross acres of abandoned and weed-studded runways, and scramble […]

Continue Reading

Seeing red

Seeing red

Did you know most mammals are red-green colorblind? Part of what makes primates special is that most of us can tell the difference between red and green. In humans this difference is due to a single gene, the long wave cone photopigment gene. But is this gene enough? Or are there other changes in our […]

Continue Reading