The Science of Sustainability

Tag: QUEST

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”), […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Fly By Night, SOFIA

Fly By Night, SOFIA

Artwork of SOFIA with backdrop of astronomical objects; Credit: NASA/USRA.Soon, the nighttime Bay Area skies may be graced with a new astronomical wonder– and I'm not talking about a celestial object or event. I'm talking about something that’s a bit of a cross between an astronomical observatory, a stealth aircraft, and a NASA spacecraft… I’m […]

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Discuss the "Ask a Scientist: Science Cafés" radio report

Discuss the "Ask a Scientist: Science Cafés" radio report

The Bay Area has long been known for its intellectual and cultural scene. Beat poets, musicians and visual artists have all visited the city's bars and coffee houses. Now, Scientists are stepping out of the lab and into cafes where enthusiastic crowds sip on a beer or cappuccino and listen to lectures on black holes, […]

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Bay Area herpetology: salamanders, part 2

Bay Area herpetology: salamanders, part 2

Last post, I introduced one of the classic examples of a ring species: the distribution of Ensatina species in California. Basically, Ensatina species are distributed in a great ring all around the Central Valley, with some species extending along the coastal ranges both north and south, and with other species distributed in the Sierra Nevadas. […]

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Earth Day Special: Where We've Been, Where We're Headed

Earth Day Special: Where We've Been, Where We're Headed

Who are your SF Bay environmental heroes? Let us know in your comments below. Deadly smog, piles of burning garbage, no recycling – on the first Earth Day in 1970, the Bay Area looked vastly different than it does today. But much of the progress since then is thanks to a small, but dedicated group […]

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Why does it … matter?

Why does it … matter?

A work for SFMOMA?Standing on Earth and looking out into space, it’s easy to assume that you have it figured out. There are stars, gases, metals– all 'normal matter' that we can see, made up of electrons and protons. From this vantage point, there is no reason to believe that there is anything else out […]

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Cold Water Works

Cold Water Works

Many people, especially those with college-bound children, look forward to the annual issue of U.S. News and World Report that lists the top universities and colleges in the nation. Business-minded people eagerly await the latest issue of Fortune magazine, and the more literary among us look forward to reading the latest fiction in The New […]

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Discuss the "Drive by Extinction" Radio report

Discuss the "Drive by Extinction" Radio report

The Checkerspot Butterfly was once a vibrant part of spring in San Mateo County, but today's it's hard to spot a single one. Exhaust fumes from Highway 280 have contributed to the decline of this tiny butterfly, making it a victim of what is called "drive-by extinction." QUEST follows a biologist in Edgewood Park and […]

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Little Fish, Big Crisis

Little Fish, Big Crisis

Delta Smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus) – photo credit: US Fish & Wildlife ServiceThe little delta smelt is back in the headlines. An Alameda County judge has ruled that giant pumps operated by the Department of Water Resources are illegally killing delta smelt and Chinook salmon, two species protected under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). He […]

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