The Science of Sustainability

Tag: QUEST

Squid Skin: Why Pigment (But Not Glitter) Will Dance to the Beat

Squid Skin: Why Pigment (But Not Glitter) Will Dance to the Beat

Squid and their relatives–a group of animals known as cephalopods–have the world's best skin. And it's not because they moisturize, lack pimples, or tan without ever burning. It's because their skin is a canvas of endless possibilities.

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Collaborative Creativity in the Digital World

Collaborative Creativity in the Digital World

When you think of digital art, Photoshop or a Wacom tablet may come to mind. And yes, drawing on a screen instead of a pad of paper is certainly one kind of digital art. But digital art can also happen on an entirely different level: art can be made with lines of code.

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NASA's Roving Robotic Chemist Will Collect Clues For Life on Mars

NASA's Roving Robotic Chemist Will Collect Clues For Life on Mars

Scientists are looking for elements and molecules that signify life as we know it. But even if they don’t find those molecules, minerals contain important information about the Martian environment. That could help scientists determine if life could have survived on the planet.

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The Reverential and the Precious: Human Anatomy as Art

The Reverential and the Precious: Human Anatomy as Art

It may take an unusual muse to be deeply inspired by the body's insides. Artist Sara Nilsson possesses just such a muse–as well as the skill to create breathtakingly beautiful, anatomically accurate cross-sections of the human body with quilled paper.

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Fracking Gives Hydrogen Fuel Cells New Life

Fracking Gives Hydrogen Fuel Cells New Life

In 2009, U.S. Secretary of the Department of Energy Steven Chu dismissed zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as an impractical alternative to electric cars. Now an abundant supply of natural gas, from which hydrogen can be extracted, is changing Chu's mind, but that natural gas comes from the controversial hydraulic fracturing process.

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Stunning Solar Visualizations: The Sun's Van Gogh-like Artistry

Stunning Solar Visualizations: The Sun's Van Gogh-like Artistry

While nearly all eyes are focused on Mars, two astophysicists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center have been quietly staring at the sun instead.

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Prescription Drug Disposal: Who Should Foot the Bill?

Prescription Drug Disposal: Who Should Foot the Bill?

A new ordinance in Alameda County requires the pharmaceutical industry to pay for disposal of extra medicine. The regulation is part of a larger movement to shift responsibility for waste disposal from local governments to companies that make products like paint, medicine and batteries.

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Avatars and the Mirrorbox: Can Humans Hack Empathy?

Avatars and the Mirrorbox: Can Humans Hack Empathy?

Virtual avatars are one thing. But what about real bodies? Would identifying with another person's body make you behave more like that person? If the body belongs to a different gender, age, or ethnicity than yours, would you become more empathic to others in that group?

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Illustrating Science: Int'l Science and Engineering Fair Student Projects Beautifully Visualized

Illustrating Science: Int'l Science and Engineering Fair Student Projects Beautifully Visualized

ISEF student projects can be just as esoteric as Nobel laureates' research. But this year, those of ISEF's student scientists lucky enough to be paired with professional artists will see their research translated into compelling and accessible posters for the public.

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Smelly Rocks: Researchers Reveal The Source of "Stinkspar" Stench

Smelly Rocks: Researchers Reveal The Source of "Stinkspar" Stench

The source of the stench in crushed “stinkspar” is a 200-year old mystery. Solving this puzzle took a mixture of old-fashioned chemical analysis and modern instruments.

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The Bay Area Thanks Buckminster Fuller for Geodesic Domes

The Bay Area Thanks Buckminster Fuller for Geodesic Domes

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is showing, for just a few more short days, an exhibit called "The Utopian Impulse: Buckminster Fuller and the Bay Area." Fuller never actually lived in the Bay Area, but the exhibit's designers seem to think he would have liked it.

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Oriental Ink Painting with a Computer Instead of a Brush

Oriental Ink Painting with a Computer Instead of a Brush

Traditional occidental painting techniques like watercolor or oil build an image from many layered brush strokes. You don't usually notice the individual strokes unless you stand very close. But in traditional oriental ink painting, called sumi-e, the brush strokes are the painting.

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How Do Fireworks Work?

How Do Fireworks Work?

From colors to crackles, fireworks are all about chemistry.

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Science on the SPOT: Up all Night with SOFIA, NASA's Flying Observatory

Science on the SPOT: Up all Night with SOFIA, NASA's Flying Observatory

SOFIA is more than a telescope tucked into a re-purposed commercial airliner. It's a complete flying astronomical observation platform which carries a dozen or more astronomers, observers and crew far above the clouds to observe objects and phenomena too cold to be seen in visible light.

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"I Flamed Amazement": The Physics of St. Elmo's Fire

"I Flamed Amazement": The Physics of St. Elmo's Fire

Ariel personified St. Elmo's Fire, the glow that can appear around ship masts and chimneys during a thunderstorm. Lacking a scientific explanation for the light, people in Shakespeare's time attributed it to the patron saint of sailors. Four hundred years later, we still don't completely understand how storms create such magnificent atmospheric phenomena.

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Shining a New Light on the Chemistry of Art Conservation

Shining a New Light on the Chemistry of Art Conservation

Conserving delicate artwork requires knowing what paints and techniques were used to create a piece. A new imaging technique helps restorers look at the pigments in frescos even while visitors are enjoying the works in a gallery.

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How I Learned to Love Olives and Hate Their Pests

How I Learned to Love Olives and Hate Their Pests

I've always hated olives. I'd pick them off pizzas and out of salads. But in the last few weeks, I've actually started eating them on purpose. It could be because I'm pregnant, a condition which has me craving salt—and few foods are saltier than a nice olive.

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KQED Science Fan Spotlight

KQED Science Fan Spotlight

We'd like to share your stories about why you're passionate about science.

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When Scientists Were Artists: The Royal Society's Picture Library Goes Digital

When Scientists Were Artists: The Royal Society's Picture Library Goes Digital

A hammerhead shark's baleful stare. A longnose batfish's fierce armor and delicate fins. These masterpieces of expression and scientific detail fill the pages of the world's first ichthyology book, De Historia Piscium, published in 1686 by the Royal Society.

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The Fungus Among Us Could Help Clean Oily Soil

The Fungus Among Us Could Help Clean Oily Soil

There’s more to fungi than just mushrooms. Buried in the soil live large fiber networks of fungi. And these fibrous microbes might be able to help clean up polluted soil.

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