The Science of Sustainability

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MAKE it at Home: Table-Top Biosphere

MAKE it at Home: Table-Top Biosphere

QUEST teams up with Make Magazine to construct the latest must have, do-it-yourself device hacks, whiz-bang gizmos and techno do-dads.

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Alzheimer's: Is the Cure in the Genes?

Alzheimer's: Is the Cure in the Genes?

By 2050, as our population ages, 15 million Americans will suffer from Alzheimer's disease– triple today's number. Researchers at San Francisco's Gladstone Institutes have found that a gene may hold the key to a cure.

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Biofuels: Beyond Ethanol

Biofuels: Beyond Ethanol

For years there's been buzz — both positive and negative — about generating ethanol fuel from corn. But thanks to recent developments, the Bay Area is rapidly becoming a world center for the next generation of green fuel alternatives. Meet the scientists investigating the newest methods for converting what we grow into what makes us go.

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Cool Critters: Sharks of the Bay

Cool Critters: Sharks of the Bay

Do sharks live in San Francisco Bay? QUEST heads out on a shark-tagging expedition to unlock the secrets of some of the bay's biggest and least known predators.

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QUEST Lab: Aerogel

QUEST Lab: Aerogel

It looks like frozen smoke. And it's the lightest solid material on the planet. Aerogel insulates space suits, makes tennis rackets stronger and could be used one day to clean up oil spills.

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Interview with Astronomer Jill Tarter,  Part I (web only)

Interview with Astronomer Jill Tarter, Part I (web only)

Web Extra: Part I of our complete November 2007 interview with astronomer Dr. Jill Tarter of SETI Institute on site at the Allen Telescope Array in Hat Creek, CA.

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Interview with Astronomer Jill Tarter, Part II (web only)

Interview with Astronomer Jill Tarter, Part II (web only)

Web Extra: Part II of our complete November 2007 interview with astronomer Dr. Jill Tarter of SETI Institute on site at the Allen Telescope Array in Hat Creek, CA.

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SETI: The New Search for ET

SETI: The New Search for ET

Is anyone out there? For over 40 years scientists have been searching for extraterrestrial intelligence, but they've found nothing. Now the new Allen Telescope Array, a string of 350 radio telescopes, is being built 300 miles north of San Francisco and is breathing new life into the search.

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The Fierce Humboldt Squid

The Fierce Humboldt Squid

A mysterious sea creature up to 7 feet long, with 10 arms, a sharp beak and a ravenous appetite, has invaded ocean waters off Northern California. Marine biologists are working to discover why they have headed up from South America.

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Second Life: Big Avatar on Campus

Second Life: Big Avatar on Campus

It's a virtual world, but the transactions are real. Go inside Second Life, an online game where millions of people are creating digital personalities called avatars and are living virtual lives– meeting other avatars, going to events, and even buying property with real money.

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Do-it-Yourself Science: The Maker Faire

Do-it-Yourself Science: The Maker Faire

It's been called "Burning Man for science geeks." The annual Maker Faire attracts thousands of amateur inventors and scientists, displaying their home-made prototypes and gadget hacks. In a world where the technological race is speeding up, the Maker movement has revealed that the do-it-yourself culture is in no danger of dying out.

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Into the Inferno: The Science of Fire

Into the Inferno: The Science of Fire

In dry years, fires in California cost billions of dollars and often result in lost lives. As fire crews rest from a rough year and prepare for this one, QUEST looks at how the history of forest management could be feeding today's flames.

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Sea 3-D: Charting the Ocean Floor

Sea 3-D: Charting the Ocean Floor

Using sound and laser technology, researchers have begun to reveal the secrets of the ocean floor from the Sonoma Coast to Monterey Bay. By creating complex 3-D maps, they're hoping to learn more about waves and achieve ambitious conservation goals.

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Watching the Brain at Work: MRIs and Beyond

Watching the Brain at Work: MRIs and Beyond

The human brain was once a black box, but scientists are finding ways to peer inside and explore some of our most complicated thought processes. Using MRI scanners in innovative ways, Stanford scientists are learning how children's brains process words when they read.

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From Salt Ponds to Wetlands

From Salt Ponds to Wetlands

For more than 100 years, south San Francisco Bay has been a center for industrial salt production. Now federal and state biologists are working on a 40-year, $1 billion project to restore the ponds to healthy wetlands for fish, wildlife and public recreation.

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Your Photos on QUEST – Russ Morris

Your Photos on QUEST – Russ Morris

QUEST launches a new photography feature about viewers like you who love documenting science, environment and nature imagery here in the Bay Area. This week, meet Russ Morris, who takes pictures using 2 cameras at once– one old, one new– to create unique images.

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Earthquakes: Breaking New Ground

Earthquakes: Breaking New Ground

Can earthquakes be predicted? Northern California researchers are now identifying the slow-moving clues that may foreshadow violent quakes. Their work may provide even a few seconds of warning to open elevator doors, slow down trains or alert firefighters.

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Eat Less, Live Longer?

Eat Less, Live Longer?

Have we found the fountain of youth? Scientists are discovering ways to make animals live dramatically longer through calorie restriction — a diet that requires eating at least 30 percent fewer calories than normal. QUEST investigates why we age and what the societal costs are for living well beyond 100.

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Urban Forest 2.0

Urban Forest 2.0

The urban forest is going digital. Thanks to volunteers with laptops and handheld devices, San Francisco is creating an online map of every street tree in the city, getting a leg up on keeping the urban landscape healthy and growing.

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The Reverse Evolution Machine

The Reverse Evolution Machine

In search of the common ancestor of all mammals, UC Santa Cruz scientist David Haussler is pulling a complete reversal. Instead of studying fossils, he's comparing the genomes of living mammals to construct a map of our common ancestors' DNA. His technique holds promise for providing a better picture of how life evolved.

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