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Science on the SPOT: Skulls at the Cal Academy

Science on the SPOT: Skulls at the Cal Academy

In our second episode of Science on the SPOT, join us on a behind-the-scenes trip deep into the massive collection of marine mammal skulls at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. You'd be surprised how much you can learn about an animal's life– and death– by reading their bones.

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QUEST Quiz: The Sun

QUEST Quiz: The Sun

Test your knowledge about this mysterious, awesome and most vital of stars.

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Journey Into The Sun

Journey Into The Sun

Scientists at Stanford University and Lockheed Martin are playing pivotal roles in a nearly billion-dollar NASA mission to explore the sun. A spacecraft launched in early 2010 is obtaining IMAX-like images of the sun every second of the day, generating more data than any NASA mission in history.

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Web Extra: Music of the Sun

Web Extra: Music of the Sun

In this QUEST web extra, Stanford University astrophysicist Todd Hoeksema explains how solar sound waves are a vital ingredient to the science of helioseismology, in which the interior properties of the sun are probed by analyzing and tracking the surface sound waves that bounce into and out of the Sun.

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Hepatitis C: The Silent Epidemic

Hepatitis C: The Silent Epidemic

Hepatitis C is a virus that causes cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer. It's the leading cause for liver transplants in the U.S., and an estimated 4 million Americans have the disease. Current treatments are difficult to tolerate and are often ineffective, but recent breakthroughs from Bay Area scientists may soon produce a cure for the disease that claims more than 10,000 American lives each year.

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The Great Migration

The Great Migration

For thousands of years and countless generations, migratory birds have flown the same long-distance paths between their breeding and feeding grounds. Understanding the routes these birds take, called "flyways," helps conservation efforts and gives scientists better knowledge of global changes, both natural and man-made. QUEST heads out to the Pacific Flyway with California biologists to track the rhythm of migration.

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QUEST Lab: Bridge Thermometer

QUEST Lab: Bridge Thermometer

The roadway across the Golden Gate Bridge rises and falls as much as 16 feet depending on the temperature. When the sun hits the bridge, the metal expands and the bridge cables stretch. As the fog rolls in, the cables contract and the bridge goes up. Curators from the Outdoor Exploratorium in San Francisco have set up a scope two miles away so you can see how the bridge is moving up or down depending on the weather.

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Cool Critters: Dwarf Cuttlefish

Cool Critters: Dwarf Cuttlefish

What's the coolest critter in the ocean under 4 inches long? The Dwarf Cuttlefish! These little guys can change their color and texture, and feeding time is a show like no other. Get an up-close look at these tiny underwater aliens as QUEST visits them at the California Academy of Sciences.

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Science of Taste

Science of Taste

Did you know that about 95 percent of what we think is taste is actually smell? Or that the way we perceive flavor comes from a complex relationship between our senses, emotions and memories? As scientists decode how our taste and olfactory receptors work, top California chefs are taking that knowledge and creating alchemy in the kitchen.

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Web Extra: City Egg, Country Egg

Web Extra: City Egg, Country Egg

Is there a difference in taste between eggs gathered right from the farm and ones bought at the supermarket? Sebastian Nava, Research Assistant at the Culinary Institute of America, Greystone, presents his ongoing study of store-bought eggs and their country cousins.

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Plastic in the Pacific

Plastic in the Pacific

Imagine every person on earth had 100 pounds of plastic. That's how much new plastic will be manufactured in 2010. Sadly, much of that will end up in the ocean within a massive area dubbed the Pacific Garbage Patch. Can anything be done to clean it up?

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QUEST Quiz: Sleep

QUEST Quiz: Sleep

Our companion story to "Catching Up on Sleep Science", this short segment serves as a quiz for viewers to test their knowledge about sleep and sleep disorders.

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Catching Up on Sleep Science

Catching Up on Sleep Science

Everyone can appreciate the value of a good night's sleep. But did you know that a lack of sleep can have real consequences for your health? QUEST investigates how sleep affects our minds and bodies and uncovers why some people are genetically programmed to need less sleep than others.

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Web Extra: Great White Sharks in Captivity

Web Extra: Great White Sharks in Captivity

Over the years The Monterey Bay Aquarium has had success holding a handful of great white sharks in their enormous outer bay exhibit tank. In the process scientists have learned much about these animals and millions of visitors have gotten a chance to meet a live white shark up close and personal.

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QUEST Lab: Speed of Sound

QUEST Lab: Speed of Sound

Along with cable cars and seagulls, the Golden Gate Bridge foghorn is one of San Francisco's most iconic sounds. But did you know that if you hear that foghorn off in the distance, you can calculate how many miles you are from the bridge? Using the Speed of Sound exhibit at the Outdoor Exploratorium at Fort Mason, Shawn Lani shows us how sound perception is affected by distance.

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The New Bay Bridge: Earthquake Makeover

The New Bay Bridge: Earthquake Makeover

The new self-anchored suspension bridge being built to replace the vulnerable eastern span of the Bay Bridge is scheduled to open in 2013 and will be seismically and aesthetically revolutionary in its design. QUEST explores the engineering features that will give the new bridge the strength and flexibility to withstand the next "big one."

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The Great White Shark: Meet the Man in the Gray Suit

The Great White Shark: Meet the Man in the Gray Suit

Worldwide sharks are now threatened due to extreme overfishing to satisfy the shark fin trade. QUEST ventures to The Farallon Islands and discovers that the creature of our imaginations may not be the monster we think it is. See why scientists are now tracking the movements of great white sharks in hopes of protecting them.

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Science on the SPOT: Swimming with Sharks

Science on the SPOT: Swimming with Sharks

In our first installment of QUEST's new Science on the SPOT web series, we go behind-the-scenes at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Meet the intrepid dive team who keeps the enormous Outer Bay Exhibit tank spic-and-span while swimming in 40 pounds of stainless steel, shark-resistant armor.

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The Farallon Islands – "California's Galapagos"

The Farallon Islands – "California's Galapagos"

Lying 28 miles off the coast of San Francisco, the Farallon Islands sit amid one of the most productive marine food webs on the planet and host the largest seabird breeding colony in the continental United States. QUEST ventures out for a rare visit to learn what life is like on the islands and meet the scientists who call this incredibly wild place home.

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Maya Skies

Maya Skies

Armed with laser technology, Bay Area engineers are helping create detailed virtual records of the world's great monuments. Their realistic recreation of the Mexican ruins of Chichén Itzá is the basis for "Tales of Maya Skies," a new half-hour film about Maya astronomy designed especially for a planetarium. The film opens at Oakland's Chabot Space & Science Center on November 21. QUEST takes you behind the scenes.

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