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How Electric Light Changed the Night

KQED Science | January 20, 2015 | 3 Comments

How Electric Light Changed the Night

Artificial light makes the modern world possible. But not all kinds of light are good for us. Electric light has fundamentally altered our lives, our bodies and the very nature of our sleep.

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Tiny Parasite Threatens Native Plants

KQED Science | January 12, 2015 | 6 Comments

Tiny Parasite Threatens Native Plants

A microscopic pathogen got into the roots of some native plants at a restoration project in Alameda County, despite massive efforts to prevent it. Now officials are hoping to stop this microbe before it spreads.

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Future of Berryessa-Snow Mountain Lands in Limbo

KQED Science | January 5, 2015 | 5 Comments

Future of Berryessa-Snow Mountain Lands in Limbo

Faced with a new Republican-led Congress, supporters of special protections for the area are taking their case to the president, urging him to create a new national monument. But there are no guarantees there, either.

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Ten Years After Indian Ocean Tsunami, California is Better Prepared

KQED Science | December 23, 2014 | 0 Comments

Ten Years After Indian Ocean Tsunami, California is Better Prepared

The tragedy sparked a decade of improvements to our tsunami warning system.

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What Gives the Morpho Butterfly Its Magnificent Blue?

KQED Science | December 16, 2014 | 2 Comments

What Gives the Morpho Butterfly Its Magnificent Blue?

What does it mean to be blue? The wings of a Morpho butterfly are some of the most brilliant structures in nature, and yet they contain no blue pigment -- they harness the physics of light at the nanoscale.

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New Residential Water Use Numbers Indicate Conservation Backslide

KQED Science | December 2, 2014 | 0 Comments

New Residential Water Use Numbers Indicate Conservation Backslide

The year-over-year water-saving rate slid by more than a third in October, worrying officials calling on residents to reduce water usage during record drought.

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The Hidden Perils of Permafrost

KQED Science | December 2, 2014 | 0 Comments

The Hidden Perils of Permafrost

For thousands of years, mysterious bacteria have remained dormant in the Arctic permafrost. Now, a warming climate threatens to bring them back to life. What does that mean for the rest of us?

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California Drought Boosts ‘Cash for Grass’ Programs

KQED Science | December 1, 2014 | 5 Comments

California Drought Boosts ‘Cash for Grass’ Programs

California homeowners are replacing Kentucky bluegrass with native species and other water-friendly options to try and cut back on outdoor watering. Depending on what replacement residents choose, water districts may offer a cash reward for tearing out that thirsty lawn.

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This Week’s Rain Unlikely to Dent Drought

KQED Science | November 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

This Week’s Rain Unlikely to Dent Drought

Rain systems so far this season have been on the wimpy side. This next series is likely to continue the trend.

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What Gall! The Crazy Cribs of Parasitic Wasps

KQED Science | November 18, 2014 | 1 Comment

What Gall! The Crazy Cribs of Parasitic Wasps

Plenty of animals build their homes in oak trees. But some very teeny, tricky wasps make the tree do all the work. “What nerve!” you might say. What… gall! And you’d be right. The wasps are called gall-inducers. And each miniature mansion that the trees build for the wasps' larvae is weirder and more flamboyant than the next.

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Designing California Cities for a Long-Term Drought

KQED Science | November 18, 2014 | 11 Comments

Designing California Cities for a Long-Term Drought

Scientists say it’s possible California’s drought may last a lot longer than a few years. No one knows for sure, but we could all simply have to adjust to a drier climate. That could mean changing the way we build cities to make them more porous. The 'Hydramax,' a futuristic design pictured above, rises with the tide and captures water from the air.

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Scientists Suspect a Virus is Causing Sea Star Die-Off

KQED Science | November 17, 2014 | 1 Comment

Scientists Suspect a Virus is Causing Sea Star Die-Off

But the virus isn't new to sea stars, so what triggered the current outbreak remains a mystery.

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Life Aboard a ‘Polar Roller': America’s Last Heavy Icebreaker

KQED Science | November 6, 2014 | 1 Comment

Life Aboard a ‘Polar Roller': America’s Last Heavy Icebreaker

And a trick to prevent seasickness that the skipper swears by (other than staying ashore).

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New California County Fracking Bans Likely to Face Challenges

KQED Science | November 5, 2014 | 1 Comment

New California County Fracking Bans Likely to Face Challenges

Passage of two out of three local measures may just set the stage for next battle.

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Bay Area Votes in Favor of Open Space and ‘Smart’ Growth

KQED Science | November 5, 2014 | 1 Comment

Bay Area Votes in Favor of Open Space and ‘Smart’ Growth

A local environmental group is declaring victories for open space preservation and smart growth in the Bay Area.

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New Numbers Highlight Contrasts in California Water Use

KQED Science | November 4, 2014 | 3 Comments

New Numbers Highlight Contrasts in California Water Use

Who's using the most -- and the least water? The numbers are in -- but officials warn that they can be misleading.

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The Amazing Life of Sand

KQED Science | November 4, 2014 | 0 Comments

The Amazing Life of Sand

There’s a story in every grain of sand: tales of life and death, fire and water. If you scooped up a handful of sand from every beach, you'd have a history of the world sifting through your fingers. From mountain boulders to the shells of tiny ocean creatures, follow the journey that sand takes through thousands of years across entire continents to wind up stuck between your toes.

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Aging U.S. Icebreaker Fleet May Imperil Polar Science

KQED Science | November 3, 2014 | 0 Comments

Aging U.S. Icebreaker Fleet May Imperil Polar Science

The last of the Coast Guard's big icebreakers departs San Francisco Bay this week, a rare sight on the Bay and a reminder that the U.S. is falling behind in the race for polar dominance -- and knowledge.

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Why California’s Largest Estuary No Longer Works for Wildlife

KQED Science | October 30, 2014 | 4 Comments

Why California’s Largest Estuary No Longer Works for Wildlife

Startling maps in a new report on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta show the dramatic loss of marshlands that once supported a vast array of wildlife.

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Activists Push for Public Review of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant

KQED Science | October 29, 2014 | 2 Comments

Activists Push for Public Review of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant

An environmental group claims there are unanswered questions about the seismic safety of the Central Coast plant.

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