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What Gives the Morpho Butterfly Its Magnificent Blue?

KQED Science | December 16, 2014 | 0 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 | 1 Comment

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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Bay Area Science Festival Kicks Off This Thursday, October 23

KQED Science | October 23, 2014 | 0 Comments

Bay Area Science Festival Kicks Off This Thursday, October 23

The Bay Area Science Festival features events like a bike ride through wetland and a tour of a UPS facility. It begins Thursday, October 23, and will host 56 events over ten days.

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As More Crude Oil Rolls In, a Push for Better Track Inspection

KQED Science | October 22, 2014 | 1 Comment

As More Crude Oil Rolls In, a Push for Better Track Inspection

In response to concerns about the risks of crude by rail, Union Pacific has begun to boost its rail inspection program by dispatching vehicles with lasers that can find tiny track imperfections.

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Pygmy Seahorses: Masters of Camouflage

KQED Science | October 21, 2014 | 1 Comment

Pygmy Seahorses: Masters of Camouflage

Tiny and delicate, pygmy seahorses survive by attaching to vibrant corals where they become nearly invisible to both predators and researchers. Now, biologists at the California Academy of Sciences have successfully bred them in captivity for the first time. Finally, they're able to study the seahorses' amazing act of camouflage up close.

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Drought-Stressed Crops May Be Better For You

KQED Science | October 20, 2014 | 1 Comment

Drought-Stressed Crops May Be Better For You

Scientists in California's Central Valley are testing the nutrient content of fruits grown with less-than-normal amounts of water. And the findings so far are raising a question: will consumers buy fruits that are just as nutritional, or sometimes higher in antioxidants, if they aren't as pretty?

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