<a href= target=_blank >Biotech Braces for Gene Patenting Ruling</a>

The California Report | April 19, 2013

Biotech Braces for Gene Patenting Ruling

California biotech companies had their eye on the U.S. Supreme Court this week as it heard arguments on a key question: can you patent a human gene? The court's ruling could mean millions of dollars to biotech companies and universities. ...

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<a href= target=_blank >Comets May Have Delivered Life's Early Building Blocks</a>

QUEST | March 8, 2013

Comets May Have Delivered Life's Early Building Blocks

NASA The building blocks of life on Earth may have originated in space. Chemists at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Hawaii, Manoa have found the complex compounds essential for life can be forged in the vacuum of space. The linked pairs of ...

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<a href= target=_blank >Think Before You Drink Grapefruit Juice</a>

QUEST | January 7, 2013

Think Before You Drink Grapefruit Juice

Image courtesy of dullhunk via Wikimedia Commons You follow the directions on your medication carefully, always taking the pills with the correct frequency and with or without food as directed. But have you discussed with your doctor or pharmacist whether ingesting grapefruit could cause an ...

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<a href= target=_blank >Top KQED Science & QUEST Stories from 2012</a>

QUEST | December 10, 2012

Top KQED Science & QUEST Stories from 2012

From the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to killer whales, bicycles to cheese — it's been another year of diverse storytelling from the KQED Science and Environment team. Here's a round-up of the top 10 stories shared on our website (based on page views) that you've enjoyed in 2012. Please let us ...

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<a href= target=_blank >Flame Retardants, Redux: From Toxic Couches to Buildings</a>

QUEST | November 28, 2012

Flame Retardants, Redux: From Toxic Couches to Buildings

California's flammability standard, which has led to the use of toxic flame retardants in a wide range of consumer products, may finally change under the direction of Gov. Jerry Brown. (Photo: Oscar/Wikimedia Commons) Speaking before a roomful of breast cancer researchers and activists in ...

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<a href= target=_blank >Tracing the Origins of the Durian’s Stench</a>

QUEST | November 7, 2012

Tracing the Origins of the Durian’s Stench

You either love durian or you hate it. This spiky football-shaped fruit is a delicacy in southeast Asia. But some can’t get over its stench, often described as rotten onions or stale vomit. Some Malaysian hotels even ban guests from bringing the fruit into the rooms when it’s in ...

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<a href= target=_blank >Playing Whack-a-Mole with Flame Retardants</a>

QUEST | October 31, 2012

Playing Whack-a-Mole with Flame Retardants

Emerging research questions whether flame retardants used to meet California's flammability standard increase fire safety. Activists say fire-resistant fabric can protect furniture built to meet industry codes without the use of toxic flame retardants. (Image: Kpahor/Wikipedia) Countless consumer products sold in California contain a flame ...

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<a href= target=_blank >Creative Use of a Cancer Mutation May Improve Nylon Production</a>

QUEST | September 26, 2012

Creative Use of a Cancer Mutation May Improve Nylon Production

A cancer-caused mutation in a protein provides clues to improving the production of a chemical used to make nylon. Invented in 1935, nylon found its first use replacing silk in stockings. Supplies of nylon dwindled during World War II as the material was funneled towards making rope, parachutes and mosquito netting. ...

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<a href= target=_blank >West Coast a Test Bed for Ocean Acidification</a>

QUEST | September 25, 2012

West Coast a Test Bed for Ocean Acidification

West Coast scientists are studying how California mussels might adapt to ocean acidification. This week, scientists from around the world are meeting in Monterey to discuss what they call the “other” climate change problem: the oceans are becoming more acidic. It happens as ...

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<a href= target=_blank >H2-Whoa: Computing With Water Instead of Electrons</a>

QUEST | September 12, 2012

H2-Whoa: Computing With Water Instead of Electrons

The water repellency of a lotus leaf inspired scientists to recreate this kind of surface in the lab. Credit: Indoloony/Flickr Water and computers usually don’t mix, as anyone who has spilled a coffee on a laptop knows. Now researchers in Finland have used ...

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<a href= target=_blank >Starbucks' Food Waste Fuels Experimental Biorefinery</a>

QUEST | August 29, 2012

Starbucks' Food Waste Fuels Experimental Biorefinery

Leftover pastries and coffee grounds from Starbucks could be turned into precursors to plastic. Credit: Andreanna Moya Photography/Flickr An experimental biorefinery turns spent coffee grounds and old pastries from Starbucks into a building block for plastic. Using food waste as fuel might improve the sustainability ...

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<a href= target=_blank >Building a Better, Tastier Tomato</a>

QUEST | August 17, 2012

Building a Better, Tastier Tomato

UC Davis's Roger Chetelat holds a few "square tomatoes." Decades ago, researchers figured out how to create the picture-perfect tomato that travels well and is available year-round. The trouble is, as any supermarket shopper can tell you, tomatoes that look great sometimes taste terrible. It’s not ...

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<a href= target=_blank >NASA's Roving Robotic Chemist Will Collect Clues For Life on Mars</a>

QUEST | August 15, 2012

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

Artist’s rendition of the Mars rover Curiosity, a robotic chemist and geologist. Credit: {link url= On August 5, the world was abuzz about a rover named Curiosity landing on Mars. Now that feat of masterful engineering is over, the rover wakes up, starts its ...

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<a href= target=_blank >Prescription Drug Disposal: Who Should Foot the Bill?</a>

QUEST | August 1, 2012

Prescription Drug Disposal: Who Should Foot the Bill?

Credit:{link url= Last week, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance requiring pharmaceutical companies to pay for prescription drug take-back programs in the county. The legislation is the first of its kind in the country, though the industry has voluntarily contributed to ...

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<a href= target=_blank >Smelly Rocks: Researchers Reveal The Source of "Stinkspar" Stench</a>

QUEST | July 18, 2012

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

I call fluorine the Tyrannosaurus rex of the elements because it reacts with everything. That's why chemists thought the element was only found in nature as ions bound in minerals like fluorite (CaF2). Now researchers in Germany have found bubbles of diatomic fluorine (F2) trapped in a special type of ...

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<a href= target=_blank >How Do Fireworks Work?</a>

QUEST | July 4, 2012

How Do Fireworks Work?

Credit: {link url= From holidays like the Fourth of July to victories, fireworks mean celebration. And to me, they’re a celebration of chemistry too. Atoms and reactions power the colors, sounds and smoke of fireworks. The first firecracker was discovered in China about 1,000 years ...

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<a href= target=_blank >Shining a New Light on the Chemistry of Art Conservation</a>

QUEST | June 20, 2012

Shining a New Light on the Chemistry of Art Conservation

Did you know there’s chemistry in art conservation? Conservators want to know the chemical composition of paints and sculptures so that they can restore damaged areas or prevent delicate materials from degrading. Sometimes they're measuring the elements in pigments with X-rays. Other times scientists try to figure out how ...

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<a href= target=_blank >KQED Science Fan Spotlight</a>

QUEST | June 13, 2012

KQED Science Fan Spotlight

Whether we're delving into the mysterious lives of banana slugs or explaining the complexity of water and power issues in California, we hope that KQED Science — through QUEST and Climate Watch — has become your trusted source of engaging science, nature and environment stories. ...

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<a href= target=_blank >The Fungus Among Us Could Help Clean Oily Soil</a>

QUEST | June 6, 2012

The Fungus Among Us Could Help Clean Oily Soil

When I hear fungi, I think of mushrooms – both delectable and deadly. But there’s another world of fungi buried in the soil. These fibrous microbes might be able to help clean up polluted soil. I’ve always thought of bacteria as nature’s decontamination crew. Bacteria already munching on oil from natural ...

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<a href= target=_blank >Try This at Home: The Chemistry of Fresh Cheese</a>

QUEST | May 16, 2012

Try This at Home: The Chemistry of Fresh Cheese

Opening the refrigerator to find a gallon of spoiled milk is a rotten way to start the day. But for fresh cheese makers, every day begins with sour milk. Here’s why: 80% of the proteins in milk belong to a family called caseins. Adding acid to milk, like lemon juice ...

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