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Science/Environment

Latest Features

Largest Solar Plant in the World Goes Through Last Test Before Opening

The largest solar plant in the world - in California’s Mojave Desert - goes through its last test before opening, after a debate that pitted renewable energy against a threatened tortoise.

Tesla Unveils 90-Second Battery Swap Technology

Palo Alto based electric car maker Tesla has announced a service that will swap out a battery in less than two minutes.

In Search of the Bacterial Garden of Eden

Now that scientists are starting to get a handle on what kinds of microbes live in the human body and, roughly, how those populations differ from one individual to another, a key question will be whether there is such a thing as an “ideal” microbiome.



More From KQED News

New Privacy Agreement Marks Historic Moment in Bioethics

A new agreement between the family of Henrietta Lacks and the National Institutes of Health marks a historic moment, but leaves questions unresolved.

A Year After Richmond Refinery Fire, Community Air Monitors Still Not Working

Inadequate air monitoring systems near the Bay Area's five refineries remain a big concern for local communities.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Turns Back on Baby Peregrines?

A group instrumental in the recovery of peregrine falcons in California is now battling the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.





Recently on KQED Public Radio

The California Report

Brown's Signature Marks Beginning of Groundwater Reform

California's historic drought deserves some credit for political action on longtime water needs in the state. That was the assessment of Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday, just after he signed a groundbreaking trio of laws regulating the use of groundwater.

UC Looks to Homegrown Startups as New Funding Source

When Google went public, Stanford University made millions. That's because it had equity not only in Google's intellectual property, but in the company itself. That kind of direct investment in a startup wasn't allowed at the University of California, until now. UC President Janet Napolitano made it possible by removing guidelines for industry-academic relations. The change raises questions about ethics, funding and the future of basic research.

What Scientists Are Learning From the South Napa Earthquake

Last weekend's 6.0-magnitude earthquake, centered at the southern edge of Napa, was the strongest to strike the Bay Area since the Loma Prieta quake of 1989. Scientists are in the area studying what happened, and learning a fair bit that upends what they thought was going on in the region. We get the details from KQED Science Editor Craig Miller.



Forum With Michael Krasny

Rise in Stranded Sea Lions Alarms Scientists

For the past three winters, starving California sea lion pups have been beaching themselves along the California coast. This year, the die-offs have occurred earlier and in higher numbers, increasing concerns about the impacts of rising ocean temperatures and a depleted fish population. We'll discuss the scope of the problem and the rescue efforts underway.

UK Set to Legalize Babies With DNA From 3 Parents

After a parliamentary vote earlier this week, the United Kingdom is set to become the first country to legalize making a baby with DNA from three parents. The controversial procedure, which prevents mothers from passing on genetic diseases to their children, involves replacing faulty DNA in a mother's eggs with healthy DNA from a third person. Critics say the procedure raises many ethical questions. But British Prime Minister David Cameron said, "We're not playing God here, we're just making sure that two parents who want a healthy baby can have one." We'll discuss the technology and explore whether the U.S. and other countries may follow Britain's lead.

The Science Behind the Power of Touch

If you want to know which NBA team is going to perform the best, watch for the high-fives and chest bumps. In his newest book "Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart, and Mind," David J. Linden explains how touch relates to success in teams, relationships and can even result in healthier outcomes at the doctor's office. Linden argues that touch is the most underrated of all the senses and vital for human development.