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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

In Drought-Stricken California, How Much Water Does Agriculture Use?

Agriculture consumes about 40 percent of the state's water, or 80 percent of water available for human use. Critics question the viability of growing water-intensive crops like almonds and rice, but others argue the state's water woes are too complex to pin on a single industry. In the first installment of Forum's Drought Watch series, we look at agriculture's water consumption and conservation practices, and how the industry may need to adapt to a hotter and drier climate.

National Park Service Director on the Future of America's Parks

The National Park Service celebrates its 100-year anniversary next summer. Though the system's 407 national parks attract more than 280 million visitors annually, the Park Service has set lofty goals for its future: increase the diversity of visitors to include more youth and people of color, partner with health providers and ramp up collaborations with scientists, which is the focus of a summit this week at UC Berkeley. National Park Service director Jonathan Jarvis is in town for the summit, and joins us in the studio.

From Demonic Possession to Neuroimaging, The Eccentric History of Psychiatry

Columbia University psychiatrist Jeffrey Lieberman has spent over 25 years studying the treatment of mental illnesses. In his new book "Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry," he traces the field from its birth as a mystic pseudo-science to its current position as a respected medical field. We talk to the former president of the American Psychiatric Association about how research in neuroscience and genetics is changing the field, and why the stigma surrounding mental illness still impedes treatment.