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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.





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The California Report

Et Tu, El Nino?

For months now, it's been drummed into us that we have to save water. If we don't, local water districts are threatening to sock us with big fines. This week, we hear that we could be in for a very wet El Nino winter. What's a water-conscious Californian to think or do? We turn to Craig Miller, KQED's Science Editor to find out.

California Foodways: Warmer Winter Nights Mean Small Cherry Crop

Who can resist a cherry? They're small, sweet and crunchy. You know summer is on the way when you see them at the market. This beloved fruit is also a bit of a canary in a coal mine. For the series California Foodways, Lisa Morehouse went to the Santa Clara Valley and reports that the last couple of cherry harvests could be a warning about climate change.

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.



Forum With Michael Krasny

UC Berkeley Scientists Eye Drones to Contain Wildfires

California is bracing for a fire season exacerbated by a historic drought. But in a state known for innovation as much as its dry weather, UC Berkeley scientists have a new strategy to prevent out-of-control fires: drones. We'll talk to physicist Carl Pennypacker about the drone and sensor technology aimed at curbing the spread of wildfires.

Tule Elk Breed Problems for National Park Management

Animal rights activists and local farmers are at an impasse over how to manage a local population of Tule Elk. Originally native to the area, the animals were hunted to near-extinction and disappeared entirely from the Bay Area until their reintroduction at Point Reyes National Seashore in the 1970s. Under pressure from the drought, nearly half the enclosed herd has died off in the past two years. The activists say not enough is being done to preserve the Tule Elk, while ranchers say the free-ranging animals are drinking water needed for cattle.

"Female Viagra" Moves Closer to FDA Approval

Designed to boost sexual desire in women, the drug flibanserin, commonly referred to as "female Viagra," was recently recommended by a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel. If approved, flibanserin would be the only drug on the market to treat sexual dysfunction in women. But critics say the drug is not very effective and has too many side effects. We?ll discuss the hunt for a "female viagra" and the complexities of female sexual desire.