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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

Steve Silberman Explores the Forgotten History of Autism

Today, one in 68 children is on the autism spectrum, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet despite decades of research, there is much we don't know about the disorder. We discuss the evolving definition, hidden history and public perception of autism with "NeuroTribes" author Steve Silberman.

Toxic Algae Bloom Poisons Marine Life From California to Alaska

Scientists report that an algae bloom spreading from California to Alaska is poisoning marine life and has quickly become one of the most toxic blooms they've ever seen. Abnormally warm water temperatures are allowing the bloom, which produces a dangerous neurotoxin, to grow quickly -- up to 40 miles wide in some parts. Crab fisheries and the anchovy market have already been affected. We'll talk to scientists who are tracking the toxic bloom about its impact on marine life and humans.

The Life of Jonas Salk, the Man Who Conquered Polio

In April 1955, the world rejoiced as researcher Jonas Salk debuted a successful vaccine against polio. Up to then, polio had killed thousands and left tens of thousands in varying degrees of paralysis. Physician and author Charlotte DeCroes Jacobs joins us to talk about her book, "Jonas Salk: A Life," which chronicles Salk's life from his childhood in a New York tenement through his work on groundbreaking vaccines and his fraught relationship with a scientific community that disdained him.