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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

Federal Wildfire Legislation Sparks Debate on Salvage Logging

Record-breaking wildfires in recent years as well as heightened concerns over the drought are prompting debate about how best to manage forests to prevent wildfire. A bill pending in Congress would expedite salvage logging of dead trees in national forests. We'll discuss the legislation and best practices to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire while safeguarding forest ecology.

Report: Rising Sea Levels Threaten $21 Billion Development Plans

A new special report from the San Francisco Public Press says there are $21 billion worth of planned real estate developments along the Bay's waterfront that could be in jeopardy if sea levels rise. According to the report, waters would "most likely" rise three feet, with some models predicting as high as eight feet, along thousands of acres of shoreline. The Press also warns that policy changes, which might stem the development tide, are inching along and may not be fast enough to affect any projects currently in the pipeline.

How UC Berkeley Physicist Ernest Lawrence Helped Launch the Era of 'Big Science'

In 1931, UC Berkeley scientist Ernest Lawrence invented the cyclotron, which transformed nuclear physics, earned him a Nobel Prize and paved the way for the devastating bombs that helped win World War II. We'll talk with LA Times reporter Michael Hiltzik about his new book "Big Science," which outlines Lawrence's contributions to the Manhattan Project and the rise of the military-industrial complex.