Stories From This Week's Episode
May 3, 2013
Early spring wildfires are burning, threatening homes and scorching hundreds of acres throughout the state. As snowpack data comes in, California faces one of the driest years on record. With forests and grasslands already tinder dry, firefighters are gearing up for what could be a nasty fire season.
Using the world's largest laser, scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Lab have been trying to ignite a nuclear fusion reaction in a laboratory essentially mimicking a tiny sun. Called the National Ignition Facility (NIF), the $5 billion project hopes to revolutionize energy by laying the groundwork for a potentially endless supply of clean energy. But after missing several deadlines and a management shake-up, the facility is now adjusting expectations.
- Paul Rogers, San Jose Mercury News & KQED
- Amy Standen, KQED Science
What's really in your food? Last November's Proposition 37 would have required all genetically engineered foods in California to be labeled, but the initiative lost at the ballot box. Now California Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer is taking up the issue with a bill to require similar labeling by the FDA. In this report from KQED Science, producer Gabriela Quiros looks at the technology behind genetically engineered crops and what the pros and cons might be. A full half-hour documentary on the topic, Next Meal: Engineering Food, airs at 7:30 pm, Wednesday May 8 on KQED 9.
When NBA player Jason Collins publicly came out as gay this week, many hailed him as the first active player in one of the four major U.S. professional sports leagues to do so. However, that distinction should go to the Bay Area's Glenn Burke, a former Oakland A's baseball player who was open about his sexuality in the 1970s. While Collins' announcement has been met with more support than condemnation, Burke faced a different social and professional landscape. "Glenn was comfortable with who he was," said a childhood friend. "Baseball was not comfortable with who he was." Ted Griggs, President of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, a co-producer of the documentary Out. The Glenn Burke Story, sits down with Scott Shafer to talk about Glenn Burke, Jason Collins and the You Can Play Project.
Also on KQED.org this week ...
Drought Watch 2015: Record-Low Sierra Snowpack
The Sierra Nevada snowpack, which typically supplies nearly a third of California's water, is showing the lowest water content on record: 6 percent of the long-term average for April 1. That shatters last year's low-water mark of 25 percent (tied with 1977).
"Boomtown" History of the San Francisco Bay Area
KQED's "Boomtown" series will seek to identify what is happening in real time in the current boom, and also draw out the causes and possible solutions to the conflicts and pressures between the old and the new.