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Stories From This Week's Episode

May 3, 2013

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News Panel: Spring Wildfires / Fusion Troubles

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.

Guests:

  • Paul Rogers, San Jose Mercury News & KQED
  • Amy Standen, KQED Science
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Genetically Engineered Foods

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.

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First Openly Gay Man in Pro Sports Played for Oakland A's

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 ...

The New Environmentalists: From Chicago to Karoo
KQED Celebrates the Earth

April 22 is Earth Day, but KQED is celebrating our planet all month long. Tune in for special programs, attend special events, and find more resources online.

View of a dry Mt. Diablo from Briones Regional Park in the East Bay. (Lauren Sommer/KQED)
Where's the Rain?

KQED covers news about California's drought, offers water-saving tips, and more.

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