KQED Science News

KQED Science News

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KQED Public Media for Northern CA


California Has Farmers Growing Weeds. Why? To Capture Carbon
Apr 22 • 4 min
California farmers are receiving millions of dollars to pull carbon out of the atmosphere, making the state home to some of the first official ‘carbon farmers’ in the country.
Shasta Dam Project Sets Up Another Trump-California Showdown
Jan 28 • 6 min
The Trump administration is laying the groundwork to enlarge California’s biggest reservoir. But the project runs afoul of both state law and the Winnemem Wintu tribe, which says the expansion would end up submerging its sacred sites.
So, It’s New Year’s Eve … Can You Prevent That Hangover?
Dec 31, 2018 • 4 min
All about that oh-so-special feeling you get after a night of heavy drinking, from the author of “Proof: The Science of Booze.”
Spring Forward, Fall Back, or Neither: Why Changing Our Clocks Might Fade Into History
Oct 22, 2018 • 7 min
The days of re-setting clocks twice a year could be numbered. If Californians approve Proposition 7 it would pave the way for year-round Daylight Saving Time.
Investigation Finds Home Can Be the Most Dangerous Place in a Heat Wave
Oct 22, 2018 • 7 min
Home can be the most dangerous place in a heat wave. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Even in San Francisco, Heat Is Turning Deadly. That’s Not Something Colleen Loughman Expected
Oct 15, 2018 • 7 min
In summer of 2017, heat waves killed 14 people and in climate-driven crisis officials called a public health emergency. KQED examines who is vulnerable and why.
Should Californians Be Rebuilding Homes in a Fire Zone?
Oct 8, 2018 • 7 min
One year after devastating fires, the North Bay is grappling with how and where to rebuild.
Outlook Grim But Not Hopeless as Climate Summit Convenes in San Francisco
Sep 10, 2018 • 7 min
This week corporate and civic leaders from around the world will gather in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit. The effort was spearheaded by Gov. Jerry Brown to move the fight against global warming beyond the national commitments made in…
A Glimpse Into the Future of Northern California Plant Life
Aug 17, 2018 • 7 min
A new, long-term art and science project at the University of California Santa Cruz tests possible scenarios for what gardens might look like 50 years from now as regional temperatures continue to rise.
Breathing Fire: California’s Central Valley Bears the Brunt of Harmful Wildfire Smoke
Aug 15, 2018 • 4 min
Unprecedented smoke pollution across the West is creating public health risks and undermining decades of air quality gains.
Wildfires Reignite Old Trauma for Survivors of Last October’s Blazes
Aug 4, 2018 • 5 min
How to work with trauma. People who lost their homes last fall in the northern California wildfires are feeling fear, anxiety, and sleeplessness seeing this summer’s wildfires.
Smoke-Chasers Help Predict Wildfire Behavior
Aug 1, 2018 • 5 min
A new breed of smoke-chasing scientists is finding important clues to fire behavior in the smoke plumes from western wildfires.
The Great Era of California Dam Building May Be Over. Here’s What’s Next
Jul 23, 2018 • 7 min
For a century, California has harnessed its water with concrete, building dams and reservoirs on an epic scale. Now, as the state prepares to hand out $2.7 billion for new water storage projects, it looks as though that era of dam-building might be…
Why California’s Best Strategy Against Wildfire Is Hardly Ever Used
Jul 16, 2018 • 7 min
California wildfires can be less catastrophic if we deliberately burn dry grasses and brush ahead of time. Plus, there’s less overall pollution.
Something Else Adding Fuel to California’s Fire Season: Warmer Nights
Jul 9, 2018 • 7 min
It will most likely be weeks before the County Fire west of Sacramento is completely extinguished. By Friday it had consumed nearly 140 square miles — an area larger than Las Vegas. Firefighters say it was a vicious cycle of weather conditions, terrain…
Oakland Zoo Makes Room for Big Predators. But Is it Enough?
Jul 2, 2018 • 4 min
Wolves, bears and mountain lions (oh my!) are some of the animals settling into a major new expansion of the Oakland Zoo. The zoo says its “California Trail” project is pushing the envelope for animal welfare and conservation. But whether zoos should even…
Let’s Talk Thor’s Hammer and Wakanda … Sciencewise
Jun 11, 2018 • 5 min
The season of summer blockbusters is in full swing. From the rollicking space adventure of “Solo,” to the universe-spanning “Avengers: Infinity War,” characters are dodging blasters, collecting stones of power, and falling in love as their world hangs in…
Proposition 68: Money for Parks, Beaches and Water Projects
May 24, 2018 • 3 min
Deciding how to vote on Prop. 68? Here’s everything you need to know.
Proposition 72: Rainwater Capture Tax Break Passes Handily
May 21, 2018 • 3 min
UPDATE: Voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 72 by a roughly 83-17 margin, in a move to promote water conservation in the state. What You Need to Know About Proposition 72 • Exempts rainwater catchment systems from property tax assessments • Applies…
Climate Scientist Won’t Back Down Despite Threats, Harassment
May 7, 2018 • 7 min
*Michael Mann, creator of ‘hockey stick’ curve for greenhouse gases, says we now have to double sea rise projections. *Sees California as ‘shining beacon’ for how to take action *Despite harassment, says ‘You don’t back off from a worthy battle when the…
Students With Autism Excel in Working With Data, Helping Scientists
Apr 9, 2018 • 7 min
Young adults with autism often struggle to find jobs, let alone meaningful careers. But a new Bay Area program is pioneering ways to turn what some employers might view as disabilities into strengths. KQED’s Peter Arcuni tells us how that’s playing out in…
Today, A Milestone for Cars: No Driver Needed
Apr 2, 2018 • 5 min
One day we may tell our kids or grandkids about the first time we ever saw a car drive down the street without a human behind the wheel. Today in California, we are a little closer to that milestone. Now, the DMV can issue permits to test driverless cars…
What Exxon Knew and When They Knew It: Climate Science in S.F. Federal Court
Mar 19, 2018 • 4 min
What did Exxon executives know about climate change and when did they know it? A federal judge in San Francisco hears cities and the oil industry on climate science Wednesday.
The Contentious Future of Point Reyes — Here’s What You Need to Know
Mar 5, 2018 • 7 min
What will Point Reyes National Seashore look like in 20 years — here’s a primer on the management fight over the future of the beloved national park.
The Lowly Seagrass That Could Save Your Oysters From Climate Change
Jan 29, 2018 • 4 min
Acidifying oceans are bad news for oyster lovers, but scientists are looking for ways the shellfish industry can adapt.
The Water in Your Jeans: How Two Consumer Products Giants Are Cutting Back on Water Use
Jan 12, 2018 • 7 min
Don’t look now but there’s water in your jeans. And almost everything else you buy — sometimes a lot more than you think. In this team report from KQED Science and PRI’s The World, learn how some leading-edge companies are cutting back on an increasingly…
LISTEN: 1,200 Years of Earth’s Climate, Transformed into Sound
Jan 8, 2018 • 6 min
Your ears might be the best way to sense the growing pace of climate change.
Healers Offer Firefighters Free Massage and Acupuncture. And They’re Loving It
Oct 24, 2017 • 3 min
Thousands of alternative practitioners are donating treatment sessions to those affected by the wildfires.
Future of Huge California Water Project May Hang on the Next Few Weeks
Oct 2, 2017 • 4 min
California’s biggest water project in decades appears to be in limbo, as questions about its funding persist.
40 Years With the Voyager Spacecraft: Earth’s Most Distant Explorers Are Still Calling Home
Aug 29, 2017 • 4 min
Billions of years from now, when the Earth is gone, Voyager 1 and 2 will still be drifting through space bearing witness to human civilization.
Everything That Happened Monday During the Solar Eclipse
Aug 21, 2017 • 7 min
Scientists from around the world gather in Idaho to prepare for research they can do only once every 18 months, while campers in Oregon get ready for a the memory of a lifetime.
Eclipse Scientists Probe the Mysteries of the Sun’s Atmosphere
Aug 14, 2017 • 7 min
This summer’s solar eclipse will illuminate mysteries about how the sun’s atmosphere works.
Self-Driving Cars Will Compel Changes on California Roads and Highways
Aug 7, 2017 • 4 min
Caltrans chief Malcolm Dougherty talks about the roads and highways of the future.
How Much Drinking Water Has California Lost to Oil Industry Waste? No One Knows
Aug 3, 2017 • 6 min
For years, California regulators mistakenly allowed oil companies to put their wastewater in protected aquifers.
Want to Cut Your Carbon Footprint? Get Liquefied When You’re Dead
Jul 24, 2017 • 4 min
You may not equate death with climate change, but disposing of human remains leaves a fairly hefty carbon footprint.
On the Fourth of July 20 Years Ago, NASA Landed the First Rover on Mars
Jul 3, 2017 • 4 min
NASA celebrates two decades of Mars exploration, as Americans light sparkers for the Fourth of July holiday.
Californians Will Ski on the Fourth of July
Jun 26, 2017 • 4 min
Last year’s never-ending winter will allow two California ski resorts to stay open through the holiday weekend.
You Know About This Summer’s Spectacular Solar Eclipse, Right?
Jun 20, 2017 • 7 min
It’s a bit of a drive, but not that far to go, if you want to see the total eclipse in August.
4 Things You Should Know About California’s Biggest Reservoir
Jun 13, 2017 • 4 min
California’s biggest reservoir is the one you can’t see — and it’s far from overflowing.
A California Regulator’s Curious Crusade to Remake the Clean Air Act
May 22, 2017 • 7 min
In state’s polluted San Joaquin Valley, an air pollution control officer is under fire for allying with members of Congress who want to weaken the Clean Air Act.