Here’s today’s roundup of science, nature and environment news from the Bay Area and beyond.

News from The Associated PressNEW YORK (AP) — It was a provocative finding: strange bacteria in a California lake that thrived on something completely unexpected – arsenic. What it suggested is that life, a very different kind of life, could possibly exist on some other planet.

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Drain Hetch Hetchy Reservoir? San Francisco voters may get the chance in November to start the process – San Jose Mercury NewsBallot measure would require study and plan, with another public vote by 2016; opponents cry foul.

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Once-abundant West Coast oysters near extinctionMarine life Near extinction of native species a problem for more than taste buds A disturbing nationwide decline in oysters and the life-giving reefs that they build is particularly dramatic in California, where the once-abundant native species has been virtually wiped out, according to a recent scientific study.

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US to begin new phase of hypersonic flight programLOS ANGELES (AP) â The Defense Department’s research arm will seek proposals next month for solutions to technology hurdles in super high-speed flight with a goal of testing a full-scale hypersonic X-plane in four years. DARPA has tested highly experimental versions of a rocket-launched unmanned glider designed to fly at speeds 20 times the speed of sound, or Mach 20.

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News from The Associated PressSYDNEY (AP) — Oceans’ rising acid levels have emerged as one of the biggest threats to coral reefs, acting as the “osteoporosis of the sea” and threatening everything from food security to tourism to livelihoods, the head of a U.S. scientific agency said Monday.

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