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

NASA: Strange and sudden massive melt in GreenlandWASHINGTON (AP) â Nearly all of Greenland’s massive ice sheet suddenly started melting a bit this month, a freak event that surprised scientists. The ice melt area went from 40 percent of the ice sheet to 97 percent in four days, according to NASA. […]

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Sen. Boxer pushes for tougher toxics lawRetired San Francisco fire Capt. Tony Stefani, who contracted a rare form of pelvic cancer, told a Senate committee Tuesday that there is evidence that flame retardants and other chemicals used in household products expose firefighters to a “toxic soup” after they extinguish fires.

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Sanofi says dengue vaccine effective in trialPARIS (Reuters) – Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, said on Wednesday that its dengue vaccine candidate proved effective in a study in fighting the disease, which it described as a threat

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U.S. solar plan creates energy zones, excludes sensitive landsThe Obama administration unveiled plans Tuesday to ramp up solar energy production, offering incentives for solar developers to cluster projects on 285,000 acres of federal land in the western U.S and opening an additional 19 million acres of the Mojave Desert for new power plants.

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Santa Clara Valley Water District puts $548 million parcel tax on November ballot – San Jose Mercury NewsWater district measure would continue a $54 per home tax first approved by Santa Clara County voters in 2000 for flood control, environmental projects.

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Human stem cells restore memory in animals with Alzheimer’s diseaseFor the first time ever, human stem cells have been shown to have a significant effect on restoring memory in animals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The breakthrough could have profound implications for the treatment of the age-related disorder, which affects as many as 5.3 million Americans and threatens to affect many more as the population continues to age.

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Children’s Well-Being Low in CaliforniaTogether with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Oakland-based nonprofit Children Now released their 2012 report on children’s well-being. The report looks across four broad categories: economic well-being; education; health; and family and community. California children had one bright spot — health — where the state ranked in the middle, at 23rd.

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