David Gorn is the former Deputy News Director of KQED Radio, and currently works as a freelancer for National Public Radio. He has worked for three daily Bay Area newspapers, has been Editor-in-Chief of several magazines, and has taught journalism at San Jose State University and San Francisco State University.
When the LCROSS satellite, nicknamed Centaur, smacks into the south pole of the moon in late October, it is expected to produce a plume of dust 37 miles high, which may be visible from Earth with a good backyard telescope. It will be visible in an arc from Hawaii to Texas.
Sudden Oak Death is devastating oak forests along the coast, killing trees that are key to the ecology of the coastal hills. Researchers have found a way to inoculate individual trees from the disease, but are struggling in their search to find a more sweeping answer to the threat.
There is no proven cure for Sudden Oak Death. But that doesn't mean you can't find people selling cures. In fact, the Internet is full of theories – and their related products – that explain how to treat Sudden Oak Death. The problem with them, says UC Berkeley researcher Matteo Garbelotto, is that they don't work. And in fact, he adds, they could actually harm people's backyard oak trees.
How much sewage makes its way into our water? Plenty. Statewide, it's likely that last year's record number, 20 million gallons of raw sewage dumped in California waterways, is going to be broken this year. Decrepit pipes, lack of money and the growing severity of storms could all add up to a disaster of septic proportions.
The biggest problem can be the smallest thing, and that's the case in the sewer world. More than 20 million gallons of raw sewage spilled into California waterways last year, according to the state Department of Water Resources Control Board. That's not counting the partially treated sewage that makes its way into our water from overflows and sewer system malfunctions.
"Do I get to keep the phone?"
Not exactly the environmentally-conscious line of thinking that organizers were hoping for, but understandable for those high-schoolers holding a brand new, latest version of the Nokia in their hands.
It's easy to get scared. You look around the Oakland office of the Center for Environmental Health, and lead is everywhere. Piles of toys that are loaded with lead. Lunch boxes and kids' backpacks that have tested positive for high levels of lead. Samples of artificial turf.
The predictions for climate change all warn that San Francisco Bay waters will rise. The latest estimate is the bay will be about 5 feet higher by the end of this century, and 16 inches higher by 2050. If the water rises high enough, a lot of expensive Bay-front property could be inundated. What can we do about it? And how do we plan for that? That's the subject of an innovative design contest that launches this week.
The most recent estimate looks pretty dire. The Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), a state planning agency, says it expects San Francisco Bay to rise about 16 inches by 2050, and 55 inches by the end of the century.
This year marks the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin - and the 150th anniversary of his landmark work, "On the Origin of Species". One of the iconic fossils that supports Darwin's theory of evolution is called the Archaeopteryx.
Dave Feliz calls it “the bird highway in the sky.” Feliz works for California Department of Fish and Game, as area manager for the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, and he’s talking about the Pacific Flyway. Millions of migratory birds travel the same route every year, called the Pacific Flyway, stretching from the north slope of … Continue reading Reporter's Notes: Birds vs. Planes →
Soon after Barack Obama is sworn in as President next week, he is expected to reverse the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. The resulting boom in this cutting-edge medical technology will benefit California's research institutes in a big way.
Researchers call stem cell technology a "revolution" in medicine, along the lines of the development of antibiotics in the 1940s, or the manufacturing of insulin and other therapies from recombinant DNA breakthroughs.