Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Sound Waves Could Make Batteries Better And Other Local News

 February 18, 2020 at 3:00 AM PST

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Tuesday, February 18th I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. People under the coronavirus quarantine in San Diego will be released today and it's not always easy to test for contamination in water, but it's certainly necessary. Speaker 2: 00:18 You don't have to look very far to find Flint, Michigan and see what high levels of lead in the drain Speaker 1: 00:24 did to the people who live there. That more coming up right after the break. Speaker 3: 00:36 [inaudible] Speaker 1: 00:37 this week, more than 200 people evacuated to MCA as Miramar from the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak are going home. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman says, many are sets. Leave San Diego. Today Speaker 2: 00:49 in 2016 the San Diego city council approved and affordable housing density bonus program. The ordinance expanded on an existing state law that gives developers a break on some regulations if they set aside more homes for low income households. Gonzalez says the city's program has been a success. Getting more housing built at all income levels. Speaker 4: 01:10 That shows real change. It's a change I want to see for the sake of affordable housing throughout this state. Communities across California, including some here in San Diego County can take a page from what was learned here in the city. By increasing the bonus density, Speaker 2: 01:25 Gonzalez introduced a second housing bill that targets housing segregation based on income. Tune in Thursday for a deeper look into that issue. Andrew Bowen KPBS news Speaker 1: 01:35 San Diego scientist have found a way to use sound to improve the efficiency and capacity of certain batteries. KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson has the story. Speaker 5: 01:45 The battery's being tested on campus include a tiny chip capable of generating high frequency sound waves. Graduate student on Kong says that sound moves liquid electrolytes around the thin lithium sheets inside the battery. Speaker 6: 02:00 If we invited as chip and a generous accused six terming, it can increase those lithium ion diffusion rows in between the electrodes. Speaker 5: 02:08 Adding the chip to a lithium battery can boost the amount of energy it holds. It can extend battery life and allow the battery to charge faster. All those qualities are valuable in a world where batteries are in everything from phones to cars. A private company is also exploring marketing the technology. Eric Anderson. KPBS news. Speaker 1: 02:29 Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez is proposing a new pill aimed at California's housing shortage. KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen says the statewide proposal was inspired by a San Diego law Speaker 2: 02:41 in 2016 the San Diego city council approved an affordable housing density bonus program. The ordinance expanded on an existing state law that gives developers a break on some regulations if they set aside more homes for low income households. Gonzalez says the city's program has been a success getting more housing built Speaker 1: 03:00 at all income levels. Speaker 4: 03:01 That shows real change. It's a change I want to see for the sake of affordable housing throughout this state. Communities across California, including some here in San Diego County, can take a page from what was learned here in the city. By increasing the bonus density, Speaker 1: 03:16 Gonzalez introduced a second housing bill that targets housing segregation based on income. Tune in Thursday for a deeper look into that issue. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news, Reverend George Walker Smith, the San Diego civic and religious leader passed away this weekend. KPBS reporter Prius there has more on his life. Reverend Smith was the first African American to be elected in the city when he won the race for the San Diego board of education. In 1963 Smith started the catfish club in 1970 a public forum for politicians and community members to talk about political and social issues. He served as a pastor at the Christ United Presbyterian church for decades. He spoke to KPBS in 2006 about the racial inequality he experienced when he first moved to San Diego. Speaker 7: 04:06 Black people in those days, uh, found it almost impossible to, uh, buy a home any place that wasn't South of market. Street. Speaker 1: 04:18 Smith passed away on Saturday at the age of 91 Prius. Sure. Either K PBS news. Mexico's current administration has been in power for a little more than a year. And according to their data, there efforts to reduce the flow of undocumented migrants to the U S are getting results from KJ zzz, Mexico city Bureau, Rodrigo Cervantes reports Speaker 5: 04:41 the Mexican government led by precedent. And that is my NOI. Lopez Obrador has faced criticism from human rights defenders, the accused administration of turning Mexico into president Trump's border wall, but Lopez Obrador himself and the secretary of foreign affairs Monticello, but I'd argue that the goal is to protect migrants and their rights even by offering jobs and asylum. It says that just in a few months, the illegal boarding crossings from Mexico to the U S have decreased almost 75% the vast majority of those migrants come from central America. He attributes part of the success to Mexico's investments in central America to create jobs in the region. I am thrilled that he will set Avantis in Mexico city. Speaker 1: 05:16 Last week we told you that signature gatherers were registering voters for a new political party without their knowledge or consent. Now, KPBS investigative reporter Claire [inaudible] says that reporting has led to a criminal complaint. KPBS found that at least 30 people listed as common sense. Party members had never heard of the party and had no idea they were registering as party members. All were signed up by paid signature gatherers. Now state assembly woman Lorena Gonzales has asked the district attorney's office to do an investigation into KPBS is reporting. She was troubled by KPBS is finding that the majority registered commonsense voters were young and from lower income urban communities that she represents, including Barrio Logan and city Heights Speaker 8: 06:05 communities where voters aren't always as engaged. They're busy, they're working multiple jobs or trying to get by. I wanted to know why and how it could be corrected. Speaker 1: 06:13 One of the organizers told KPBS that party leaders are already working to inform their members and get to the bottom of what happened. Claire Trigere, sir KPBS news, the San Diego registrar of voters also received complaints about common sense party registrations that they referred to the secretary of state's office and the district attorney's office. It's not always easy to tell if the water you're drinking is safe, but ways to check include lab testing and filters and interestingly, Ecolab bacteria, KPBS science and technology reporter Shalina Celani spoke to San Diego scientists behind a new bacteria based water sensing technology. Speaker 8: 06:54 It's lunchtime, it's San Diego's Edison elementary school on a December afternoon and the kids are excited. It's well known that what children consume here will impact them from the teriyaki chicken to the drinking water at the nearby fountain. Even small amounts of contamination and water like mud can permanently damage a child brain and body. Speaker 9: 07:17 You don't have to look very far to find Flint, Michigan and see what high levels of lead in the drinking water did to the people who live there. Speaker 8: 07:24 Sam or Naji is a facilities manager with the San Diego unified school district. He's referring to a water crisis in Flint, Michigan. That began in 2014 when thousands of school children and residents were exposed to lead and other toxins in the city's water system. It was a wake up call for cities and school districts nationwide, including San Diego unified. Speaker 9: 07:45 We quickly asked the city of San Diego to come and pull up to five samples of water from every single district school. Most of our sample results were okay, but you know, working with parents, we really wanted to do better. Speaker 8: 07:56 Since 2017 the district has tested thousands of water fountains and taps. It also reports levels of lead well below what the government requires. But Naji says it's hard to monitor lead and other heavy metals continuously. Speaker 9: 08:10 Our testing protocols are incredibly strict and that that's time consuming, right to to secure the water fountains for a night to test the next day, to send it to the laboratory, allow that laboratory to conduct their analysis and send back results. Speaker 8: 08:21 So contamination may not be detected as it's happening. The problem is larger tests can be expensive and time consuming and cheaper tests may only be able to detect a few contaminants at one time. This situation is an issue for any water system where people and children can be exposed to toxins. That's why San Diego researchers look for a solution at a UC San Diego lab. Bioengineer Lizzie's to shell ski open. It's a per machine. So this is the singer instrument that we use to spot the cells thanks to the [inaudible]. So this instrument and its ability to precisely place tiny drops of cell matter. This device can hold 2000 different strains of live eco lie. These eco lie, which are not harmful to humans each have a special property. So we've genetically modified the equal eye to light up when a specific metal is present and under a special light, they glow such Husky points to openings on the chip or you see these dots, that's where the metals go in. Speaker 8: 09:17 And then the cells will respond to the presence of the metals by fluorescing bacteria interacts with metals, but usually tests with bacteria only sends one metal at a time. So researchers built this device with thousands of genetically modified bacteria types to detect many toxins at once and in real time. And you would plug it in with media provided and then hook up a water line to it and it would run, the cartridge is placed inside a box. There's a sensor that takes a picture and captures the equal lie as they interact with the metals so it can tell what's there and how much of it the box records and presents those results. But since the eco lie are alive, the owner would have to replace the cartridge with new bacteria every two weeks to a month. So Chelsea says this research took years to complete, but she believes it can have an impact helping people check their water around the clock and so does Natalie Cookson founder of the startup, quantitative bio-sciences in Sorento Valley we're trying to do is basically make it a much more robust system that you can rely on out in the field. Speaker 8: 10:19 Since 2015 employees at this company have been trying to turn the sensor into a product anyone can get access to, you could deploy our S our sensor in an area of concern where you might have, you know, lead contamination coming and going that way you would catch the event, you know right when it happened. Cookson says the company plans to deploy a sensor at a government site this year. Right now the package costs around $5,000 she says the company wants to collect more data to show that the sensor works in the field and they want to make it smaller and cheaper so more people can buy it. We could get one of these in every, you know, drinking fountain at schools for example, or even in homes. In the meantime, back at San Diego unified facilities manager, [inaudible] says he's definitely interested in following this technology. That's because clean water is so important for the health and growth. The kids like the ones at Edison elementary, Shelina Celani, KPBS muse. That's it for San Diego. News matters today. Consider supporting this podcast by becoming a KPBS member today. Just go to kpbs.org/membership.

Image_from_iOS_56_t600.jpg
UCSD researchers are finding ways to boost the life and power of lithium batteries. Plus, San Diego mourns the death of George Walker Smith, a leader in the black community. And people under coronavirus quarantine in San Diego will get to go home.