Elsa Partan

Producer for Living Lab

Elsa Partan is a producer for Living Lab Radio. She first came to the station in 2002 as an intern and fell in love with radio. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. From 2006 to 2009, she covered the state of Wyoming for the NPR member station Wyoming Public Media in Laramie. She was a newspaper reporter at The Mashpee Enterprise from 2010 to 2013. She lives in Falmouth with her husband and two daughters.
 

Ways to Connect

UAW / https://bit.ly/2I4px9g

Academics make up almost a sixth of the United Auto Workers’ union members. Teaching and research assistants at Harvard this month became the latest (and one of the largest) student groups to join the UAW. Meanwhile, graduate students at Columbia University went on strike last week to demand the university recognize their union.

Niilo Isotalo / https://bit.ly/2rae6CI

A new survey finds that seventy percent of Americans think climate change is happening, and nearly sixty percent understand that it is largely human-caused. That puts us back approximately where we were ten years ago, before politics and economics eroded public acceptance of climate change.

Mary Woesner

Children of the Cold War grew up ducking under their desks to practice for the possibility of a nuclear attack. Now, nine out of ten public schools hold lockdown drills to prepare for an active shooter scenario. One psychiatrist wonders if we know enough about the long-term mental health effects of forcing kids to confront, even act out, these violent and deadly threats.

A new proposed rule would bar EPA from considering scientific studies that don’t release their data publicly or that haven’t been independently verified. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt says the rule would increase transparency, strengthen the science behind EPA regulations, and end the era of ‘secret science.’ But the rule has prompted strong condemnation from the science community.

SpaceX

On Wednesday, April 18th, NASA launched a science satellite aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket for the first time.  After the launch, SpaceX managed to pull off its signature move, landing the first stage of the rocket booster on a barge.

Mike Eklund / American Museum of Natural History

 

A fossil found in Kansas seventy years ago has been identified as a large cartilaginous fish, like a shark or a ray. That wouldn’t be so noteworthy if the same fossil hadn’t already been identified, twice – first as a green alga, and then as a squid or cuttlefish.

pbslearningmedia.org

Forty thousand years ago, a massive volcanic eruption in southern Italy devastated what today is Europe. And yet, the culture of the early humans who lived there persisted. Now, archeologists say the key was long-distance trade and social networking.

greenpeace.org.uk

Japanese scientists announced this past week that they had not only discovered bacteria that naturally digest the PET plastic used to make many water bottles, they had also genetically modified them to make them better at breaking down plastic. Headlines made it seem like our plastic pollution woes were over.

NOAA

The North Atlantic right whale was once seen as an inexhaustible natural resource. It was hunted for its oil and enriched New England. That ended one-hundred years ago, but the right whale’s numbers have never been the same. Now, the whales that are left are in direct conflict with the harvesting of another rich natural resource: lobsters. 

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

The twilight zone. It’s not just a spooky 1960s television series. It’s what scientists call the part of the ocean between about 600 and 3000 feet below the surface. It’s deep, it’s dark (thus, the name), and it’s relatively unstudied. But it may be home to more life than the rest of the ocean, combined, and also key to the ocean’s ability to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

UMass Boston

Severe coastal flooding during storms in January and March of this year jolted Massachusetts residents and officials into an unwelcome awareness of just how vulnerable we are to rising sea levels. Last month, Governor Baker announced a 1.4 billion dollar bond bill to finance climate resilience efforts.

baa.org

Not all marathoners are twenty-somethings, or even forty-somethings. Last year, the oldest finisher in the Boston Marathon was eighty four years old. This year, a seventy-nine year old three-time cancer survivor is running the race. What is the secret of these older athletes?

William & Mary Virginia Institute of Marine Science

The severe coastal flooding brought by storms in January and March has drawn renewed attention to the issue of sea level rise, and how prepared or unprepared we are for it.  

Official poster from the March for Science

Last April, tens – if not hundreds – of thousands of scientists and science enthusiasts took to the streets in the first March for Science. This year, there will again be marches. But the March for Science has changed – from a volunteer-led protest to a global network of science advocacy groups. 

An 18th-century woodcut from a religious tract

New England isn’t exactly a major earthquake hotspot, but we do get small earthquakes every year. A magnitude 2.7 rattled New Hampshire and parts of Massachusetts in mid-February just this year.

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