Heather Goldstone

Science Editor and Host of Living Lab

Heather Goldstone is science editor at WCAI and host of Living Lab on The Point, a weekly show exploring how science gets done and makes its way into our daily lives. Goldstone holds a Ph.D. in ocean science from M.I.T. and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and spent a decade as researcher before leaving the lab to pursue journalism. She has reported extensively on Woods Hole’s unique scientific community and key environmental issues on Cape Cod. Her stories have appeared in outlets ranging from Cape Cod Times and Commercial Fishery News to NPR and PBS News Hour. Most recently, Goldstone hosted Climatide.org, an NPR-sponsored blog exploring present-day impacts of climate change on coastal life.

Ways to Connect

World Climate Simulation pairs mock U.N. negotiations with a climate model that shows participants the likely result of their actions.
Courtesy of John Sterman / Climate Interactive

In the two and a half weeks since President Trump announced that the US would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, there’s been a lot of speculation about how the rest of the world will respond, and whether they can address climate change without the U.S. on board. An MIT researcher plans to test exactly this idea with a simulation this Thursday.

Most Android smartphone apps are sharing personal data with third party services, without permission from users.
https://goo.gl/x2itWP / CC0 Public Domain

The last time you downloaded a new app for your phone, you probably gave it permission to access some of your personal data, like photos, contacts, or your location. After all, what good is a mapping app that doesn't know where you are? But what you likely didn't know is that an estimated seven out of ten Android apps are sharing personal data with third party services, like Google Analytics.

Incorporating renewable energy and improving grid performance are some of the challenges before ARPA-E, a federal agency tasked with revolutionizing our energy system.
Kenueone https://goo.gl/Jo62kw / CC0 Public Domain

Eight years ago, ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy) was founded to be the DARPA of energy research – a place where the best and brightest could find funding for high risk, high reward ideas with the potential to revolutionize our energy system. President Trump has said this is a job for the private sector, and has proposed zeroing out the agency. Now, a new report from the National Academy of Sciences weighs in on whether ARPA-E is living up to expectations.

Does your dog know what you're feeling? Or do you just think he does?
https://goo.gl/Wxb8aD / CC0 Public Domain

How many times have you been in a conversation and found yourself trying to figure out what the other person is thinking? It’s quintessentially human, but is thinking about others’ minds uniquely human? And, if not, what can other animals teach us about this phenomenon?

Our ability to think about what’s going on inside other people’s heads is called theory of mind.

Harvard University

For many in the developed world, life before vaccines and antibiotics is hard to imagine, let alone remember. In a mere matter of decades, we have rapidly reduced the risk of death from common infections and even eliminated some deadly diseases. But disease-causing organisms are fighting back, evolving ways to survive our biomedical weapons.

As water temperatures rise, southern New England is losing its lobsters.
Derek Keats, Wikimedia Commons / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

When it comes to the iconic fisheries of New England, lobster is a close second only to cod. But lobsters are not faring well in the waters off southern New England. In fact, on a ten-point scale, lobster biologist Kari Lavalli of Boston University puts the population at a three.

Beth Casoni, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen's Association, says lobsters south and west of Cape Cod have faced “a multitude of stressors.” Lavalli agrees, but points the finger primarily at climate change. Both say this is definitely not the fault of those who catch and eat lobsters.

Loral O'Hara, a research engineer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, is one of twelve new NASA astronaut candidates.
Courtesy of NASA / Public Domain

NASA's new class of astronaut candidates will likely have a shot at being among the first humans to visit Mars. That, plus media coverage of commercial space flight and a major social media push, may have contributed to a record 18,300 applicants. In the end, twelve were selected, including Loral O'Hara, a research engineer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (for two more months).

Art Caplan of NYU
New York University

Cystic fibrosis is a common genetic disease, relatively speaking. About one in 25 to 30 Caucasians are carriers of a cystic fibrosis mutation. But there are more than 1,700 mutations of the cystic fibrosis gene that can result in different disease symptoms.

Researchers and companies working on cystic fibrosis treatments are increasingly paying attention to which mutations a patient carries, and tailoring drugs to certain mutations.

In the past year or so, we’ve seen the rise of phrases like post-truth, alternative facts, and fake news. Many point the finger at the internet – a place where just about anyone can post just about anything they want, and where it’s easy to find information supporting your preconceived notions, no matter what those notions are.

Self-folding pasta could significantly cut the cost and carbon footprint of shipping dried pasta - a multi-billion dollar industry in the U.S.
Courtesy of Transformative Appetite / MIT Media Lab

President Trump has clearly signaled that his administration won't make an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but one initiative he proposed this week might do just that. And other cuts could come from unexpected places.

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