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

Ivanka Trump appeared at a campaign event with her father just weeks before her third child was born. Trump has proposed a federal paid parental leave policy.
Marc Nozell / Creative Commons https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

Women are well-represented in the early stages of academic science, and even outnumber men in some Ph.D. programs. But when it comes to the most senior jobs in science, men still outnumber women, sometimes by more than two to one. Could Ivanka Trump's paid parental leave proposal help stem the loss of women from science?

Healthcare workers during the West African Ebola oubreak.
Image Courtesy: European Commission DG ECHO / Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

Ebola is back. The virus killed more than 11,000 people between 2014 and 2016. It was the largest Ebola outbreak ever documented. Now, health officials say there’s a new outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Officials are reporting four deaths and more than thirty suspected cases of Ebola in the past two weeks. They are also monitoring more than 400 individuals who came into contact with those patients. Still, because the area is so remote, officials say the risk of the outbreak spreading beyond national borders is low to medium.

Commercialization of scientific advances won't happen in Russia under Vladimir Putin, according to Prof. Loren Graham.
Wikicommons / http://bit.ly/2pEjZdf

Nearly 60 years ago, the Russians were the first to put a satellite into space. They were the ones to beat in the space race. But the collapse of the Soviet Union brought about the near collapse of Russian science, and it hasn’t recovered since.

CC0 Public Domain

Anyone who's spent any time with a kid between the ages of five and fifteen recently has probably encountered a fidget spinner. These flat, three-pronged, spinning toys are marketed as ways to help autistic students or those with ADHD focus by giving the hands something to do. However, some schools have banned fidget spinners because, well, they're too interesting. They actually grab kids' attention.

Secretary Tillerson Signs the Scientific Cooperation Agreement at the 10th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Fairbanks, AK.
U.S. Air Force / Public Domain

The Arctic Council held their tenth annual ministerial meeting last week and adopted a science cooperation agreement that puts climate change front and center. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed that agreement, but also told council members that the U.S. will not rush and will “work to make the right decision for the United States” when it comes to climate policies.

Neurobiologist Hired at Art Museum

May 15, 2017
The Peabody Essex Museum has hired neurobiologist Tedi Asher to help enhance exhibits
Peabody Essex Museum, http://bit.ly/2pTl0tl

Scientists are constantly learning more about how our brains process information, including how we perceive art.

Now, the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem is breaking new ground by hiring a neurobiologist to help them enhance their exhibits.

The Harvard-trained neurobiologist, Tedi Asher, says the museum has already tried out many experimental changes that make sense to her, such as incorporating dance, music, special lighting and even smells to the exhibits.

The Phoenix Islands Protected Area in the Repbublic of Kiribati gives some ocean watchers reason for optimism
Sea Education Association / bit.ly/2ramaT0

What if saving the oceans is a matter of changing our mindset?

That’s the question nagging at Jeff Wescott, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole.

“One thing that really interests me is how the ocean compels us to think about the future,” Wescott told Living Lab Radio. “It’s sort of a medium for thinking about where we are going as a species.”

Juvenile sugar kelp on an Ocean Approved farm in the Gulf of Maine.
Brittney Honisch / Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

We tend to think of spring as planting time, but kelp farmers in the Gulf of Maine are in the midst of their annual harvest right now. Growers and ocean researchers say kelp could be a huge win-win-win – improving the local environment, boosting other fisheries, and all while providing a saleable food source.

Ten  years ago, there were no kelp farms in the northeast. Now, there are more than a dozen. So, what gives?

A layer of wood chips may be a low-cost way to improve nitrogen removal by septic systems.
Florida Department of Environmental Protection

According to the EPA, more than 26 million households in the U.S. rely on septic systems to treat their wastewater. That’s more than one in five. Septic systems are most prevalent in New England, but they’re also pretty common in the southeast and northwest. And there's a reason for that: they’re a relatively low cost option for small communities.

Researchers are naming landmarks on Mars after their favorite places in the state of Maine.
NASA, J. Bell (Cornell U.) and M. Wolff (SSI) / Public Domain

There’s a lot of news out there to sift through. Science news is no exception. Here are five stories from the past month that are worth a quick read (or listen):

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