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

Winning a war takes more than guns. The need to keep soldiers safe and healthy have prompted researchers to explore everything from Kevlar underwear to laundry-free uniforms and shark repellents (no luck, yet, on that front). In her new book, Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, Mary Roach goes behind the scenes with the scientists trying to make life a bit better for soldiers.

Contagious leukemia was first documented in soft-shell steamer clams.
Michael J. Metzger / Columbia University

Researchers at Columbia University reported this week that they’ve found transmissible leukemia in mussels, cockles, and golden carpet shell clams, doubling the number of known contagious cancers. Soft-shelled clams also get the disease. The other two examples of contagious cancer are a facial tumor in Tasmanian devils, and a venereal cancer in dogs.

Antikythera team members Nikolas Giannoulakis, Theotokis Theodoulou, and Brendan Foley inspect small finds from the Shipwreck while decompressing after a dive to 50 m (265 feet).
Brett Seymour / EUA/WHOI/ARGO

Archeologists have discovered a second shipwreck at the site of the Greek wreck known as the Antikythera. That site became famous for the oldest-known computer, dating back to 65 B.C. But underwater archeologist Brendan Foley of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution suspected the wreck had more to offer.

Phillip Tracey holds up food waste waiting to be mashed and fed into the anaerobic digester at Stop and Shop's Green Energy Faciity in Freetown, MA.
Heather Goldstone / WCAI

Massachusetts officials say we’re on a path to zero waste, and it starts with what’s on your plate. Food waste is the single largest component of our trash and a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. A recently enacted food waste ban is forcing large institutions to find alternatives to throwing away food.

In our homes and offices, we are surrounded by chemical products - flame retardants, floor polishes, household cleaners - few of which have been tested for safety.
Home2home / Wikimedia Commons

A major overhaul of a federal chemical safety law recently passed both the House and Senate with overwhelming majorities. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act has been hailed as a bipartisan success and a major step forward. But environmental health advocates say there are still reasons for concern, or at least caution.

Lead author Laifang Li, with co-authors Ray Schmitt and Caroline Ummenhofer.
Jayne Doucette / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

We all love to malign the weather man. But it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate the knowledge and technology that enables forecasts for not only next week, but next month and even years to come. For example, New England is expected to see a warmer – and possible wetter – than usual summer. A major factor in those kinds of predictions is typically ocean temperatures. Now, researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution say they have a better way to make seasonal rainfall predictions, and it’s based on salinity rather than temperature of the ocean.

Forest damage from the hurricane of 1938.
Forest History Society

On September 21, 1938, New England was slammed by a hurricane that remains the most damaging weather event to ever hit the region. The category 2 hurricane hit New England moving fifty miles per hour, and plowed a path straight up the Connecticut River valley to Vermont. Arriving at high tide, and on the heels of an unrelated rain storm, it caused extensive coastal and inland flooding. Hundreds were killed, and the damage - largely uninsured - cost the equivalent of $5 billion to repair.

Kevin Harrington
UMass Amherst

Kevin Harrington recently made headlines for finding the brightest galaxies known to astronomy – galaxies so luminous they were thought impossible. The discovery is important, but what makes the feat extraordinary is that Harrington was still an undergraduate at the time, working in the laboratory of astronomy professor Min Yun at U Mass Amherst. 

Spiral orb webs showing some colours in the sunlight in a gorge in Karijini National Park, Western Australia.
Bjørn Christian Tørrissen / http://bjornfree.com/galleries.html, CC BY-SA 3.0

Cheryl Hayashi loves spiders, so much so that she says being asked to name a favorite is like asking a mother to pick which child she loves most. She challenges even arachnophobes to not crack a smile at jumping spiders' "teddy bear"-like cuteness. But it's not their good looks that attracts Hayashi, professor and vice chair of biology at University of California, Riverside, to spiders. It's their silk.

A network analysis shows that Democratic (blue) and Republican (red) Senators inhabit distinct Twitter-spheres, with only a few cross-overs (purple).
Helmuth et al. / Climate Change Responses

It’s not exactly breaking news that Democratic and Republican legislators are deeply divided on the issue of climate change. Now, a new study by researchers at Northeastern University suggests it may not be just climate change, but science as a whole, that has become a wedge issue in Congress. And they used an unusual tool to arrive at their result: Twitter.