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

Crocuses sprang up with February's warmth, but got frozen in March.
Elsa Partan

For the start of spring, we thought we’d look back at the wacky weather we’ve been having over the past two months. Like the 71-degree Fahrenheit day in Boston on February 24, which set the record for the warmest day for that city for the month of February. Or the February 27th tornado in Western Massachusetts. Or the radical swing to arctic temperatures in March.

The FlavoRx pilot study provided at-risk patients with prescriptions worth $30 at a farmer's market.
Francie Randolph / Sustainable CAPE

We all know that we’d be healthier if we ate more fruits and vegetables. Your doctor may have suggested that. But few of us actually do anything about it. But would that change if you actually got a prescription that covered the cost of fresh, locally-grown produce? That was the question at the heart of a recent pilot project on Cape Cod, called FlavoRx.

One reason nuclear power plants are expensive is concrete.
Petr Adamek / Public Domain

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant is scheduled to close in 2019, and there are many who would like to see it shut down sooner. But that leaves a significant gap in southern New England’s energy supply. And, love it or hate it, nuclear power is a source of electricity with a much smaller carbon footprint than fossil fuels.

DIYbio Boston at the Cambridge Science Festival, a partner for this year's Science on the Street Cape Cod.
Mackenzie Cowell

We’re used to hearing about upcoming concerts and movies. This weekend, there’s another option - called Science on the Street. Think art or food festival, but with science instead. Jill Neumayer-DePiper, director of Cape Cod Regional STEM Network, shared what it's all about.

Alecia Orsini / WCAI

12:55pm - It's snowing harder, temperatures are dropping, and roads are getting sloppy. Martha's Vineyard tops the current snow totals, with 4.5-6 inches. Nantucket has about 3 inches on the ground, while accumulation on the Cape and Coast range from 2 to 6 inches.

It's wet, heavy snow, so power outages are a concern. So far, National Grid is reporting fifty customers without power on Nantucket; no outages reported across the remainder of the region.

http://students.brown.edu/seeing-theory/index.html

From Wall Street to the weather, statistics are a routine part of modern daily life. Statistical analysis is also critical to scientific advancement. And yet, even among scientists, there's a lack of understanding about how statistical tests work and what the results mean.

The group "500 Women Scientists" has nearly 17,000 members.
https://500womenscientists.org/#we-are-scientists

Shortly after last fall’s election, there was a rash of open letters from various groups within the science community asking for a range of things - strong climate policy, science-based policy, and multicultural diversity. One such letter came from a group that calls themselves 500 Women Scientists.

That name quickly became a misnomer as more than ten thousand women scientists signed the letter in a matter of weeks. Four months later, nearly 17,000 women have signed.

Arctic sea ice is on the decline, and some scientists are starting to think about a post-ice Arctic.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Each month, we check in with the crew at Nature Podcast to see what stories they've been thinking - and talking - about. Topping the list this month are stories that span some four billion years, from the beginning of life on Earth to what the Arctic of the future will look like:

The Gulf Oil Spill highlighted the need for better working relationships between academic scientists, industry, and government.
U.S. Coast Guard / Public Domain

War is generally pretty bad for the environment, and, understandably, the environment is not one of the military’s top priorities when at war. But more Navy officials are now asking questions about how to tread a bit more lightly on the environment, and some are getting scientists outside the military involved.

Chris Reddy is one example. He's a marine chemist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who specializes in oil spills, and last year, he got an email from a Navy lieutenant commander asking for his help.

The hippocampus is part of the brain responsible for forming and storing memories. In fourteen cases, opioid use has been linked to complete shutdown of blood flow to the region.
Gray's Anatomy / Wikimedia Commons, public domain

As if the epidemic of opioid addiction and overdoses isn’t bad enough, a new study finds that – in a very small number of cases – opioid use has been linked to profound memory loss. It’s kind of a medical mystery story that started in November of 2015. That’s when Dr. Jed Barash, a neurologist at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, MA, brought four patients to the attention of officials at the Department of Public Health. 

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