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

Brian Garrett, Creative Commons

On The Point, we hear about the highlights of the season in the world of birds. From hummingbird feeders to  the night calls of migrating songbirds, Mark Faherty, ornithologist and science coordinator at the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, gives us the monthly update. Heather Goldstone hosts.

Some of the bills under consideration in Mass. would encourage electric vehicle use.
Wikicommons/http://bit.ly/2vxO7cC

When the U.S. withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord in June, it marked a pause in federal action on clean energy. But individual states have already been taking the lead in this area for some time.

The Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC) has just put together a wrap-up of legislation that has come out of the 2017 sessions in the six New England States.

In Massachusetts, about 100 energy-related bills were filed in the last legislative session.  

One line in a budget proposal would move NOAA to a new department.
NOAA/http://bit.ly/2hCXi5u

Budgetary negotiations in Congress are tedious affairs, but can also be enlightening.

We’ve been following the Congressional reporters at E&E News and caught this line in a recent report about the House budget proposal:

“The budget also calls for unspecified savings from a Commerce Department reorganization, which would include moving NOAA into the Interior Department.”

Exomoons have become a hot topic for research using the Hubble telescope.
NASA/JSC

Living Lab Radio talks regularly with reporters at the journal Nature to get an update on the stories they've been following. Here's our latest roundup of news with London-based reporter Davide Castelvecchi.

·      CRISPR gene editing scores a major success in human embryos 

·      How a satellite snafu masked the true extent of sea-level rise

The Brookings Institution is studying the geography of happiness.
Elsa Partan

It’s no secret that there are deep social and political divides in the U.S. What’s less clear, is what is driving the polarization.

Carol Graham has spent the past decade studying quality of life and happiness around the globe. She’s the Leo Pasvolsky Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and College Park Professor at University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy.

Anne Brunet is identifying the mechanisms of aging.
Stanford University / http://bit.ly/2hhlHxh

Death may be inevitable. But what about aging? If we could figure out what biological switches get flipped to start the process of decline, could we reverse it? Even prevent it?

Repeated head trauma during football is linked to increased risk of neurodenerative disease, CTE.
Tech. Sgt. Larry A. Simmons / U. S. Air Force

There’s more evidence that playing football can lead to permanent brain damage. But the problem likely isn’t as prevalent as many media accounts have suggested.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease associated with repeated head trauma. Symptoms include dementia and mood or behavioral disorders. It was first described in boxers several decades ago, but has been found in NFL players in the past five years.

Smartphone use before bed can affect sleep quality.
Public domain

Dr. Saul Rosenthal, a clinical health psychologist from Newton, Massachusetts, saw his first patient with internet addiction about 12 years ago. He says it's a problem that's on the rise, and a particularly difficult one to diagnose and treat.

"Off The River - Journal Entry" is one of Robert Perkins' multi-media pieces in the "Risk in the Marine Environment" exhibit.
Courtesy of Robert Perkins / Sargent Gallery

Human activities are altering rivers and ocean ecosystems in dramatic ways. Science is one way of knowing this, and of communicating it. But it’s not always the most effective way.

Robert F. Perkins is a multimedia artist who has been solo canoeing in the Arctic for close to thirty years. He’s also canoed the Limpopo River in Africa, and the Connecticut River – right here in our own backyard.

Not surprisingly, he says there's a common theme: more people, more contamination and degradation.

Mud plumes follow Gulf of Mexico shrimp trawlers like con trails follow airplanes.
NASA image by Jesse Allen, data from Univ. Maryland Global Land Cover Facility. / Public Domain

Roughly a fifth of all fish eaten globally are caught using nets towed along the bottom of the ocean. There’s long been concern that this method – known as trawling – destroys or severely damages the ecosystems where it’s used. Now, a new meta-analysis of the science available on this topic offers some quantification of the impacts of different type of trawls.  

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