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

Those backing up government climate data estimate they need five petabytes - five million gigabytes - of storage.
Peter Brantley/flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

Universities, research centers, and science-related professional organizations have been vocal in opposition to the travel and immigration restrictions imposed by President Trump last weekend. They’ve also expressed concern about early White House directives that barred public communication by employees of the USDA and EPA. Others within the science community didn’t wait for President Trump to take office before acting.

Over the past two weeks, President Trump's executive actions have crowded just about everything else out of the news. But, despite widespread anxiety about the new administration's attitude toward science, research is still chugging along. And, last week, we got a great glimpse of true scientific skepticism at work.

A honeybee with full pollen baskets on the hind legs.
Joan Muller / WBNERR

It’s estimated that somewhere between a quarter and a third of the food we eat requires the help of pollinators, like honeybees. Unfortunately, beekeepers have been reporting dire declines in bee populations in recent years, and several species of bees have been added to the Endangered Species List in recent months.

There is a whole host of likely culprits, including habitat loss and pesticides. But bee researcher and advocate Noah Wilson-Rich points the finger squarely at one event in the year 1987.

Salt Marshes Help Keep Us Above Water

Jan 23, 2017
A salt marsh on Plum Island, Mass.
S. Bond

We’ve learned recently from scientists at Umass Amherst that New England will probably experience more warming than the rest of the planet in the near future.

Wiki Commons

Over the past several years, climate change has gained a reputation as a liberal agenda item. It wasn't always that way; it was President George H. W. Bush who brought the U.S. into international climate negotiations in 1992. Today, many GOP legislators reject the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change. But that science is clear – human activities are disrupting the global climate system, and that poses risks to people and institutions of all political persuasions.

By United States National Institute of Health: Heart, Llung and Blood Institute [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A new study this week finds that a regional carbon cap and trade system has saved hundreds of lives and billions of dollars for New Englanders. Officials from the nine participating states are currently working out the future of the program.

By Professor Ken Miller - Professor Ken Miller, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25498901

On certain issues – not all, but some – the science is clear: evolution gave rise to the diversity of life on Earth; climate change is happening, and humans are largely responsible; and vaccines do not cause autism. And yet, significant portions of the American public reject these scientific realities. 

“No one looks at scientific findings, scientific results from a completely objective point of view,” said Kenneth Miller, professor of biology at Brown University and author of Finding Darwin’s God, and Only a Theory – Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul.

Top Science Stories of 2016

Jan 2, 2017
Wiki Commons

Gravitational waves, the Zika virus, and finding water in unexpected places in the solar system were some of the biggest science stories of 2016. In the U.S., it was also a year that highlighted the strained relationship between science and politics.

Climate change and other science policy questions were almost absent from the presidential campaign. The election of Donald Trump came as a surprise to most political pundits and sent scientists scrambling to find out more about the incoming Trump administration’s take on key science issues.

Hana Kučová / http://hanakucova.cz/

As the new year begins, you may be planning to make some changes. And, as a nation, we seem to be in a state of flux – socially and politically. Following through on resolutions and staying sane in a rapidly changing world takes more than will-power and positive thinking.

Here are three tips based on the latest science of psychology and neurobiology:

Wiki Commons

With Christmas coming up on Sunday, a bit of planetary news related to Christmas caught our attention. The Star of Bethlehem that was seen by the Magi might not have been a star at all, but a rare planetary alignment.