Living Lab on The Point

Mondays at 9am and 7pm

Living Lab on The Point is a forum for the stories behind science headlines — the people who do the research, the unexpected ways that science gets done, and how the results make their way into our everyday lives.

Do you have a story or photo to share? Send it to livinglabradio@capeandislands.org. Or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

Host and producer Dr. Heather Goldstone.
Credit Maura Longueil

Living Lab on The Point is Produced by Heather Goldstone and Elsa Partan. The Executive Producer is Mindy Todd.

Major support for the Living Lab is provided by The Kendeda Fund: furthering the values that contrubute to a healthy planet. Additional support is provided by Lee McGraw and the Elizabeth B. McGraw Foundation.

J. Junker

Are you addicted to your smartphone? Many of us certainly feel drawn to our electronic devices - and the array of information and activities they offer - in a way we feel uncomfortable admitting. And, while there's some controversy about whether or not the term "addiction" is appropriate, there is growing evidence that things like posting on Facebook can elicit the same brain response as an addictive substance.

Luke Wroblewski / flickr, https://goo.gl/sZ7V7x

An estimated seventy two percent of adults in the United States own a smartphone. For most, they are a handy tool for keeping track of the kids and checking the weather. But, for a growing number, smartphones have become a problem - a conduit to potentially addictive games and social media.

Which category do you fall into? Try answering these questions, giving yourself one point for each "yes" answer. Do you find yourself:

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.

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.

Pages