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.

Major support for the Living Lab is provided by the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment. Additional support is provided by Lee McGraw and the Elizabeth B. McGraw Foundation and by the Kendeda Fund.

From Left: Alecia Orsini, Heather Goldstone, Jenny Junker
Credit Maura Connolly Longueil

Living Lab Radio on The Point is Produced by Dr. Heather Goldstone, with Production Assistance with Jenny Junker and Alecia Orsini. The Executive Producer is Mindy Todd.

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Science & Environment
6:11 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Arctic Spring: Chasing an Elusive Algal Bloom

Top: Ken Golden and Chris Polashenski measure the ice core temperature. Bottom: Melosira, an ice algae diatom that lives in the sea ice and forms long chains.
Credit Amanda Kowalski & Chelsea Clarke

Science - like life - doesn't always go according to plan. An Arctic expedition this year met with political and meteorological obstacles, and ended with a Coast Guard rescue.

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Science & Environment
9:57 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Science at Burning Man

Alecia looks at a Circuit Tree out on the Playa
Carl Rhodes

Each year, tens of thousands of people from around the country make their way to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert for a week-long festival known as Burning Man. It’s a celebration of art and self-expression, but it’s also permeated with science and technology. WCAI on-air host and Living Lab production assistant Alecia Orsini went to Burning Man this year with a mission – to find all the science she could. 

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Science & Environment
8:52 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Breaking Down the Dust

What is Playa Dust made of?
Alecia Orsini

Burning Man is a week long festival in August that takes place in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. It's a harsh environment to live and camp for a week, but Burners (what you call someone who goes to Burning Man) live for the challenge. One of the defining elements of the experience is the Black Rock Playa, the desert itself. Unlike most deserts, it is a dusty alkali flat from an ancient ocean or lake bed.

Two Burners from Medford Massachusetts, upon studying the chemicals that make up the dusty playa, concluded that they should be able to make glass from the dust. 

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Science & Environment
12:45 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

How Online Video Games Could Change the World

FoldIt is an online game in which players try to fold proteins into the functional forms.
Credit foldit.wikia.com

Americans spend billions - in both dollars and hours - on video games each year. What if all that time and money produced knowledge that could benefit humanity?

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Science & Environment
11:35 am
Mon September 29, 2014

And The Nobel Prize Goes To ...

The 2014 Nobel Laureates will be announced next week. Here are some of the names you might expect to hear.

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Energy Issues
2:30 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

New Bedford Solar Farm Sits Atop EPA Superfund Site

Solar panels sit atop concrete pads at Sullivan's Ledge Solar Farm
Brian Morris/WCAI

A new solar energy farm in New Bedford is designed to power more than 200 homes. But this particular solar array sits atop a Superfund site. And it's taken a lot of coordinated effort at the local, State and Federal levels to make the project happen. 

On a crisp and clear Friday afternoon, more than 5,000 sleek new solar panels slant skyward at the 11-acre Sullivan's Ledge site in New Bedford. With New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell and others looking on, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy touted the fact that a polluted site could now be put to good use.

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Science & Environment
1:25 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Building Moral Robots, With Whose Morals?

BEAR, or Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot, is designed to help soldiers in need. But other robots could take on roles as combatants.
Credit Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center

Giving robots morals may sound like a good idea, but it's a pursuit fraught with its own moral dilemmas. Like, whose morals?

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Science & Environment
12:18 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

LISTEN: Can You Name These Sci Fi Robots?

The Star Trek android, Data, and his emotionally unstable brother, Lore.
Credit en.memory-alpha.org

Science fiction is full of robots, and many of them are murderous nightmares.

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Science & Environment
5:06 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Fifteen minutes with the Lobster Boat Blockaders

The blockade
Credit nigeriatechnology.com

On a sunny May morning back in 2013, Jay O’Hara and Ken Ward used a 32-foot lobster boat – plus a 200 lb anchor – to prevent a barge from delivering 40,000 tons of coal to New England’s largest fossil-fuel burning power plant – the Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset, Massachusetts. The two were subsequently arraigned on four criminal charges, including conspiracy and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

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Science & Environment
2:00 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Why We Should Be Paying More Attention to Methane

Natural gas often co-occurs with oil and is burned off by oil producers.
Credit Varodrig / Flickr

Methane. It's the other greenhouse gas - less common and shorter-lived than carbon dioxide, but also a much more potent heat trapper.

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