Living Lab Radio

Mondays at 9am and 7pm

Living Lab Radio 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.

Host and producer Dr. Heather Goldstone.
Credit Maura Longueil

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Living Lab Radio is produced by Heather Goldstone and Elsa Partan. The executive producer is Mindy Todd.

President Trump's announcement last week that he will withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement was not unexpected. Besides the fact that the news was leaked to the press a day in advance, Trump has been promising to do this since he was on the campaign trail. But Trump’s blatant disregard for climate science and his description of the Paris Agreement, itself, has drawn criticism from the science community.

Courtesy of Woods Hole Research Center

Reaction to President Trump’s announcement last week that he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement has been widely critical. Perhaps surprisingly, some of the harshest criticism is coming from within President Trump's own party, from an increasingly vocal core of Conservative climate activists.

John Holdren, President Obama’s top science advisor and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for eight years, described the decision as “unfortunate” – an eight or nine on a scale of one to ten, where ten is catastrophic.

The Juno mission is helping to uncover Jupiter's secrets.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/ Roman Tkachenko

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

  • An Ebola vaccine has been approved for use in ongoing outbreak, though there’s no decision yet on whether to deploy it.

A great white shark attacks a seal decoy off Cape Cod.
Courtesy of Brian Skerry

For decades, public perceptions of sharks have been shaped by images of man-eating monsters, like Jaws. Award-winning underwater photographer Brian Skerry would like to change that. His new book, Shark, is a collection of vivid, up-close photographs with stories written by Skerry and his colleagues at National Geographic Magazine.

Skerry was only twenty years old the first time he encountered a shark face-to-face. After hours in a shark cage seeing nothing, a female blue shark emerged from the murky water.

Fitbit for Sharks

May 29, 2017
Fitbit-like tags researchers like Nick Whitney about what sharks have been up to.
OCEARCH/Robert Snow / OCEARCH/Robert Snow

People track how much exercise they get using a Fitbit, and now there’s a similar device for sharks.

These accelerometer tags use the same computer chip as the human Fitbit and track how many times a day a shark beats its tail, any changes in body pitch and posture, and the shark’s orientation in the water. All that, plus the depth and temperature of the water.

A computer model developed by Chris Lowe's lab shows that Cape Cod could become a baby shark nursery.
Courtesy New England Aquarium / Courtesy New England Aquarium

Cape Cod has seen a dramatic increase in the number of great white sharks frequenting our waters since 2009. Most have been adults, but sightings of baby white sharks are also on the rise.

Now there’s research that points to Cape Cod as the next great white shark nursery.

Chris Lowe, professor of marine biology and director of the Shark Lab at California State University at Long Beach, has been studying this possibility.

Ivanka Trump appeared at a campaign event with her father just weeks before her third child was born. Trump has proposed a federal paid parental leave policy.
Marc Nozell / Creative Commons

Women are well-represented in the early stages of academic science, and even outnumber men in some Ph.D. programs. But when it comes to the most senior jobs in science, men still outnumber women, sometimes by more than two to one. Could Ivanka Trump's paid parental leave proposal help stem the loss of women from science?

Healthcare workers during the West African Ebola oubreak.
Image Courtesy: European Commission DG ECHO / Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

Ebola is back. The virus killed more than 11,000 people between 2014 and 2016. It was the largest Ebola outbreak ever documented. Now, health officials say there’s a new outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Officials are reporting four deaths and more than thirty suspected cases of Ebola in the past two weeks. They are also monitoring more than 400 individuals who came into contact with those patients. Still, because the area is so remote, officials say the risk of the outbreak spreading beyond national borders is low to medium.

Commercialization of scientific advances won't happen in Russia under Vladimir Putin, according to Prof. Loren Graham.
Wikicommons /

Nearly 60 years ago, the Russians were the first to put a satellite into space. They were the ones to beat in the space race. But the collapse of the Soviet Union brought about the near collapse of Russian science, and it hasn’t recovered since.

CC0 Public Domain

Anyone who's spent any time with a kid between the ages of five and fifteen recently has probably encountered a fidget spinner. These flat, three-pronged, spinning toys are marketed as ways to help autistic students or those with ADHD focus by giving the hands something to do. However, some schools have banned fidget spinners because, well, they're too interesting. They actually grab kids' attention.