Living Lab Radio

Mondays at 9am and 7pm

Living Lab Radio brings you conversations at the intersection of science and culture. Connect with scientists for fresh perspectives on the week's news - science and otherwise - and a deeper understanding of the world around us.

Do you have a question, story, or photo to share? Email us at livinglabradio@capeandislands.org, or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

Host and producer Dr. Heather Goldstone.
Credit Maura Longueil

Living Lab Radio is produced by Heather Goldstone and Elsa Partan.

Major support for Living Lab Radio is provided by The Kendeda Fund.

usc.edu

Black Panther is making headlines as a box office hit that's also a superhero movie starring black actors. But it could also be the biggest science movie of the year. 

When we think about the impacts of climate change in New England, our minds often go to the ocean and coasts. But a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture finds that New England’s forests are vulnerable, as well. In New England, average yearly temperature has already increased by 2.4 °F, with even greater warming during winter.

wikipedia

If you’ve ever been annoyed by those little stickers on your apples, or wished for a sensor that would tell you whether that cantaloupe is actually ripe, we have news for you: researchers at Rice University have developed a technique that they say could solve both of those problems. The key is using lasers to print tiny tags made of graphene, a substance that is stable even in a single-molecule layer. 

Alex Knight / bit.ly/2HrMhgq

The PyeongChang Olympics are likely to be remembered for the joint Korean team, wind delays, and robots. Yes, robots. South Korea is taking advantage of the international spotlight to show off its leadership in robotics, with eleven different types of robots – eighty five, in all – in action at the Olympics. And that’s not counting the swarm of drones featured in the Opening Ceremonies.

wikimedia commons

A news organization called Climate Home News this week obtained, and then published, a draft of a UN climate science report. The report assesses the feasibility and likely benefits of achieving the most ambitious goal set by the Paris climate agreement – which is to hold total global average warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The conclusion is that it will be difficult to cut emissions quickly enough.

themozhi / bit.ly/2C5OjmO / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

MIT is the latest in a string of prestigious universities to reveal ties to slavery that go back to the founding of the institution. The information comes from an undergraduate research course called “MIT and Slavery.” 

David Clode / bit.ly/2C5mWcv

 

Congress averted a second government shutdown by passing a bipartisan budget deal that raised spending caps for the next two years, but didn’t specify how the money should be spent. That came a few days later when President Trump released his budget proposal for 2019.

Yumi Kimura bit.ly/2stZTo0

Forensics laboratories have featured in hit TV shows and attained a level of mainstream familiarity and fame that few other sciences can claim. But a new investigation, which appears as the cover story of the February 26 edition of The Nation, finds that much of forensics may not be scientific at all.

Moira Brown and New England Aquarium

A workshop in Woods Hole on February 1st brought together an unusual combination of scientists, engineers, fishermen, and government regulators to talk about an even more unusual idea: catching lobsters with no rope connecting the traps at the bottom with a buoy at the surface.

SpaceX bit.ly/2BedSAT

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launch has ignited hopes of sending humans back to the moon, and on to Mars. But what about that cherry-red Tesla left floating through space?

bit.ly/2E03hIA

At each Olympics, athletes set new records and achieve new feats not imagined a few years ago. For example, Brian Boitano wowed the judges in 1988 with his triple jumps. Now male figure skaters are doing quad jumps: four rotations.

The White House bit.ly/1mDtEai

The only overt mention of science came late in President Trump’s first State of the Union address, one that many scientists have criticized for ignoring or misrepresenting climate science and failing to recognize the science connections inherent in infrastructure and immigration policy.

J. Junker

The US Department of Agriculture is predicting record meat production and consumption in 2018, but it’s a changed picture from a generation ago. It turns out, per-capita beef production and consumption in America peaked in the mid-1970s. 

J. Junker

Heidi Ledford, a senior biology and medicine reporter for the journal Nature, catches us up on major science headlines of the past month: 

Werner Kunz bit.ly/1x4pWxO

It’s no secret that Massachusetts has an affordable housing problem. In his 2018 State of the Commonwealth address, Governor Charlie Baker noted that “it has been decades since this state produced enough housing to keep up with demand.” 

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