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

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

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

Albert Kok - ma photo, CC BY-SA 3.0, / goo.gl/mLWAcJ

There's a textbook version of evolution that goes something like this: random changes to an individual's DNA are inherited by its offspring. The worst changes are weeded out by natural selection, and the process goes on. Unless you're an octopus or a squid.

New research suggests that cephalopods do something different. They change their RNA. A lot. And that may help explain why they, alone amongst all invertebrates, are so intelligent.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_seal

For conservation biologists, the growing number of gray seals in New England is a success story. For some fishermen and beachgoers, it's another story altogether. Seals can steal fish, damage fishing gear, block beach access, and attract great white sharks. For all these reasons, seals have become a touchy subject in communities across the Cape and Islands - nowhere more so than on Nantucket.

Meredith Nierman

More than 20 million Americans run regularly. Half of them get injured. Adam Tenforde, M.D., joins Living Lab Radio to talk tips for healthy running at any age.

Japanese barberry is an invasive that will likely benefit from climate change.
Wikicommons

Surveys consistently show that a majority of Americans think climate change is happening, but that it won’t affect them. Scientists say otherwise. Researchers already are seeing impacts - often dramatic, sometimes counterintuitive - on both natural systems and human communities. And, while everyone will be affected, some will be hit sooner and harder.

EVATAR (that's 'Eve', plus 'avatar') is a model of the human female reproductive tract.
Northwestern University, funding from National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

This month's rundown of the biggest science news spans fisheries management, some mind-bending biomedical advances, and evidence that it's harder than ever to understand scientific papers. Here's the skinny from Nature Podcast co-host Kerri Smith:

Or you can read it for yourself:

Cod fishing has been a mainstay of coastal New England cities, like Gloucester, for hundreds of years. Now, the cod fishery is virtually closed, and the population's future is in question..
Public Domain

New England’s iconic cod fishery has hit an all-time low. Scientists point the finger at a combination of fishing and climate change. Many fishermen reject that assessment and blame their woes on regulators. A new documentary film, Sacred Cod, tells the story of two populations in crisis – the cod, and the fishermen who’ve built a way of life around them.

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.

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