Heather Goldstone

Science Editor and Host of Living Lab

Heather Goldstone is science editor at WCAI and host of Living Lab on The Point, a weekly show exploring how science gets done and makes its way into our daily lives. Goldstone holds a Ph.D. in ocean science from M.I.T. and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and spent a decade as researcher before leaving the lab to pursue journalism. She has reported extensively on Woods Hole’s unique scientific community and key environmental issues on Cape Cod. Her stories have appeared in outlets ranging from Cape Cod Times and Commercial Fishery News to NPR and PBS News Hour. Most recently, Goldstone hosted Climatide.org, an NPR-sponsored blog exploring present-day impacts of climate change on coastal life.

Ways to Connect

Scott Pruitt sued the EPA 13 times as Oklahoma's attorney general. Now he runs the EPA.
Gage Skidmore / http://bit.ly/2raEDD3

It’s been almost a year since President Trump took office. For some, it has been a year spent tallying what they say are attacks by the administration on science – ranging from nominating non-scientists to lead science-heavy agencies, to changing the data and language presented on federal websites. 

Road salt is causing freshwater rivers and streams to become noticably saltier.
Wikicommons/ http://bit.ly/2DjoLTw

A new study highlights a side-effect of winter weather that is, on one hand, totally logical and, on the other hand, rather shocking. The U.S. uses some 19 million tons of salt each year for de-icing roads and other infrastructure. Now, that practice has been linked to widespread changes in the chemistry of American rivers and streams, particularly their salinity and alkalinity. 


 During the summer of 2012, a raft of newly formed volcanic rock one and a half times the size of Boston appeared in the Pacific Ocean near New Zealand. It was scientists’ clue that a volcano was erupting deep below the sea surface. Five years later, scientists have released their first in-depth analysis of what appears to have been the largest eruption of its kind in the past century.

L. Brian Stauffer kateclancy.com

Allegations of sexual abuse, harassment, and misconduct rocked one industry after another in recent months. It usually doesn’t garner the same headlines as Hollywood stars or federal legislators, but several high profile scientists have been the subject of these kinds of accusations. And sexual abuse and harassment appear to be prevalent in academia.

December 31, 2017. The University of Maine's Climate Reanalyzer shows the global temperature and temperature anonmalies.
University of Maine. http://bit.ly/2CQEzgd

First came the cold.

The last week of December and the first week of January brought a prolonged stretch of unusually cold temperatures across the northeast. Looking at the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer, it looks like the Arctic spilled all its cold down onto the eastern side of North America. 

A computer-generated image of the international prototype kilogram. The General Conference on Weights and Measures could vote on a more modern standard for the kilogram.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Greg_L / https://goo.gl/u4kikm

2017 brought a new president, a second gravitational wave detection, and advances in human gene editing. What science headlines might 2018 hold? Jane Lee, news editor for Nature News, talks through some of the likely candidates – from moon missions, to the spread of early humans, to the redefinition of the kilogram.

Finding alternatives to antibiotic treatment for ear infections and other mild infections could help reduce antibiotic resistance overall.
U.S. Navy / public domain

More than 20,000 Americans die of antibiotic-resistant infections each year, and that number is expected to rise. Efforts to overcome antibiotic resistance have largely focused on finding new ways to treat the most deadly infections. But a new analysis suggests that focusing on alternative treatments for mild infections might actually be more fruitful, and could reduce antibiotic resistance overall.

E-cigarettes now account for nearly half of U.S. cigarette sales.
http://vaping360.com/ / https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/en:Creative_Commons

We’re one week into the New Year, and there are no doubt plenty of people struggling with their New Year’s resolution to quit smoking. A new study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology suggests that electronic cigarettes could help. The small, pilot study found that smokers who were provided with e-cigarettes smoked fewer cigarettes and were more likely to quit smoking.

D. Kinkade

High winds and storm surges are causing severe - and, in some cases, record-setting - flooding up and down the Massachusetts coastline this afternoon.

The Baltimore Ravens host a youth football camp. Bioethicist Art Caplan says the NFL hasn't done a full reckoning of the problem of brain injury.
Wikicommons / http://bit.ly/2CjBLFE

This year’s top stories in biomedicine bring science and social values head-to-head:

  • Multiple teams this year announced that they had used CRISPR/CAS9 gene editing technology to modify human embryos. Although some of the claims about efficiency and accuracy are under debate, the research community is undeniably moving ahead with controversial work that even many fellow scientists say should be subject to better rules and regulations than currently exist.

Christine Todd Whitman says nobody likes regulations, but the EPA is in charge of keeping people safe from harm.
Whitman Strategy Group

Nowhere is the gap between climate science and federal climate policy more obvious than at the Environmental Protection Agency. Administrator Scott Pruitt denies the link between carbon dioxide and climate change, and has called for military-style Red-team-Blue-team debates of climate science. 

A cruise ship visits Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska.
Glacier Bay National Park

This past year is expected to be the second hottest year on record, following three years of record-breaking high temperatures. Greenhouse gas emissions are again rising, and new research shows that, due to human disruptions, both Arctic permafrost and tropical forests are releasing more carbon than they’re storing. Nonetheless, the Trump administration is dismantling federal climate policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

A total solar eclipse is seen on August 21, 2017 above Madras, Oregon.
NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

The March for Science drew thousands of science supporters, but the science event of the year was the Great American Eclipse, with millions of viewers highlighting an unexpected enthusiasm. Missions to Jupiter and Saturn also grabbed headlines. Gravitational wave researchers scored a Nobel Prize, and then announced an even bigger accomplishment – both seeing and hearing a neutron star collision. And President Trump calls for a return to deep space, at the expense of earth science.


If you’ve never heard of the LabLit genre, you’re not alone. Cell biologist and author Jenny Rohn went looking for novels about scientists and discovered there were only a couple hundred such books in existence. She now tracks fictional portrayals of scientists on her webzine LabLit.com, and she runs through some of this year’s best on Living Lab Radio.

Doctors can image your body and decode your genes in search of what ails you. But Kenneth Mandl of Harvard University says that, to reap the full benefits of big data, doctors need access to the records of as many patients as possible.