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.

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Three Cape Cod-based composers will mark World Oceans Day (Friday, June 8) by releasing a new album of original music developed in collaboration with ocean scientists. It’s called Black Inscription, and two of the composers – the husband and wife team Carla Kihlstedt and Matthias Bossi – spoke with Living Lab Radio about it. 

Residents of Cape Cod are no strangers to chemical contaminants in their drinking water. The military base here has been a Superfund site since 1989 due to jet fuel and other contaminants in the groundwater. But a new class of chemicals came onto the scene a few years ago, not only on Cape Cod, but around the country. They’re known as PFASs and they come from things like firefighting foam, flame retardants, and non-stick coatings.

A group of seals living off the coast of West Antarctica has provided scientists with data that could help to improve estimates of future sea-level rise.
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Each month, we speak to our colleagues at the Journal Nature to hear about the stories they are following. This month we talk with Nature's Anna Nagle.

Phil Duffy of Woods Hole Research Center and the Reverend Mariama White-Hammond at the press conference announcing a joint science-faith call to climate action.
Courtesy of Woods Hole Research Center

Dozens of Massachusetts faith leaders are partnering with leading climate scientists on a joint call to action, decrying continued failure to address climate change as “both scientifically irrational and morally indefensible.”

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Hurricane season officially begins on June 1st, and forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are predicting average to above average storm activity in the Atlantic Ocean.

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In late 2015, the Colombian government announced they had found what could be the world’s most valuable shipwreck. The Spanish galleon ship San Jose sank off the Colombian coast in 1708 during a battle with British ships, and it is believed to hold billions of dollars worth of gold, silver, and emeralds. An underwater vehicle built and operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution played a key role in the search, and now they’ve released new details of the search.
 

Jack Hamilton / https://bit.ly/2IRYLCs

The Korean peninsula is at the center of global geopolitics right now. It might also be ground zero for the global decline of amphibians. And, strangely, the two might be connected. 

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A new report from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health shows opioid-related deaths are down five percent compared to this time last year. And opioid prescriptions have also dropped here in the Commonwealth and nationwide. Still, the opioid epidemic is far from over, and the pace of research on effective pain management seems to be picking up. 

Wikicommons / http://bit.ly/2x6w8f0

Eugenics, which got its start in the 1880s, is a set of beliefs and practices that aims at improving the genetic quality of a human population. It was the basis for forced sterilization laws in the United States and spread to Germany in the first part of the last century.

The American conservation movement started around the same time and was championed by Theodore Roosevelt, who became president in 1901.

It may seem strange today, but those two movements were closely linked at the time.

University of Michigan / The Robot Report

Robotics experts will be gathering in Boston this week for the 2018 Robotics Summit and Showcase. It’s an event targeted at professionals, but robots are becoming a bigger and bigger presence in all of our lives. We spoke with Steve Crowe, editor of The Robot Report, to get a preview. 

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Until recently, researchers thought that most of the birds that sing were males. But in 2016, Karan Odom went through samples of songs from more than a thousand species from around the world and found that 64 percent of the species had females that sing.

Odom is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Leiden University and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. She has launched a new citizen science initiative called the Female Bird Song Project.

This week, the journal Nature released a survey of 3,200 scientists that showed many feel science is a friendly and collaborative field. Unfortunately, there is a sizable minority that find their labs are tense or even toxic. The good news is that the survey also points to several things that universities can do to systematically improve the academic workplace.

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Massachusetts highest court has ruled that MIT is not responsible for the suicide in 2009 of a twenty-five-year-old graduate student. MIT does have a higher suicide rate than other schools, but depression, anxiety, and suicide are a prevalent problem throughout academia.

The 1957 International Geophysical Year helped build bridges between American and Russian scientists, even as Cold War tensions continued.
Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Designed by Ervine Metzl. / U.S. Postal Service; National Postal Museum

To say that global nuclear politics is in flux is an understatement. President Trump has announced that the U.S. is withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal. Meanwhile, he is planning a summit with North Korea in June. Scientific collaboration and cooperation has played an important part in nuclear diplomacy between the U.S. and Russia for decades, and could be a tool in our shifting relationships with Iran and North Korea. 

Bruno Martins / Unsplash

We’ve all heard that the best time to learn a new language is when you’re a young child; think pre-school or elementary school. But a recent study by researchers from Boston College, MIT and Harvard finds that the window of opportunity is quite a bit larger than previously thought, extending all the way through high school.

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