Elsa Partan

Producer for Living Lab

Elsa Partan is a producer for Living Lab Radio. She first came to the station in 2002 as an intern and fell in love with radio. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. From 2006 to 2009, she covered the state of Wyoming for the NPR member station Wyoming Public Media in Laramie. She was a newspaper reporter at The Mashpee Enterprise from 2010 to 2013. She lives in Falmouth with her husband and two daughters.
 

Ways to Connect

Cleaning counters and keyboards can remove flu virus, which can survive well there, a study suggests.
AVAVA/Shutterstock.com

Seema Lakdawala, University of Pittsburgh and Linsey Marr, Virginia Tech

Leer en español.

Influenza, or flu, viruses cause about 200,000 hospitalizations every year in the U.S. Annual seasonal vaccination is our best line of defense, but in recent years, it has become clear that mismatches in the vaccine can limit its effectiveness.

The Climeworks direct-air capture plant in Switzerland pulls carbon dioxide out of the air, which is then used to grow vegetables in a nearby greenhouse.
CLIMEWORKS

A carbon-neutral world by 2050: that’s what climate scientists have said is necessary to avert the worst impacts of climate change. That, of course, means dramatically reducing greenhouse emissions.

But people are beginning to acknowledge that hitting goals like those set in the Paris climate accord will also require pulling carbon out of the atmosphere that’s already there. In fact, such carbon capture technologies are a key part of many climate change scenarios.

From breakthroughs in computing to a new Ebola research program in Japan, senior physical sciences reporter Davide Castelvecchi of Nature News explains some of the top science stories of recent weeks:

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay / https://pixabay.com/service/license/

"We really think that carbon isn't necessarily a bad thing; it's just in the wrong place. In our atmosphere, it causes these impacts that are really detrimental to our society. But carbon is really all in the world around us. And we can actually capture that carbon and harness it in our soils, use it to power industries and build our buildings and restore our forests.

Elsa Partan

Think climate change is too serious to joke about? Consider this.

With each new scientific report, the situation seems more dire. But the social and political will to address the issue has lagged.

Herman Hollerith's census card reader machine.
U.S. Census

The 2020 census is going digital. We recently brought you a story of how this technological innovation could lead to undercounting Native Americans who live on tribal land.

Today, we’re flipping that equation and rather than looking at how computer technology is affecting the census, we’re asking how the census has affected the development of computer technology.

U.S. Air Force photo, Anthony Nin Leclerec, https://tinyurl.com/yy6quhsp

Aquaculture is currently the third-most lucrative fishery in New England after lobster and scallops. Oysters and, increasingly, kelp, are two of the most commonly grown.

Now, a new study says aquaculture could also be an important way to address issues like nutrient pollution and habitat loss. In fact, the study found that New England’s waters are among the top 20 locations in the world with the greatest opportunities for restorative aquaculture.

Michelle@TNS, https://tinyurl.com/y2j54uub

For years, the advice has been the same – for a healthy heart, eat less red meat. And then, two weeks ago, an international panel of scientists released a review of the science that they said overturned the prevailing wisdom. In fact, they said it was based on poor-quality science and that eating red meat didn’t make a significant difference.

Mike, https://tinyurl.com/y2bg5avq

  • For years, the advice has been the same – for a healthy heart, eat less red meat. And then, two weeks ago, an international panel of scientists released a review of the science that they said overturned the prevailing wisdom. In fact, they said it was based on poor-quality science and that eating red meat didn’t make a significant difference.

That study has garnered lots of headlines and sparked plenty of criticism and controversy. Scott Lear says that high-profile disagreement and conflicting advice could do more harm than any specific recommendation.

Author Bina Venkataraman understands very well the temptation to keep doing what we’ve always done, even if we’re pretty sure it’s not the best approach. She’s done it herself.

A few years ago, she was hiking in the Hudson Valley in New York just north of New York City, a place she knew was loaded with Lyme disease. She didn’t wear tick repellent. And even when she found a rash on the back of her leg, she didn’t do anything about it.

“It didn't look like the telltale bulls eye you associate with a tick bite,” she said.

Keagan Henman / unsplash

New York, London, Milan, Paris: the fall fashion weeks are over, the newest trends have been declared. And the whole cycle will repeat in a few months, with the winter - and then spring - fashion shows.

KATHARINA REBAY-SALISBURY

There are few parenting decisions that evoke more controversy - and even vitriol - than whether and how long to breastfeed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than eighty percent of American babies start out breastfed. But one in six breastfed babies gets some formula supplementation in the first days of life. By six months of age, only a quarter of babies are exclusively breastfed. Three quarters are getting their nutrition from some combination of breastmilk, formula or other milk, and foods.

KATHARINA REBAY-SALISBURY

This week on Living Lab Radio:

vaping, e-cigarette
kimilife, https://tinyurl.com/yxhacduj

More than a thousand people have suffered vaping-related lung injury and reports of vaping-related lung illness are now rising by hundreds each week. As of October 1, public health officials confirmed eighteen deaths in fifteen states.

As public concern over the health effects of vaping has intensified, researchers have scrambled to figure out what’s going on. An examination by Mayo Clinic of lung tissue from 17 patients released October 2 found evidence of what looked like chemical burns.

NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette.
NOAA photo by Benjamin Richards

A U.N. special report on the impacts of climate change on the ocean sparked dire headlines such as UN report on world’ oceans is damning: We’re all in big trouble. Or, from the New York Times: The World’s Oceans are in Danger.

While true, those headlines don’t tell the whole story.

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