Elsa Partan | CAI

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.

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Fast Fashion Takes a Huge Toll on the Environment

Oct 13, 2019
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.


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.

Living Lab Radio: October 13 and 14, 2019.

Oct 13, 2019

This week on Living Lab Radio:

Studies Point To The Toxicity Of Vaping

Oct 8, 2019
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.

Image by Ian Montgomery from Pixabay / https://pixabay.com/service/license/

On October 10th, the twenty scientists who make up the Independent Particulate Matter Review Panel will meet to review the Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality standards for particulate matter. The only catch is, EPA disbanded the panel a year ago.

Public Domain

When the 2020 census gets underway in April, it won’t be with the traditional questionnaires in the mail. Instead, for the first time, most households will receive an invitation to participate in the census online.

The switch is billed by the Census Bureau as both a technological innovation and a cost-saving measure. But it could leave communities with limited internet access significantly under-counted.

Living Lab Radio: October 6, 2019

Oct 6, 2019

“I would just think we shouldn't vape until we clear this clear this up. And you know the debate in some of the some of the physician community is “Well, I don’t want my patient to go back to smoking cigarettes.” You know, no one wants that - an activity that’s responsible for killing half of people who do it. But this is until we sort out this acute epidemic, and then, once we do, we need to get back to looking at the chronic effects of all vaping.” -David Christiani

This week on Living Lab Radio:

What You Should Know about E-cigarette Regulation

Oct 1, 2019
Vaping360.com/flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Vaping has now been linked to at least 11 deaths, and more than 500 people have hospitalized with vaping-related lung illness.

Here in Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker has declared a public health emergency and a four month ban on the sale of all e-cigarettes.

The 'Many Worlds' Theory of Quantum Physics

Sep 29, 2019

Physics is one of the oldest fields of scientific study, with some of the most mature theories and laws about how the world works. But those theories don’t always match up perfectly with each other.

 When people feel threatened, they’re more receptive to politicians who espouse xenophobic rhetoric.

By Joshua Conrad Jackson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Michele Gelfand, University of Maryland

Two trends have defined the past decade and both have been on display at this year’s session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Kelli McClintock on Unsplash

Measles outbreaks around the country this year focused public attention on the risks of non-vaccination. In many places, anti-vaccine sentiment based on religious beliefs or fears about vaccine safety has been on the rise. And that has many public health researchers concerned.

Living Lab Radio: September 29, 2019

Sep 29, 2019
L Lerner

"What's disconcerting is that not only the companies are making these claims that the products are safer or could be good for cessation, but FDA itself has made statements that imply - if not outright state - that these products are safer and could be used for cessation. But there is no proof that that's true."  -Lauren Lempert

This week on Living Lab Radio:

  • Tobacco law and policy specialist Lauren Lempert explains what FDA has, hasn't, and could do to regulate e-cigarettes, and why many tiptoe around their possible use as a way to quit smoking.

Government officials have warned people to avoid e-cigarettes after several people have died and hundreds of otherwise healthy people have ended up in emergency rooms across the country with lung damage that appears to be linked to vaping.

The Facts About Triple E

Sep 23, 2019
Culiseta Mosquito / wikipedia

It’s officially fall, and temperatures have turned cooler but one unwelcome part of summer continues to linger – and that’s the risk of the mosquito-borne EEE virus.

Dr.Pierre-Yves Dumont collects samples from a dead right whale in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in June 2017.
The Canadian Press/HO- Marine Animal Response Society / The Canadian Press/HO- Marine Animal Response Society

North Atlantic right whale conservationists have ended up exactly where they didn’t want to be – in an escalating battle between lobstermen and scientists.

Addressing the Issue of Climate Justice

Sep 23, 2019

Climate change is real, it’s human-caused, and it will affect everyone. But the impacts will vary from place to place and person to person. And, already, there are major disparities in climate impacts. Women are disproportionately impacted, as are those with limited financial resources.

Living Lab Radio: September 22 and 23, 2019.

Sep 22, 2019
The North Atlantic right whale population has a chance at recovery if entanglement & ship strikes can be avoided.
NOAA Photo Library / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Living Lab Radio for September 22 and 23, 2019.

Northeast Fisheries Science Center

More than a dozen scientists have signed a letter defending the science behind proposed measures to protect North Atlantic right whales. There are only about 400 of the critically endangered whales remaining, and their numbers are falling.

Students Team Up With NASA To Study New Island

Sep 16, 2019
Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai island, January 2017
Landsat 8, NASA, https://tinyurl.com/y4okdbfe

Meet the world’s newest island. It was born in a volcanic eruption in 2015 and connected two existing islands, Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha’apai in Polynesia. Once it cooled off, fishermen and scientists started taking a closer look at the new land mass.

Drew Beamer / unsplash

Two years ago, a tweet by actress Alyssa Milano with the hashtag #MeToo set off a landslide of women sharing their experiences of sexual abuse and harassment. As the #MeToo movement gained steam, prominent men in positions of power were toppled by public accusations. But did the movement change behavior? Is sexual harassment less prevalent than it used to be?

An Opportunity To Reduce Carbon: Plug Gas Leaks

Sep 15, 2019
rperlin83, https://tinyurl.com/y2fafqgh

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas--many times more powerful than carbon dioxide. It is also the main ingredient in the natural gas that we use for heating and cooking.

EPA officials have known for some time that leaks from natural gas pipelines and other infrastructure are a major source of methane emissions.

Nature News Headlines

Sep 15, 2019
ikayama, https://tinyurl.com/y66exfp3

Each month we check in with the reporters and editors at Nature News for a roundup of recent science headlines. This month, we hear from senior reporter Heidi Ledford.

Christina Koch, NASA

Hurricanes that stall are becoming more common. They can dump more rain than a faster-moving hurricane and often follow a less predictable path.

Dorian is just the latest example. One study found that over the past 70 years Atlantic hurricanes have gotten more likely to stall.

Finding Humor in Physics

Sep 9, 2019
Linus Mimietz / unsplash

We all use physics every day. Every time we pick something up, throw a ball, charge our cell phones, or drive a car, physics is involved. But most of us never choose to ignore how those things actually work.