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

Alzheimer’s disease affects an estimated 50 million people worldwide, yet there are only a handful of drugs to treat the symptoms. None of them address the underlying disease processes, and it’s been years since a major new drug got approved. But there are 126 drugs in clinical trials. A leading researcher breaks down the prospects and obstacles to treating Alzheimer’s disease. We talk with Rudy Tanzi of Harvard & Massachusetts General Hospital. 

There have been ten mass shootings this year, and plenty of talk about the factors that contribute to the high rate of these devastating events in the U.S. Most research points to gun availability, but social contagion also plays a role. And, as with contagious diseases, researchers say early intervention is best. Sherry Towers of Arizona State University joins us. 

J. Junker

We turned our clocks back an hour yesterday, and plenty of us feel a bit strange today. No wonder. Our body clocks influence everything from blood pressure to mental health. To learn more about circadian rythms we turn to Michael Rosbash, the Peter Gruber Endowed Chair in Neuroscience at Brandeis University. He’s also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. And as of a month ago, he’s a Nobel laureate. He and two colleagues won this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on circadian rhythms.  

Creative Commons/Rawastrodata

Citizen scientists pointed out a comet outside our solar system for the first time using transit photometry, a technique of watching how a star’s light dims when something passes in front of it. On Living Lab Radio, we talk to Andrew Vanderburg, one of the credentialed authors on the newly released study. He’s a NASA/Sagan post-doctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin.

NASA - Ball Aerospace

NASA and NOAA are teaming up to launch a new weather satellite on Friday. It’s going to make it easier for meteorologists to predict extreme weather events up to 7 days out. We talk to Vanessa Griffin, NOAA’s Director of Satellite Operations.

The political relationship between the U.S. and Russia is tense right now, but scientific collaboration between the two countries is on the rise, particularly when it comes to the Arctic. Earlier this year, the U.S. and Russia were among the eight parties who signed the and Arctic science agreement. And this week, the International Arctic Science Committee is meeting at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow to discuss next steps. For more we talk to Paul Berkman, Professor of Practice in Science Diplomacy at the Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. 

Inner Mongolia Museum

For this month’s check-in with Nature News, we talk with Anna Nagle, Chief Editor of Digital & Engagement on these stories:

·      It’s been just over six months since the March for Science. At the time, march organizers said they hoped it would be the start of a lasting movement. An update on where that stands.

The Environmental Protection Agency has scrubbed climate change language from its website and barred agency scientists from speaking at a recent conference in Rhode Island. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has also advocated for military-style red-team-blue-team debates of climate science. Lisa Friedman, climate policy reporter for the NY Times, joins Living Lab host Heather Goldstone to talk about recent EPA actions. 

Roger Hanlon

Cephalopods, like octopus and squid, are the natural world’s masters of camouflage. They can change not only the color, but also the texture of their skin, to blend in or stand out, as the situation demands. Now, engineers have created a programmable, shape-shifting material based on octopus skin. Roger Hanlon of the Marine Biological Laboratory joins Living Lab host Heather Goldstone.

Wildfires are nothing new, but a complex combination of climate change, forest management practices, and development patterns are making them bigger and more damaging. Our guest on Living Lab Radio is Edward Struzik, author of Fire storm: How Wildfire Will Shape Our FutureHeather Goldstone hosts.

Courtesy Kerry Emanuel via CIRA

It’s been five years since Superstorm Sandy struck New England. This hurricane season set a record for the most consecutive hurricanes and threatens to make that unprecedented storm seem run-of-the-mill. 

Investing in environmentally-friendly industries could make you more money than staying in fossil fuels.
Elsa Partan

The number of mutual funds that incorporate environmental, social, and corporate governance investments increased four-fold between 2012 and 2014 and that growth hasn’t stopped. Meanwhile, a growing number of colleges and universities are dropping their investments in coal, oil, and gas.

Does all this environmental and social investing make a difference? And is it something the average investor can get in on?

Jann Brett

On The Point, a conversation with authors and illustrators of children’s books. We hear from Susan Schaefer Bernardo, who writes books to help children facing loss and personal struggle. Kim Rodrigues' new book tells the story of a boy who raises money for a wounded veteran to get a service dog.

Paul Theroux's newest novel is set on Cape Cod.
Steve McCurry

On The Point: a new novel by Paul Theroux might feel familiar to people from big families. Motherland is about an elderly matriarch, her seven adult children, and the battles they’re still fighting from childhood. The novel includes several episodes that happened in Theroux’s life, but the book is fiction, he says. At least partly. Elsa Partan sits in for Mindy Todd.  

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.

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