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

J Junker

Weather prediction has some certainties: It keeps getting better. With every passing decade, forecasters have extended the accuracy of their predictions by one day, so today's weather forecast for the end of the week is as good as a 1980's prediction of tomorrow's weather. Now, scientists are using advances in machine learning, more accurate climate models, and big data to improve the accuracy of forecasts.

Astrophysicist and cosmologist Marcelo Gleiser is this year's Templeton Prize winner.
Dartmouth College-Eli Burakian

The Templeton Prize is sometimes described as the Nobel Prize for spirituality.

Team Salient. From left, Stephen, Ray, and Eric Schmitt. Stephen and Eric are Ray's twin sons.
Nancy Copley

We’ve got 10-day weather forecasts. We’ve got NOAA seasonal outlook forecasts. But there’s a no man’s land in between, and that’s where predictions get really tricky.

The Missouri River near Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.
Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Nebraska is facing more than one billion dollars in damage due to historic and devastating flooding this past week. The storm that set things into motion was powerful –a so-called bomb cyclone. But the amount of rain it delivered doesn’t account for the flooding on its own.

Mass shootings researcher Jaclyn Schildkraut says media coverage should limit use of perpetrators' names and faces.
Courtesy of Jaclyn Schildkraut

Mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch rocked New Zealanders to their core. What may have shocked Americans even more is the response of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who quickly and emphatically declared that she would not say the name of the shooter.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visited members of the Muslim community after a mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch. Ardern has vowed not to say the perpetrator's name, and asked others to do the same.
Kirk Hargreaves / CC BY 4.0 https://goo.gl/LkzHVc

"You can say 'the perpetrator.' It's the same - two words - as somebody's first and last name. So, you can still say 'the perpetrator walked into this building and did this' and you're giving everybody all the information they normally would have gotten. You're just not rewarding the killer." - Jaclyn Shildkraut

This week on Living Lab Radio:

Naomi Oreskes
Sage Ross, https://tinyurl.com/y4qsxd73

Many of our most important social and political debates have science at their core – from climate change to genetically modified foods. When policymakers want expert input on what we know about these subjects, they often turn to massive synthesis reports known as assessments. 

Figures from Aaron Slepkov's experiments in microwaving grapes and other watery orbs.
Slepkov Biophotonics Lab, Trent University

It’s not every day that a scientific study reads like great literature, but here’s how a recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences begins:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a pair of grape hemispheres exposed to intense microwave radiation will spark, igniting a plasma.”

CBD, a component of marijuana and hemp, is being marketed for anxiety and a host of other health problems. There is currently little or no science behind the claims.
Jeoy Pena / https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CBD_Oil_For_Anxiety.jpg

Jenny WilkersonUniversity of Florida and Lance McMahonUniversity of Florida  

Cannabidiol, or CBD, has become a household name. On many social media sites, people suggest “but have you tried CBD oil?” on posts pertaining to any health-related issue.

EPA, http://tinyurl.com/y2538ywu

The White House Budget plan for fiscal year 2020 is out. It’s a record $4.7 trillion, but science agencies and activities take cuts almost across the board. The president envisions an EPA budget cut by almost a third and a decrease of about 12 percent at the National Institutes of Health. 

Image by cytis https://goo.gl/TFNzDa / pixabay.com

"There's plenty of sciencethat supports that CBD might have therapeutic indications. Obviously, for intractable pediatric epilepsy, CBD does have clinical validity. However, for all the other claims regarding CBD, we just don't quite know scientifically whether or not it's really going to hold water."  - Jenny Wilkerson

This week on Living Lab Radio:

Dr. Zhao Qin

Technological advances have always influenced art. Think synthetic dyes or the invention of photography. Now, artists are diving into the realms of nanotechnology, genetics, and artificial intelligence. And MIT is leading the way. 

One installation at MIT, called Spider’s Canvas, features a three-dimensional spider web that makes sounds. It was one of the works shown during a February 26 symposium at MIT.

NASA Satellite Snapshot

Charges against Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft for soliciting a prostitute have focused public attention on the problem of sex trafficking. The International Labor Organization estimates that there are nearly five million people in forced sexual exploitation around the globe at any given time. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to modern slavery.

Neuroscientist BethAnn McLaughlin (third from left) was honored with a 2018 Disobedience Award for her #MeTooSTEM activism.
Jon Tadiello, MIT Media Lab / https://goo.gl/6sxYZh

A leading voice in the fight against sexual harassment in academia has been denied tenure at Vanderbilt University, and some see it as a cautionary tale of the price women pay for speaking out.

National Institutes of Health (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Each month we take a tour of science headlines from our friends at the Journal Nature and the Nature podcast.