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

Phragmites, an invasive species, line this marsh at Sachuest Point in Middletown, Rhode island.
Tom Sturm/USFWS / Public Domain

By Judith Weis, Professor Emerita of Biological Sciences, Rutgers University Newark

Cory Doctorow's new book is called "Radicalized: Four Tales of our Present Moment"
Macmillan Publishers

Imagine a world in which your toaster will only toast bread from approved vendors and your dishwasher will only clean approved dishes using specific brands of soap. Think that’s far-fetched? Cory Doctorow doesn’t.

One scientist argues we should rethink our approach to the invasive plant phragmites australis.
nicolas_gent, https://tinyurl.com/y2ae64dx

Living Lab Radio this week.

Waymo Chrysler Pacifica in Los Altos / Creative Commons / bit.ly/2KFonDR


It’s been just over a year since the first pedestrian was hit and killed by a self-driving car. Since then, we’ve learned a lot about the algorithms that drive autonomous vehicles. 

Scientists have obtained the first image of a black hole. They used the Event Horizon Telescope to observe the center of the galaxy M87.
Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration

It’s been a big week for space exploration, and a bit of a roller-coaster. 

Particulate air pollution from growing corn is responsible for an estimated 4,300 deaths per year in the U.S.
Petr Kratochvil / CC0 Public Domain

"Typically, when we think about regulating emissions, we regulate based on the amount of emissions from some source in some given area. What this work allows us to do is regulate based on the damage of that emission. So, ideally, you would want to focus your efforts on those sources that are the most damaging. rather than focus on those sources that emit the most." - Jason Hill

This week on Living Lab Radio:

A palentologist has found a deposit of fossils in North Dakota that he says show the aftermath of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs.
Aaronyoung777, Wikicommons, http://tinyurl.com/yyxe58ot

Each month we check in with the reporters at Nature News for a roundup of recent science headlines. This month, Nature’s multi-media editor Shamini Bundell brings us these stories.

wikipeda / creative commons / bit.ly/2OVduML

Nearly four out of five people represented in human genetic research are of European decent. That’s the result of a recent analysis that also found that 10 % are of Asian descent, while people of African, Hispanic and all other ethnicities make up less than six percent.

Our brains are constantly working to keep us on an even keel.
underwaterer, http://tinyurl.com/yxfkbmsh

Government statistics suggest that one in 10 Americans is struggling with addiction. The CDC estimates that excessive alcohol use cost almost $250 billion in 2010. And opioid overdoses last year overtook car accidents as the leading cause of accidental deaths in t­he U.S.

Our understanding of how addiction plays out in the brain has increased dramatically in recent years. But treatment options are still limited.

Our brains don't let us stay elated for very long. They are always working to keep us at a happiness 'set point,' say neuroscientists.
Victor Björkund, http://tinyurl.com/yy6axzlp

"What was shocking to me was, I thought that in the last several years as the number of studies have increased that it would have gotten a lot better. And the surprise to me was it wasn't that much better. So, it's still at roughly 80% of studies that look at genetic associations with disease are focused on people of European ancestry." - Sarah Tishkoff

This week on Living Lab Radio:

The shore of Walden Pond.
wiki commons

For many, the longer, warmer days of spring offer a chance to renew our connection with the outdoor world and activities we’ve put aside for winter. And nothing says communing with nature like Walden Pond.

Daydreaming about an interesting idea can yield creative insights, a process Jonathan Schooler calls mind wondering, rather than mind wandering.
pxhere / CCO Public Domain https://goo.gl/auhrMp

Jonathan Schooler was a daydreamer as a kid, as his first grade report card made evident.

“It said something to the effect of ‘When I think of Jonathan, I imagine him at the end of the line, five feet behind everybody else, shoes untied, totally preoccupied, and completely content,” Schooler recounted.

A frog infected with a fungus which has been dubbed the most destructive pathogen ever for biodiversity.
Forrest Brem / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/deed.en

An unassuming fungus that dwells in lakes and damp soil has proved to be the most potent killer of a large group of species ever documented. The victims are members of at least 501 species of frogs and other amphibians that have succumbed to a disease inflicted by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd.


The Green New Deal has ignited a theatrical debate in Congress, from posters of a velociraptor-riding President Reagan on the Senate floor to press briefings of hamburger-eating leg

Mind wandering may hold clues about consciousness.
The Hiking Artist / CCO Public Domain https://goo.gl/auhrMp

"Personally, I think consciousness is one of the greatest, most remarkable puzzles left to science. Understanding how this three-pound meatloaf is capable of producing experience is just remarkable." - Jonathan Schooler

This week on Living Lab Radio: