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

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet launching from the USS Theodore Roosevelt on full afterburner.
U.S. Navy/Wikimedia

By Neta C. Crawford, Boston University

Republished from TheConversation.com

Scientists and security analysts have warned for more than a decade that global warming is a potential national security concern.

        A 6-month-old who is infected with measles in Madagascar, March 2019.
Laetitia Bezain / AP Photo

Matthew Ferrari, Pennsylvania State University and Amy Winter, Johns Hopkins University

The United States has seen more measles cases so far in 2019 than in any year since elimination was declared in 2000 – meaning the disease is no longer endemic in the country, spreading constantly throughout the year. This year’s American outbreak is dwarfed by those in Ukraine, Philippines, Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo , and Venezuela and Brazil, which have recorded tens of thousands of cases each.

A B2 bomber uses roughly 4.2 gallons of fuel per mile.
U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III / Public Domain

"They act as if climate change-related inundation at their bases, and challenges to operations, and even climate war, are almost a fait accompli without recognizing their own contribution. So, the first step would be for them to put the two things together, and then develop a list of priorities for reductions in emissions." - Neta Crawford

This week on Living Lab Radio:

Rawpixel Ltd, https://tinyurl.com/y5wkfnfr

The fifth generation of wireless technology—5G—promises faster service, more data, and more devices connected to each other.

U.S. cell phone companies have unveiled new 5G phones and small 5G networks this year, and more is coming. But it’s not just about better cell service.

A Planned Parenthood in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Ken Wolter / shutterstock.com

By Luu D. Ireland, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Massachusetts Medical School

The abortion debate is at the center of U.S. political dialogue. Voices from both sides flood social media feeds, newspapers, radio and television programs.

Biophysicist He Jiankui helped to create the world's first gene-edited babies. Now there is evidence that they may experience shortened lifespans.
Wikicommons https://tinyurl.com/yyprpab6

Each month we turn to our colleagues at the journal Nature for a tour of recent science headlines, complements of our friends at the journal Nature. This month, it's Flora Graham, Editor of  Nature Briefing. Here are the stories we covered:

DEAR: Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center, a service of the National Institute on Aging.

Alzheimer’s disease is a leading cause of death and affects an estimated five and a half million Americans. Decades of research have greatly improved our understanding of how the disease develops, from plaques of a protein called amyloid beta, to tangles of another protein called tau, and finally to inflammation in the brain and the familiar symptoms of dementia.

Scientist Jeff Kneebone tags a juvenile sand tiger shark in Quincy Bay off Wollaston Beach.
Courtesy Jeff Kneebone

Say the word “shark” to a New Englander these days and the mind jumps straight to great white sharks, which have seen a remarkable increase here in recent years.

But great whites aren't the only sharks around. And it turns out we know little about many of the sharks that frequent New England's waters.

Now there’s a new effort to understand how catch-and-release fishing of sandbar sharks impacts their survival.

NIH Image Gallery / Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

"The plaque is like the match, the tangles, like the brushfires that spread. You can live with it. But once there's neuroinflammation, that's the forest fire. And that's self-feeding. As neurons die, you get more neuroinflammation. Neuroinflammation causes more cells to die. So, you get this vicious cycle." - Rudi Tanzi

This week on Living Lab Radio:

North Atlantic right whales are critically endangered.
Courtesy of The Center for Coastal Studies

North Atlantic right whales are critically endangered, with just over 400 individuals left, and their numbers declining. The leading causes of death are well-known: right whales are susceptible to being struck by ships, and over 83 percent have shown evidence of being entangled in fishing gear at one point or another.

But the population has also seen low reproductive rates and declining health status in recent years that can't necessarily be explained by those impacts. Now, new research points to another possible culprit: climate change.

Rainwater collectors in Rocky Mountain National Park, where efforts to track air pollution turned up microplastics in rain.
Greg Wetherbee / Courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey

When Greg Wetherbee and his colleagues started collecting rainwater in early 2017, microplastics were the last thing on their minds. What they were looking for was evidence of air pollution washing out in the rain. They found that, but they also found plastic - not just a piece or two, but fibers and shards in nine out of ten samples.

"These results are actually accidental and opportune,” said Wetherbee, who is a research chemist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Lakewood, Colorado.

Pen Waggener / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

If you've ever had a urinary tract infection, somebody has probably told you to drink cranberry juice. The idea that cranberries have infection-fighting powers has been around a long time. Now, there's research to support it.

Scientists at McGill University have found that cranberry extracts make E. coli and bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections and pneumonia more susceptible to antibiotics.

May brought record tornado activity, with more than 300 tornadoes in the second half of the month.
TheAustinMan / TheAustinMan [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Record rainfall in California. Record flooding in the mid-West. Record tornado activity in the central and southeastern U.S. And, while federal forecasters are calling for a near-normal level of hurricane activity this summer, the first named storm formed almost two weeks before the official start of hurricane season. In fact, extreme and record-setting weather seems to be the norm this year.

Cranberry extracts can make bacteria more susceptible to antibiotics, and prevent them from developing resistance.
Liz West/Flickr http://bit.ly/2JPBmle / CC BY 2.0

"The molecules themselves - the ones from cranberry or the ones from maple - they're not actually killing the bacteria. And that's a really interesting part of the of the research. They're not actually killing the bacteria, so they don't necessarily make the bacteria develop resistance. They're actually just somehow making these bacteria more susceptible to antibiotics." - Nathalie Tufenkji

This week on Living Lab Radio:

The first March for Science on April 22, 2017 drew about a million people to marches worldwide. This year, there wasn't a march at all.
Molly Adams, https://tinyurl.com/yyg6ux5f

The first March for Science drew hundreds of thousands of scientists and science enthusiasts to events around the world. Some estimates put the total number of participants worldwide at one million.