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Living Lab Radio: July 29, 2019

Melted permafrost slumping into a river in Alaska's Yukon Kuskokwim Delta.
Courtesy of Sue Natali, Woods Hole Research Center

"Once you have an abrupt event like this - the ground cracks and opens up - it's not something that can just be undone by a cold year, because you've already exposed all this ground. Some of the material is just falling into lakes. You're losing ground material and you just can't go back in a human relevant timeframe." - Sue Natali

This week on Living Lab Radio:

  • Climate scientist Sue Natali has just returned from the Alaskan Arctic, where she witnessed extreme heat, wildfires, lightning storms, and the ground literally collapsing due to permafrost melting. She says she’s never seen anything like it in her years of Arctic research, and warns it is a sign of abrupt and accelerating climate change.

  • In her new book Inconspicuous Consumption, journalist Tatiana Schlossberg drives home the point that we can’t just write off climate change as a problem of extravagant lifestyles. Every little thing we buy and use has an environmental impact that we tend to underestimate or ignore.

  • Physicist Christian Arnold of Durham University is questioning the assumption that gravity is the same everywhere in the universe. He’s tested a Chameleon Theory of gravity and found that it reproduces our galaxy’s evolution as well as Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity.
  • STAT’s San Francisco correspondent Rebecca Robbins says that tech billionaire Sean Parker is treating scientists to the good life, while also making serious and sustained investments in cancer research.

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.