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Living Lab Radio: December 15, 2019

Hundreds of researchers are taking turns spending two months aboard the icebreaker Polarstern, as it drifts with the Arctic sea ice in which it is stuck - deliberately.
Alfred-Wegener-Institut / Esther Horvath (CC-BY 4.0)
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https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

“We get to read the whole book. Normally, you go out for a couple of months. It's like you have a complicated mystery and you get two chapters and you're supposed to figure out what's going on. But here, we've already started. We’re there in the fall, when the ice begins to freeze, we'll watch it evolve through the whole winter and see what happens when summer comes.” – Don Perovich

This week on Living Lab Radio:

  • Volcanologist Jess Pheonix explains why predicting volcanic eruptions isn’t currently possible, and even forecasting them is difficult. The deadly Whakaari eruption is just the latest example.
  • Don Perovich of Dartmouth College compares studying Arctic sea ice a few months a year to trying to understand a mystery novel by reading two chapters. That’s why a new expedition that involves a ship (deliberately) stuck in the ice for a whole year is such a boon.
  • Manuel Bohn of Leipsig University says kids asked to communicate via Skype without sound developed rudimentary languages in an hour. He’d love to see what happens when they try to teach that language to others.
  • Communication researcher Jeff Hall worries Americans aren’t getting enough social interaction, but says simple more-is-better advice misses key points about the type and quality of interactions – and the importance of alone time.

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.