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TWiV 198 Letters

Edmilson writes:

Dear Vincent,

Great TWIV 197, it is really nice to learn how science was. Fascinating to see how laborious was to do things that nowadays are only "kitology".

Keep up the great podcast.



Coyne writes:

After watching Mark’s science pick from TWiV 196 (a Youtube channel dedicated to interesting and entertaining videos shot with a slow motion camera), I felt I had to share a link that I came across the other day.


While standard slow motion cameras record at about 5,000-10,000 frames per second, this technology, which is dubbed femto-photography (developed at MIT), captures light at one trillion frames per second. Because of the incredibly small amount of light that is captured with each frame, the videos they shown computationally reconstructed from “millions and millions” of events with “very clever synchronization”. In one resulting video, we’re able to watch a ~1mm long packet of photons travel and scatter as it hits a surface. A proof-of-concept demonstration also shows that the technology can be used to ‘see around walls’ through light reflection and more clever computation, which could be beneficial in biomedical imaging.

Thank you for the podcast. I’ve been interested in viruses and working in virology labs for several years now and TWiV always gives me something new to think about.


Patrick writes:

Dear TWiV crew,

After many episodes of listening I thought some active participation was in order, especially after meeting Dr. Racaniello over drinks at the Brocach Irish Pub during ASV in Madison. First, thanks to the entire TWiV crew for your service to the scientific and lay communities. I think that an enhanced science presence in the classroom (particularly early on) could really be transformative on many levels: more inquisitive minds, more kids amazed at the complexity of life, more logic-based thinking... The point I'm trying to get to is that TWiV is an awesome vehicle to disseminate science, and having done many hours of outreach in classrooms, it's very empowering to see how many people can be reached. So many thanks, and also a sincere offer to help out the TWiV cause in any way possible.

And now tidbits from the random thought generator of my mind:

tidbit 1) In a TWiV covering an influenza virus in bats there as some question as to the cycle of transmission and whether the virus could have come from insects. This was considered unlikely because insects do not harbor orthomyxovirus viruses, but in fact, this is not true. There is a family of influenza-like orthomyxoviruses (e.g., Thogoto virus, Dhori virus) that are tick-borne infections of rodents (http://viralzone.expasy.org/all_by_species/79.html). Interestingly, selection in insects has resulted in the glycoprotein of these viruses being more similar to baculoviruses than influenza viruses.

tidbit 2) We had discussed an enhanced multimedia interface for ASV. I think that CROI does this really well (http://retroconference.org/static/webcasts/2012/), and the fact that all the talks are free and online hasn't stopped people from going to CROI.

tidbit 3) Although I hope this is of general interest to the entire TWiV crew, I thought that Rich in particular would find this interesting, and perhaps might result in a TWiV bump for new faculty Nels Edle (lead author) and Harmit (senior author, and my mentor):

Elde et al. Poxviruses Deploy Genomic Accordions to Adapt Rapidly against Host Antiviral Defenses (https://www.cell.com/abstract/S0092-8674%2812%2900870-7)

I hope this finds you all well, and thanks again for TWiV.


Patrick (its 26 C and absolutely beautiful in Seattle)


Patrick S. Mitchell

Malik Lab

Division of Basic Sciences

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center


Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Program

University of Washington

Ricardo writes:


Kimon writes:

Dear TWiV-tians,

Your delightful podcast has helped to steer my interests towards virology and immunology. I studied Mathematics as an undergraduate, and realized that my calling was in medicine while completing the Teach for America program in New Orleans. I will be starting medical school next month at the University of Pennsylvania, and I'm looking for particular directions of research that might be most appropriate for my quantitative background. I'm particularly interested in HIV/AIDS, but very flexible given that I'm just starting out in the biomedical research world. Any suggestions of papers, books, people, or journals that I could seek out would be incredibly helpful as I try to understand where my skills as a "Math guy" would be most useful.

Thank you for sharing your conversations with the world -- your work has had a measurable positive impact on my life!

Rohit writes:

Dear TWIV Doctors,

I was just listening to the Twiv#190 where Dr. Racaniello was talking about making TWIV accessible to more people especially in the developing world where people do not have regular access to internet. I think Radio can be a very effective way of spreading scientific knowledge not only in parts of Asia and Africa but also right here in the United States. Have you explored the possibility of using local radio stations such as NPR in United States for increasing the audience base of Twiv and the other two podcasts. I am not sure how much the radio station administrators will be interested, but it is definitely an idea worth exploring further. May be TWIV/TWIP/TWIM already has a listener who knows more about making it happen.

As always, love the podcasts. Please keep them coming.




Rohit K Jangra, PhD DVM MVSc

Postdoctoral Fellow, Kartik Chandran Lab

Jim writes:

Wanted to make sure you didn't miss this news item:

"Vaccine Storage 14 mins - This five part digest starts with Greek IT, but the fourth item concerns the very smart idea of using cell phone tower power systems in developing countries to reliably run refrigerators used to store vaccines. A web site with details is here. To download the audio file go to the link, find the title "Greek IT Upgrade, Bullet-Proof Cars in Mexico, Hajj Facial Recognition Tech, Keeping Vaccines Cold, and Rebuilding Tatooine," right click "WTPpodcast368.mp3" and select "Save Link As."


Smithfield, VA

[here’s a direct link to the podcast from PRI’s The World (#358); the story is at 14 minutes into the podcast- you can use the fast forward button; this eliminates the need for the somewhat more complicated instructions and the Vaccine Storage link at the start that leads to adding an RSS feed and not the audio:


Diane writes:

Hi TWIV-ers!

Thanks as always for an excellent podcast (as well as TWIM and TWIP). I especially loved the "how to read a study" helpful hints segments, as it was really nice to hear that learning to read studies is a skill that takes practice and education. And to know that I will have to struggle with reading studies for a while before I'll be able to really parse them.

[TWiV #169, or excerpt, “How to read a scientific paper;” right click here to download]

Anyway, I recently read a Young Adult book called "The Way We Fall" by Megan Crewe. It's a story about an island in Eastern Canada (if I remember correctly) where a viral pandemic hits. The fatality rate is high, and the island gets quarantined. I don't know how accurate the science is, but I thought it was a fun read. Amazon says this is part one of a trilogy, so I guess there's more, but at the time I finished it, it felt like an actual ending. Not great literature, but a fun, gripping (and quick) read.

Keep up the great podcasting! I love listening and learning.



An online bulletin board community dedicated to photomacrography, amateur microscopy, and photomicrography.

Oh, it's 9PM and still 32 degrees C.


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