Darrick and Scott write:
Hello Professor Racaniello,
We are two graduate students from the University of Guelph in Canada studying oncogenic sheep betaretroviruses and we are big fans of the show. Part of the reason we like the show so much is that we can use it to keep up to date on the latest virology events and in addition expand the breadth of our virology knowledge. We will be attending ASV in July and we hope to see you there at the live podcast.
P.S. We have put together a few rap songs using clips from some of your past podcasts that I think you and the rest of the twiv crew will enjoy. We put together the songs using audacity and free rap beats from http://www.20dollarbeats.com/.
Darrick and Scott
The May 25 episode of the "To The Point" podcast from KCRW had a segment titled "Synthetic Cells: Momentous Breakthrough or Ethical Morass?" http://www.kcrw.com/news/programs/tp/tp100525is_synthetic_biology
This was a fascinating listen, and to me illuminated a problem that you have discussed before on Twiv; specifically, that it is common for Science stories to be distorted or sensationalized by the media.
This instance is however clouded by the fact that David Baltimore and Craig Ventor completely disagreed and had what seemed to me a tense argument.
One said a breakthrough in creating life occured in a laboratory, the other said it really is nothing new and is not a paradigm shift.
So, whose story do we accept? How should we listen to a conversation like this and decide who is in the right? Should we go by the credentials (number of Nobel Prizes won,etc.)? It seems as if the issue is split down the middle.
Can you comment? Is there consensus in the scientific community? Are the Twiv hosts on one side of this? I urge you all to listen.
(the) Acrophobic Antediluvian