Book Contest Emails

Tim writes:

Hello, my name is Tim, a current high school senior in Connecticut and a new listener to TWiM. You guys are truly inspiring the next generation of scientists with what you do.

Anyways, this book would be an excellent read for me since I am planning to major in microbiology with a specialization in infectious diseases starting this Fall. As you know, one can’t research microbes if they don’t know how to kill them.

In anticipation of something new to read!

Tim D.

Anthony writes:

Please enter this email in the current TWiM book contest.

With the hygiene hypothesis in mind, for disinfection, too much of a good thing is not wonderful.


# # #

Strictly Germ-Proof

by Arthur Guiterman


The Antiseptic Baby and the Prophylactic Pup

Were playing in the garden when the Bunny gambolled up;

They looked upon the creature with a loathing undisguised;

It wasn’t disinfected and it wasn’t sterilised.


They said it was microbic and a hotbed of disease;

They steamed it in a vapor of a thousand-odd degrees;

They froze it in a freezer that was cold as banished hope

And washed it in permanganate with carbolated soap.


In sulphurated hydrogen they steeped its wiggly ears;

They trimmed its frisky whiskers with a pair of hard-boiled shears;

They donned their rubber mittens and they took it by the hand

And ‘lected it a member of the Fumigated Band.


There’s not a micrococcus in the garden where they play;

They bathe in pure iodoform a dozen times a day;

And each imbibes his rations from a hygienic cup–

The Bunny and The Baby and The Prophylactic Pup.

# # #

Brian writes:

Dear cast of twim;

I enjoy hearing your program from time to time through the “tune in” app on my iPhone.

Here in North Battleford Saskatchewan Canada we have ascended out of a two week deep freeze, and are basking in -13 Celsius.

I come from an agricultural background, and was raised on a farm of “milk and honey”. So I took an interest in the program about the cultures found in the noses of dairy farmers. I also must have contracted cowpox when we milked cows by hand, since the medical people tried several times to inoculate me with the smallpox vaccine, and I never reacted. I have no scar.

I have a degree in agricultural science from Guelph, specializing in honeybees. We ran 1000 hives on our family farm.

Since 1988, when my brother bought the farm from my father and myself, he has successfully run 5000 colonies annually. He is not experiencing colony collapse and winter losses. He attributes his success to the knowledge that parasitic mites resident in and on the bees are introducing viruses that cause bees to die over winter. Some beekeeping operations in the province lose 50 percent of their bees over winter-sometimes more. His winter losses have been five percent or less. He believes that by treating the mites with a miticide early in the spring (while none of the brood is capped, but all the cells are open) he can effectively eradicate most of the mites. Consequently, most of the bees,  including the queen, that go into the winter have not been bitten by the mites, are not sick from viruses, and can endure the long cold months.

I listen with great interest to your program when I get a chance, and marvel at how careful you are to keep it in lay terms. That language helps keep my interest, and I do learn some interesting facts almost every time.

About 15 years ago my wife became infected with herpes zoster in her eye. Sadly, no medical person offers any hope for stopping the damage. The scar has almost entirely covered her iris. Cold weather, typical here in Saskatchewan winters, and the wind aggravate the condition. I wanted to ask if there has been any breakthrough that you could share with me so that she could receive helpful treatment. I would also enjoy hearing why she would be infected in one eye, and that it has not spread to the other eye or to me.

Thank you for considering me for the free book.


Trudy writes:

Naturally, this email was prompted by my desire to win the book in the current book contest, but I do actually have a question for Elio. If I were interested in writing a blog post for Small Things Considered, how would I go about it?

Thanks again for everything you do!


Jacob writes:

Because I never win anything!

– Jake

Jacob T Martin PhD

Postdoctoral Associate

Darrell Irvine lab

Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT

Assaf writes:

Hello TWIM team,

I’ve been a TWIM listener since episode one, and shamefully it took a book contest to get me to finally write in.

I work in a bioremediation company, and would love to hear you talk  about the subject- maybe a special guest?

It’s been five years since I completed my PhD, and TWIM has been my journal-club, and helps me keep my passion for bacteriology.

I have a two questions for the listeners:

  1. For those who listen while driving: does any of you have an idea for not forgetting your TWIM questions by the time you get to your destination?
  2. Which TWIM TWIV or TWIP episodes should I recommend on a non-scientific facebook group for podcast addicts?

Thank you for making my (every other) Sunday morning so much better,

Shalom from Sunny Israel (where the week begins on Sunday)

Sophia writes:

Dear TWIM team

Happy new year! I never write even though I’ve been listening since 2011 (but always too long after the episode is out) but it’s a new year and unusual things happen, like Dr. Despommier being a guest (how nice!) so I thought I’d do something original too! You like to know where we listen from so greetings from Thessaloniki, Greece where the temp is 10 degrees Celcius at the moment.

Congratulations on all your podcasts. To be honest, I like how you’ve started talking about things that cross the podcast boundaries (influenza on TWIM; dengue on Immune)–this approach helps me understand things a lot! What a great idea, I hope you do it more often.

Could you talk about TB sometime? (In any podcast, actually)

Have a wonderful year and thank you for all your time and effort