John writes:

Hi folks, I always love the sidebars into astrophysics and thought I could promote a good science communicator on the subject of the “crisis in cosmology” or Hubble tension. Our methods are few in measuring the expansion of the universe and they are diverging away from each other while each are getting more accurate, hence the crisis.

Dr. Becky Smethurst at Oxford has a great YouTube channel called Dr. Becky, and she reminds me of you all in how she is data driven and does a weekly update. She was waiting to post anything regarding the latest JWST data since it was not yet peer reviewed, but the NYT ran with it early (big surprise), so she went ahead noting that caveat. Her latest video covers it as the last topic if you want to skip ahead, the video is labeled so you can start there. She also mentions many other videos she has done if you want a deep dive on the Hubble Tension. I first saw her discuss it on a related channel for physics called Sixty Symbols. I would imagine you all would get along with those researchers across the pond too.

Cephid variables and some supernova have a reliable brightness which we’ve used to measure distances, if this sounds familiar they are often called standard candles. Combined with redshift measurements to see how fast a galaxy is receding from us, we get one measurement of the expansion of the universe. The paper from JWST data suggests this data is more accurate than we first thought potentially eliminating it as the method that is in question.

The other measurement comes from the cosmic microwave background and we either have something wrong here or we have new physics to discover, both are intriguing to consider.

In one of her other deep dive videos, there is a third method on the horizon, it escapes me now but I recall it may be related to black hole measurements perhaps with mergers and gravity waves. We are all eager to see more measurements from jwst but I can almost hear Vincent say, show me the data.

Cheers folks

John Ellmaker microbetv supporter

Bonnie writes:

To everyone at TWIV, thank you for all that you do to educate listeners and viewers about science. 

I am writing with a question for Vincent. And I want to emphasize that this question is coming from genuine curiosity, I’m not trying to give you a hard time. 

I keep hearing you say that you are healthy and have no comorbidities, you’ve already had the original vaccine series, you’ve also had Covid once, and you don’t see any data supporting a choice for you to get a booster right now. 

That sounds reasonable. But it leaves me wondering if you think that there is any potential harm to you in getting a booster. Is there a slight risk of local infection at the site of the jab? (I’m just trying to imagine what potential harms might be.)

After all, as an analogy, there’s no data to indicate that I should lock the door of my home. In fact, the data where I live probably suggests that there’s no reason for me to lock my door and some reasons not to. It’s inconvenient to lock my door, and doing so puts me at risk of accidentally locking myself out, or of not being able to be helped in time by first responders who don’t have a key in the event of an emergency. 

Of course, if I had enemies who I thought were trying to harm me, I guess that would be a good reason to lock my door, but I don’t know of any such people, just as you don’t know if you have any comorbidities, but probably you don’t. (Of course, someone could be planning to threaten me or my home who I don’t know about, just as you could have a comorbidity that hasn’t been diagnosed yet.)

I’m not disagreeing with you not having the booster, Vincent–you’re far more qualified than I am to make a risk-benefit calculation about this. I’m just asking, is your logic the same as my logic regarding my door? Or is there some other factor that I’m not recognizing? 

I think your logic is valid, I also will probably keep locking my door anyway, but I am locking my door in full knowledge that my decision to do so is a little irrational. But am I also being irrational when I tell my healthy young adult kids to go get the booster in a few weeks? 

Or is this not a matter of logic per se, but a matter of trust and faith in science? If so, I think that’s also valid, but I’m just trying to understand your thinking on this. And after all–we’re all making the same decisions and trying to navigate the data and the logic for our particular situations. 

But, maybe I’m just overthinking this, and, as well, you may not want to discuss your choices in any more detail than you already have, and that’s valid too.

Thank you again for all that you do! I recommend TWIV to people from all walks of life, all the time. 


Brenda writes:

Any idea where this figure came from?

According to Dr. Kieran Moore, Thanks Ontario health minister, 1 in 5000 of those kids will get myocarditis.

Brenda Steele Black Isle Scotland

Vr: See,and%2017%20years%20of%20age.

Suellen writes:

Hey illustrious TWIV team!

I heard an interview with Dr. Howard on the House of Pod podcast. His new book is “We Want Them Infected: How the failed quest for herd immunity led doctors to embrace the anti-vaccine movement and blinded Americans to the threa of COVID.” 

Long title, but the book seems to have some excellent content. I have not read it yet, I did read an excerpt here: 

‘We Want Them Infected’: An Excerpt from Jonathan Howard’s New Book on the COVID-19 Pandemic – Bill of Health

Dr. Howard is Assistant Professor, Neurology and Psychiatry NYU Langone Medical Center New York. Maybe it would be worth a subway trip for him to visit The Incubator to be on TWIV? Tell him he can get the “TWIV bump” which will increase sales of his book. 🙂

If nothing else, listen to the interview he did on House of Pod. I admit, it’s not the best interview ever, but it does hit the high points. It’s episode 195:

‎The House of Pod: A Medical Podcast: Episode 195 – Worst COVID Tweets Ever on Apple Podcasts ‎The House of Pod: A Medical Podcast: Episode 195 – Worst COVID Tweets Ever on Apple Podcasts 

Keep telling us the truth about COVID, TWIV team! 

Your correspondent in Roswell, GA — where I’m wearing a mask in public despite what anyone says or thinks!


Charles writes:

Hello NJ TWiVers;

Here is a stupid story about an expensive drink at the Newark Airport that came with a bit of food. The reporter was complaining about it costing $78. Just a dumb story, but the response to it was great. I really liked the picture someone posted of NJ legend Bruce Springsteen about to enjoy a hotdog.

I happen to know you can order the same meal as The Boss in Long Branch, NJ at Max’s.



John writes:

Hello hosts made of starstuff, I also love the picks that delve into space and cosmos and after Rich’s pick this week I thought he and others would like to know how much more we have learned since Carl Sagan, which I imagine he would have appreciated. While it was dogma for some time to think that supernova created the bulk of what we know as matter, there are limited production of elements beyond iron due to the fusion not netting energy for elements at iron and beyond. There are trace amounts of heavier elements that do get produced during the final supernova events, but not enough to account for the abundance of heavier elements that we witness around the world and cosmos. It turns out that neutron star mergers, if frequent enough, can account for that and PBS space time has some great videos covering the r-process which gives us things like Gold. Indeed, more evidence has come to secure neutron star mergers as the main producers of many heavier elements which I think is neat.

An astronomer from OSU, Jennifer Johnson, made a periodic table that has gotten famous showing the current understanding of the origin of each element and I’ve never known the scientifically curious to not love it. Here is the link from NASA or you can just search for “periodic table origin of elements” if you don’t like to click links in emails (I understand that). We are still mostly star dust, especially due to carbon. Cheers folks, thanks for all your consistent and great content.



Adam writes:

Thought you all might find this interesting:)

Love the show. 

I’m a better physician because of it.



In Siberia, Russia, there stands a bronze statue depicting a laboratory mouse knitting a double helix of DNA. This statue pays tribute to the countless mice that were sacrificed for genetic research aimed at developing new drugs to combat diseases. The sculpture was created by Andrew Kharkevich.

Upon closer examination of the statue, you’ll notice that the DNA structure spirals to the left, symbolizing Z-DNA, one of the possible double helical structures of DNA. Z-DNA is less common than B-DNA, which spirals to the right. The inclusion of Z-DNA in this monument serves as a reminder of the ongoing work required in this field.

The very first photograph of DNA was captured by Rosalind Franklin, a woman who utilized X-ray technology. Her pioneering work provided crucial insights that enabled Watson and Crick to accurately characterize the double helix structure. However, despite their subsequent Nobel Prize win in 1962, Franklin was not recognized. Tragically, she had passed away in 1958 due to ovarian cancer, likely a result of the significant radiation exposure she endured while using X-rays to image the double helix.