Richard writes:

Dear Twix cabal

  Thank you very much for your hard work in producing the TWIX family of podcasts, which includes Urban Agriculture.

  I especially enjoyed TWIV 428, featuring the paper about astrocytes by Daniels, et al. However, when Vincent read the title of the paper, he spoke so quickly that it was nigh impossible to interpret the terminology. This matters to me. When the title of a paper is read, I believe that the neural structures associated with my memory of the terms are primed for use and modification. For this reason, reading the title at normal speed may help me subconsciously prepare for the material that is to follow. If anything, a very brief silence after reading the title would help me understand the material better.

  As a nonscientist, I frequently listen at or a little beyond the limit of my ability, and I sometimes repeat portions of a podcast several times before I before I can understand. This is by no means a complaint. It is specifically because your podcasts are not watered down (much) that makes them informative, interesting, and valuable.

  Please keep challenging me with the undiluted truth, made more manageable by your warm camaraderie, and spiced with an amusing modicum of needling.

  It is a sunny 52 degrees F in Chicago, vaguely unnerving for mid February. They say the trees need cold snaps to control arthropod pests, so I hope it was cold enough for them this winter. The gravity wave amplitude here in Chicago is undetectable at this time, but we can say it is below 1.2 X 10 to the minus 21st, last measured by LIGO on September 14, 2015.


Richard, RN

Esper writes:

Dear Vincent

Greetings from sunny Brazil!

I hope this message finds you and the TWIV colleagues well.

An amazing story unfolded during the YF outbreak in Brazil . It was brought up by Natalia Cancian, a health-specialized reporter working in the main Brazilian daily newspaper, Folha de Sao Paulo.

Bottom line is: this small rural town, Franciscopolis, population of 5,708 inhabitants, has a nurse in charge of public health surveillance, Kenia Moreira. When some citizens started reporting the death of an unusual number of macaques, she immediately tried to send some carcasses for analyses, but they were considered inappropriate due to the long time after the animals’ death. She did not wait: requested more YF vaccine doses and expanded the immunization for those who were susceptible around town.

Now, look at the map of cases for the region:


Number of cases (suspected or confirmed) per city by Feb 13 (Source, Ministry of Health):


Yes, vaccination can prevent YF transmission. It is unquestionable how the Brazilian authorities fell short of providing the same type of simple intervention to prevent such disastrous outbreak. Terrible! (using a modern twitter jargon)

We should show this to all the anti-vax morons that are still out there. And perhaps suggest they visit the region…

All the best,


Hannah writes:

Hello TWiVers!

I’m a biochemistry student at Skidmore College where it’s 30°F, -1°C, and there’s about a foot of snow! This semester I’m taking a virology course, and I’ve been finding it and your podcast very interesting. I’m in the process of writing an end of term paper on HIV and I was wondering if any particularly intriguing papers or insights on the virus came to mind?

Thanks for great Sunday entertainment!


Iosif writes:

Dear Twiv team,

Hello team. Even though I am a Twip veteran, I do listen to all of your podcasts.

In Twiv 428, Vincent mentioned that we might be better off if we didn’t have amygdalas. I would like to point to Kluver-Bucy syndrome (which is caused by damage to both amygdalas) to see what your opinion would be.

Symptoms are:

  1. Amnesia – Makes sense considering the strength of memories can be tied to their emotional connections.
  2. Docility – Including decreased fear response.
  3. Hyperphagia – Includes eating of strange foods i.e. pica.
  4. Hyperorality – Examination of objects by mouth, I imagine it is very much like how children act.
  5. Hypersexuality – Including with inanimate objects and those of other species.
  6. Visual Agnosia – Loss of the ability to recognize objects or people.

There is a radiolab episode exploring a man diagnosed with Kluver-Bucy syndrome that can be found here: Blame



Maryam writes:

Dear Vincent and all the lovely TWiV team,

My name is Maryam Aftabi I think you know me from instagram. I’m the one who enjoys to make origami viruses. I wanted to write an email way sooner than now because you know, I love you guys and I wanted to thank you for all the things you do for us, for the virology world. You cannot believe how much I enjoy listening to your podcasts and believe me I become more interested in Virology every week because of you.

Let me introduce myself a little more.  I’m a first year MSc Medical Virology student in Golestan University of Medical Science (Gorgan-Iran) and I’m your listener since TWiV 368. I first found you when I was searched for virology in my iPad’s podcast app. At that time I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life; I was about to make a bad decision, but you guys saved me. It’s a long story so I won’t take your time, but I will write it in another email so you can read it later if you could.

I must say Last year was full of miracles for me and finding you was one of the greatest ones. I don’t know how to thank you more. Whatever I do I can’t thank you enough

Love you all

Sorry for my bad grammar. It’s my first English email actually. I know I should take some English courses

PPS. I would like to be a cool and good virologist like you and I promise that I will do my best.

PPPS. I almost forgot!! The weather here in Gorgan -a northern city in Iran- is 4’C and it’s a clear moonlight sky. I can see the stars.

Thank you

Love you all


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