Junio writes:

Re: coccinellae in Japanese

These colorful round small beetles are collectively called Tentou-Mushi in Japanese. “Mushi” is a generic term for insects. “Tentou” is the Sun-God (you can call the Sun “O-Tentou-Sama”).

Wikipedia says they fly towards the Sun hence that name. The most common ones are called Nanahoshi Tentou (Seven-star Sun-God).

There is a less commonly used alternative spelling of the name of the bug, which is Beni-Musume 紅娘. It literally means Red Girl, so in that sense, in Japanese they are also deemed female just like “Lady Bug”implies female, but not many people know that spelling.

Akira Ono writes:

Japanese: Lady beetles

Google translation is helplessly incompetent in this.

It is called “tentou-mushi”. “tentou” means the sun, sun-god, or the path of the sun, and “mushi” means “bug”. So, “sun-bug” or sungod bug would be better translation. These insects are thought to fly towards the sun, hence the name.


Anthony writes:

I found interesting the need for an inverter.  How many devices are not available for 12V?  In addition to space, machines that require 110 will be difficult to use in a remote location on Earth.

It was good to learn that much of a standard lab can be used immediately in space, perhaps with just perhaps just minor adjustments in technique.  Even so, can better tools be designed?  Are comments on experience and limitations encountered being collected and published for manufacturers to review and incorporate in future designs for space applications?

Thank you on a particularly great TWiV episode.  Even though I basically stay put on a side street in Jersey City, through TWiX I learn about topics in a range of the biological sciences, hear Nobel laureates and now find out about living in space from someone who was there.

Let’s imagine BSL-10 as a facility in deep space where nothing but data ever leaves.  What would the space station then be?  BSL-7?

Wytamma writes:

Hi Y’all,

I’m writing this to you on the plane to Hungary, the weather on arrival should be clear skies and 28°C. Two other PhD students and I from James Cook University Australia are on our way to attend back-to-back conferences in Budapest. The international symposium on viruses of lower vertebrates and the international symposium on ranavirus are running from 4th-10th of July. Can you please give a shoutout to all the veterinary and wildlife virologists in Budapest this week and remember it’s not only men and mice that get viruses!

Cheers from a jet lagged student,


Aadra writes:

Dear TwiV: I’m a long-time listener of TwiV, and now, TwiM.

I just read this article in Science, and I am absolutely heartbroken. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/356/6333/18.full

There are so many infectious diseases rampant in Nigeria: malaria, measles, polio. Is there any way the TwiV listener community could help out? I don’t really have a solidified suggestion or an idea. I am writing to you in a moment of sadness and wondering if there’s any way, as virologists/microbiologists, we could all help out this humanitarian crisis…it’s one of so many right now in the world.

Anthony writes:

A historical review. Just an excerpt is below



# # #


A passage in Philip Roth’s novel Nemesis describes the horror of catching polio in the US town of Newark in 1944, when outbreaks of the disease were common and each summer was spent in fear of infection.

“Finally the cataclysm began – the monstrous headache, the enfeebling exhaustion, the severe nausea, the raging fever, the unbearable muscle ache, followed in another forty-eight hours by the paralysis,” it says.

Polio, or poliomyelitis, has existed for millennia. There is ancient Egyptian art which depicts a victim of the disease with a frail, deformed limb, using a staff for support.

Now the disease is only endemic in three countries, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria, and there were just 37 cases last year. Optimistic health workers and organisations such as Rotary International say 2017 could be the year in which the world sees the last case of polio.

Serious challenges, including violent attacks on vaccinators by Islamists and poor routine immunisation coverage, remain.

But one day taking children to the doctor for polio vaccination drops may be a distant memory, and the long list of famous Polio survivors including Francis Ford Coppola, David Starkey and Mary Berry will fade into history.

Anthony writes:

“Linus Pauling is the only person to have been awarded two unshared Nobel Prizes – the 1954 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and the 1962 Nobel Peace Prize.”


Gary writes:

Hello twivers,

I was listening to an old episode today and heard a letter talking about Amizon and how you could not find information about it. I am talking about episode 59 and an outbreak of swine flu in the Ukraine. I decided to see if I could find any information about the medication and I found it. I am curious what you guys think about this drug. Here is the link:

http://en.medicine-worlds.com/amizon.htm I hope you will let us all know what you think.


MaryClare writes:

Hello Vincent and colleagues-

I’m writing to thank you for making such worthy podcasts. I subscribe to all the TWix shows, and I’ve come to expect at least one personal lightbulb moment every week while listening. The papers are always interesting, and the conversations between the hosts are good fun. I’ve learned an enormous amount from your podcasts, and it’s time I thanked you for the exceptional work.

Cheers to the whole team!

MaryClare Rollins

Montana State University

Stephanie writes:


I am not a scientist, but I have the flu and stumbled on your March 31st podcast. I was wondering why I am so sore?  I literally have physical pain up and down my spine like I have been hit by a car.

Please help me understand how a virus can cause physical pain?



Harlan writes:

Dear TWiV,

Thank you kindly for your informative and engaging discussions on virology. As an undergraduate in clinical laboratory science, I’m eager for the sorts of discussions you provide across the whole TWiX spectrum. Seasoned scholars discussing the nuances as you do helps inspire me by elucidating the world that I’m steadily exploring with fun yet deep details of microbial machinery.

Keeping with tradition of mentioning local atmospherics, it is 26 degrees C here in Honolulu. Also in keeping with tradition, I believe that Vincent should also be nicer to Dickson, whose commentary in particular I treasure.

The political commentary is slightly longer than I prefer, if only because the intersection of science and politics at this time is somewhat despair-provoking. I agree with the principles that you’ve mentioned across various episodes, though.

Having been so inspired by TWiV, I’ve just purchased a copy of Principles of Virology that I’ve had my eye on for several months. Should any of you ever grace our tiny island, I’ll happily take whoever makes it for beers.

Warm regards,


Ewa Beach, Hawaii

Laura writes:

Doctors Vincent Racaniello &  Dickson Despommier,

I recently found TWIM, TWIP, TWIV while adding podcasts on aquaculture to my list. I finished my laboratory sciences degree back in 2010 and I’m quite sad I hadn’t come across you sooner!  I find myself addicted to your shows- to now include Urban Agriculture. Despite my addiction and subsequent strife of not having enough time in the day to podcast n’binge I would like to extend my gratitude. I delight in the histories and stories previously unknown to me, as well as your humorous and informative banter.

I read these articles this last week and thought of you two.

Theileria parva- http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/04/16/508235759/as-a-boy-he-learned-about-science-by-rubbing-calves-ears

Yellow Fever-


Rat Lungworm-




Thanks for all that you do,


Raihan writes:

Dear TWIV Hosts (I hope this is gender neutral enough, if not I will use TWIV Hosts(ess)),

I have several comments to the past few TWIVs:

  1.   TWIV 437: WWTP is a common abbreviation for wastewater treatment plant. I am currently working as a post doc in the Water Desalination & Reuse Centre in KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia). One of my projects involves studying the different viruses present in a wastewater treatment plant. We studied the different viral species entering the wastewater treatment plant in human waste, the viruses which are retained in different stations of the wastewater treatment plant, the viruses which are exiting the wastewater treatment plant and the viruses which are inactivated by the wastewater treatment plant. I’m sure by now you must be sick of saying wastewater treatment plant and appreciate the WWTP abbreviation. This is extremely useful in writing manuscripts on WWTP efficiency with really low word count limits.
  2.   TWIV 435: You brought up the plaque video which was discussed in TWiV 68 ‘Ode to a Plaque’. I remember hearing this TWiV as a miserable PhD student and showing it to my supervisor. He then used it in a lab practical to teach about plaque formation. Fast forward several years, I was invited to lecture on ‘Introduction to Virology’ in a Public Health Course in my current institute. I used the same video for my lecture and I still get mesmerized by it. In fact, after showing the video I played it again just to observe the awesomeness of the plaque formation
  3.   I can’t remember which TWiV where this was discussed, but the topic of digital PCR was brought up. One of the hosts mentioned that the machine is expensive and has to be in a core facility to be shared by different groups because of the cost. I’d like to say that we have a dPCR machine in our lab (not sharing with anyone else). This dPCR machine runs on a different principle than the one discussed on TWiV which is droplet based. Our machine  runs by partitioning the DNA template on a chip http://www.jnmedsys.com/digital-pcr-principle/ . This machine costs approximately 5X less than the droplet-based  digital PCR machine, still rather expensive, but funding is not a big limitation to research in Saudi Arabia. Maybe the United States should follow the same model for research funding as Saudi Arabia, tell that to the far right.
  4.   Lastly I’d like to express my appreciation to Prof Rich Condit. Nowadays, it seems like if one want to be successful in research, one should sacrifice family time. But on several occasions, Prof Condit had mentioned how he made sure that he allocates time for work and family even as a young researcher. I specifically remember Prof Condit explaining that he was in charge of baths before bedtime when his children were younger. This meant that he had to return home early and make the time at work really productive. I totally can relate to this as I am in charge of bedtime readings and school lunch preparation and I do not want to push all of this to my poor suffering wife, who also has her own career. I also follow other advice which Prof Condit has given like to put away any frivolous matters at work and focus on research and to come in for a few hours over the weekend to catch up on any work. I feel that young parents should really embrace and enjoy the time with children when they are young, because this time will never come back, and I look to Prof Condit as an inspiration for this. I also hope that in retirement, I can spend time traveling and visiting my children and grandchildren, just like Prof Condit. One can spend time with family and still do well in research. The pressures of publishing can get to a young researcher but spending time with the family, I find, is the best way to beat the stress.

Sorry for the long email

Best Regards,

a huge fan ,


(sadly im not working on influenza B viruses anymore But they’re still my BaBies)

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