Ginny writes:

Hello, TWiVVers,

I assume you saw this, hoping you will discuss it. Because I have learned so much from you, I understood it! Thank you! Also because of what I have learned from you, I was happy to see that they did FFA as well as PCR and LFA – they measured actual infectious viral load.

Thanks for all you do. I have to go shovel snow now.


Rochester, NY

Jack writes:

Dear TWIV Team,

I very much appreciate all you do to keep the public informed about viruses and especially about COVID-19.

Here are my two candidates for listener picks:

1. “DR. BECKY”

Dr. Rebecca Smethurst, an astrophysicist and a junior research fellow at the University of Oxford, hosts a podcast series about astronomy.  She studies supermassive black holes.  Her videos have been about such subjects as dark matter and dark energy, theories of gravity, the Big Bang, the formation of planets and stars, relativity, ring galaxies, and the James Webb Space Telescope. She is very good at using analogies to make complex concepts understandable to the public, and her graphics are excellent.  She has a light-hearted, engaging manner, and is not above giving her opinion on popular movies that deal with astronomical topics, such as “Don’t look up.”  As with TWIV, each episode is accompanied by links to the journal articles that were discussed.

Her latest episode, which relates to her specialty, is about a supermassive black hole that forms new stars:

Another episode was reminiscent of “Microbe TV Q&A with A&V” in that she answered listeners’ questions, though not in a live stream:

“Ask me anything”

2. The second pick is just for fun.  It is a game in which you are given a name and you have to identify it as a type of pasta or a composer.