Eugenia writes:

Gaslighting (Merriam-Webster word of the year)

We live in a world of lies
Misunderstandings and deceptions
Making us call into question
Our firmly held conceptions.

Our circular thoughts seek truth,
But there are few straight replies.
That’s what goes on in a world
Of misunderstanding and lies.

Lis writes:

Favorite episodes- Just about all of them. Just cannot pick one.

Love Dr . Daniel Griffin’s quote of the week. Never stop providing a quote.

Pic of the week

Prof Racaniello recommendation of author Andrea Camilleri.

Rich’s book Mindfulness in Plain English

Dickson’s recommendation for jazz

Sorry I cannot narrow my answer😊

Lis Martinez

Columbus, Ohio

Mark writes:

Dear Vincent and Other TWiV Hosts,

Congratulations to you all on another year of TWiV. 2022 was an excellent, vintage year!!!

Year-end is commonly a time of pondering the year past, and preparing for the year ahead. Below are opinions from the long-time-listener of the best and worst of TWiV in 2022.

BEST EPISODE — TWiV 876: Spillover market with Michael Worobey.

WHY? Worobey tracks evolution SARS-CoV-2 spread in Wuhan. He developed dissemination models and tests them against spread of two variants in Wuhan. His models match reality. Worobey presents facts and logic that lead to the conclusion that COVID-19 spread from a wet market. Applying Occam’s Razor — that the simplest explanation for an event is to be selected over alternate, more complex ones — he concludes zoonotic transmission from one of several possible hosts in the market, was the source of the virus.

Doubters will doubt; haters will hate; conspiracy-believers, let’s call them “conspiracy-alists”,  will suspend logical thinking and clutch at their favorite explanations for COVID-19’s origin: “lab leak”, “created by the CCP”, or  are some favorite explanations. Sadly, the proof offered by “conspiracy-alists” is repeated recitation of conclusions without logical support, shouting, or the ultimate proof “Fauci did it”!


During 2022, as in past years, some topics, ideas, and stories repeated themselves in small bites. I think the best were:

1. Bats & other hosts: frequent discussion on how SARS-CoV-2 infected different animals and what the implications are for human health. Or for understanding the origin of thi virus.

2. Deca-picks: I’m creating a new conjunction here to describe Dickson’s “ten part” listener picks for comedians and jazz musicians.

3. ABC: “anything but COVID”. It was refreshing to see other virology stories and topics emerge that were not chained to COVID-19. Your multiple guests, and episodes recorded from travel/conferences  were wonderful and refreshing alternative to incubator-based studio discussions.

Moving on ….

WORST EPISODE — TWiV 929: Empathyology with Andy Slavitt

WHY? Slavitt didn’t offer any clinical or scientific insight. He came across as a “smart aleck” boasting about his past achievement in the Obama Administration, and his work in the Biden Administration. He denied, jived, and threw up shrapnel whenever the conversation came close to being critical of the Biden Administration’s mis-steps in dealing with this health problem.

It’s a joyous time of year. I am sure I speak for many other TWiV listeners in hoping that Andy didn’t injure his arm or hand from patting himself on congratulating himself for the job he did.

Moving on ….

Here is my last Listener Pick of the Week for 2020: it’s George Carlin speaking at the National Press Club making fun of the murky, vapid, and hollow language politicians use. Would you be surprised to know that he doesn’t use any expletives in this segment?

Watch here: 

Looking forward to a great 2023!


PS: its very rainy here in the Bay Area as I write this.

PPS: be nice to Dickson.

Laura writes:

Dear Dr. Racaniello,

I just wanted to say how much I appreciate the comments and wisdom of Dr. Despommier on TWiV.  It is enlightening to hear him incorporate his general knowledge of biology and ecology into the virology discussions.  Your program is so much richer because of his insights.

Kind regards,

Laura L. Degn, PhD.

Lesa writes:

There is a session going on about the mortality rate of those of us who have had the covid vaccine and boosters right now from Wisconsin.  There are virologists there saying that the vaccine is basically going to kill me earlier than I would perhaps die if I hadn’t had all the pokes.  I am freaking out. How in the world do I find out what is real and true? It is being streamed through The Epoch Times and I have read that there is evidence of misinformation coming from this group. 

I am a TWIV listener now, but was not when we were in the throes of Covid.  Would you recommend a certain episode that I go back and listen?



David writes:

Dear Vincent et al.

I’m listening to TWiV 960 and your wonderful conversation with Dan Wilson.

When you get to about 87 minutes, Rich initiates a discussion about being wrong and its value for learning.  I wholeheartedly agree.  However, there are two kinds of wrong.  The good wrong is hypotheses that we develop from our data that help us design good experiments to disprove them, as Dickson says.  The bad wrong is confusing an hypothesis for a conclusion. 

A potential antidote to this second kind of wrong actually surfaced a few minutes earlier when Dan used the phrase “not supported by the data.”  Being careful about how we frame our conclusions should always be at the forefront of our thinking and you talk about it all the time.   But when we do outreach, we need to train ourselves to be hyper-careful to communicate in terms of what is supported, or not, by the data.  And clearly separate that conclusion from hypotheses.  That’s a key part of educating the press and the public as to how science works and how they can best incorporate scientific findings into their thinking.  It’s a long, hard slog to change the old mindset.  And there’s always the possibility that they may not like it because it’s not sexy enough and they stop using you as a source.  

And maybe more attention to distinguishing between the “wrong” that helps us learn and the “wrong” that doesn’t will make us better at what we do.

Of course, none of this is new to you as the individual pieces come up repeatedly in your podcasts, but I thought it would be useful to make an attempt to put it all together. 

What can I say that hasn’t already been said about the work you are doing.



David J. Spector, Ph. D

Professor Emeritus of Microbiology and Immunology

Penn State Hershey

Charles writes:

Hello Dickson;

My ex-father in law was an excellent sax player.  He would sometimes play with Vince DiMartino, the best trumpet player I have ever heard live.  Vince was a local legend both for playing and teaching.  He may not make a top 3 or 4 pick, but it is well worth the time to seek out his music.

Enjoy and thanks for TWiV,