Viruses viruses viruses viruses viruses viruses viruses.

Actually, the title is clearly insufficient. [Viruses]^100 or something like that would be better.

And here is a story by Michaeleen Doucleff from NPR about viruses in the human microbiome with some quotes from me.

Yes, the human microbiome has truly arrived: on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me

So cool.  Yesterday on “wait wait … don’t tell me” Kai Penn (actor) was enticed to play the game “Ahhh! Get It Off Me!” in regard to microbes: Not My Job: Kal Penn Takes A Quiz On The Microbiome : NPR

Hat tip to Jenna Lang for pointing me to this.


Uggh – Robert Krulwich blogs about butterflies as hybrids resurrecting BS from Williamson

Oh for the love of …

Was browsing Twitter when I saw this:

So I had to check it out.  First I clicked on the link to my blog since I didi not know what post this was referencing.  Uh oh.  It was a post entitled “Just grand -Donald Williamson published more crap on larval “evolution” – this time in one of the #OMICS journals

Then with dread I clicked on the link to NPR and found a blog post from none other than Robert Krulwich: Are Butterflies Two Different Animals in One? The Death And Resurrection Theory : Krulwich Wonders… : NPR.  In it Krulwich references some book by Bernd Heinrich which itself discusses the theory (if you can call it that) that butterfly and moth metamorphosis represents the death of one organism and the “resurrection” of another.  And furthermore that this is due to a past hybridization event between two species where somehow the genomes merged and the organisms maintained distinct lives linked by the metamorphosis stage.

The problem with this?  Well, a lot of it comes from the ridiculous papers of Donald Williamson, which have been shown quite clearly to be bogus.  Yes, as Krulwich notes, this theory of two species in one “startles” but so does the theory that humans closest relatives are dolphins because they are smarter than chimps.  As does the theory that bacteria are in fact little planets of their own orbiting around animals attracted to them by microgravity.  A theory being startling is a good thing only if the theory is not complete unadulterated crap.[View the story “Robert Krulwich at NPRScience botches discussion of bogus hybridization story” on Storify]

Visit to Capitol Public Radio HQ & appearance on "Insight" w/ @CapRadioRuyak

Just got back from a brief visit to Sacramento (which is 15 minutes or so my where I live in Davis, CA). I had a mini 10 minute or so appearance on “Insight” a radio show on Capitol Public Radio.

My visit all started maybe a few weeks ago when I bumped into Lin Weaver in Davis.  Lin was showing some friends of hers around Davis and we chatted for a while on the sidewalk.  One of the topics was my recent fun giving a Tedmed talk.

Anyway – we chatted for 15-20 minutes or so and then I headed home.  And a few days later I got an email from Lin inviting me to be a guest on Insight.  Cool.  I love the show – and listen to it whenever I can.  So I said I had to check some details and then got back to her later and said “yes.”

Lin and the folks at Capitol Public Radio then sent me some additional details and asked for some links to use for their website.

And this AM I headed on in to town.  I was asked to get to their studio at 9:45 AM.  Their studio is on the campus of Sacramento State and I headed on in early and got their at about 9:30.  Of course – I took some pics and posted some stuff to twitter …

Got a parking permit at the desk and then was led into the back of the building to
“The Green Room” and got a look at the studio:


And of course posted to twitter 



I then relaxed in the Green room.  A few minutes before ten the host of insight Beth Ruyak came by.  She instantly made me relax about the interview (was not stressed per se, but somehow felt even more relaxed after the minute with her).  She told me I would be up second and then she left to get ready for the show. 
I took some more pictures and posted a few more tweets


I continued to hang out in the Green Room and got to listen to the interview with the previous guest – Marcos Breton – a reporter for the Sacramento Bee who’s stuff I actually know a little bit of since he covers baseball.

While listening to them chatting away on the air, I decided to add some microbes to the Insight guest book:


And then the assistant producer came out and told me it was almost time to go into the studio.  And then I was in.  Sat down and talked for 10 or so minutes with Ruyak.  We talked about diabetes, microbes, me, twitter, and more. And then it was over.

I took a few pics of the office on the way out:


And that was it.

And it seems it is already on the web.

NPR Piece on Discovery of Hydrothermal Vent Oasis

It discusses the story of the discovery of the first hydrothermal vent oases back in 1977. I note this is near and dear to my heart. I worked as an undergraduate and then after graduating in Colleen Cavanaugh’s lab at Harvard on chemosynthetic symbioses. And then amazingly I got to go on the 2002 deep sea cruise celebrating the 25th anniversary of the discovery of the vents. On that cruise Rosebud (mentioned in this article) was discovered.
And I am still fascinating by the deep sea – (with Colleen Cavanaugh’s lab esp. Irene Newton and w/ Tanja Woyke via JGI we sequenced the first chemosynthetic symbiont genome a few years ago). Hat tip to Eileen Choffness for pointing this story out.