Archive for Uncategorized

Zombie ant crowdfunding project

Dr. Charissa de Bekker is running a crowdfunding campaign to continue her work on zombie ants. We recently interviewed Dr. David Hughes about zombie ants , so check that out if you want to learn more about this amazing host-parasite system.  Charissa recently published a super cool paper (open access!) identifying compounds secreted by the zombie-making fungus while infecting its ant host, and next she wants to identify the genes responsible for ant manipulation. Check it out!

Weekly Weinersmith on hiatus


As you have probably noticed, Weekly Weinersmith updates have been few and far between in the past few months. I really love doing this podcast, but this is the last year of my PhD and I have had to prioritize my dissertation experiments, manuscript writing, and applying for postdoc positions. I was hoping I would still have time to podcast, but my schedule simply isn’t allowing it. The experiment ends and all of my postdoc applications are due by early January, so our intention is to start back up again around that time.

Brachiolope podcast logo service markIn the meantime, you should be filling your ear holes with other Brachiolope Media Network podcasts! We recently picked up a fantastic podcast on astronomy called Astarium, which I highly suggest checking out. As usual, Science…sort of, Technically Speaking, and The Titanium Physicists are fantastic, and I’m sure will be more than able to fill the podcast-shaped hole (what shape is that?) in your heart until we return.

One last thing. The Brachiolope Media Network recently made our podcasts available through Podiversity. This is an android app that charges a low monthly subscription fee, and in return removes advertisements from the podcasts and provides a higher quality audio file. Best part for us is that your subscription fee goes to the people running the podcasts, so the Brachiolope Media Network can buy new microphones, pay our podcasting-related fees, etc. It’s a great way to support the shows.

Zach and I look forward to bringing your more nerdiness ASAP!

<3, Kelly

Episode 50: Dr. David Hughes on zombie ants

This week Zach and Kelly talk to Dr. David Hughes about zombie ants.


Hughes Lab website (with links to publications)

Check out the Hughes Lab zombie ants Kickstarter!

Zombie ant videos

Plant Village (follow Plant Village on Twitter)

Photo by David P. Hughes and Maj-Britt Pontoppidan from Graveyards on the Move (click image to go to manuscript)

Photo by David P. Hughes and Maj-Britt Pontoppidan from Graveyards on the Move (click image to go to manuscript)

Episode 48: Naked mole rats

This week Zach and Kelly talk naked mole rats.


The Kickstarter for Zach’s newest adventure of your own choosing gamebook has only 7 days left! 

Naked mole rat



Paper 1: van der Horst et al. 2011. Sperm structure and motility in the eusocial naked mole-rat, Heterocephalus glaber: a case of degenerative orthogenesis in the absence of sperm competition?

Press coverage on Not Exactly Rocket Science

Paper 2: Tian et al. 2013. High-molecular-mass hyaluronan mediates the cancer resistance of the naked mole rat.

Press coverage on The Conversation

Paper 3: Avivi et al. 2010. Neuroglobin, cytoglobin, and myoglobin contribue to hypoxia adaptation of the subterranean mole rat Spalax

Press coverage at Ars Technica

Episode 17: Dr. R. Douglas Fields and “The Other Brain”


Episode 47: Biofilms and bumblebees

This week Zach and Kelly talk about cheating in bacterial biofilms, and how the microbiome influences susceptibility to disease in bumble bees.


Trial of the Clone 2: Wrath of the Pacificist (Zach’s adventure of your own choosing game book) is up on Kickstarter!

Technically Speaking – A podcast about engineering, and the newest member of the Brachiolope Media Network family!

Paper 1 - Popat et al. 2012: Quorum-sensing and cheating in bacterial biofilms


Episode 42: Fecal transplants and eye development

Paper 2 – Koch and Schmid-Hempel 2012: Gut microbiota instead of host genotype drive the specificity of a natural host-parasite system

Red Queen hypothesis

Episode 25: Dr. Ryan Earley and “why are there males”?

Episode 46: Ryan and Ben hijack the Weekly Weinersmith

This week we let Ryan Haupt and Benjamin Tippett take over the show. Ryan and Ben are co-hosts on the Science…sort of podcast, and Ben is host of The Titanium Physicists podcast. Both of these podcasts are part of the Brachiolope Media Network, the podcast network to which the Weekly Weinersmith belongs. Ryan and Ben will talk about….well….you’ll see.

This podcast is probably not appropriate for a younger audience (you know, as usual).




Explosive eversion of a duck penis

Tapir’s third leg

Banana slug penis eating

Whale threesome

Kangaroo vagina

Kangaroo penis

The Dr. Dick Cox who studies penises

Detachable nautilus penises

The Weinersmiths are on vacation!

Zach and I have been swamped with work lately, and are about to go on our very belated honeymoon. We will begin updates when we get back from the honeymoon in a few weeks.

<3, The Weinersmiths

Episode 44: Caffeinated and telepathic rats

This week Zach and Kelly talk about how the smell of coffee changes gene expression and protein production in rat brains, and discuss a study that hooked rat brains up to one another so the rats could share information and perform tasks together.


Submit an application for the Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses!

#SciFund Challenge is looking for a django developer!

Coffee on the brain

Seo et al. 2008: Effects of coffee bean aroma on the rat brain stressed by sleep deprivation: a selected transcript- and 2D gel-based proteome analysis

Science Daily coverage

Rat brain-to-brain interface

Pais-Vieira et al. 2013: A brain-to-brain interface for real-time sharing of sensorimotor information

Science Daily coverage

Episode 43: The Valentine’s Day Episode

For Valentine’s Day, Zach and Kelly talk whether or not brazilian waxing is causing the extinction of pubic lice, and about how housework influences the frequency of sex.


Zach and Kelly news!

Check The Story Collider for our nerdy love story!

JJ Darling took our photos while we were in NYC. Our favorite photo can be found below.

Kickstarter for Zach’s book of science-themed comics (featuring a story by Adam Savage!)

Is brazilian waxing causing the extinction of pubic lice?

Popular press coverage


Bug Girl – debunking the pubic lice are going extinct claim: here and here

Scientific articles/letters

Waxing common amongst undergrads

Did the “brazilian” kill the pubic louse?

Housework and sex

Popular press

Scientific article: Egalitarianism, housework, and sexual frequency in marriage

Erectile dysfunction and income inequality

American gothic

Photo by JJ Darling

Episode 42: Fecal transplants and eye development

This week Zach and Kelly discuss a study that used infusion of donor feces to treat a bacterial infection, and a second study that found that light is important for eye development in fetal mice.


Zach and Kelly stuff!

Zach has a Kickstarter running for his new science-themed comic book!

Zach and Kelly will be part of the Story Collider show in NYC on Feb. 5th!

The Small Dinosaurs have put out their first album!

Bandcamp (where the album can be streamed):


Music video:

Paper 1: Nood et al. 2013 Duodenal infusion of donor feces for recurrent Clostridium difficile

Clostridium difficile

Nature coverage

Paper 2: Rao et al. 2013 A direct and melanopsin-dependent fetal light response regulates mouse eye development

MedicalXpress coverage