Category Archives: Podcast

Episode 55 – The making of “Science – Abridged Beyond the Point of Usefulness”

Welcome back! Zach and Kelly promised to record an episode of The Weekly Weinersmith about the making of Zach’s new book “Science – Abridged Beyond the Point of Usefulness” as a preorder reward for their new book Soonish!

“Science – Abridged Beyond the Point of Usefulness” will be available through BackerKit for another week or two, and will then likely be available through the SMBC store for Christmas. Soonish is available through BackerKit and can be preordered through these stores. Check out the space elevator to see what other rewards are available to folks who preorder the book.

Episode 54 Soonish – Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve And/Or Ruin Everything

Zach and Kelly are BACK! Well, for now. Turns out we haven’t just been sitting by the beach instead of recording podcasts – we’ve been writing a book! That book is called Soonish – Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve And/Or Ruin Everything, and it’s coming out through Penguin Press in the US and Particular Books in the UK on October 17th. This episode gives you a flavor of what the book is about, and some insights into the harrowing tale of what we went through to write this book while working our “normal” jobs and raising 2 kids. You can preorder the book here. 

This episode is a preorder reward! As we sell more preorders we release additional rewards, including extra SMBC comics, signed bookplates, and Soonish bookmarks. Check out the reward page for more information. 

Episode 49: Dr. Joan Strassmann on Dictyostelium discoideum

This week Zach and I talk with Dr. Joan Strassman about Dictyostelium discoideum, a social amoeba.


Queller/Strassman Research Group

Dr. David Queller – Dr. Strassman’s collaborator

Sociobiology – Dr. Strassman’s blog on life as a scientist

Strassmann/Queller publications on Dictyostelium

Episode 45: Dr. Christopher Lynn on glossolalia

This week Zach and Kelly talk with Dr. Christopher Dana Lynn, an anthropologist at the University of Alabama who studies the relationship between glossolalia and stress in Apostolic Pentecostals.

Chris leads the Human Behavioral Ecology Research Group (HBERG)


Chris’ manuscripts to which we refer:

Lynn et al. 2011: Glossolalia is associated with differences in biomarkers of stress and arousal among Apostolic Pentecostals

Lynn 2013: “The Wrong Holy Ghost”: Discerning the Apostolic Gift of Discernment Using a Signaling and Systems Theoretical Approach


Marjoe (documentary)

Participate in the Pop Culture Knowledge & Mating Success Study

IndieGoGo campaign to keep summer undergraduate research going in the HBERG

University’s Alabama Lecture’s on Life’s Evolution (ALLELE) series

University of Alabama’s EvoS program (evolutionary studies major)

Episode 39: Science funding

This week Zach and Kelly talk about National Institute of Health (NIH) funding practices, and the increasing administrative burdens placed on academic scientists.


Does the NIH (National Institute of Health) support the best researchers?

Nature article: Research grants: conform and be funded

Critique (found after recording): NIH funding: thousand citation papers are outliers

Rebuttal: NIH funding: the critics respond

Increasing administrative burdens placed on academic scientists

The Chronicle of HIgher Education: Time and money are being wasted in the lab

AAAS on “Red Tape” in research funding

Episode 36: Stress and Alzheimer’s Disease

This week Zach and Kelly discuss how the way one responds to stressors can have long-lasting implications for health, and recent research on a link between a rare gene variant and Alzheimer’s disease.

Zach and Kelly news

Webcomics Rampage in Austin, TX

Round 3 of the #SciFund Challenge has begun! 


Increased reactivity to stress increases the risk of chronic health issues

Paper: Affective reactivity to daily stressors and long-term risk of reporting a chronic physical health condition

Alzheimer’s and TREM2 variants

Paper 1: Variant of TREM2 associated with risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Paper 2: TREM2 variants in Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease

Episode 17: Dr. R. Douglas Fields and “The Other Brain” (an episode on glia)

Episode 30: Dr. Jordan Miller on the use of 3D printing to make blood vessels

Today Zach and Kelly talk to Dr. Jordan Miller, a postdoctoral student in Dr. Christopher Chen’s Tissue Microfabrication Lab at the University of Pennsylvania, about his recent breakthrough using 3D printing to create blood vessels.


Scientific article:

Nature Materials: Rapid casting of patterned vascular networks for perfusable engineered three-dimensional tissues

Popular press links

University of Pennsylvania press release

BBC news coverage

Los Angeles Times

3-D Printing

Weekly Weinersmith episode on 3D printing (Episode 5: Peters, Printers, and Polymers)



Baracuda Extruder for 3D printing sugar and chocolate 

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

On this week’s episode Kelly and Zach talk to Dr. Ryan Earley about why so many species reproduce sexually rather than asexually. We then talk to Elizabeth Lee and Robert Denton, whose #SciFund projects focus on animals with uncommon reproductive systems.


Dr. Ryan Earley and “Why are there males?”

Two-fold cost of sex

Red Queen Hypothesis (check out this great book for more information on this topic)

Court Jester Hypothesis


Mangrove rivulus

Video of mangrove rivulus jumping from the lab of Dr. Gibbs

Mangrove rivulus hangs out in logs


Kin selection

Genetic drift

Founder population/founder effect

Scientific article: Best of both worlds? Association between outcrossing and parasite loads in a selfing fish 

SciFund project bringing Daphnia back to life to study long-term effects of pollution

Elizabeth Lee and endocrine disrupters

Endocrine disrupters

Ethinyl estradiol disrupts sexual selection in sand gobies

Intersex smallmouth bass in the Potomac

Ethinyl estradiol

Liz’s SciFund project page

Robert Denton and unisexual salamanders

Mole salamanders

Rob’s SciFund project page

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

This week Kelly and Zach speak with Dr. R. Douglas Fields about his book “The Other Brain”.


Section on Nervous System Development and Plasticity (Dr. Fields’ Lab)


Dr. Ichiji Tasaki

Firefly luciferin/luciferase

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) 




Schwann Cell


Scientific American Articles authored by Dr. Fields

The Other Brain (links to Amazon)

Below is a really amazing talk by Dr. Fields. It is not related to glia, but it’s so awesome I had to post it anyway.

Episode 16: Science Exchange and Dr. Elizabeth Iorns

Zach and Kelly interview Dr. Elizabeth Iorns about Science Exchange, an online marketplace connecting scientists and laypeople to research facilities.


The Weinerworks

Science Exchange

SciFund Challenge

Pasadena Bioscience Collaborative

MORE Foundation Embark program

Y Combinator