Recently, I have joined with some colleagues from around the world in a new venture which combines several things that I feel rather passionately about: science communication, trying to get over my crippling self-confidence / public speaking issues, and generally chatting shit about insect humping. That’s right, there’s a new podcast in town! It’s called Breaking Bio, and it all stemmed from the mind of Steven Hamblin, the guy who shot to fame after taking various reporters and commentators to task in the ‘dolphin rape edition‘ of his blog. Here he is in all of his glory:
I should probably mention that the blog post in question was actually a rather sober discussion of science journalism and sensationalism in the mainstream media, but hopefully the previous paragraph and accompanying picture will have done the desired damage to Steven’s reputation.
The podcast itself is a light-hearted chat between a bunch of nerds about various topics: recent discoveries, big topics in the scientific community, conferences, weird insect genitalia… all of the things you’d expect, and maybe more (especially when Bug Girl is around!)
We are about 6 episodes in just now, so there’s plenty for you to catch up on – there’s also something of a rotating cast of characters to get acquainted with:
Steven Hamblin – yeah, the dolphin rape guy in the underpants. Not only does Steven have to try and figure out times for various people across the globe to chat for an hour or so once a week, he also has the job of keeping us on a vague topic, and the frankly horrendous task of editing it all into something coherent afterwards. Oh, and he’s a postdoc in Australia doing extremely hard maths about zombie caterpillars.
Morgan Jackson – entomology PhD student at Guelph, awesome photographer, and fly lover. But not like Steven is a dolphin lover. This is a purer love.
Rafael Maia – a PhD student at the University of Akron, Rafael does some unbelievably cool work on the evolution of bird feather colouration. He’s also, like, Mexican or something. I dunno.
Bug Girl – with a PhD in entomology and a reluctance to reveal her true name, Bug Girl is something of an enigma. She’s like a superhero, albeit one whose superpower is talking non-stop about insect genitalia and how Spiderman should really spooge web out of his butt and suchlike. Basically, she’s fucking brilliant.
Crystal Ernst – another entomology PhD student and awesome photographer, Crystal also blogs as ‘The Bug Geek’, no doubt invoking her own ire as she struggles to contain her geekiness solely to the order Hemiptera.
Michael Hawkes – unfortunately, Michael is doing a PhD in something which can be described as ‘applied’, seeing as it might be of practical use one day, so I’ll be damned if I’m going to lower myself to writing about it here. He’s at the University of Exeter. He also MAKES ME SICK.
We’re also hoping to extend this list to a few more characters, with hyper-enthusiastic science goblin Lauren Reid lined up to join us in future, the fabulous Bug Chicks stopping by, and PROPER GROWN-UP REAL SCIENTIST GUY Rob Brooks having been cajoled into making a guest appearance. Rob shall likely be discussing his book, ‘Sex, Genes, and Rock & Roll‘. Hopefully we can also get him to respond to what is probably my favourite ever online comment, left underneath his article on cats and toxoplasmosis:
…but perhaps his cameo appearance on the podcast will make him feel better? Either that, or we’ll send him spiralling further down into a pit of despair.
But where can I watch this awesome sounding podcast?, you may be wailing at this point, anguished by my inability to write a short blog post that gets to the point within a reasonable number of characters, why dost thou maketh me wait like some putrid syphilis-riddled chump, you cry, suddenly resorting to ye olde English like creationists do when you’ve argued them down and they’re trying to regain the upper hand through patronising misquotations of not-particularly-relevant bible verses.
Follow @BreakingBio on Twitter for updates