Patient Zero.

I just listened to a fantastic RadioLab episode from a couple weeks ago about “Patient Zero“. Perhaps I am truly the last person on earth who doesn’t listen to RadioLab regularly and everyone has already heard this one, but I thought I’d post this anyway just in case. The first story they share is one that was more familiar to me, that of Typhoid Mary, but they added some interesting personal elements to it that I didn’t know about. The second story though, the second one was absolutely captivating. They trace the origins of HIV, not just from its arrival in the US, but from its very first leap to humans and even how it may have come to be in chimps. Then the third story was about the history of the “Hi-5” (as in the hand gesture, not the slang for HIV) and that was kinda boring and I stopped listening. But the virus stuff was so cool! A regular RadioLab listener in my lab tells me that this wasn’t even one of their good ones. How can epidemiology be, in itself, so boring and yet produce such fascinating stories? I think about science journalism as a career sometimes, but when I see it done so well by others, what would I have to add??? Maybe I should stick to making the science…

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