In This Summer's Podcasts: Pregnancies, STDs, Cow Insemination, and Heartbeats

I’ve been traveling quite a bit for the past few weeks, including an amazing trip, with our executive director Liz Neeley and co-founder Ben Lillie, down to Boulder, Colorado, where we worked with scientists from the multidisciplinary Biofrontiers Institute to hone their stories. I certainly learned a lot about many things, including but not limited to dolphin penises (they’re prehensile!) and fecal transplants (they’re a thing!).

Hannting. My nightmares.

Hannting. My nightmares.

Now that I’m back at home in my office, facing down this hideous stuffed dog that my husband won at Coney Island four years ago and that has haunted my dreams ever since, I’m reflecting on our previous four podcasts, which I haven’t had a chance to blog about during my globetrotting.


MaryAnn Wilbur: Two Pregnancies

One of my favorite kinds of stories from scientists are those in which their work suddenly becomes real to them in a new way. Something happens that really drives home the importance and the emotional significance of what they’re studying. In MaryAnn’s case, she was an OBGYN treating a woman who was exactly the same number of weeks pregnant that she was -- and that woman was going into labor.


Jo Firestone: A Sex Education

For those of you unfamiliar with Jo, she is a truly awesome comedian -- the hardest working comic in New York, in fact, some might say. Others might say weird. I suspect both are true. In the story she told for Story Collider, she believes fervently that she has an STD in college. There’s just one problem with this conclusion: She’s never had sex. Listen to this one to learn the basics of reproductive science.



Aaron Wolfe: The Inseminator

Aaron Wolfe is an old friend of mine, from back when he his talented wife, Naomi, lived in New York City too. This time, he told a story on our Boston stage. He’s a really dazzling storyteller -- the way he speaks on stage makes you feel as if he’s speaking just to you. The only thing I don’t like about his most recent Story Collider story is that I happened to be eating a Taco Bell Cheesy Gordita Crunch when I first listened to it, as is my custom when perusing our audio files. Suffice to say this meal didn’t pair well with a story that I later titled “The Inseminator.”

For an Aaron Wolfe story you can listen to during lunch, check out his original SC story, about science disappointing him as a kid, as well as the stories he’s told for The Moth.


Skylar Bayer: The Hummingbird of Doom

Skylar Bayer, as you may know, has produced Story Collider shows in the great state of Maine, where she’s based, in the past, and so I naturally love any story she has to tell. This one may be her most powerful. The way she describes her heart problems in this story is so visceral, a couple of audience members had to leave the room to calm themselves down at the live show.

Other work by Sky includes her original Story Collider story, from back in 2013 when we first met at Science Online Oceans in Miami, as well as her appearance on The Colbert Report, on which she coined the immortal phrase, “Gonads. Scallop gonads.”