I’ve got your missing links right here (01 June 2013)

Top picks

WOW. Scientists capture images of molecule rearranging its bonds. They’re like textbook stick drawings! By Nadia Drake, consistently producing great science stories for Wired.

I’ve got a feature in this week’s New Scientist about the ecology of fear, and how predators affect their prey through intimidation rather than slaughter.

In the UK, people bemoan the fact that nature documentaries aren’t detailed enough or that a physicist presents a biology show on primetime TV. Meanwhile, in the US, mermaids. Yes, mermaids. No, stop laughing. This is serious. Actual people who believe in mermaids. Spoiler: They don’t.

I *love* this. What happens when you ask students, postdocs & senior neuroscientists to draw a neuron? By Elizabeth Preston.

The Sex Lives of Spoonworms: 10 marine animals with parasitic, dwarf, and otherwise reduced males.

DIY faecal transplants – when friends regularly give each other crap.

Check out Trowelblazers, a new blog celebrating women archaeologists, palaeontologists & geologists, past & present.

Er, did scientists really extra live cells and flowing blood from a new mammoth carcass? Kate Wong reports.

A simple and rather brilliant metaphor for sexism. By Missy Titus. Also: a spotter’s guide to the difference between vaginas & laptops, by Sarah Ditum.

Brighten up your day with Sad Keanu, a tale of 3-D printing and existentialist angst, by Alexis Madrigal

Absolutely wonderful alphabetised list of creative ways of describing non-significant results, by Matthew Hankins

Why a bench is the most awesome thing in the world, in the old sense of the word. By Malcolm Campbell.

An open letter to science students and teachers from Carl Zimmer. Great comment thread too.

10 rules of evolution in science-fiction. By Annalee Newitz

Russ Poldrack takes a good hard look at himself. In a brain scanner. Daily.

Can we engineer the American chestnut back into US forests? By Becca Rosen.

Neuroskeptic on a paper that embodies what’s wrong with cognitive neuroscience.

MEANWHILE, we saved this adorable island fox from extinction. Good job, humanity!

Alarm is spreading about the new MERS virus but what about info & intellectual property? Great piece by Laurie Garrett.

Good overview of lingering cicada mysteries. Like: how exactly do they count to 17?

Great profile of neuroscientist’s “method man” Karl Deisseroth, by Kerri Smith.

There was a lot of chat about reviving 400-yr-old mosses. That’s nothing! Here’s a revived 2,000-yr-old seed and flowers regenerated from 30,000-year-old fruit

Flesh-eating sponges? Awesome. Craig McClain explains.

Well, that’s fascinating. Are some species “extinction-proof”? Erik Vance finds some people who think so. (We’re talking manmade extinction here.)


Babies & songbirds learn how to string syllables together in the same way – slowly.

Mutant mosquitoes lose lust for human scent. Yay! But are undeterred by the smell of DEET. Boo!

Inspired by plants, scientists create squishy hydrogel fingers that bend in response to light.

Wireless electronics that heat up, kill bacteria, and then dissolve.

“If these weird lizard-pigs could make it through a mass extinction, there’s hope for humanity after all”

On the origin of turtles

Several insightful pieces have been written about the DSM-5, so here’s David Brooks to break the streak.

Charlie Petit rounds up the varying coverage of Aurornis & neatly summarises why I love having a blog.

Tepid showing for prize to sequence 100 genomes in 30 days for less than $1,000 each.

A trial of 3 methods for preventing MRSA in hospitals: best in show is not MRSA-specific

Carl Zimmer on life at high altitudes and human evolution.

Giant, fluorescent pink slugs! (And cannibal snails.)

Catch up on David Dobbs’ greatest hits as he leaves Wired and migrates to parts unknown

The best way to nuke an asteroid.

Iron in Egyptian relics came from space

Nature Geoscience and Nature Climate Change are running an experiment in double-blind peer review

Can the noise of a football crowd boil eggs?

Last graf is spot on: Fixing Science, Not Just Psychology

Awesome Bug Girl post on why you don’t need to be Carl Sagan to win at science communication.

Silk from tarantula feet? Pretty certainly no. This ends the controversy.

With Alzheimer’s comes… empathy? By Virginia Hughes

Everest hosts some truly breathtaking medical research

Nature’s strangest life-cycles. Could’ve used more parasites, but a formidable list

I scoffed at that biceps/politics paper; Andrew Gelman did a thorough analysis. His way is better.

An amazing array of small species lives Gorongosa Park in Mozambique. Great photos + an EO Wilson article.

Do you know who decides what research gets funding, and what doesn’t?

Disgraced fraudster Marc Hauser has started a brain-training company called Risk-Eraser. I am dying of irony poisoning.

Lion Meat Tacos Are the Latest Threat to Conservation

Not missing any more: Wild lynx to be reintroduced into the British countryside

The presence of a chemical is not same as presence of risk.

Fallout from hailed cloning paper.

I love snakes, and this is a great primer on snake taxonomy.

The Challenge of Negative Results.

SciCurious responds to Yet. Another. Science-communication call to arms.

This science is a pile of rot.

The skeleton of a 17thC “pterosaur” is not proof of creationism, but of a horrifying beardogfish hybrid.

Go home science, you’re drunk. “Physicists Create Quantum Link Between Photons That Don’t Exist at Same Time

Dolphins are wild animals that sometimes do terrible things. They are not suitable midwives.

There’s a game coming out in which the zombie-ant Cordyceps fungus spreads to humans! Excellent!

The folks behind the invisible gorilla illusion weigh in on Google Glass

“Du Sautoy has short-circuited science’s basic checks & balances” Andrew Pontzen on excoriating form over the Weinstein debacle.

Oy. Remember when Walking with Dinosaurs was a documentary, and not Cretaceous Happy Feet?

Massive toothy death-machines did poor impressions of other toothy death-machines

Google doodle celebrates the inventor of the Petri dish, Professor Peter I. Dish.

Global shark tracker

Male guppies evolve longer penises to have sex without consent. In response female guppies evolve deeper “vaginas”.

You can beat lie detector brain scans & suppress memories of guilt.

The man who wants to paralyse himself.

Embarrassingly, Brazilian rainforest suffering from “seed shrinkage“. It’s OK, Amazon, happens to every rainforest.


Could Benedict Cumberbatch crush your skull?

In the days before we knew asbestos was a carcinogen

Across their various films, Will Smith’s family have saved approximately 63 billion people

And the award for most self-referential abstract goes to…

The best wedding party photo of all time.

Awesome Snowfall parody

This is the worst business portmanteau yet. Worse than thinkpreneur. Possibly even worse than this.

In Ultimate Fighting Championships, the main cause of knockouts is a fist to the head. Who’d have thunk it?

XKCD on those “Substance X Kills Cancers Cells” studies.

Alternative Game of Thrones title sequence

A kettle that looks like Hitler

The pessimist’s guide to inspiring charts


Confessions of a self-publicist. Love this post; sad that it had to be written.

World: “We lost the first webpage!” Professor: “Oh, I have a copy right here.”

The most controversial Wikipedia articles by language

The secret button at pedestrian crossings

Facebook: “Violence against women is… bad?” Everyone else: “That’s *right*! Bad! Have a cookie!” Facebook

The notes in Facebook’s *PING* noise are F, A, C, and E! The chord I’m making is Z, O, M and G.

How do you deal with the English Defence League? Offer them a biscuit.

What will make someone a “Killer Science Journalist of the Future“?

“You are all going to die”: Joss Whedon’s Wesleyan Commencement Speech

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