I’ve got your missing links right here (01 September 2012)

Top picks

Deaf man hears music for the first time. It’s Mozart’s Lachrimosa. He cries. Then he asks Reddit for recommendations and goes on a music binge. An AMAZING piece by Rebecca Rosen. I won’t spoil the ending but read it.

God this is beautiful. Megan Garber on the end of the humble hero and what we lost when Neil Armstrong died.

Op/eds are the Wild West of the media, where facts die in gun battles. But Emily Willingham has a sheriff’s badge. Here she is demolishing an NYT op/ed on autism and whipworms.

This, by Maryn McKenna, is the single best thing you’ll read about that apparent “NIH superbug”, which I also covered.

Why Humans Give Birth to Helpless Babies – a fascinating new idea from Holly Dunsworth, who explains on her own blog how the results might apply to one’s own pregnancy. “Evolution is everything about you, but it is not all about you.” I love this degree of engagement with public reaction about one’s work.

Fascinating take on older-dads paper by Seth Mnookin – the big implication isn’t for autism but for the evolutionary fate of our increasingly mutant species. Also, Virginia Hughes has some word salve for panicked dads.

Amazing story! “A doctor is baffled: Why did a giant man walk into the ER holding a tiny woman by her feet?

Hurricanes -> more baby dolphins. Why? By Jason Goldman.

How did a Nazi become a member of the French resistance and a legendary anthropologist? Amazing story by Vaughan Bell.

An astonishing Andrew Solomon New Yorker piece on women who conceive as a result of rape

Georgia Aquarium avoids words “global warming“ in exhibits.“When they hear certain terms guests shut down.” A big challenge for zoos and aquariums.

Chilling reports on the spread of swine fever through Russia and a mysterious new ‘Heartland Virus’ in Missouri

For every human there are 10M trillion microbes on the ocean floor & this is 92% less than we thought

The Denisovan genome has been sequenced to really high quality. The fact that we can do this from a single bone (to a better extent than we did for Neanderthals, with hundreds of fossils), is astounding. Katherine Harmon gives you the low-down at Scientific American. And John Hawks has a typically fascinating take. “How did Asians end up lacking any evidence of Denisovan ancestry, when the peoples of Sahul have 6%? It’s nutty!”

Earlier this week, I regretfully mansplained Brave on Twitter. Here is a VERY good review of the film that completely changed my views of it.

The Neuroscience of Twenty-Somethings. Infinitely better than most “Neuroscience of… ” articles.

Debunking the evolutionary “basis” of the Palaeo Diet. (Although note that the comments here are a classic example of why jargon confuses people (despite attempt to clarify it; needed to explicitly contrast the evolutionary and lay definitions of “fitness”)

How does life survive on a glacier? By colonising “glacier mice” (which are balls of moss). By Matt Kaplan.

Oh &£$%. Arctic sea ice under 4 million sq km for first time, after breaking 2007 record. Monbiot has a good emotional piece on West’s inaction. And here’s strong stuff that puts current Arctic sea ice melt into context against similar (or not so similar) historical melts

THE HEAVENS BLEED! THE GODS ARE ANGRY Amy Shira Teitel on why the night sky is turning red

This is fascinating. Does Psalms 137 describe the symptoms of a stroke?

Inception helmet creates alternative reality – Mo Costandi on the fascinating work of Keisuke Suzuki


13 to 22% of all known species have only been observed once by scientists

PEW PEW PEW PEW PEW. Before and after photos show off Curiosity’s impressive laser marksmanship

Say we could bring back extinct species through cloning or other genetic engineering. Should we do it?

Sinocalliopteryx hunted with “cunning and guile”, like a cat. Or scavenged. Y’know, guile doesn’t fossilise very well :-/

What different colours are called in 9 languages

German university slams whistleblower over obsessive stream of emails, accusing professor of scientific fraud and, er, marital infidelity

The makers of thalidomide apologise… 50 yrs after causing birth defects in a generation of children

Exit signs have an HUGE energy bill. GET. OUT.

What Is Science? Asks Neuroskeptic

OMG YOU GUYS! Two fish “share a common ancestor“! Wait till I go back 150 years and tell the world!

Geoff Brumfiel narrates this scenic tour of Fukushima’s Unit 4 reactor, w/ spent-fuel humour

Miseryguts of the world unite! How happiness campaigns could end up making us sadder

Spider pwns snake. “It’s the lung fluid that’s bubbling out.”

The Venezuelan poodle moth is real, but an exact identification is still elusive.

Researchers Hack Brainwaves to Reveal PIN Numbers, Other Personal Data

Sarcastic Rover explains all the ways Mars can kill you

New fossils show that dinosaurs that weren’t birds ate dinosaurs that were birds

Cutting calories extends life in worms, flies, mice… but not monkeys? New study suggests that but why did it contradict an earlier study? Good takes from Elizabeth Lopatto in Bloomberg and Amy Maxmen in Nature.

I asked Twitter if there has ever been a two-headed fossil? Yes. Yes there has been.

Two planets orbiting binary star system discovered for the first time

Right whales are getting flayed by gangs of seagulls. Argentine officials mull gull cull.

What did Apollo 11 astronauts get paid for their mission? $8/day minus deductions for “accommodation”

Male snails babysit other males’ babies

Today, in karma. Man steals phone from Ebola patient, gets infected

“Has climate science moved from prediction to explanatory mode?”

Chimps Infected with Human Diseases Pose Possible Risk to Reintroduction Efforts

First footage of very cool deep-sea anglerfish.

Biologically inspired system gives robots the equivalent of the mammalian amygdale, lets em jump in fright

Neil Armstrong’s space suit was made by the industrial division of Playtex, the bra manufacturer

Here’s how scientists were able to make squid camouflage cells ‘dance’ to “Insane in the Brain”

The Anternet: how the foraging behaviour of ants is a bit like the internet

Oh the manateemanity! Record number of manatees spotted by aerial survey in Belize.

Fascinating piece on Congo’s new airlines, which must brave Africa’s riskiest skies

How Making Brain Tumors Glow Saves Lives

Deborah Blum on why Nick Kristof’s scientific illiteracy about chemicals threatens us all

Space historian James Oberg recounts and debunks a few myths about Neil Armstrong

In any language, the word for red is typically coined before the word for blue. Why?

Fears of Fukushima’s long-term health effects have been exaggerated, says Richard “I now buy climate change” Muller. Meanwhile, in an old piece, Chris Mims argues that Chernobyl’s real horror show is the economics

‘Torture Lab’ Kills Trees To Learn How To Save Them

Why can some rare people remember every day of their lives?

Ever wondered what actually happens when an animal gets on wrong end of a porcupine? This. (WARNING: not for squeamish)

Every hurricane since 1851, in one gorgeous image

Keith Kloor riffs off Sarewitz’s Nature piece on science & religion and does a much more interesting & cogent job with it



2 Hamsters 1 Wheel

Jaw-dropping true color photo of Saturn and Titan

Airbrushing pigeons in the park.

The Cecilia Prize: restore your own masterpiece!

 ‘Missing’ woman unknowingly joins search for herself

Pouncing fox. What a shot! One of several Commended Awards in this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

Mars Curiosity isn’t enjoying her holiday

XKCD on the stats of soul mates.

Awesome gallery installation made of thousands of black paper moths

11-way Venn diagram. Set of people who find it beautiful is in the middle. Ppl who can use it are outside

Bic brought out a “pen for women”. Read the customer reviews

Wonderful New Photos of Jellyfish

Another for the Neil Armstrong typo collection: the first man on WHAT?

Cookie Monster as Batman

Best thing ever: a fox suddenly realising he’s standing on a trampoline

Utterly charming video of the best things in life, from opening a window to having a shower

Ontario-based ceramicist Steve Irvine caught this long exposure shot of moths swirling around a floodlight at night

Wonderful little sculptures cut from old encyclopedias

Timelapse video of man drawing the Manhattan skyline freehand

Ooookay. Feminism “ruined” this guy’s life apparently. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CAT?



Clint Eastwood interviewed a chair, and started a meme. Obama’s reply was epic. I note that making stuff up & faking interviews gets you booted from the New Yorker but guarantees a bright political future. Good to know.

Investigation uncovers even greater scale of journalistic wrongdoing in Jonah Lehrer’s Wired blog posts, including more plagiarism and fabrication. Wired released a comment. The Lehrer “young, untrained, rose-too-fast” narrative is tiresome. If you need j-school to tell you not to lie/steal, you’re DOING IT WRONG

Tips on reading like a writer, by one Francine Prose.

This guy drops balloons on people for a living

When *FOX News* is calling you out for the sheer volume of your lies, you have REALLY lied.

Obama did a Reddit AMA. A Reddit AMA that was very boring, save for the fact that Obama was doing it. Oh, and this exchange: Obama: “… a asteroid…” Commenter 1: “An asteroid, Mr President.” Commenter 2: “Don’t correct the President, neckbeard.” Just don’t tell Obama about Chatroulette, okay?

Twitter: destroyer of the “I didn’t understand” excuse for shoddy journalism

Should you repitch a killed story?

The State of Play in the Mobile Industry in One Venn Diagram

Dear HuffPo, I fear the Internet may be on to you

This, on why many female comedians pretend not to be attractive, is spot on: “You can’t have people look at you and listen to you at the same time.”

Shocking rise in violent attacks in China’s hospitals

Jennifer Gardy might have the best personal website I’ve ever seen. Jakob Nielsen would HATE it, which helps

Terrifying, fascinating NYT story on fake book reviews

Pregnancy Flowchart, featuring some of the ridiculous toss that Republicans have said in their war on women.

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