I’ve got your missing links right here (04 February 2012)

Top picks

A great post from Athene Donald on impostor syndrome. Don’t miss the commenter who illustrates the Dunning-Kruger effect

#IamScience, the movie – Kevin Zelnio’s awesome initiative set to music. I Am Science continues to produce some amazing posts. Here’s one by LalSox, a teacher: “I accept their dissonance and scepticism, and I repay them with evidence and data, and another by psychologist Melanie Tannenbaum on her route in to science.

Photo essay of an incredible spider that mimics the ants it hunts, by Alex Wild.

“Thank you for loving me. I’m done.” – leading ALS researcher Richard Olney dies of ALS

The 20 Most Beautiful Bookshops in the world

Meet Me Halfway: Jennifer Ouellette on what happens in our brains when we connect with someone

Editor identifies some of the major problems in 21st century journalism… in 1923.

This is what a scientist looks like – a Tumblr

“Jonathan is a highly enterprising researcher, and he normally eats every animal he studies.” Great Natalie Angier piece on mammals that coat themselves with poison.

Extinct life is like a box of chocolates. Al Dove on the thrill of potentially discovering something very new.

Must-read post by Melanie Tannenbaum on benevolent sexism and why “compliments” can still hurt. Bonus: data!

The perks and pitfalls of scientific databases

Purple Doesn’t Exist: Cedar Reiner on male privilege in science. A great post.

Forget the internet. Here are some things that can ACTUALLY destroy your brain, from Bradley Voytek.

The sky is on fire! The Atlantic’s complete visual guide to the Aurora Borealis



Killer Whale Menu Finally Revealed. Based on interviews with Inuit hunters, which surely is an intriguing but skewed data set

Why isn’t caffeine as addictive as cocaine?

Mammals get small 100x faster than they get big

Cultures of the past, brought low by changing climates

Incredible. An actual news organisation (well, sort of… the Times of India) ran the nonsensical Andrulis/gyre paper.

Paper denying HIV–AIDS link sparks resignation

Three words: Self. Guided. Bullets. Two more words: Oh. F**K.

The age of the great plant hunter continues

An arXiv for all of science? F1000 launches new immediate publication journal

Wall Street Journal rejects climate essay from 255 National Academy of Science scientists; accepts anti-climate essay from 16 others

Rant: I really hate it when people in science communication embrace sloppy evidence for some imagined problems with science. For example, this new report makes a big thing of the fact that 83% of UK 10-year-olds say a science career is ‘not for me’. Great! If the 17% who are interested in a science career actually try for one, there’s going to be a lot of unemployed people. I mean, look at Fig 1! That is BRILLIANT. And yet we get a boring science-in-trouble narrative.

How do female insects keep sperm fresh for 30 years?

How unfeasibly intricate ocean microbes called radiolarians brought Ernst Haeckel back to science

Klaatu barada nikto! A history of books bound in human flesh

Improbable evolution: how life beats the odds.

Does the human speech centre need to be shifted in textbooks? Sophie Scott wonders if it was ever lost

Leslie Brunetta talks candidly about getting a different type of breast cancer in each breast

1989: cystic fibrosis gene sequenced. 2012: 1st drug targeted at gene approved

The Story Collider reminds us that science is a story, not a set of “facts.”

No, seriously, I’m dead. Cotard’s delusion is endlessly fascinating.

Ancient DNA as anthrovoyeurism

Vincent Racaniello, a leading virologist & peerless communicator, is putting his Columbia Univ virology course online

Why gorillas “grin” when they play

Massive congrats to Alex Witze & Jane Qiu for winning the EGU Science Journalism Fellowship, which I helped to judge.

Cancer drugs can destabilise mouse genomes for generations. Lead researcher “cautions against extrapolating results… to humans.” Note the responsible reporting: the fact that this is in mice is mentioned in the hed, sub-hed, and first three paragraphs.

Sir David Attenborough responds to Lord Lawson’s inaccurate and misleading claims about ‘Frozen Planet’

True Confessions of a Dolphin-Loving Marine Biologist

Sea cucumber poo could save reefs from acidification

Bill Gates, Margaret Chan & 9 pharma CEOs met to eliminate neglected tropical diseases by 2020. A live-blog of the event.

Waging war by killing scientists in Iran.

The three deadliest words in the world: “It’s a girl.”

An interesting perspective on the foetal-cells-in-soda fearmongering by Matthew Herper



Gorgeous: desert rivers that look like trees

Parkour + trampolining = Wall trampolining = AWESOME

Behold: Etymology Man

Watch Lugnut the bear giving birth

No, CNN, London isn’t there.

I love this. A newspaper recycling bin that itself (sort of) gives you the news

Flying People in New York City

All the things Tyrannosaurus couldn’t do with those small

Decline in marine life possibly due to all the shit in the sea, say experts

The world’s largest island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island, which displaced the previous contender!



Is it good for journalism when sources go direct? Of course it is.

Klout Myth Busters: Thoughts From the Experts. Surely top myth is that it is in any way useful?

Great letter from ex-slave to his former owner in 1865, after being asked to return to work

Sari. Stove. Fire. Heartbreaking post in which Madhusudan Katti mourns his mother

Why Google thinks you are (a) male and (b) old

Nick Davies on why “Data Pool 3” could be a “nightmare” for News International

Your memory sucks – Great advice about documenting your reporting from Paige Williams.

Don’t gather string for stories – start a fire, says Brendan Maher. Plus more good advice on moving from news to features

In response to Jonathan Franzen, Carl Zimmer argues that e-books are a boon to literacy, not a threat to democracy

Great first diagram. Rest also good. 25 Things About Story Structure

Four ways to track & recover your belongings if they get stolen while travelling

Slovenian library creates surprise book packs based on genre

Be Better at Twitter – the definitive, data-driven guide

What PIOs/scientists/journos should expect from each other – good post from Matthew Shipman; so much more helpful than the “you’re doin it wrong” approach.

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