I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (07 June 2014)

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Top picks

Alvin, first of his name, explorer of the abyss, survivor of the swordfish, keeper of the sandwich. A beautiful piece by Megan Garber.

Martin Bromiley is a modest man with an immodest ambition: to change the way medicine is practised in the UK. He doesn’t command your attention, though you find yourself giving it. Neither is he a doctor, or a health professional of any kind. Bromiley is an airline pilot. He is also a family man, with a terrible story to tell.” Amazing story from Ian Leslie.

Mirror neurons are essential, but not in the way you think, writes Jason Goldman.

“The procedure was simple enough. Blood from malarial patients was directly injected into syphilitic patients.” A great piece from Rebecca Kreston on pyrotherapy asylums.

A boy suffers a mysterious illness that stumps doctors. Then a new DNA test saves his life. Awesome story from Carl Zimmer.

Behavioural genetics is winding its way into the courtoom. Virginia Hughes passes sentence.

“In 2009 the decades-old mystery of ‘Little Albert’ was finally solved. Or was it?” Superb storytelling from Tom Bartlett.

Intriguing Maria Konnikova piece on the neuroscience of handwriting.

Flashes of light show how memories are made. Clearest evidence yet for a longstanding hypothesis. By Ewen Callaway.

As we fall asleep, our brains start neglecting half the world, much as in a common form of brain damage. By Mo Costandi.

Discharge the storm clouds! The snow instigateth not lugubriosity within me.” A surprisingly fascinating piece on translating Frozen into Arabic.

Braggadacio, information control, and fear: a chilling view of life inside a stem cell lab under investigation. From Ivan Oransky

New research tool can track one animal among many, without marks or trackers! This opens up a massive world of research. By Greg Miller


Science journalists would do well to talk to more historians/sociologists of sicence.

Pterosaur colony of 40 adults and 5 3D-preserved eggs discovered in the Xinjiang province, China.

Urban frogs use drains as megaphones.

Both acid-bath stem cell papers will probably be retracted.

An ‘exceptional responder’ programme will see whether outliers from failed cancer trials can open up new drug development avenues.

Nadia Drake pays tribute to poor neglected Venus

Male dark fishing spiders always die after sex & get eaten, and seemingly for no reason. Boy, that IS dark.

Science confirms: YUP! This book is bound in human skin.

“By using the language of genetics… Wade is trying to obscure the distinction between science & storytelling”

Koalas show something hippies knew all along: tree-hugging is cool

Aw hell yeah! The Lego female scientists set is finally becoming a reality.

Walruses: seal-chomping, bird-bashing, narwhal-slurping, badass killers?

“Researchers… fired… bullets at spider silk to see how it reacted.” Probably jumping sideways w/ 2 pistols

Genetic treatment using three-parent embryos may be ready in two years

Scientist names newly discovered blind fish with neck anus after his alma mater

Computer model predicts academic success with 83% accuracy

Fabien Cousteau is on the ocean floor right now, and he’s not coming up for air until July.”

Progress to Doctor Octopus: 40%.

Bear-traps, tongs, handcuffs… it can only be more disturbing insect sex

Cyclosa ginnaga, you look like crap.

This paper is about the tree of the knowledge of wood and weevil

Parasitic vines may serve as lightning rods. An untested but fascinating hypothesis.

“The very fact that a piece of health research appears in the papers indicates that it is nonsense.”

A British yeast archive is trying to save endangered beer.

Scientific Community Baffled By Man Whose Waist 32 With Some Pants, 33 With Others

World’s coffee supply under threat from climate change & rust fungus 

One of the best cures for seasonal allergies? Placebo. Seriously.

Climate change will turn more parasitoid wasps into males

“The surprise that such a tiny little brain is able to form a cognitive map”

We can name all those funny new exoplanets.

Artist grows replica of van Gogh’s ear ” using genetic material [from one of his] living relatives”

You can’t crush a man’s skull with your bare hands, say underachieving nerds who aren’t putting their backs into it.

The Fight Against Fake Drugs 

“This paper reads to me like an annual financial report for Planet Earth.”

Scientists use low-powered lasers to regrow teeth (so far, only in rodents).

“What they found was a baby penguin buffet.”

A new invisibility cloak only works when it’s foggy. Mine only works when no one is looking.

Fossilized amber preserves 15-million-year-old tick, plus Lyme-like bacteria.

There’s an asteroid called The Beast and NASA numbered it 124. Guys, COME ON.

Alzheimer’s disease: The search for the forgetting gene

This is a red velvet mite and he is here to teach you about love

Did BICEP2 overextend?

They removed all of the science, an adulterant known to dramatically inflate calorie count.”

Farmers dethrone monarch butterfly.

Toxo-infected rats will also run towards the smell of puma and cheetah wee.


Scientist makes human organs from flowers and plants. That’s disgusti… oh, artist. Artist makes. That’s better.

Onion: God wonders what happens to humans after they die

“The gravitational force between adjacent starlings is small.

The latest scandal in psychological research

The best visual illusions of the year.

Ace slow-motion video of ballet-dancers’ most difficult moves

Parody new-media job ads including EXPLAINER EXPLAINER, DATA CHURNALIST and FAT SHAMER.

The best photo of a bear lying in a hammock that you’ll see this week.

The Oberyn vs. Mountain fight from Game of Thrones, recut for happiness.

Scientific analysis discovers Sonic the Hedgehog is actually quite slow

Holding Pattern–a Tumblr of oddly captivating aerial photos of airports.

Gladwell on ketamine


Oberyn vs. The Mountain in Game of Thones was a lot like Iron Herman vs. Guy of Steenvoorde in the 12th century

Awesome photos from WIRED reveals what the inside of the Internet looks like 

That third one is amazing: the other ‘Tank Man’ Photographs

A map of undersea cables that make the internet work

“Done well, self-promotion is acting in service of your ideas, not just clamoring for affirmation.”

How to criticize w kindness – 4 steps to arguing intelligently

An Ambrose Bierce-style dictionary of journo jargon. I loved: “Journalist: Blogger.”

Vodafone reveals existence of secret wires that allow state surveillance.

To raise $20k for a wolf sanctuary, G.R.R.Martin will kill you in his next book.

The Real Reason Apple Wants You to Talk to Your House.

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