I’ve got your missing links right here (1 October 2011)

Top picks

The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice: “A website dedicated to the horrors of pre-anesthetic surgery.” And a wonderful one at that.

Happy anniversary to Jennifer Ouellette and Sean Carroll: read her lovely tribute to falling in love with a physicist.

Emma Marris on cloning extinct animals. I for one would love to see a sabre-tooth cat devour a ground sloth.

David Robson chronicles a brief history of the brain from the first neurons to humans.

NobelPrizeWatch – a new blog by Simon Frantz about the prizes and coverage of the prizes. This should be good, especially since Simon used to work for the Nobel Foundation.

What? Huh? Wait.. how did.. UH? What happens when a slinky falls? This apparently.

“What good’s a toolkit if you don’t use it to build something?” Jack Horner’s quest to reverse-engineer a dinosaur

Paper-based diagnostic tests that are as small as a stamp and weigh less than a penny

Gauging an area’s biodiversity strictly through the DNA in its dirt.

Greg Dunn creates Japanese-style paintings from human brain cell photos

Halfway down: a superb list of tips for avoiding crap he-said-she-said journalism

A very good write-up of that study about reconstructing what people see from their brain activity. Meanwhile, David Bradley asks some searching questions to the researchers and gets some good answers.

Popular Science published a detailed and comprehensive profile of Felisa Wolfe-Simon, the scientist behind last year’s arsenic-life controversy. David Dobbs and Carl Zimmer voiced my concerns much better than I could have. They argue respectively that the piece neglects its journalistic duty by leaving out key details, and in some places, airbrushing history entirely.

The 2011 IgNobel Prizes, as covered by SciCurious, with Real Time Storify!!

“The only way to do it is to bypass the cannibalistic phase.” Baby sharks birthed in artificial uterus:

The innovative word of animal prosthetics by Emily Anthes, with a follow-up on her blog.

The Dinosaur Baron of Transylvania

Rat cyborg gets digital cerebellum. Absolutely incredible story from Linda Geddes.

The Atlas of the Human Ecosystem by Carl Zimmer

“Anger isn’t an issue when you start with birds you love” Robert Krulwich peers into the minds of climate deniers and wonders what it will take to make them see reason.

A neurosurgeon gives thanks to his science teacher.


The world’s most expensive drug: a steal at $409,500/yr

From the blood of wallabies, a possible new weapon against drug-resistant bacteria

“This is a genuine scientific debate… it is not a manufactured controversy.” John Butterworth on the supposedly faster-than-light neutrinos

“If your funding programme has a zero failure rate, you’re doing it wrong”

Sigh. Goats and cancer. Try not to smoke, drink, eat or have unprotected sex with goats, okay?

Watch a prostate surgical robot peel the skin off a grape. Cool. Now imagine it doing that to your prostate. NYEARGH.

Mystery illness in Australia making parrots “drunk”

Why Brain Scanners Make Your Head Spin, and what it means for MRI scanning studies

I am koala, hear me roar

How the BBC’s dark forces of political correctness threaten the Christian era, or Why the Daily Mail have once again surpassed themselves.

The Soup That Is Killing the Ocean

By 2020, it should be possible (technologically, if not practically) to sequence every human genome in a year

After decades of research, we can now accurately measure a kilogram. (It weighs 2.2 pounds, right?)

Are slave-raiding ants really slave-raiders?

Carl zimmer asks “Do skunks smell their own odor? Do they mind?” Answer seems to be yes and yes.

“The device uses sunlight to rip apart molecules of water, just like a photosynthesizing leaf. ”

A striking case of predator avoidance in fish – sharks barrelling into a shoal

Apparently, NASA had a Congressionally-mandated goal of finding > 90% of planet-killing asteroids. Which it has now met

New evidence for *functional* plant RNA in the bloodstreams of people & cows. This is such an amazing story.

Terminal buzz gives bats their hunting edge

‘Autistic’ mice created and treated. Well, not really treated. Either way, the Mouse Research Council is really getting value for its money.

“You can adopt a HeroRAT of yr own.” In Thailand, giant rats are on their way to sniffing out land mines.

“We need a more systematic approach to animal experiments

23andMe now offers whole-exome sequencing for $999!

“The dominant way of thinking about the role of science journalists historically was to view them as translators, or transmitters, of information. Now, however, a powerful metaphor for understanding their work as science critics is to see them as cartographers and guides.”

“You need to mentally redshift the color. If it’s green, it’s actually a little more yellow.” Fossilised beetle colours preserved after millions of years.

How a Failure With Measles Helped to Eradicate Smallpox

“There’s a lot to loathe about climate change. But if adventurers sip champagne after reaching Antarctica, it’s O.K. to cheer.” No, it’s not. Slap them in their smug faces.

Porcupines and tigers and serpent eagles, oh my. 10 video camera traps in the jungle, 1 mth of footage, 5 mins of edited video.

Dawkins’ Weasels Beat Monkeys at Replicating Shakespeare.

The hunt is on for BBC’s Amateur Scientist of the year competition

The last 100,000 years in human history by Razib Khan.

Traces of a Lost Language and Number System Discovered on the North Coast of Peru


Hummingbird smuggler caught with his pants down

Sleeping baby pandas. That is all.

A superb warning sign for the Twitter generation

The world’s most interesting subway maps. Although I heavily dispute the idea that NYC’s map is more famous than London’s

How to peel a head of garlic in less than 10 seconds

River dolphin fetus

“Full disclosure: I’m reviewing this book because I was asked to by the publisher.. I’m glad I didn’t pay for it”

This is a building that looks like an impaled head

An amusing Slate piece about working as a fact-checker of Cosmopolitan’s sex tips.

Heh. Almost there… Al…most… there…

Neal Stephenson’s entire handwritten manuscript for the Baroque Cycle (inc pen nibs & ink bottles)

British Wildlife Photography awards 2011

“You’re a total hairy bush viper.” 30 vetebrate common names potentially useful as insults.

They Ate What?” Some unfortunate veterinary X-rays, including a dog that ate a dinosaur

What the British mean RT @NeilWithers: @carlzimmer http://t.co/NGqEnD4q”

Long exposure photos taken from the fronts of Tokyo trains

All of life has been utterly, profoundly changed thanks to Facebook’s new features.”


The world’s first iPhone 5 review. Sort of.

George Monbiot discloses his salary, asks all journos to do the same. Hmm. The amount seems completely irrelevant; it’s the source that matters.

“Authors more interested in whether he loves her than whether she loves him

What misogyny looks like. This continuing treatment of Rebecca Watson is just appalling.

“Shrapnel, Leotard, Maverick, Boycott and Cardigan and other people who became nouns

“The more journalists can do to understand, and convey, the process of science as well as the findings, the better off everyone will be.” – Andy Revkin on finding reliable source in an age of too much info.

Reading the Daily Mail is nauseating, but what’s it like to write for them?

“Copy. You’re being hit with a green laser.” Wow, it’s really not a good idea to point a laser pointer at the sky

Tips on becoming a better writer

Megan Garber: Google News is treating news orgs’ willingness to credit others as a vector of trust

A network infrastructure for journalists online, by Paul Bradshaw

Data journalism, 1821 style.

If This Then That” – a tool that lets you automate the internet.

“From religion to trend and from trend to infrastructure.” On open accessand the Internet as a disruptor.

How do scientists view fact-checking by science writers? With a related piece by Ananyo Bhattacharya and another related post from Al Dove, with a long discussion in which I have chipped.

Read This Next

I’ve got your missing links right here (13 August 2011)
I’ve got your missing links right here (25 August 2012)
I’ve got your missing links right here (9 February 2013)

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