I’ve got your missing links right here (11 June 2011)

Top picks

You must read David Dobbs’ incredible story about his mother’s lost love. It’s a masterclass in storytelling. Buy it for the Kindle, iPad or iPhone. It’s cheap; you can thank me later. Also, read his eulogy to his mum, a companion piece to the story.

Richard Fisher shows you what it’s like to defend a company from a concerted cyberattack. Great piece.

How I Failed, Failed, And Finally Succeeded At Learning How To Code. Great piece about teaching and failure.

Competition to choose common names for 10 new species.  I name the wasp Bob.

From the Wellcome Blog: looking at an obscure branch of life to find out where we all came from

A cracking (“nuanced even!”) analysis of Twitter by Megan Garber. Is it text or oral?

How antibiotics may have triggered the E. Coli outbreak, but not how you might’ve thought. A great piece by Marian Turner about phages. Also read: The E. coli outbreak, what we know, and need to, by Maryn McKenna.

David Sloan Wilson turns from “arcane” evolution debates to helping a faltering city.

“Their stories reveal the tragedy of a terrible experiment on a very young boy which would haunt him for the rest of his life.” Investigation about a boy subjected to anti-gay “therapy”

Madness industry: How one man sparked a strange, sweeping misdiagnosis of America’s children, by Jon Ronson.

Breathtaking pic of the Shuttle docking with a space station

The stats & algorithms of outrageous fortune. Data mining Hamlet – interesting use of mass digitization

Watch the fish blink out of existence with this McCandless visualisation

Natalie Angier is an awesome science writer. Check out this piece on jellyfish – “so much more than plasma and poison” – in the NYT


“The urine did the trick, said Dr Hanus.” Chimps solves classic Aesop task by peeing in the tube. See how gorillas and orang-utans compare.

Is a lemon fast or slow? How the sounds of words affect our intuition

Britain axes climate change research, sacks staff, to balance budget.

Monkey see, monkey do, monkey regret.

Even if a story is familiar, it is worth hearing Robert Krulwich tell it. Here he is on gut bacteria types.

DARPA plays Spore, gets ideas. A proposed factory for modular DNA.

Soar over the seafloor using Google Earth, with video

Do electronic devices really mess with planes?

Restoring art with bacteria

What’s that? You have a spare $700k? And you’d like to buy me a mounted set of Megalodon jaws? Oh GO ON THEN

Giant corpse flower seeks mate, prone to collapsing spadix.  

Autism linked to hundreds of spontaneous genetic mutations. Girls partially shielded from effects

Scientists map caves by shooting them. Great Ferris Jabr piece.

Join Mary Carmichael in shaming “chemical-free” out of existence.

Twitter to astronomers: “Psst. Star exploding. Over. There.”

Invasive species – are they wrongly persecuted? An intriguing debate, covered by Brandon Keim

Brazil’s “Twin Town” was not the result of Mengele’s Nazi experiments. (paper)

Could Better Displays Prevent Nearsightedness? By Chris Mims

Hmm… Elsevier apologizes for retraction of an Intelligent Design-related paper, pays author’s legal fees

The compelling case for randomised trials before making policies, by Tim Harford

In mice, stem cells mend a broken heart

Scientists create artificial brain with 12 second short-term memory, raising hope for boosting memory of internet users by 11 seconds

“If they fail to name their 1st prototype Magic Unicorn, they’re missing out.” Biggest battery breakthrough ever

Sun fistbumps Earth. Huge solar flare races towards Earth

NYT interview with 4 women scientists about their scientific lives

Whistle-blower claims his accusations cost him his job

Winter ants kill Argentine invaders, students hold Petri dish deathmatches to find ant poison kill rate:

Climate change squashes the Earth

Apes going apes**t

Top of Form

Was Spinosaurus a bison-backed dinosaur?

“When seeing a decision through an ethical frame 94% behaved ethically; when seeing it through a business frame 44% did… “

Biodegradable plastics: environmental boon or bane?

A pool-playing robot (although I’m more intrigued by the awesome projector at 1:27 for training)

Cosmic cookery: How religious groups helped launch the health-food movement

Supporting little bets. Tim Harford on taking a bet against the Taleb distribution

Now we are gods: Welcome to the Anthropocene


Daily Mail story contradicts headline in 4th para. “Increase” sort of like the opposite of “decrease”

Gorgeous time-lapse of the Arctic, where sunset bleeds into sunrise

Bart, don’t make fun of grad students. They just made a terrible life choice.”

Have you ever wanted to make an Argentinosaurus defecate with your finger? There’s an app for that

Secrets of British gravitas (and the science of “cant’ be arsed”)

Life imitates The Onion

Well… that was unexpected.

Thrilling story of mustelid taxonomy & violence. Man with dead weasel accused of assault. The last line is awesome.

Badly stuffed animals. #11 is awesome though.

This paper is far far more boring than the title would suggest


Lizzie Crouch & three British sci-comm students are embedding in a lab that looks at the human body exploding, breaking and rupturing.

Iceland crowdsources its next constitution New draft will be announced by Minister for Lolcats

Apple’s first 10 employees – where are they now?

Nick Kristof compiles great suggestions on how journalists can better use social media.

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips. Superbly put.

What’s the value of a woman? I mean quantitatively

Inbox Influence – a gmail plug-in that tells you about the political connections of the people who email you

The New York Times’ Paywall Is Working! It led to an increase in print subscriptions, apparently.

Good Top Trumps material. A map of the world’s worst, most enduring dictators

10 gestures that have been patented. Oh really? Well, patent THIS

A visual history of the London Tube Map, 1889-2002

Deborah Blum’s interview at The Browser, talking about five cool books, science, society, good writing:

“The style of debate practised by the Today programme poisons discourse in this country.”

Facebook silently rolls out face recognition tagging to the world. I want to upload lots of Batman pics and tag them with me.

Very interesting take by Wiliiam Cullerne-Brown on the New College of the Humanities. Meanwhile, Grayling is verbally attacked by and angry mob

Groupon is Effectively Insolvent. Also basically a Ponzi scheme.

Click here to add link. This is a great idea.

Slate takes a fascinating look at movie data from Rotten Tomatoes, and proves that Chuck Norris is the worst actor of all time.

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