I’ve got your missing links right here (12 May 2012)

Top picks

This week sees the launch of The Geek Manifesto, in which Mark Henderson argues that science needs to play (and is playing) a greater role in politics, the media, education, economy, culture and other aspects of public life. It’s a stirring rallying cry for geeks, and anyone who cares about science, everywhere. Mark’s a great science writer. Go try the book.

This is so spot-on: Michelle Nijhuis reviews two new books suggesting that scientists should fight science denial by flaunting their flaws.

Have to etch this on some foreheads: XKCD on ignorance

Epic New Yorker piece on geoengineering by Michael Specter – “The Climate Fixers“.

Some big problems with an updated psychiatry bible, and why a science journalist walked out of a symposium at the American Psychiatric Association meeting. Go Ferris!

There’s an entire family of transparent, gelatinous moth caterpillars and their goo might deter ants and other predators

“A beard twisted not by eccentricity but by the gales of distant places” – the ever-lyrical David Dobbs on a forgotten Arctic explorer

Kate Wong looks at some recent (and much needed) shakeups in paleoanthropology’s culture of secrecy, featuring the excellent John Hawks

Devastating, powerful piece on dementia. “When Illness Makes a Spouse a Stranger.”

I love the idea of a dwarf mammoth!

A list of things claimed to be as addictive as cocaine, vs a list of things that actually are. By Vaughan Bell.

Science and Truth: We’re All in It Together – nice op/ed about ivory-billed woodpeckers, comment sections & truth

The week the sun touched the Earth -great piece bout 1859’s auroral storm

A fugitive, caught after 40 years on the run, pulls off the biggest escape of his life.

‘Blood, saliva, little bits and pieces – I’m not going to miss it.’ Absolutely fascinating piece about real CSI

The Stone-Throwing Chimp Is Back — And This Time It’s Personal. Great write-up by Michael Balter

So what IS that weird blobby maybe-a-jellyfish thing? Deep Sea News has the answer. Deepstaria enigmatica. Awesome.

Climate modelers edge closer to understanding one of nature’s most complex phenomena: clouds. By Jeff Tollefson

Could you ever gestate a baby in an artificial womb? Compelling and unnerving piece by Sally Adee

FINALLY! A thoughful documentary on how tech is influencing society, without blind fear or nonsense. Kudos to Aleks Krotoski

“We can take his heart out, remove the tumour, and put it back in… However… there will be a fair amount of risk.”

How frogs invaded a Lost World. Typical wonder from Carl Zimmer.


Maggie Koerth-Baker riffs off my post about what cancer statistics really mean

How to train hummingbirds to stab people between the eyes: a feeder you wear on your face

How does the brain avoid traffic jams? Different networks operate at different frequencies

Encyclopedia of Life passes million-species milestone

Top scientists urge governments to solve environmental dilemmas.” Yeah that should do it. Why didn’t we think of that earlier?

10,000 year old dental plaque tells tale of old diets.

Sequencing of skin cancers reveals genetic effects of sun damage.

Today’s parents are the first in history with no memory of the maiming & killing caused by polio, tetanus, diphtheria and measles. An epidemic will remind them.”

Goethe also inspired the first ever Nature editorial

“They set millions of cyber-turtles loose in a simulated North Atlantic”

What can we learn from the 900 dolphins and 4,000 pelicans washing up dead on Peru’s beaches?

Pachyderm paralympian

Tough love: Insensitive advice for PhD students.

One shall reform yo libelz. Good news about libel reform in the Queen’s speech.

Japan takes over TEPCO and injects $12 billion to help the company pay for Fukushima cleanup and compensation

Japan has gone from running on 30% nuclear power to 0%. And that’s bad news

World’s rarest gorillas caught on camera trap footage. (One is missing a hand. Another charges.)

Is eBay a black market for endangered animals?

I don’t deny that the new Brainfacts.org site is nice. Is it $1.53m nice? Not even close. I look at stuff like this and think about what the most talented of my friends could do w/ $1.53m. Then, the weeping.

Soooo… sperm hug the sides

Weaving blood vessels from strands of human tissue

Neuroscientists find that self-disclosure is intensely rewarding. I’m sure I don’t know what they mean.

Snakes on a plane, toxic mouse bombs, and an army of Jack Russells

PeerJ: an interesting biz model. “If we can seq the human genome for $100, why can’t we publish for $100”

The F-22 Raptor’s faulty oxygen system is choking its pilots, and some are refusing to fly

Dinosaurs did not fart themselves to death

“Big change via small steps” is the new black – how the pufferfish got its beak

An interview with the awesome Ian Lipkin, virus hunter extraordinaire

In spring, bat mums reabsorb male embryos

AWESOME! Massive auction of defunct forensics equipment. I baggsy the kevlar holdalls for £50

86-yr-old man buys island, replants 16,000 trees, adds giant tortoises

“For my next trick, I’ll make 20% of my genes disappear” – Lampreydini

Dear IT, my computer has bugs. Magnetotactic bacteria to be used to make computers.

French physicist jailed for 5 years was a ‘victim of overeach by draconian anti-terror laws’ say supporters

Great This Week in Virology podcast going into a lot of detail about the mutant flu controversy

“IOM (report) refutes the idea that obesity is largely result of lack of willpower on part of individuals”

Do unhatched chicks wake and sleep in their eggs? Mebbe

In search of the world’s oldest trees. (Note: bristlecone pines look awesome in black & white)

How bad is the UK Huffington Post Science section? Shockingly bad

Life of Attenborough – new series to celebrate a living legend’s 60-year span of bringing us joy

“A robot automates the recording of information from the living brain.” Like Facebook then, but at the synaptic level.

“If it’s ok with the commander, the astronaut can sleep anywhere… so long as they attach themselves to something.”

Perceptions of other’s emotions determine whether we think of ourselves as mentally ill.



No. Wrong. Realistic robot buttocks

Camel-jumping in Yemen

Unexpectedly funny headline #4839. Also, obvious surely?

“We need to get a bunch of people and ask them to walk right up to a bunch of bears. For science.”

How many people are in space right now?

Zuckerberg to basically live in your house

Joss Whedon’s love letter to his fans, in the wake of The Avengers’ success

Unstoppable. Hell yeah

Amazing. Saturn’s rings + two moons + astonishing composition

The New Yorker’s guest reviewer – Film Crit Hulk – reviews Ruffalo’s Hulk in The Avengers. In ALL CAPS

“As an entrepreneur, name recognition is important.” Nebraska man changes name to Tyrannosaurus Rex. I might change mine to “Growth Stage of Triceratops.”

This is a study by Dr Science.

“Society has asked the process of evolution if it could pull its finger out.”

A somewhat unfortunate translation

What editors think

Genomics bingo card generator


Great interview w/ Carl Zimmer on storytelling, science journalism, and how parasite stories go over with dates

Writer’s block is a romanticized catch-all” – it’s procrastination, perfectionism or fear.

Hospital will live-tweet brain surgery and put pics on Pinterest.

On an Internet that remembers all, we’ll value things that help us forget

Slate hates fact-checking and quotes. Extreme, but some of Engber’s views on quotes are sound. They are too often used as a crutch.

The beauty of Twitter’s unfollow bug

The pernicious myth that slideshows drive traffic. Love the graph.

The NYT has around 1500 pre-written obituaries for people still alive. Understandable, creepy.

The Incredible Story of the Blind Dog With His Own Guide Dog

Amazing. Real Quidditch. Everyone straddles brooms. The Snitch is a guy with a ball in a sock

How Yoni Applebaum went from being a commenter on the Atlantic to a correspondent

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