I’ve got your missing links right here (12 November 2011)

Top picks

How deep is the Mariana Trench? An infographic tells all. (Don’t miss Cthulhu).

Ever wondered how hummingbirds hover in the rain? If so, have a look at this video to find out..

A beautiful documentary that asks naturalists about the future of natural history

EEG for detecting awareness in “permanently” vegetative patients

Very intriguing: Theory, and Why It’s Time Psychology Got One

Elsevier ob-gyn journal retracted paper after legal threat – a very worrying precedent, covered by Ivan Oransky.

How unfathomable were your odds of coming into being?

Seriously, though, is this a spider bite? Some amusing and snarky arthropod myth-busting.

A great ‘state of the nation’ Orwell lecture on journalism by Alan Rusbridger.

This is beautiful. Frank Swain ponders if Halley’s Comet will lose its sparkle? A post on life, death, and celestial bodies

This is great. A six-part list of requirements for reducing false positives, via Razib Khan.

“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!” If so, the Shadow is still the only one who does. Dishonesty detectors: a criminally flawed technology, by John Rennie.

A flower returns from the dead: this is one of those *awesome* stories about science blogs connecting people

“The trial was terminated early for futility.” On yet another case of biology trumping medical logic

An outstanding post on Inequality, Health Disparities, & Obesity by Patrick Clarkin

A wonderful post from Emily Finke on finding the spectacular in your own backyard

If you read nothing else this month, read this: Women bloggers call for a stop to ‘hateful’ trolling by misogynist men

QR codes for identifying bird songs, via Jennifer Ouellette.

Carl Zimmer’s incredible new book Science Ink  is out. Here’s a slideshow in the NY Times.

Mmm… inspirational. Michelle Nijhuis on John McPhee: “He knows what readers don’t know they want to know” And more from McPhee in the Open Notebook.

READ THIS: why “gene for X” is “lazy and deeply misleading” in many, many ways.


Massive congratulations to Adam Rogers for winning an AAAS award for his awesome whiskey story. If you haven’t read it yet, I can only assume that you hate good things. (And here’s the story behind the story)

A lovely piece by Ann Finkbeiner on anthropomorphism

Krills and copepods can have as much of an effect on ocean mixing and currents as wind and tides”

No flying vertebrates have gliders as a sister group. Why? And what does this mean for bat evolution?

Ancient DNA, spotty horses and some surprisingly accurate cave paintings, by Hillary Rosner.

Did dinosaurs get measles? What about Paget’s disease?

The bioarchaeology of crucifixion

Python eats 76-pound deer. I like the lede that pitches this as inspiration for people who want to follow their dreams.

Professor plagiarises colleague’s work… then does it again 16 years later

Frozen bacteria thaw, fart

The NYT’s infographic of all the deadliest wars and despots in history

Prosecutor to Parents: Mailing Chickenpox is Illegal

Plagiarism-detection software also helps plagiarists avoid detection

“The display of one’s enemies after death reaches across cultures and time.”

So, to avoid cancer, don’t smoke, avoid asbestos, eat healthily. Also, STOP SHAGGING ANIMALS, you filthy deviant

Tyrannosaurus had “big butts and weak ankles” like power-walkers.

Why do people obey the law? Legitimacy of the police trumps fear of punishment.

Breadfruit: it’s the miracle food of the future, but nobody wants to eat it

Cash for graphene: the best thing since sliced bread

Why Do People Eat Too Much? We supersize meals to make up for a lack of social status

Great feature by Virginia Hughes on some extremely controversial ALS research

Tardigrades are set to go to Phobos: the furthest that life has ever been from Earth

The average age when scientists make key discoveries has risen by about 10 yrs since 1905

Frog-killing fungus pandemic created when 2 strains mated, as a direct result of the global amphibian trade

“For the first time in 75 years, an entire genus of mammal may go the way of the dodo”

Good overview of recent work on GM mosquitoes with a very cool infographic

Laughter as a painkiller, by SciCurious.

Quicksand: a weapon of mastodon destruction?

Professional killjoy Brian Switek destroys yet another cool carnivore – a terror bird – with his rubbish “facts” and “evidence”.

Scripps Scientists Find Giant Amoebas in the Extreme Deep sea. Four. Inches. Long.

What’s it like to get dengue fever in Indonesia? For a start, it’s bloody hard to diagnose, says Alice Lighton.

“The dinosaurs had about 25s of warning due to a lack of interest in math and physics; we can do better”

A foot-long cockroach-like creature (trilobite) with 50 legs ruled the sea floor 500 million years ago

TINY new study suggests autism starts in womb with an excess number of brain cells

A lovely piece on moving on from one lab to another and eddies in the water

Prehistoric “Shield”-Headed Croc Found

Is it going to rain on you in the next hour? There’s an app for that

What’s more expensive: Princeton or prison

Did primates go from solitary to social in one fell swoop?

“…And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum” Teeny mite found clinging to fossil spider

Another pair of “duelling dinosaurs”? Brian Switek looks at the evidence

Who were the 99% of ancient Rome? My CNN piece on Kristine Killgrove’s effort to sequence ancient Roman DNA.

First lab-grown blood cells injected into a human for the first time

Reuters report finds cultural divide in coverage of climate skepticism

How does sickle-cell anaemia gene confer resistance to malaria? A long-standing mystery solved.

Yet another drug trialled as an antidepressant fails. But why? In theory this one should work.

Three subspecies of rhino have gone extinct. The problem with the Red List is that the bad news is permanent and the good news probably isn’t

What to do when embedded with duelling scientists? Erik Vance discussed his dolphin story

I like the testimonials. What Big Homeopathy doesn’t want you to know.

On AIDS and Ancient Ideas about Disease. Check out the linked timeline too.

Optogenetics for the masses – cool!

The physics of the yellow angry bird. (Don’t miss the Q&A at the end)

Should scientists fight misleading anecdotes w/ anecdotes of their own? Tricky topic.

The capitalist network that runs the world – also, is the 1% inevitable

Susan Greenfield’s Dopamine Disaster. You really have to wonder if she’s even a real neuroscientist.

Beautiful CT Scans of Baby Mammoths Reveal Ice Age Mystery

Mo Costandi on “transient global amnesia

No shrimp could just walk up to another and tear its head off. They had to wait for an opportunity.”

The Mystery of the Magnetic Cows – failed attempt at replication causes scientist bunfight

Dr Stapel, I presume? No, just Mr Stapel now

The scale of date-rape poisonings

Robert Krulwich tells a mysterious and heartbreaking “last wild buffalo” story


Today I learned there’s an “International Dose-Response Society“. Maybe this guy’s the chairman

Alex Wild’s realistic photo of the inside of an ant’s nest totally got me

Flying rhinos!

A wonderful paper title

Hipster or Jesus?

Hey you know how it’s funny when people fall over? It’s funnier when they fall over on the Moon

Bare rack o’ llama.

White House officially announces “U.S. government has no evidence” of extraterrestrial life

Live polar bear cam!

Habitual tail-chasers had 6.5 times the odds of being described as ‘Stupid’ than other dogs”


How tweeting about science got one blogger a trip to New Zealand

TapSense, a prototype that allows you to touch your iPhone in four different ways (not the bad way)

Ananyo Bhattacharya on why peer review is  not substitute for proper reporting.

The Jekyll and Hyde problem: What are journalists, and their institutions, for?

Katharine Harmon has started what is sure to be a must-read blog: the Octopus Chronicles.

In which Brian Switek reflects on having written a book a year ago, and shows why he’s going to be really great

Papua New Guinea reporter undergoes circumcision to get the scoop

Don’t have sex with them” and other advice on dealing w/ sources.

Alice Bell’s picks of the best Science Books For Children

Jonathan Lethem on meta-nonfiction, myth of journalistic objectivity, hating super hero movies

Philosophy: the Kevin Bacon of Wikipedia. Click on 1st links & you get there eventually

The feminist blogosophere has “unleashed a dynamic conversation about sex & gender reminiscent of an earlier era”

Previously, I merely thought of Klout as daft and useless but here’s a compelling case for why it’s evil

Scitable published a piece on the place of new science bloggers in the blogosphere, which rubbed me up the wrong way. Here are my alternative suggestions

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