I’ve got your missing links right here (12th September 2010)


The big news this week was the Continuing Adventures of Vince Cable and the Disappearing Science Funding. William Cullerne-Bown is collecting the links here, and there’s some great stuff from Alok Jha, Kieron Flanagan, Evan Harris. James Wilsdon talks us through 45%gate. Jon Butterworth brings the satire. After being urged to do “more with less” Mark Henderson says (paywall), “A far more probably outcome is that we will end up achieving less with less.” And you can you’re your support by joining the Facebook group. No more Dr Nice Guy!

Steve Silberman continues his barrage of ace blogging with this tale of Wikipedia contributing to the spread of a “domesticated superbug

We live in amazing times. Researchers build prototype of the world’s 1st implantable, mechanical kidney

A new study says money doesn’t buy you happiness… well unless you’re earning less than £50,000 a year. Philip Ball puts the results into context at Nature News.

A great Slate interview with Barry Marshall, who discovered the cause of stomach ulcers by drinking it. From him, we learn that insight + wanton disregard for personal wellbeing = SCIENCE

More after the jump…

In Peru, the world’s cutest energy source. More travels from Gaia Vince.

From cannibalistic bacteria, possible new antibiotics. By John Timmer.

“We walk around with all sorts of unexamined beliefs about what works that are mistaken.” Why research upends traditional thinking on learning styles and study habits.

Congolese chimpanzees face new ‘wave of killing’ for bushmeat, reports James Randerson

The Guardian’s science blog festival continues strongly with Jenny Rohn on peer review, Alex Holmes and Jon Mendel on the Science So What? campaign, Dorothy Bishop on the myth of ‘genes for intelligence’, a brilliant piece by Alom Shaha on angry atheism, and, er, me on slime moulds.

Alex Wild mourns the decline of taxonomy, a field where “everyone uses the knowledge… but no one wants to bear the cost.” The Globe and Mail has a similar piece.

Scientist Smackdown! Does climate change affect the prevalence of war in Africa?

This is the best piece I read this week: a literary piece of science writing where Deborah Blum takes the topic of carbon monoxide poisoning, runs with it and produces something wondeful.

Brian Dunning takes us on a skeptical appraisal of the Myers-Briggs Personality Test. I, incidentally, am an INTJ, which means that I’m self-motivated and can shoot lasers from my ears.

What does human flesh taste like? Martin Robbins gruesomely investigates.

How to get energy from a glow-in-the-dark jellyfish protein

The silliest study of the year, and from a Royal Society journal no less. If you danced like this, would you get lucky? Scicurious thinks not.

Ferris Jabr on the aerodynamics of flying fish. Previously, he wrote about flying fish. Next, Mega Shark.

Bullshark bullshit by Christie Willcox.

Vaughan Bell describes “a patient with epilepsy who felt the left half of his body was being “invaded by a stranger” when he had a seizure.”

Lizzie Buchen looks at the controversial field of behavioural epigenetics for Nature.

I have the conch!” Meet William the Concherer, the dolphin that fishes with a conch. It’ll probably kill the fat dolphin next.

What does the public think about synthetic biology?

Labrat’s awards for extreme bacteria; I would have submitted this one for “Loneliest extremophile

Animal populations headed for extinction may give the same signals seen before crashes in coral reefs, the Sahara’s climate and even stock markets,” writes Brandon Keim.

“I’m sorry, I think you’ll find I’m too young for stab-rape

Jonah Lehrer explains the “annoying guy on the train effect


Onion: Dolphins not so intelligent on land

Significant Sci has a great post about a dog with hemispatial neglect, the bizarre condition where you can only pay attention to half of your visual field at a time.

The chap who wrote the jumping-the-shark episode of Happy Days is not happy

I have nothing to say on Stephen Hawking. The whole thing was ridiculous, worthy only of satire, as Michael Brooks accomplished.

Do not stand in front of this ant’s head

Watch Vaughan Bell come up with 6 different ways of people walking past MRI scanners carrying sharp/large metal objects… with hilarious results!

Snake robot climbs a tree. KILL IT WITH FIRE.

Cotard’s Syndrome: people think they’re dead. Lycanthropy: people think they’re animals. Combine the two

Biologists explained

Genetics explained (look at the other photos… they’re ace)

Beautiful insect eggs photography

A great list of serendipitous scientific discoveries

Bonobo orphans play with a cameraman

I wrote a post about fish patterns, which was linked to by a post about lamps created using the same principles.

What’s the biggest danger from chasing tornadoes? Hint: if everyone’s looking at the tornado…


Alice Bell wrote a great post on “upstream” science journalism prompting an equally great comment thread, with contributions from Ian Sample, Mark Henderson, Evan Harris, and plenty of other heavyweights. It’s all worth reading. I particularly the many examples of how this type of reporting is already going on.

A couple of promising new blogs: A Scientific Nature, which has a great writing style, and Whewells Ghost, on the history and philosophy of science.

Read about I’m a Scientist Get Me Out of Here – the most innovative and inspiring science education programme I’ve seen. It just gets. It. Right.

Scott Rosenberg continues his most excellent demolishing of Nicholas Carr’s arguments agains links. Scott reasons why putting all the links at the end is more distracting, and why the “shallows” metaphor lacks depth. Brian Frank also weighs in on the links debate: “It’s good to have strategically placed interruptions.”

Jay Rosen provides advice to the journalists formerly known as the media.

Sheril Kirshenbaum’s thread on the science writing renaissance spawned a heated debate and a spin-off thread from me on writing and advocacy, and a spin-off from that by Grant Jacobs.

It doesn’t even have legs, for crying out loud.” Following a ScienceOnline London 2010 session where we discussed stereotypes of scientists, Hayley Birch wrote an excellent response about whether those stereotypes are a problem

This is well worth reading, digesting and stapling somewhere prominent, for anyone who wants to get into discussions about feminism, race, etc. etc.

Deep Sea News adds Rick McPherson to its shoal

The world of embargoes is a bit silly, which is Ivan Oransky has no trouble finding stuff like this.

China will double its number of science communicators to four million by 2020

This is everything that’s wrong with journalism. Here’s a better version

Ha! Martin Robbins’ tweets are now on the Guardian science page… with hilarious results.

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