I’ve got your missing links right here (14 January 2012)

Top picks

This post by Greg Downey is the best thing you’ll ever read on the problems of evolutionary psychology.

They Froze For Science. David Dobbs on the other tragedy of Scott’s Antarctic mission: rubbish penguin eggs. Also writers, note how Dobbs uses sentences of varying lengths here, including some very short ones. No one does this better.

Two great takes on this story: Carl Zimmer on resurrecting evolution to solve an 800-million-year old puzzle. And a similarly good one from Helen Pearson (note how she abandons the confusing terms in the paper and just makes up her own).

Peter Palese, who helped resurrect the 1918 pandemic virus, says we should publish the H5N1 papers in full

Great storytelling in this piece about Robert Lanza’s ACT: a company w/ big ambitions but a dodgy history. By Corie Lok.

Do some cultures have their own ways of going mad? More on the back pages of the DSM-5

Ever been a bit unnerved by the random aspects of evolution? Christie Wilcox lays it all out for you

Excellent piece from Petra Boynton on grieving after stillbirth and disbelief at common reactions

NYT piece on how relationships fare after one partner is brain injured

These aren’t the zombies you’re looking for – a case study of 3 zombies from the Lancet, via Vaughan Bell.

Chilling. A pic of the bomb that destroyed Nagasaki, before it exploded

Two flatworms, four penises, lots of fencing. And an explanation

Captive dolphins started imitating whale-song that they heard – maybe even while asleep. Amazing paper, covered by the Neuroskeptic.

Cancer evolves, and Carl Zimmer tells its story.

Resveratrol researcher involved in sweeping fraud case (including video of him touting product) Others claim his work was peripheral, and Ivan Oransky finds at least one person who outright lied about not having heard of the guy.

The Atlantic publishes a terrible piece linking miRNAs (something found in all plants) to GM crops and their “very real dangers”. Nonsense. Emily Willingham takes down the poor science; Keith Kloor sorts out the poor journalism.

Michael Eisen’s op-ed on why taxpayers should have access to publicly funded scientific research.

Helen Pearson on the long shadow of poverty in a guest post for Last Word on Nothing

Worst. Lecture. Ever. “The mere public showing of his erection from the podium was not sufficient.”

Meet Joseph Herscher, who creates the most amazing Rube-Goldberg machines in his apartment.

Happy 70th to Stephen Hawking. How he’s beaten the odds with ALS and lived to 70.

Vaccine Rejectionism Spectrum Disorders: Does someone you know suffer from this? Could it be caused by MMR?

Map Nerds: Incredible story of how some random guy spent 6k hours making maybe best ever map of US

The New York Times’ public editor asks, with a straight face, if reporters (sorry, “truth vigilantes”) should call out lies when they see them. The commenters say yes, obviously, why is this even a question? Jay Rosen curates the reaction, and there’s already a @TimesPublicEdit Twitter account. My take: challenging lies and correcting untruths is the difference between journalism and Sh*t My Dad Says.

This year, the Ekso Bionics exoskeleton for paraplegics hits the market. Great story by Eliza Strickland.

Early contender for year’s most chilling article: completely drug-resistant TB found in India. By Maryn Mckenna

Museum collection of jellied autopsied brains from 1890s could provide clues to mental illness. By Virginia Hughes.



Climate change, as told by Dr Seuss, with Michelle Nijhuis playing the part of Seuss

Babies can tell whether you made a mistake or not from the tone of your voice.

“Geniuses are not always A grade students.” Google announces second annual Science Fair

The room that will simulate Venus by Dave Mosher.

Sad news: Oxford math lecturer held in death of famed astrophysicist

Brain Age improves mental abilities in the elderly… finds the creator of Brain Age. I like bit in the paper that says “no other competing interests”. Other than creating and profiting from the game? Cool.

Male fantasy author attempts the women’s poses on fantasy covers

An amazing presentation on media coverage of gun crime

Chicken embryo growing in petri dish.

Can you really be addicted to the internet? A good analysis of a silly paper.

India has made it a year without polio. Here is a statement from Bill Gates.

New high-risk gene for prostate cancer. But everyone forgets that BRCA1/2 also greatly influence prostate cancer risk.

New “Schmallenberg virus” afflicting Europe’s livestock, sounds like dismissive name for Mallenberg virus

There are denialists of every form and degree, including birds-are-dinosaurs denialists.

Guantánamo: An Oral History – harrowing but important

The ostrich only wants you for your body

Wonderful history of multi-tools, from the Roman army to the Swiss army. Also, I think the person who designed the 75-bladed penknife was overcompensating

Scientists name rare horse fly after Beyonce “in honour of its impressive golden behind.”

Government takes action to combat creationism in free schools

The University of Utah has some of the best webpages on genetics & evolution

You can download things. No, no, not things. THINGS. Rebecca Rosen welcomes you to the future.

Stimulating the brain region that creates 3D models of the world changes how monkeys see illusions

Take this test and be part of the biggest memory experiment ever

More wonderful work from John Hutchinson: how rhinos’ tiny feet support their enormous weight

Psychology Today blogger Marc Bekoff rightly blast’s Psychology Today’s use of chimp in photos

How do scientists define life? And is the question even worth asking? I’m with Szostak on this one.

3 game-changers that might make polio eradication possible.

What are land birds like woodpeckers doing in the stomach of a tiger shark? Two words: oil rigs.

Anything sharp objects in your suitcase, sir? What about a chimp’s head? Exotic viruses?

Eye-controlled tech lets you re-enact every commuter’s fantasy of blowing stuff up w/ a glance

Dinosaur snorkels, air tanks & tubas – the many proposed functions of the Parasaurolophus crest

How to stop press release spam? Post embargoed press releases. Here’s one about Mayans using tobacco.

Hydrothermal vents are awesome. Crabs and shrimps and octopuses, oh my.

Boston Children’s Hospital sending patients home with a robot to help with post-op care. Family looks terrified.

Which crabs are the fightiest? Craig McClain tackles the important questions that other scientists fear to guess at

Malawi has the world’s highest rates of lightning strikes, at least six times higher than other countries. Also I love the term “consequential lightning strikes”. “Did you get hit by lightning?” “Bah! Twas but an inconsequential lightning strike. I got up and went to the pub. Just smelled a bit smoky”

Can you really die of a broken heart after a loved one dies? Apparently so.

German warship 1: dinosaurs 0.

Anil Potti’s dark lessons and legacy for cancer genomics

A Tiny Dying such as this: microorganisms in leaf litter going extinct

SciCurious analyses some recent results on deep-brain stimulation for depression

What’s the origin of the word “shark“?

Luke Jostins analyses a technical new paper on “phantom heritability”.

Scientists studying lizard evolution start becoming a driving force for it:

The miniature pigeon cameras of Dr Julius Neubronner

Ice Age averted, but global warming takes us into unknown climate territory… and we might not like it

Bradley Voytek on a terrible NYT neuro op/ed: “architecture is like trees and that, something… something… Avatar?”

What does Peter Stringfellow think about Stephen Hawking? Thanks to Ian Sample, we now know

The Manual That Must Not Be Named

Antidepressant prescriptions on the rise… along with all other prescriptions.

New mouse lemur found. At 68g, a “giant” compared to other mouse lemurs

Why you should never smile at a monkey.

What Popular Psychology Books Forget: The Danger of Storytelling

Early contender for the year’s worst op/ed. In tech, but it screws up biology too. Hint: four-eyed fish have only two eyes.

Mathematician claims breakthrough in Sudoku puzzle. “To be honest I prefer doing the crossword,” he says



Waterstone’s is dropping its apostrophe. Very well, I’ll have it. Say hi to Ed Yo’ng.

A gallery of monkey portraits. I think the spider monkey is judging me.


Crow learns to snowboard. In your FACE, dolphins.

Wired takes down the worst press release of 2012, so far: the interstellar dating service

List of silent killers, as defined by a Google search: ovarian cancer, hypertension, diabetes, postpartum depression, carbon monoxide, atherosclerosis, snoring (??), stress, hepatitis C, metadata

Eels always look like they just told a joke and are waiting for a reaction. (When an eel is agape/ at its laughterless jape/ it’s a moray)

Okinawan ribbon eel. Mental.

When annoyed, just take a few minutes out to watch some high-speed videos of flying animals

Giraffes drawn by people who should not be drawing giraffes, including Lawrence Krauss and David Eagleman.

Heh. The next revolution in beauty products. “Fotoshop

The placebo effect, now online!

Computers beat humans at which games?

Unbelievable. Drunken idiot OSU student tries to rob museum, uses giant sloth claw as a weapon

The mathematics of pasta.

How to diagnose quackery.

Cats evolve more claws; humanity screwed.

Causative mosquito – the forgotten Batman villain.

NCBI ROFL: Study proves guns make you an a**hole

Heh. I love this photo. I’m thinking: “I suspect that your field guide to nocturnal lemurs will not help me.”

A gorgeous new viper discovered in Tanzania

Today I learned that one species of fish hides by swimming into the anus of a sea cucumber.

This is what happens when your bungee cord snaps.

Every travel conversation I’ve ever had.

How long do you have to watch Abbey Road crossing webcam before seeing an album cover recreation? Two seconds for me.

30-storey building built in 360 hrs

Heh. The Onion sums up my views on people who “say yes to life


The girl who snuck into a Russian rocket factory — and took the pix to prove it.

Great video about the ludicrous nature of booth babes at tech shows.

Google accused of some serious misconduct in Kenya.

Who you are on Facebook is pretty much who you are in real life.

When Shakespeare wrote “Exit, pursued by a bear“, he wasn’t kidding

CDs and DVDs aren’t even worth stealing these days.

Dan Engber breaks down his splendid 3-parter on the lab mouse.

The map as a cultural argument – Becca Rosen on how Google’s mapmakers cope with international differences.

How to define a journalist, badly. Misses out “8) Must have fedora w/ press pass sticker”

Congratulations to Derek Lowe for ten years of science blogging.

Everything old is news again. Megan Garber looks at the eye-popping back-issue mag sales on the iPad

Croatia’s museum of broken relationships. An actual museum, not some guy’s flat

Predictions of 2000 from ‘The Ladies Home Journal’ of Dec 1900. Good on tech, not so much on biology.

Bloody hell. Loggers ‘burned Amazon tribe girl alive’

“I am sailing through my windshield.” Mercedes developing special version of Facebook to access in cars

Want to be a whisky connoisseur? There’s an app for that.

The Knight Science Journalism Tracker reviews the HuffPo’s new science section: “mostly just aggregation… but not all”

How YouTube plans to kick the crap out of traditional TV

Good profile of John Brockman, agent of thinkers

Andaman Islands tribe threatened by lure of mass tourism — brace yourself before you read.

Alex Wild asks a blogger to stop violating his copyright. Blogger throws epic tantrum and just keeps on going.

Memorable job interview questions for journalists

“The passage was clearly unsettling for someone with her penchant for both Ponies and accuracy.” Amy Harmon on the NYT’s best ever correction.

Why auto-hyperlinking in news stories is dumb and distracting

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