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

Top picks

Best flashmob ever performs/is Ode to Joy. This will lift your spirits. Thanks to Megan Garber.

Maryn McKenna shows how it’s done with a detailed investigation into the link between chickens, antibiotics, and 8 million urinary tract infections every year. Awesome journalism, right here.

Faith in humanity restored! Nobel laureate hangs out on street corner dispensing physics advice. The fact that he has an “ASK A NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING PHYSICIST!” sign just makes this even better.

BLOODY HELL. Literally. This is what the venom of the Russell’s pit viper does to blood. Nature: it is better than you.

What if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% the speed of light? XKCD is now fielding questions, with predictably awesome results.

Heartbreaking testament to the limits of personalised medicine. To quote Helen Pearson; “What $45k, a son working at Illumina & a genome sequence can buy a dying mother: a few weeks.”

Giant sperm need a giant sperm cannon. Hur hur.

Embarrassed bat foetus is embarrassed. It’s the new monkeyfacepalm!

READ THIS: No Newsweek, the web is not driving us mad. By Vaughan Bell.

Good sci communication doesn’t presume our interest, it takes responsibility for sparking it”, or “Why the Flame Challenge Failed”

How to reform social psychology – a good post by Dave Nussbaum, and important in the light of the recent scandals that I’ve reported on.

This is the first photo uploaded to the web, and it features Tim Berners-Lee dressed as a woman.

Two papers came out refuting the Arseniclife “discovery”. Some good coverage from Alan Boyle at MSNBC and Matthew Herper at Forbes. Boyle gets a long string of replies from Felisa Wolfe-Simon, the showman behind the original paper. Carl Zimmer live-blogs a talk from Rosie Redfield: “NASA failed big time. But the process of science did not fail.” And Becca Rosen narrates what the Arseniclife story means for science, all the way from the beginning.

Devastating piece about the job market for US science grads. Similar situation in many other countries. Look at that monster comment thread!

Why I am unlucky but you are careless. Another great column by Tom Stafford.

Lots of Amazon extinctions to come, as “extinction debt” mounts. Ian Sample reports.

Thisismyabortion.com: Woman takes secret pictures of her visit to the clinic to fight disinformation and empower women


Teaching psychology isn’t about Freud, profiling serial killers or reading body language

Poison Ivy never bested Batman, but Potato Weed is easily defeating Wombatman

Great take on the new A.sediba fossilnew A.sediba fossilnew A.sediba fossil by Kate Wong, my go-to-person for this sort of thing

An honourable retraction: this scientist found a reagent had skewed results in earlier paper

What Would Disprove Evolution? Evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne explains

This is a bit about hermit crab personalities. Really, it’s about carrying out decent behavioural research

Fruitflies evolve number sense? Did they?

“One day after I submitted, I got an email asking me to review my own article.” – on predatory open-access journals

Daily Mail and Huffpo reported a story on dino sex very badly. I KNOW! I’m as shocked as you! Brian Switek has a much better story.

Study says asteroids delivered water to Earth. What about pizza?

Are Some People Immune to Alzheimer’s? Gene variant discovered that reduces the risk of developing the disease

“The proposal displays a truly stunning disregard for evidence.” Not what you want to hear about a new psychiatry manual

Michael Specter has a strong piece about GM anti-dengue mosquitoes in the New Yorker, and the knee-jerk opposition to them. It’s behind a paywall, but you can read a shorter post and an NPR segment for free.

More evidence, as if more was necessary, that NLP is pseudoscientific nonsense.

“If believing the idea will make you smarter than the official experts, be suspicious” – Maggie Koerth-Baker on telling geniuses from crackpots


Scorpion venom stings MRSA in the membrane

Guppy experiment reveals cost of big brains – smaller guts, fewer offspring. Insert lame anthropomorphic joke

Scientists use DNA fingerprinting techniques to trace the origins of the global bed bug boom

Gloves for translating sign language into speech. AWESOME

A plane wheel melted into the tarmac. Megan Garber writes that “even solid ground is an evolving technology

This startup makes spacesuits

How does your brain hear distance?

Opossums produce a protein called Lethal Toxin-Neutralizing Factor, which means they can’t be poisoned

Praying for a breeze: Windy conditions help male mantises mate…and survive the process

Come for the lightshow, stay for the mouthfuls of nutritious sperm

In Gene Sequencing Treatment for Leukemia, Glimpses of the Future

I sympathise w/ this piece about how the Higgs boson, despite the best explainers, continues to not make sense

Cordyceps! Ant-corrupting “Viagra fungus” creates an Indian gold rush

The downside of self-published science ebooks: John Timmer on crackpottery

The myth of the winning streak: why ‘momentum’ is meaningless in sports


“Best of luck in rejecting future applicants.” – Best rejection letter ever.

Physics shows that Batman’s iconic cape is essentially a suicide machine

Dutch studio set accidentally gives Angela Merkel a Hitler moustache

“Yes, I got your press release – did your mom get the fruitcake I sent?” – How to respond to PR people

It’s Batman, for God’s sake, not Richard III. We should just go goofy with it. And so we did.” – Christopher Nolan

O RLY? It’s not rocket science nail polish. Thanks @artologica.

Utah magazine celebrates “women of color,” who all happen to be, uh, white. They’re wearing colourful clothes though.

This is your brain on a jumper

Stuck with many nebulous topics and no stories? Dan Ferber examines how top writers sharpen ideas at the Open Notebook.

Incredible photos of a Chinese dam venting 30 million tonnes of silt. (Warning: Daily Mail)

“Murray isn’t going to win the Merryville Festival of Grins. What difference does it make to you, you needy pricks?”

A 360-degree panoramic view of Mars made of 817 photographs taken by NASA’s Opportunity rover

Mr Cruise is certainly not a monster”, says his lawyer. Well, if you have to say it…

From Elizabeth Cairns: “David Attenborough is wearing this false moustache all wrong

Hungry hungry hipp… oh, lion. Lions vs. baby hippo. The hippo loses.

Songs in the key of boson

Could the Helicarrier from the Avengers movie actually fly? How big would its rotors have to be? SCIENCE has the answer

Mesmerising colour-changing squid cells caught on camera


How to run a corporate Twitter account: with a sense of humour

When Steve Silberman writes a book review, it’s also autobiography & social commentary. Hell, it’s almost magic realism

A chilling tale of internet addict Alexis Madrigal, related by ace tech journalist Alexis Madrigal

Chris Chambers and Petroc Summers have suggestions for how scientists & journalists can improve science journalism, following the UKCSJ

Whence came pants?” asks Alexis Madrigal. Apparently, from horse-riding.

Take my Breath Away! Stealth Fighter Jet Chokes Yet Another Pilot

A history of science blogging from Bora Zivkovic. Perhaps a bit US-centric, but expectedly thorough.

Government agency recruits nerd by placing ad in source code. Well-played!

Stop Trying To ‘Save’ Africa. An African’s eye view of Western aid campaigns

The piecemeal existence of the pen-wielding hobo. I mean, freelancer

Federer won his seventh Wimbledon – a good chance to read David Foster Wallace’s legendary piece “Federer as Religious Experience”

Nominations for Guardian/Wellcome sci-writing prize announced. Almost all names unfamiliar, which is as it should be.

Sudden sense of dread… China plans mobile nuclear deep-sea mining base

The Higgs boson united the world in shared curiosity.

United Nations declares Internet freedom a basic human right

Good video on the repsonsibility of men to stand against misogyny

“It’s journalism. It’s story. It’s fun” – a very kind description of my blog from Kristina Bjoran. It’s what I’m aiming for. Thanks!

A woman stands up against misogyny. A man creates a game that allows people to punch her in the face. The Internet finds the worthless prick.

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