I’ve got your missing links right here (16 June 2012)

 Top picks

If you get shot in the head, will you feel it? Vaughan Bell investigates

Becca Rosen on Voyager I’s prolonged exit from our solar system. Wonderful.

We are viral, from the beginning. I tell you, no one sums up complex ideas into pithy pretty statements better than Carl Zimmer.

Fascinating post on 10 taboo topics about iPS cells (the “stemmy” cells reprogrammed from adult ones), by Paul Knoepfler

Terrifying sex organs of male turtles, by Darren Naish

Microbe(s)-on-microbe action: blog post about a bacterium infected by another bacterium and a virus *at the same time*

Great take about that study supposedly on exercise & depression, by SciCurious.

“Hooligan cocks” – Graphic hundred-year-old penguin sex manuscript uncovered

World’s largest flower is a parasite that steals water, food and genes from its hosts, by Christie Wilcox

2nd guest-star on my BBC “Will we ever?” column is Phil Plait who asks if we’ll live on the moon

The Meaning of Death: How do we know someone is no longer alive? It’s more complicated than you might think.

The fate of the planet and “nature” is a big, sweeping topic that demands a big, sweeping essay. Like this one by Chris Mims.

No. America does NOT need more scientists and engineers. Provocative piece by Derek Lowe.

Does all wine taste the same? Jonah Lehrer explains why answer is mostly yes

Plants genetically engineered to repel pests use less pesticides, allowing natural predators to thrive.

Diesel &cancer? What do IARC classifications actually mean? Excellent contextualising post.

Adrian Owen communicates with people in vegetative state and now rolling it out to many. Great feature by David Cyranoski

Better coverage from Nature + I love Victoria Wobber’s quote at the end. The personal side of animal cognition often gets forgotten.

Requiem for the blind-spot, thanks to a new mirror design, by Megan Garber

Great article in NYT about the backstabbing surrounding discovery of streptomycin, the first antibiotic against TB

10-year-old helps dad to solve science riddle, gets co-authorship



Sinners and winners in the race to protect the oceans revealed

This ant proves that if there is an intelligent designer, he’s a bad fantasy artist

Biologists grow human-eye precursor from stem cells

Heh. 9 climate images I really don’t need to see again

Vampire bats carry rabies, so if you cull the bats, you should get… oh. More rabies. Oops

Isn’t it terrible how TV and the internet have made kids really inattentive? Oh, wait, they’re not? I see. Good times

Woman eats squid, gets inseminated. I’m sure this was in a Japanese cartoon at some point.

Method: crush hydrogen between 2 diamonds. Result: fierce scientific battle. Plus: the greatest sub-heading ever?

Good news: extended protection for Australian seas in ‘world first’ reserve network

Total fail by a so-called conservation group – lash whale sharks into captivity for amusement.

Tracking MRSA outbreak in a neonatal ward in real time using next-gen sequencing: more complete data, fast turnaround

Here are some of the death threats sent to a climate scientist

Sea level rise” is apparently a string of “liberal code words”. Yes. Code for a rising level of the sea. Maybe Virginian-Pilot would prefer easier-to-grasp alternatives to “sea level rise” like “water more up”

More from the Department of Misspelling Pseudo as Neuro: Forbes has a new “neuromarketing” blog

Reach for the Stars: a project that’ll take astronomy to Afghanistan’s schools, orphanages, refugee camps

Anti-GM campaigners in Italy win important victory in the war on knowledge

Amateur Astronomers Help Scientists Map Over 42 Million Stars

New, ‘all you can publish’ journal is part of a “Cambrian explosion” of open access models:

I see. A robot, armed with chainsaws, designed to effectively flay flesh from bone.

How geography shapes cultural diversity – a test of Jared Diamond’s ideas on why tall thin continents got colonized by fat wide ones

Does the Berlin man who was apparently cured of HIV still have HIV?

Bioethics board backs embryo alteration for mitochondrial disease.

Er, WTF??! DNA sequencing company certifies far-right politician as free of ‘Gypsy or Jew’ genes

The mutant flu papers were mired in months of debate. Meanwhile these folks are building self-guided bullets.

The Curse of Migraine Island. Genetics of small island population with high rate of migraine. Descendants of mutineers.

Evolution to be taught in British primary schools! Kids will start to learn about it from age 8-9. WIN.

Great list of misconceptions about science

NYT pushes speed to kids: the New York Times, amphetamine study pills and a 75 year irony cycle

Over-hyped & fails yet again: vitamin D doesn’t prevent diabetes.

Can’t wait for the media to fit this cannibal lemur into their zombie plague narrative

Brittle stars can choose any of their 5 limbs to be the lead or head limb in walking

We need to “unlearn” to believe in some science: Let’s start with fMRI data!


Google ‘English person’. Seems fair.

Victory against the forces of tosser

You’ve gotta love Ewen Callaway’s Nature Nobel Prize Ferrari Buying Index

The tube-lipped nectar bat in action. This 5cm bat has a 9cm long tongue to reach nectar.

MikeAtYahooDotCom@hotmail.com … and other email addresses it would be really annoying to give out over the phone

“Relatively little consequential damage” for collision victim who travelled 7 km on top of car that hit him

Learn neuroanatomy with a shower cap

Bence Mate’s incredible photos.

WANT! Suit of Armor Hoodie



I saw Prometheus. It was absolutely dire. A brief review here.

The travesty of self-publishing, right here – bots publishing YouTube comments as Kindle “books”

“The Great Penis Debate“: more on the atheism “community’s” misogyny problem.

There are so many surveillance cameras in the UK, we might as well have drones hovering overhead. Great interview on surveillance culture

Worst press release of the year? It’s about manly men and their manliness.

Reddit bans Sciencedaily and Physorg for spamming. Great. Those sites are spam. Wait, they’ve also banned the Atlantic and… oh… Discover blogs. Not cool.

What incentive keeps a writer writing? Good list of tools.

Reporting on psychiatry w/o psychiatrists in Indonesia  – Greg Miller talks to the Open Notebook

After 10 yrs of Civilisation II, “the world is a hellish nightmare of suffering and devastation.”

Wow. Twitter trends just became useful, rather than just being a dark window into what awful people think

Flame virus has code overlaps with Stuxnet. Evidence that dev teams collaborated

A female filmmaker proposes examining sexism in videogames, and is hounded and threatened

The Antivirus Era Is Over:Conventional security software is powerless against sophisticated attacks like Flame

There’s going to be a Snow Crash movie. Rejoice!

Kosovo’s national anthem banned from the Olympics

“Can the honourable gentleman refrain from trespassing in the lady cave?”

Muppets at Argyll & Bute Council try to censor 9-yr-old blogger for writing about awful school food. Predictably, they release a statement from the Uncanny Valley PR Department.

Classic example of how not to write: this is a fascinating topic (swordfighting) made unbearable. By the end, all I know is how little I know & how much the author does (& how pleased he is about that). It’s masturbation, not communication.

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