I’ve got your missing links right here (17 March 2012)

Top picks

The last time we redefined what it means to be human: Annaleen Newitz on the hominin vs. hominid debate

How a synchotron works, explained with donuts. Great video by Alice Lighton and Harriet Bailey

How To Be Creative: Jonah Lehrer says that “creativity is not a trait that we inherit in our genes… It’s a skill”.

Bloody hell, Ilanay Yurkiewicz is such a good medical writer. Here, she discusses talking to patients about death, when the doctor isn’t ready.

Suggested tools for your home mammoth excavation: embroidery hoop, cheese cloth, toothbrush – an awesome SciFund project

“When you get your brain split, it doesn’t grow back together.” A wonderful Nature feature by David Wolman on the last of the split brain patients

In which Dr Bunsen Honeydew wrote a letter to NASA offering them Beaker’s services

Extraordinary! A phantom phantom finger! Does this mean we have an innate body plan?

A Rube Goldberg machine built by a seven year old, featuring the scientific method

Is this “the 1st paper to have experimental subjects simulate murder with a real gun“? Also: one of the weirdest paper images ever.

A psychiatric hospital, with demolition looming, has been filled with 28000 flowers

“I’m going to show you two kinds of nothing.” Robert Krulwich is just the most delightful writer working today. Some will make you understand. Others will make you think. Krulwich does both, but he, more so than anyone else, will make you smile.

How can scientists actively engage with the media – a great selection of tips by Jacquelyn Gill

An extinct animal with no jaws, but the world’s sharpest teeth

Scientists breed fruit flies for 57 years in darkness, unleash them upon unsuspecting world. Sort of.

Some solid takes on the Bargh-Doyen controversy by Sanjay Srivastava, Matthew Lieberman and Daniel Simons. Meanwhile, Chris French writes about how he failed to replicate the Bem et al “psychic” paper, and then failed to get it published. Preumably, Bem saw this coming…

Three groups find serious problems with last year’s RNA editing paper. Erika Check Hayden covers some important follow-up work to a paper that one scientist says “should’ve been outright retracted.”

Glorious! What Do All The Controls In An Airplane Cockpit Do? Amazing 9,000 word answer from a guy on Quora. And double-whammy: Megan Garber analyses what makes it great.

After 244 Years, Encyclopaedia Britannica Stops the Presses. Well thank god for Encarta, eh? Here’s a good CNN report with excellent quotes from AJ Jacobs, who read it cover to cover, and a strong piece from Tim Carmody, who argues: “Wikipedia Didn’t Kill Britannica. Windows Did.” Also, Britannica “will focus primarily on its online encyclopedias.” Heh. Aheheh. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

The rise of the ‘narciss-ome’ – how one scientist discovered his diabetes by following his own genome for 2 years. Cool story. Somewhat unfair headline.

Must-read piece. Psychologists were running a study on trauma, when a gunman attacked the university. Vaughan Bell on top form here.

An evolutionary look at child-rearing, featuring Sarah Hrdy in conversation with Eric Michael Johnson.

In which Alexis Madrigal finds photos of a 1915 teddy bear factory and muses on serendipity

“In the little town of Bluffdale, Big Love and Big Brother have become uneasy neighbors.” Amazing piece about the NSA’s plan to build the country’s biggest spy centre in Mormon territory.

The beginnings of a brain, in a brainless worm – good piece by Amy Maxmen

News/science/writing

How Mass Effect 3 may have cracked Fermi’s Paradox or at least provided food for thought, by Caleb Scharf.

“If Americans love a winner, the British love a sufferer.” On Scott vs Amundsen. Surely it’s just that Scott is the better story?

Sinking future for deep-sea science.

Just when you thought the 1% couldn’t sink any lower… private submarines.

Eye blinks found to cause brain activation; could be a problem for fMRI scan studies

Paper: meta-analysis of genome-wide studies for personality shows little. Just smell the desperation in the last sentence.

Can mammal embryos suspend their own development?

Gamma-knife cuts out the tumour that produced the world’s tallest man

Cute robot survives lion encounter, with awesome pics to prove it

“Are We “Meant” to Have Language and Music?” asks Mark Changizi

Eavesdropping Iguanas Use Mockingbird Calls To Survive

Spy Eggs Help Get to the Bottom of Penguin Trash-Talking

Fraud guy who didn’t clone humans wants to clone mammoth. Good luck with that. Maybe he’ll stick a carpet on an elephant.

South Park Science: Humans sense that their “self” is in their eyeballs

Looking for new ways to waste half a million bucks? The Army wants disposable satellites

The nine kinds of peer reviewer, envisioned as first-person-shooter characters

The Moon’s history of violence – a cool video

Thanks to extra genes, eels transform from ribbons into tubes

Good analysis of risks/benefits of a new trial of aphid-repelling GM wheat

Brain areas wired together structurally and functionally tend to mature together

Incredible: Search by ZIP to see whether your home will be underwater by 2100

Corals may be not entirely f*cked

Does export law cover info about the mutant H5N1 flu strains?

Hermit crab violates sea anemone in two orifices at once.

A random walk through oddly named physics things. (I submit to you that “ultraviolent catastrophe” would be better)

Superfast 3-D printer makes tiny racecar and Tower Bridge

Mosquitoes avoid drowning in the rain because the drops are like “an asteroid hitting a piece of paper”

It turns out that rattlesnakes do not like robo-squirrels. Between this and the menstruating women, the snakes have nowhere to run!

New Leopard Frog Species Is Discovered in NYC, because of it’s distinctive call. Presumably it sounds like, “Hey @$$hole!”

Animal rights activists ‘choking off’ medical research

First evidence of something eating Archaea. (I’m greatly amused by the line “a subsidiary of the journal Nature.”)

Promising HIV Preventative Failed, It Turns Out, Because Patients Were Not Taking It

Three prehistoric lobsters, hiding out in an ammonite shell

Phylo: gamers outdo computers at matching up disease genes

1 Year Later: A Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Timeline

Hi-res 360 view of the male human brain

How does it feel to have your scientific paper plagiarized?

“Invasion vanguard has failed. Fit beta-squad with wheels.” What made dolphins come ashore in Brazil?

Promotion for the Lorax film almost led to the distribution of invasive tree species in Hawaii

“He collected fresh dung with an ice cream scooper” – how a guy collected 62,000 dung beetles in 3.5 years

That’s no exomoon. That’s an exospacestation!

Bear using tools. Or quoting Miriam Goldstein: “Bear exfoliates with poor, innocent barnacles that only want to suspension feed in peace.”

A shark ate our experiment!

The 40 most important science-policy questions have been compiled, but answers already exist for many of them.

Heh/wow/huh

JEEZ. How big are Japanese giant hornets?

There is a Midichloria genus of bacteria, that lives inside the cells of a tick. The tick should surely be called the Jedi mind tick

The Guardian/Wellcome science writing prize is launching again. To celebrate, a series of science writers analyses what makes their favourite pieces great. Tim Radford praises Norman Mailer’s book on moon landings, but honestly, I find the writing ghastly. I much prefer Karen James’ take.

Write your own academic sentence

Heh. The Republican War on Pi

Science paper title of the day

Jennifer Ouellette reviews The Solar System (the iPad app), using BBC’s Sherlock. My own Solar System review would read thus: “Suffers from significant pacing issues, and an odd decision-by-committee to cut the finale. One star.”

“My first order of business as Internet media sheriff is to tell the Daily Mail to go f**k themselves”

How BBC Radio3 inspired a feminist twitter storm, and why feminism is more important than ever

This is a sensational analysis of the hysterical claims in the Mail and Telegraph that Christians are being persecuted

“I have a white glove right here & I would happily slap you with it anytime you please.” Alexis Madrigal to arch-curmudgeon MacArthur, regarding the internet.

A lift at the University of Southampton… Er WTF?

 

Internet/journalism/society

O, the continuing hardship of the middle-aged white man. Guy sues LSE for sexism, has his case thrown out

Nice summary by Chris Chambers of Tuesday’s Royal Institution debate on scientists and journalists.

I may throw up. Here’s how Texas’ revoltingly inhuman abortion laws actually plays out to a woman.

Writing “requires the same kind of mental effort as a high-level chess match or an expert musical performance”.

If I wrote that animal rights people ate babies, it would be wrong, stupid, and it would never get published. This piece on stopping animal research gets two out of three. It’d really help if opinion pieces weren’t the Wild West of the media, where u can say virtually anything unchallenged.

Solid Colin Macilwain piece on dangers of replicating the Science Media Centre in the US

An e-book about Gutenberg. The irony is wonderful. Great work by Kev Bonham.

Genius. Maria Popova has created the Curator’s Code – an attempt to restore integrity to the sharing of content on the web.

Internet/journalism/society

O, the continuing hardship of the middle-aged white man. Guy sues LSE for sexism, has his case thrown out.  

Nice summary by Chris Chambers of Tuesday’s Royal Institution debate on scientists and journalists.

I may throw up. Here’s how Texas’ revoltingly inhuman abortion laws actually plays out to a woman.

Writing “requires the same kind of mental effort as a high-level chess match or an expert musical performance”.

If I wrote that animal rights people ate babies, it would be wrong, stupid, and it would never get published. This piece on stopping animal research gets two out of three. It’d really help if opinion pieces weren’t the Wild West of the media, where u can say virtually anything unchallenged.

Solid Colin Macilwain piece on dangers of replicating the Science Media Centre in the US

An e-book about Gutenberg. The irony is wonderful. Great work by Kev Bonham.

Genius. Maria Popova has created the Curator’s Code – an attempt to restore integrity to the sharing of content on the web.

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