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

Top picks

“Why do some people want to amputate a perfectly healthy limb? And why would any doctor help them?” Anil Ananthaswamy’s story launches Matter, a new magazine for long-form science journalism. If you care about deep, high-quality science writing, please support them. It’s only 99c.

The life and death of Knut the polar bear, & what it says about zoos

Transcendant Alexis Madrigal explains why Obama’s Narwhal skewered Romney’s Orca

You must read “Your Daughter Died” by Deborah Blum, about the unresolved poisonings of young women in Thailand

How one man tapped into the Web to crowd-source a “cure” (sort of) for his cancer

Excellent post from self-described “science groupie” Tania Browne on why non-scientists play a vital role in talking about science

Heh. “Single Molecule Causes Complex Behavior” – a handy template for journalists, by Alan Dove.

Possibly the best Oatmeal cartoon ever about creating content online and working from home.

Terrific Bora Zivkovic post on Nate Silver, what he does, why it matters that he’s a blogger, & the rise of expertise

Fantastic takedown of the “we’re-getting-stupider” fragile intellect story from earlier this week, by Bob O’Hara and GrrlScientist

Amazing. XKCD describes “Up Goer Five

The pseudoscience of chronic Lyme disease, by Cassie Willyard. And from the NYT: “Relapsing” Lyme disease is actually due to new infections

It’s surprisingly hard to change medical terms that are named after Nazi doctors. By Ilana Yurkiewicz

How Joshua Foer learned a language in 22 hours

The science of swords, with Charles Choi. Also, definitely don’t mess with Charles Choi. Or if you do, try shooting him from afar


Rob Dunn is releasing all his data on bellybutton microbes, so you can try to outsmart him

This guy has spent years filming and photographing every species of bird of paradise

You can get chlamydia from koala piss.

Einstein’s unusual brain

Virus saves itself by preventing its host (a bacterium) from committing suicide

There aren’t as many species in the seas as we thought, but loads are undiscove… OH GOD KILL THAT CRAB WITH FIRE

Great white sharks aren’t dwarf megalodons; they’re probably fat makos

Parasitic worm eggs reset intestinal bacteria to soothe monkey gut rot

On false promises of personal genomics, and the myth of the $1000 genome.

BP gets epically spanked over the Deepwater balls-up, and has to cough up $350m for scientific research.

Kurzweil doesn’t know neuroscience as well as he knows A.I.”

The Massive Project to Wipe Out 180 Million Galapagos Rats

Children aren’t natural scientists, but that’s OK – neither are pro scientists

What if climate-change doubters held a debate and nobody came?

Bonobos catch yawns, particularly from relatives.

Meditation study retracted 12 minutes before publication (!) now reappears in different journal, with different data. Hmm.

Rogue planet wanders cosmos without a star. Probably with an awesome theme tune.

The oldest known panda fossil… is from Spain? “Don’t go around calling this the missing panda link.”

“I’m not the only person who has come to view… our flagship journal with pity and contempt” – a searing indictment of Psychological Science

I find animal genome papers really dull, but this is a great write-up of the newly sequenced pig genome

Eocene’s big bird – Diatryma – wasn’t so scary after all

Urban birds are adapting to the threat of cats, by shedding feathers and… er… screaming bloody murder

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder” appears to be rubbish stacked onto even more rubbish. By Neuroskeptic.

“Dear NSF, I plan on scrawling pages of notes, mostly hitting dead ends, until, in year 4, I hit pay dirt”- Mark Changizi on the great lie of scientific discovery

Meet the leggiest animal on Earth

Scientists control MRSA outbreak by sequencing the superbug’s genomes

Tussle over pterosaur take-offs reveals fumbling science journalism. This is why you don’t cover conference talks if you’re not actually at the frickin’ conference!

Brain damaged patient uses mind to tell neurologists he’s not in pain

Er, oh dear? Fungal meningitis pathogen discovers new appetite for human brains

The problems with Movember, by Gary Schwitzer

Proteins made to order: researchers design proteins from scratch with predictable structures.

Infant stress affects teen brain


A lake at the bottom of the ocean

All the Bonds stare down the barrel together

Worst press release title of the year?

Leopard takes down wildebeest, then goes for seconds.

Why GIFs were invented: tadpoles swim around the mouth of a pregnant male Darwin’s frog

Fake and vaguely disturbing “Windows 95 Tips

XKCD on a classic logic problem

No one trusts anyone in the UK.

Please try to be more understanding around dinosaurs.

Octopus vs cuttlefish! Cephalopod wars!

My schaden is freuded: watch Mitt Romney’s Facebook Likes Decrease in Real Time

Weekly cute: The (possibly) “world’s smallest dog” is barely heavier than a hamster

Entertainment Writer Has Knack For Making Complex Pop Culture Concepts Accessible

Every Episode Of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, In Limerick


Entrepreneurial hacker launched denial of service attacks on stock exchanges to promote his anti-denial-of-service business, gets nicked for it.

Skyfall’s abandoned island is real. Its story is sadder & more interesting than anything in the film.

Living life according to NY Times trend stories

“If Titanic sank today… an American headline [would say] “On Well-Known Ship, Some Unexpected Wetness”.”

The president of Uruguay has chosen to live in a farmhouse and give away 90 per cent of his salary:

This is *awesome*. A filter for automatically fact-checking emails for the absurd twaddle your relatives send

Worker cuts cable while repairing highway. Russia loses contact with its satellites

10 writers, including me (sort of), share their writing music with Steve Silberman.

Cry havoc & let slip the tweets of war. Israel live-tweets its Gaza offensive. First casualty = taste.

Top journalists Carl Zimmer and Michelle Nijhuis take the newspaper and magazine categories in the Kavli Sci Journalism awards. Congrats!

I’ve been short-listed for a UK science blog prize alongside 9 amazing people. Go check out their blogs.

The Oxford US Dictionaries name “GIF” as word of the year. The OED’s choice is “omnishambles“. I think we win this round.

Neil Gaiman’s 8 rules of writing.

Drones + investigative journalism + Google Maps + Instagram = empathy?

Award-winning Naked Scientists radio show is being axed by the BBC – find out more & help

How teachers are using e-readers to help catch cheats

All you need to read about the BBC scandal, by Emily Bell

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