I’ve got your missing links right here (18 February 2012)

Top picks

The second science-of-mysteries tryptich by Deborah Blum, Jennifer Ouellette, and Ann Finkbeiner

Top 10 reasons Erik Klemetti loves volcanoes, and you should too

Oxytocin is not a “love hormone”. It’s much more complicated than that. My new feature for New Scientist – you’ll need to register, but it’s free.

Woman gets a jaw transplant. Her jaw was printed with a 3-D printer

A long feature from Atlantic Magazine about Toxoplasma gondii’s sway over us. I’m not entirely convinced by the personality changes stuff but this is a good read.

Two rival features on the same story – the Zanesville zoo break – in GQ and Esquire. Compare and contrast.

Carl Zimmer profiles the aptly named Joy Reidenberg, arch-dissector from Inside Nature’s Giants

Here’s a song that hasn’t been heard for 165 million years – the reconstructed call of a Jurassic cricket

Marvellous parody paper about neuropsychoanalysis and fMRI, via NeuroSkeptic

Wonderful. 10-yr-old girl discovers new molecule by pissing around with modelling kit, gets published

When it comes to viruses can we really calculate ratios of costs to benefits?” – Carl Zimmer on the bird flu controversy

A superb mini-profile of the animator behind those bizarre Taiwanese CG news videos by Eliza Strickland

Maryn McKenna has a new feature on Robert Daum, a man who’s trying to make an MRSA vaccine.

What the mysterious death of a 3,500-year-old tree can teach us about impermanence & deep time

If not for a virus, none of us would ever have been born, by Carl Zimmer

Good read about “battle-hardened climate ninja” Michael Mann and the siege atmosphere of climate science

If a pill could erase your most traumatic memory, would you take it? Great feature by Jonah Lehrer

Storming piece from Emily Wilingham on the idea of Asperger’s as a non-disorder. Brings mother’s anger and scientist’s eye

“The exhaustive rendering of our… patterns into data sets” – Charles Duhigg on how companies learn your secrets

We’ve never seen this microbe before, but we have its entire genome. Amazing.

Robert Krulwich on two deaths: a poet’s and a beetle’s. Beautiful

Alex Wild tweets an insect photo that he took, discovers that he may have the only photo of a live member of the species and genus.

Every elephant that has ever lived started off as a single cell” – Brian Switek on what happens afterwards

Kevin Zelnio’s heartfelt post about raising children without insurance in America’s ridiculous healthcare system.

Good piece by Maia Szalavitz on daft plans to medicalise normal grief


What ocean question do you want to see discussed in 2012? Here’s what some ocean scientists at Scio12 thought.

The peppered moth and the final experiment of Michael Majerus

America to collide with Asia… in 50 million years

The tragic fate of the Brighton octopus

Stretchiest spider silk ever

Extreme laboratories: what it’s like to work *inside* a glacier

“The brain is not made of soup. It’s not made of spaghetti either” – Neuroskeptic on the connectome

Tarsiers have secret ultrasonic communications

SciCurious on Nutt’s psilocybin paper: “nothing to address a mechanism… only a picture of your brain on drugs.”

Mini-chameleons, with the world’s saddest scientific name

How can you tell if you’ve hit an Antarctic lake?

Coeclacanths are not living fossils. Like the rest of us, they evolve

Blood of cockroach -> fuel cell

Kate Clancy talks about common myths about menstruation

Alice Bell on debates, climate and otherwise: people with polarised opinions are often least interesting

Is a blood test for depression possible? Or useful?

“What’s clear is that menstrual blood is not exactly a preferential food for black bears.”

Hack your mouth microbiome to get rid of cavities?

From the Yeahbutwha? Files: polar explorers lured penguins with music to kill them for their vitamin C

Sure, let’s introduce elephants to Australia, a country where introducing wildlife has never gone badly

Spider webs are actually stronger as a whole when some of their threads are broken

Alzheimer’s protein seems to spread like a virus from neuron to neuron

Sociologists (and journals) behaving badly: pressure to cite superfluous papers

Jonah Lehrer on a fascinating molecule and the enduring mystery of persistent memories

Vote or nominate psychology findings you’d most like to see replicated

Is the Open Science Revolution For Real? By David Dobbs

Pigeons – feathered rats, or showcases of incredible diversity?

Fallout From Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Retraction Is Far and Wide

Here’s Petra Boynton with everything you wanted to know about penis size. And +1 for “cock quackery klaxon”

How artists remind us of the ocean’s fragility

Trial of drug delivery by wireless microchip shows promise.

We’re going to shove this earthworm-based robot into your anus. Okay?

To Boldly Go – a new blog on astrobiology at the Wired network.

Delusional pregnancy – as common among men as women

If you have a really big pile of manure, you really don’t want it to explode everywhere

Are zebras stripey to repel horseflies?

Good news: the tracks weren’t made by a giant frog! *cough*actuallyagiantseascorpionohlookisthatthetime*cough*

A gallery of creatures that say no to sex

Why We Can’t Just Get Rid of the Genes That Let Us Get Infected

“There was no way the blind mice could see, yet they could.” – Carl Zimmer on the sightless light detector in our eyes


Dinosaurs are Jesus ponies” Google Autocomplete FTW

“Consider the perceptual challenges inherent in the robotic manipulation of unseen socks

“The psychologist or psychiatrist shall wear a cone-shaped hat… imprinted with stars”

NASA releases alternative hi-res “Blue Marble” image for people who don’t want their planet centred on America 😉

Onion: “Huffington Post” Employee Sucked Into Aggregation Turbine

Want free-to-use silhouettes of organisms? PhyloPic is here

The false teeth disappeared inside the experimental nuclear power plant’s landmark sphere”

Heh. Loving Ben Goldacre’s approach to data visualisation

Want to nuke your house? There’s an app for that.

Rice Krispyhenge!

Shark eats shark

Art by animals (non-human ones), collated in a gallery by one specific animal – Brandon Keim

Corals aren’t just lumps of rock. They’re living animals. Here are some emerging after being buried in sand


The Atlantic gets more devastating internal docs from Susan Komen. Shorter version: lying

A brief history of blurbs (those short, sound-bite endorsements on creative works)

Embargoes and exclusives don’t mix: NYT story about Neuron study reveals a problem

‘Mobile nature reserves‘ could save marine species from extinction

Why is the African Savanna so full of thorns?

Science, history and London’s blue circles, by Alice Bell. Cool mini-photoessay

Why bullied teens don’t recognise “bullying” rhetoric

The nuclear power plant that never was… and is now a tourist attraction

It’s not easy getting science into women’s mags, as Hillary Rosner knows

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