I’ve got your missing links right here (19 May 2012)

Top picks

Manta rays depend on forests. Carl Zimmer on top form.

The evidence for precognition was staring us in the face all along. Hilarious satire of psychology’s problems.

How a professor who fooled Wikipedia got caught by Reddit – implications for ”truth” online. Great story by Yoni Applebaum.

Not allowed to have a small heart: great long read from Greg Downey on Tourette Syndrome

Living photography. This is as cool as it sounds

Committee assesses ethics of trial, in which kids would get an anthrax vaccine unlikely to ever be necessary. But Project “Dark Zephyr”?? Are you kidding me? With a straight face? What about Project “Shadow Mistral”. Or “Hot Air”

My BBC column “Will we ever….?” now has guest stars. First up: John Pavlus on the Turing test.

Helen Pearson talks to The Open Notebook about her seriously good profile of protein-resurrector Joe Thornton

Doctors ‘rewire’ hands of paralysed man. Great story by Ian Sample

This tiny sphere is all the world’s water. (And as usual, America is hoarding it ;-p)

Not all neurons are exactly alike. The brain contains multitudes.” – a new series on neurons by Ferris Jabr, which continues, with a look into the various types of neurons.

Is the Purpose of Sleep to Let Our Brains “Defragment,” Like a Hard Drive? Great piece by the Neuroskeptic.

When an Autism Diagnosis Comes as a Blessing – when Steve Silberman writes book reviews, you know it’s going to be much more than that.

“They look like yearbook portraits from a sanitorium.” Darwin’s creepiest experiment recreated online

With a book on life’s origin & a radio series on extinction, Adam Rutherford is doing life from both ends. So to speak. Listen to his docu.

Tapeworms in the brain are surprisingly common. I warn you: Carl Zimmer has found an image that made even me feel ill

Remember the weird placental jellyfish thing? Here’s some amazing footage of it – Deepstaria enigmatica

Our innate hotness might explain why we’re not being wiped out by fungal blights like bats or frogs. Very cool idea

Deborah Blum christens her new digs at Wired with a post about poisoning the Dalai Lama

Stunning story. How disruptions to the National Children’s Study are hitting the parents who signed up for it

Restoring sight with wireless implants. Very interesting differences to current approaches using retinal implants. Very cool!

“In science, if no one else can make the experiment work, it didn’t happen” – John Hawks riffing on my Nature replication piece

Speaking science to power.

Read Holly Bik’s great post about microbes at sea. I’m never getting on a ship again

Pretty! Trapped in amber, the earliest evidence of pollination

YAWN! Jason Goldman on contagious yawning and empathy

Analyzing an exome to understand a disease is like reading the CliffsNotes version of a classic book.”

“People are quick to assume that what they do is “natural” simply because they don’t know where things are done differently” – Eric Michael Johnson on breastfeeding

Maurice Ward & his secret material Starlite – by Richard Fisher

Why Octopuses Should Run Our National Security Infrastructure

A platonic Tube? World’s subways converging on an ideal form

Fearsome as they are, pliosaurs can still fall victim to churnalism

These folks mapped connection damage in Phineas Gage’s brain (guy who took an iron rod to head). This just seems pointless. Obviously, it’s not Gage’s actual brain. It’s a rod going through a simulation based on lots of other brains, so it’s impossible to say what actually happened with Gage & how that maps to his behaviour changes. So all we really know is that the extent of damage goes beyond specific areas. Erm… yeah. There’s a bloody iron rod in his head. The “Limitations” section basically says: “Could be useless… ” Fig1 is fantastic though. I’m not a neuroscientist but I think I’ve worked out where the problem is.

The penultimate para of this Maryn McKenna piece on drug-resistant bacteria will chill your blood http://t.co/yfDIpw9s


Coffee story in The Atlantic. I winced once at “really does”, twice at “after all” and just wept openly at the rest. Do. Not. Like. Much better in the Boston Globe: Some NEJM editors didn’t want to publish the study on coffee and longer life because of flaws.

Christie Wilcox’s editorial in The Biological Bulletin on why social media is good for scientists.

The climate-change-denying Heartland Institute’s ties to the tobacco industry

The more you know about breast cancer, the more inaccurate your perception of risk

Aquatic dinosaurs?  Darren Naish has a thorough take-down

Scientist resigns from board of journal that restricts access

More on Chabris vs. Lehrer & provisional nature of science + science writing (with a mad Gladwell blurb)

Goblin shark FTMFW! A list of awesome sharks you should get to know

Absolutely wicked visual illusion – beautiful people turn ugly

Guppies lust after killer orange prawn

ADHD Behavioral Therapy May Be More Effective Than Drugs in Long Run (but more expensive)

Explore your microbiome. Absolutely *stunning* graphic (although possible errors)

Block one pit viper eye & the opposite heat-sensing pit, and its strike accuracy gets *really* bad. Now you know.

This long-predicted superweed problem with GM crops has arrived.

SCIENCE! Antarctic Ice Sheet Collapse Recorded In Octopus DNA

A great hilarious video from Virginia Hughes explaining a time-saving technique in neuroscience

We need to talk about Michael. Can You Call a 9-Year-Old a Psychopath?

Why are harps harp-shaped? What does the big curve on the top do?

“The invasion of the Can’t-Help-Yourself books.”

This will go really badly: parents are buying their own oxytocin in attempt at DIY autism ‘treatment’

Which country wants to medicate a prisoner so they can execute him sane? Yep.

What’s actually interesting about covering climate change?

“Childish, misguided and disproportionate” – James Wilsdon on protests about death of British science

Dodgy study about a gene linked to post-traumatic stress syndrome. I didn’t report this after advice on methods from geneticists. Likely to be a false-positive.

Everything you need to know about the scientific controversy that could change Triceratops forever. Not sure about that last bit, but if it means that Triceratops absorbs other species, that’s fine.

Livestock bacteria are as old as the livestock they kill

The pen that lets you draw electrical circuits

Skilled liars make great lie detectors

A brain litmus! fMRI could be used to measure the acidity of the brain

Critical point: mental health diagnoses don’t just categorise behaviour, but *affect* it

Map calculates Roman travel times

Crows recognize familiar human voices

Chimp testing – beginning of the end? Good fair coverage of complicated debate

Man behind a “gay cure” study apologizes. A really good read.

Next to giant snake, a giant-snake-proof turtle

Science’s special issue on conflict, free with registration.

What would count as an alternative form of life? A smart essay by Gerald Joyce

Heh. XKCD on the arse-clenching awfulness that is Klout

Bodes poorly when a reviewer must translate text of a sci e-book for readers. But awesome when it’s Veronique Greenwood.

The Secret to Success Is Giant-Jawed Snake Babies


I’d always wondered about this. Good to see science tackling humanity’s most pressing problems

Collaged images from encyclopedias and nature books suspended in plexiglas

Disappearing hand trick wins illusion of the year. If I’d known it would be that easy, I’d have brought my hacksaw

Amazing. “Above is Andy eating his own brain.” How to make a chocolate model of your brain

Online comment-writers to get own internet. Masturnet – “pics of things w/ ‘Why do you hate this?’ underneath”

100% accurate charts of sea creature anatomy

HA! “France surrenders to Thor

XKCD nails Apple’s biggest problem

LOVE THESE! Photo project memorializes fallen insects

When unrelated tweets just work together


TED: Ideas worth spreading… unless they piss off rich people

It’s 22 years since Jim Henson died. Which means, The Saddest Photo In The World

How Yahoo killed Flickr

Hey, remember when Google did search? So have they.

Aw. Reddit Users Surprise Terminally Ill Man With Random Acts of Kindness

Excellent trolling of bad journalists by an American athlete, using a pair of platypus

Sugar makes embargoes stupid, and doesn’t do wonders for a press release, either

Why promote young writers? An interview with Bora Zivkovic.

Your daily WTF: Kodak had a weapons-grade nuclear reactor in its basement, full of uranium

Stimulating. Can a new and improved vibrator inspire an age of great American sex?

I’m an article about the internet that you repost on the internet.

Tip for journos: try to do things that can’t be done by a robot. Enslave humanity: out. Narratives: in.

Who are the people who use ResearchBlogging? (Very weird to see my own name in a journal paper)

Megan Garber looks at what made Shutterstock so successful.

Pre-release torrent leaks actually benefit album sales

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