I’ve got your missing links right here (21 April 2012)

Top picks

You must read Alexis Madrigal’s majestic state-of-the-union address about the future of technology. There really is much to love about it. The density of ideas, witty turns of phrase, palapble sense of frustration…

Ancient human ingenuity: killing whales with little blue buttercups. By Heather Pringle

“The biggest lie about memory is that it feels true“. Excellent Jonah Lehrer piece on eyewitness mistakes & fixing them

Little boy lost finds his mother using Google Earth. Touching.

Bloody hell. Tsetse Flies Lactate and Give Birth to Live Larvae (& don’t miss this grim old video)

Love this. Craig McClain on the (surprising amount of) science of people who wrestle catfish

Carl Zimmer’s great story about dysfunctional science and the rise of retractions

This is great. Scientists do public engagement work, evaluate it, *get it published* AND blog it. Home run. Everyone should aim for this.

In parts shocking and understandable. Frustrated ALS Patients Concoct Their Own Drug.

The latest in the mutant H5N1 flu saga: a damning leaked letter from Osterholm criticising the NSABB’s decisions.

FoldIt game’s next play: crowdsourcing better drug design

Getting drunk on stars – a wonderful video about the maths of drawing stars

An amazing piece that tracks how one hospital responded to a traumatic bus crash. Gripping stuff.

Ooh. A paper showing that swallowed plant RNAs survive in animal bodies is being questioned. Good coverage by Emily Willingham.

A great Nature editorial on how the faster-than-light neutrinos episode was science at its best:

Interplanetary invasive species: NASA Needs New Plan to Avoid Contaminating Other Worlds

4-7-yr-old kids narrate Planet Earth by “Dabud Abunburble

2 year anniversary of Deepwater and, well, not much has changed. Great link-laden summary by David Biello.

A list of 173 climate change myths and concise summaries of what science has to say about them + links

Could Monet see UV? By Matthew Francis

Siddhartha Mukherjee takes on the history of depression and its treatment

Alice Bell absolutely nails it with her piece about why open access doesn’t equal open science

Mark Liberman has a scathing analysis of the baboon ‘reading’ study that I covered last week



Behold the terrifying parasitic dodder vine sniffing out its host

 ‘Unwarranted’ hype surrounds new blood test for depression

Why chimpanzees kill (and bonobos don’t). Remember that chimps don’t kill chimps. People kill chimps. Or is that guns? Maybe chimps kill people with guns. Something.

The Energizer bunny of the tadpole world explains why you can’t sprint a marathon

Good Nature coverage of three big studies in regenerative medicine, which can repair mice from top to toe

Judging panel of dung beetles rates human poo as tastiest. Er, WIN?

Small terms make a big difference: how the NY Times misinterpreted a new cocaine study

Hmm. A big study will combine genetic testing with brain scanning. Call me cynical, but this sounds like a sure-fire way to get thousands of false-positives

“It’s a mythological beast of a virus, but it actually exists.”

Reprogramming 3.0. A good take on the study I wrote about, where scientists transformed scar tissue into beating heart muscle.  Also, five questions to answer before it becomes clinical reality.

Would you write a scientific paper to get out of a traffic ticket? This physicist did:

Israel & Iran put aside differences to open SESAME (a Middle Eastern synchrotron)

Dinosaurs grew to outpace their young.

Rock hyrax rocks syntax

Russian City Always on the Watch Against Being Sucked Into the Earth.” How could you not want to read that?

“Breathtaking in both its ignorance and its venom” – Vaughan Bell on an Observer piece on postnatal depression in dads

Earthquake-Ready Table Can Withstand 2,204 Pounds of Impact. It can shelter people from falling ceilings.

Caterpillars take account of their group size when ‘deciding’ whether to vomit”

Another year, another lack of women in the Royal Society. But Athene Donald takes a look at the election process for fellows.

An AWESOME strategy for the prisoner’s dilemma!

“Incoherent arguments, dismissive delivery & final, confusing appeal to “prudence”” – I think SciCurious didn’t like the book.

‘Eggless’ chick laid by hen in Sri Lanka. Mum’s insides were… scrambled.

Audience boos leader of rightwing party after she questions climate science in Canadian TV debate

Geese may be spreading a frog-killing fungus

Federal government accepts NSABB recommendations on mutant H5N1 flu strains

Can you be a man in the morning & a woman at night? On plus side, this is from Ramachandran’s lab. Then again, Med Hypotheses

What’s a species? Kevin Zelnio explains. Sort of.

Deborah Blum on the many ways humans have killed ourselves with lead. But no mention of protective use against kryptonite

The Deepwater aftermath: eyeless shrimp, fish with oozing sores, clawless crabs

Can Russia save Mars exploration? Doesn’t have the *best* track record…

The Bobbit worm. Another terrifying creature you’d rather not know about, but that I’ll foist upon your dreams anyway

Americans link extreme weather to global warming, poll says

Rice plants eavesdrop on bacterial communications to prevent them from assembling defensive bunkers

Did humans invent music, or is it a biological trait? Two scientists debate.

Nanosponge absorbs 100 times its weight in oil

“By the end of this year, 100s of children with intellectual disability will have had their genomes sequenced”

Paper retracted for having no scientific content.

Bizarre article. The best evidence yet that a single gene can affect IQ? What about all the single-gene disorders that cause retardation? And Steven Pinker saying that this is a “first step” to demonstrating that intelligence relies on large numbers of genes? Really?? Every single geneticist already knows that.



Functioning USB typewriter attachment for iPad

A wonderfully ironic sign

Hey, er, Elsevier? Do you really think that publishing in Desalination is worthy of a wall-mounted certificate?


H.P. Lovecraft answers your relationship questions

Life is purty! The MRC launches a new website of stunning daily biomedical pics

Tick just wants a hug

Board games Hollywood is mining for movie inspiration

Giant Queensland spider devours snake! Awesome, although spiders don’t chew.

Kung-fu frog

Heh. A paper title that I find inexplicably funny

Insect penis art exhibition: In praise of beauty that lurks out of sight

“Obliterating Animal Carcasses With Explosives” – a step-by-step guide with hilarious, er, infographic

Company means to fire one guy, accidentally fires everyone

Canada’s new quarters to feature glow-in-the-dark dinosaurs

Ha! Myspace spots gap in market for old version of Facebook




Wired launches a new design section.

10 things not to say when someone’s ill, by Deborah Orr.

The stupidity is mind-boggling: Italian museum burns artworks in protest at cuts

Colbert? A basketball player? Zooey friggin’ Deschanel? Time’s “100 most influential people in the world” is using the same definition of “world” as the World Series.

Trust no one. More lessons for sci journalists, from Erika Check Hayden.

“If I was living 10 years ago I don’t think I would have ever become a journalist.” Well said, Rose Eveleth.

What it’s like to be a copy editor at Hustler. (Porn demands great hed.)

Mark Henderson on what science writers can learn from the great financial writing of Michael Lewis

For every 1 US soldier killed in battle, 25 kill themselves


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