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

Top picks

Chris Mims has started a column for BBC Future on biomimicry. This is one of those perfect combos of writers and topics. First up: “Robot swarms bring buildings to life”

Neurocritic uncovers Zak’s sad transit from oxytocin skeptic to TED-produced hyperbole machine. I love the first & last photo mash-ups. Why is he punching himself in the chin?

Great feature on Rob Knight, the microbe master who is sequencing the Earth

“The sequencing of this little girl’s exome was crowd-funded. Makes me feel good about humanity,” says Misha Angrist.

Lightning strikes in a storm bigger than worlds. By Phil Plait.

Person With Autism Manages To Do Something.” That satirical piece was inspired by this atrocity, where we learn that autism gives you magical water-finding powers like a human dowsing rod.

What does space smell like? A: Seared steak, hot metal, welding fumes. And the centre of the galaxy smells of rum.

Astonishing. The 5 men who agreed to stand beneath an exploding nuclear bomb. With a video of them, while the bomb goes off. By Robert Krulwich.

Your geography classes were right! Witness the formation of an oxbow lake observed via Google Earth. Very cool!

Handy! How to succeed in science without doing any – a tipsheet for aspiring fraudsters, by John Timmer.

How can institutions prevent scientific misconduct? Is it tasers? Oh. Not tasers. Sadface. Along similar lines, Chris Chambers on 12 ways of revamping psychology in the face of recent fraud cases

“At current electricity prices, Yoda would be worth about $2/hour.”

Abandon hope all ye who gaze upon the giant scaleworm Eulagisca

This great review by Adam Rutherford doubles as a quick yet punchy primer for what science is: “a utility belt for ignorance”.

The horrifying physiological and psychological consequences of being Aquaman. By Andrew Thaler. Oh the aquamanity!

We’re just in feminism… all women in the first world are feminist by default” – Great interview with Caitlin Moran.

Oy, the Olympics. But this piece from Alexis Madrigal, about how the gorgeous, evocative and FAKE sounds that you’ll hear, is really interesting.

A Vintage Scientific Paper Published as a 38-Stanza Poem

How fossil faeces are preserved: an explainer from Slate

What does a trip into space do for the religious experience? Great piece by Becca Rosen.

Why on Earth is Google going after the drug cartels?

A beautiful post on injectable particles that can oxygenate blood and save lives, from the scientist who created them. A great portrait into the reasons we get into research


Okay, fess up: who made a hole in Mars? It was you, wasn’t it?

Robert Krulwich on palaeontology’s frozen moments. With those turtles that are permanently shagging

Some persistent dino myths.

This is what great science writing can do. This is why the benchmark is Carl’s to set

What would happen if a lion fought a tiger? An actually interesting discussion.

To get your dumbass idea covered, announce it as an art project. Like this guy who wants to make an Elvis-mouse hybrid. Hint: there is no Elvis-mouse hybrid.

HIV Cure Is Closer As Patient’s Full Recovery Inspires New Research

How We Changed Penguins Just by Watching

Cold weather + snow melt + oil spill = 186 ex-dolphins

Neanderthals ate plants, medicated with herbs, didn’t floss very well

Building an artificial volcano might give you an awesome lair, but it won’t solve global warming

The funky physics of making animals transparent

How to guarantee that intelligent people will talk past each other: start a discussion about science communication.

Geoengineering – does fertilising the sea with iron work?

People who speak up against homeopathy get branded as Big Pharma shills. Well here’s an actual Big Homeopathy Shill

‘Performance-enhancing technologies will advance to a point at which they will…demand an Olympics all of their own’

Whole brain teaching? Oh god, it’s another Brain Gym. Help us.

Moss perfume leads to sex

Sea stars evolve into new self-fertilizing species in under 16,000 years

Does thinking really hard burn more calories? Apparently not. Thus ruining my 30-yr workout

Ridiculous way to add no taste to a soup: Hong Kong Imported 10 Million Kilograms of Shark Fins Last Year

Martin Robbins takes on the disappointing & counterproductive tactics from Greenpeace. (“Which ones?” I hear you say.)

After 3 hours of sexy wrestling, male dumpling squid can’t swim too fast

Chris Stringer talks human origins, Neanderthals, Denisovans and lots more.

Not even God’s holy rain will stall the advance of the hummingbird menace. All is lost.

US food and drug agency defends massive spy operation against its own scientists. Sure it does

WWHHAAAAATTT DDIIIDD YOOUU SSAAYYY? Can whales/dolphins learn to protect their hearing from human noise?

This piece: “Behold my ignorance. Let me lecture you.” Hint: if you know “absolutely f**k-all about science”, do some research first.

“How effective & persistent are fragments of male genitalia as mating plugs?” I dunno, Science, why don’t you tell me?

A use for 3D printing: assault weapons and handcuff keys

Will guinea worm be the 3rd ever disease to be wiped out (after smallpox & possibly rinderpest)?

Dave Nussbaum takes on some ignorant claims about how psychology isn’t a science.

“The best conservation practices often involve killing.” Just like blogging, then.

Clamtongue. Not a disease, but a case study in opportunistic science outreach

Solid piece on how NASA’s arsenic bacteria claim like a bigfoot sighting

UNESCO set to award science prize sponsored by African dictator

Nothing changes. 1650 woo ad claims that coffee “cures the Dropsy, Gout, and Scurvy”. It does, however “quickens the Spirits, and makes the Heart Lightsome”.

A great interview with Ivan Oransky about the medicalization of society

Newfound monkey flower reveals evolution in action

One of the best things on the “impact” agenda, by Jon Butterworth.

Vincent Racianello and the TWIV crew discuss that vaccines-recombining-into-viruses paper

The 11 Ways That Consumers Are Hopeless at Maths. Disappointingly, there are 11 ways.

“I am German. As English farces go, this was far from a pleasant experience.” – Quirin Schiermeier on being sued for libel

Not sure what to make of this: it’s a site for people to anonymously report suspicions of image fraud and data manipulation. Obviously, spotting misconduct is important, but between the anonymous tips + blogger, the light pot-stirring tone, and the potential for misuse, I have some misgivings.

Why, oh why, does it keep raining? An excellent explainer/graphic. Also, SCREW YOU, JET STREAM

Jon Eisen on the rise of the ‘ome


“Given current technology and the proper training, would it be possible for someone to become Batman?” I love the list of potential candidates that includes Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg.

My Slate piece on oxytocin inspired a funny spoof Twitter account @OXYTOCINHULK, which is NOT me, as shown by this clear documentary evidence

Heh. XKCD on geology

…”The Daily Mail, whose unofficial motto appears to be “What Fresh Hell Is This?”…

God admits humans not most impressive creation. “It’s mountains,” He says

So THAT’S where they go! Ingested Pen Turns Up 25 years later

I gots yer cosmic ultraviolence right here. A slideshow of colliding galaxies.

ED-209 to be introduced by G4S for Olympic Security

Whale shark really sucks.

The sad fate of Superman: transitional power source

The molecule Wnt underlies wing patterns of butterflies. Why, oh why, wasn’t this paper called “Wnt Beneath My Wings”?

All 135 Space Shuttle launches, playing simultaneously

Carl Zimmer. Turn. Around. Very. Slowly…


The Save button gets the Slate treatment

“Could this be the most bizarre assassination technology? Surely not. So I went looking for some more.”

Adam Rogers explains why being an urban planner in Gotham City would be a smart career move. Also, Batman

Let journalists do their jobs

A brief rant on why “Hey, check out my new blog” is a really terrible way of getting ppl to read your new blog

“With the exception of the Black Death, nothing can ruin a city like the Olympics

The Internet is not the Web. How to tell the difference

That Marissa Mayer is a female CEO is cool. That she’s a pregnant CEO is awesome.

“Put enough restrictions on reporters, and they’ll cover the restrictions.” Why you don’t get to check your quotes.

Seth Mnookin on the Huffington Post’s continuing tactic to shiv even its small amount of decent science writing with some truly anti-vaccine shilling.

Wikipedia are having a hard time promoting enough admins

An awesome catalogue of failure: a compilation of the various Olympics disasters so far

Graphing every idea in history. A social network that includes Aristotle!

Journatic, the news machine, steps up from byline fabrication to plagiarism & loses the Chicago Tribune. I tried to call them for a comment but got put through to a figment of someone’s imagination…

Good news about news (but I cringed at “The Times pays the bloggers with recognition and traffic”)

5th graders send “the world’s LARGEST correction letter”. Billboard: “DEAR KIDS, WE REGRET THE ERROR.”

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