I’ve got your missing links right here (21 May 2011)

Top thirteen picks

“It’s not a disease. It doesn’t need curing.” Steve Silberman talks to John Robison, a “free-range Aspergian” and best-selling author.

How to fund research so that it generates insanely great ideas, not pretty good ones – an awesome piece by Tim Harford.

Looking for empathy – v.good account of fMRI experiments in action, by Kristina Bjoran. I’m very dubious about whether this approach will yield anything, but Bjoran acknowledges and discusses the controversies about fMRI and describes the process well.

A great three-part series on Alan Turing’s homosexuality & how it was treated as a mental illness, by Romeo Vitelli.

Beautiful article on how one man’s death saved the lives of seven others

How ‘Hotel-Room Journalism’ Uncovered a Qaddafi Bunker

You might get cancer. Oh and your dad isn’t your dad. How a 23andMe test profoundly changed a woman’s life

A “kinder, gentler rib spreader” by Carl Zimmer

Plague in LA. And the man who gave plague his name. This blog is two-posts old but *what posts*!

Prophecy Fail. Vaughan Bell explores what happens to doomsday cults when the world inconsiderately refuses to end.

Levees can make things worse. A great and relevant post by Anne Jefferson on the illusion of flood control.

HELL YES! If you want to hear the actual Robert Krulwich future-of-journalism speech, it’s here! (links to mp3) (The transcript here)

Making a paralyzed man walk! And the research that led to it.


Ida redux: more science by press release, book & film, this time featuring pack-hunting tyrannosaurs. Brian Switek gives a proper analysis.

Could a tiny turbine positioned in the bloodstream power medical devices?

I blogged about a fascinating paper about differences between RNA and DNA in a third of human genes. Erika Check Hayden wrote a brilliant piece on it for Nature, I Storifyed the online reaction, and Joe Pickrell has a technical discussion of potential problems in the paper

Who’s harder to raise? Sons or daughters? Kate Clancy discusses.

Man undergoes elective amputation to make way for a bionic hand. (His original was already paralysed).

“Why did you decide to analyze online porn searches?” “I’m a computational neuroscientist…”

Martin Robbins on magnetic people (the silly recent ones and some actual examples involving implants)

Necks for sex? Not for dinosaurs. Darren Naish blogs his own paper

Fossilised raindrops. There’s something so beautiful about that.

“At first glance, it seems that living on a lobster’s mouthparts is an easy life” Er…

On gut bacteria affecting the brain, when you say “for the first time“, you mean 2nd right?

The New York Times’ editor writes the usual brand of hand-wavy, unsupported piece about the perils of the internet, and one of his columnists takes him to task for it.

In Australia, voracious feral camels are the new cane toads. And far less vulnerable to gold clubs

Elizabeth Blackburn is developing an ageing test that supposedly measures your “biological age” based on your telomere length. Veronique Greenwood looks into whether it works and whether it matters, as does Brandon Keim.

Jerry Coyne dismantles David Brooks’ view of the evolution of human altruism

Power corrupts. Jonah Lehrer  on why powerful men “don’t give a shit what the maid thinks.”

Artist creates little teeny disasteramas

Is an early warning system for killer asteroids too hard for science?

Scientists fight University of California to study rare ancient skeletons

“I want to send our scientists to rural schools and communities to talk about evolution” “On purpose?” Great piece by Craig McClain

Do you speak English?” When Asian-Americans have their identities questioned, they’re more likely to eat American foods

V. good Deborah Blum piece on chemical fears & the role of regulation

Nice balanced article on blind wine taste-testing

Three reactor cores did partially melt down at Fukushima

Some mosquitoes have gut bacteria that protect them from malaria.

And the award for “Results most likely to be discussed purely according to pre-existing opinions” goes to…

African grey parrots co-operate to solve problems

Snake Venom Properties Help It Flow Into Prey

Two identical twins, infected w/ HIV at same time: virus evolves differently in each, one becomes sicker than other.

Neurons followed by their Nose, by Carl Zimmer

Ugandan Chimpanzees May Be Hunting Red Colobus Monkeys into Extinction

This princess who lived in Luxor in 1580 BC is the earliest known case of heart disease.

Newly released logs reveal chaos in first hours of the crisis at the at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant

AnatOnMe device projects anatomical images onto body, could help patients adhere to physical therapy regimes

Social influence corrupts the wisdom of crowds

“He hopes the new findings… “bring an end to the ‘Morgellons story.” Yeah let me know how that works out for you.

This study involves a placebo car.

Cicadas: too hard for science? Charles Choi interviews Bora Zivkovic

Squids In Space! Bobtail Squid Hitches a Ride on Space Shuttle

Cancer *wasn’t* ‘cured’ last week – someone mixed their dates up. Read the continuing saga of DCA here

Engineer (and Tae Kwon Do blackbelt) develops sensor to more accurately score martial arts competitions.

The grand delusion – why nothing is as it seems.

Bacteria helped early animals to breathe


The CDC gets serious about the coming zombie apocalypse

The Coming David Brooks Internet Meme

This is a photograph, not a painting

Why Aquaman is the best damn superhero

Oooh… pretty. Video of dancing pendulums

What a bunch of plankers

Strangely wonderful. Authors with their typewriters.

I will never cease to be impressed by Alex Wild, a man who can go into his garden and take these shots

This may be the nerdiest LOLanimal I’ve ever seen.

I love that this could be anything. Frozen branch on snowfield? No. Shuttle seen from plane


Head over to Convergence, Sheril Kirshenbaum’s new blog at Wired

Steve Silberman explains the story behind his award-winning placebo story

Psychology Today apparently retracts Kanazawa piece on why black women are “rated less physically attractive” Meanwhile, Jezebel discusses Satoshi Kanazawa. The pic made me snort my glass of wine.

Very Clever: Obi-Wan Kenobi is dead, Vader says

Science communication isn’t all about baking a cake shaped like a neuron. But it can be…

The BBC’s revamped blogs are a road crash

“The attitude we need to instill in the next generation of journalists is simple: start things. And then finish them”

‘Google Doesn’t Laugh’: Saving Witty Headlines in the Age of SEO

Oh that’s just taking the piss. More embargo fail, skewered by Ivan Oransky

A creation story: Sketches and early prototypes of the modern-day computer mouse

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