I’ve got your missing links right here (23 February 2013)

Top picks

Eric Lander is Awesome, Episode 8747. A leader of the Human Genome Project does a Reddit AMA.

It’s David Quammen writing about bonobos. Contented sigh…

What happens when you give a scientist keys to the national Twitter account? By Cath Ennis

1 Kitty, 2 Empires, 2,000 Years: World History Told Through a Brick. Alexis Madrigal is having fun with this, which means it’s awesome.

Beware of evolutionary explanations that rest on what men find attractive. By Bryn Williams

Carl Zimmer on the possible shapes of the brain

Rapturous applause for this piece by Cult Cognition about science communication, polarisation and tedious “people are stupid” narratives. Read it.

Billionaires award $3 million awards to top biomedical scientists. GrrlScientist and Bob O’Hara on why the prize is misguided.

Tom Leveson’s great unprofile of Rebecca Saxe, who’s using brain scanners to understand the “theory of mind”

Beef might be horse, but red snapper could be up to 29 species of fish. Meanwhile, 59% of America’s “tuna” isn’t actually tuna—and its replacement causes anal leakage

Guardian exposé of secret $120 million funding for network of climate denial think tanks

What nuclear bombs tell us about our tendons.

GLOW IN THE DARK SHARK! With scary ‘lightsabers’!

8 punctuation marks that we desperately need. These are all winners.

America’s space monkeys fronted a covert spy satellite program. By Eric Michael Johnson.

How politics and an earthquake led to prairie dog plague. (As in “bubonic”). Awesome story by Tara Smith.

The weird youth of the animal kingdom. Carl Zimmer with a gorgeous slideshow of life in the Cambrian

Erik Vance on the placebo effects of wind farms. Fascinating.

5 Simple Things The Media Gets Wrong About The “Neuroscience Of Love“. Can everyone please read this, by Noah Gray?

Scientists scan, shrink and 3D-print a 2-million-year-old whale fossil. By Sarah Everts.

A Reddit AMA with Chris Hadfield, who was in space at the time. The present is amazing.

Do dolphins call each other by name? Brandon Keim looks at the evidence

Obama is wants to splash billions on a project to map human brain activity, and some scientists aren’t happy about it.

How do scientists navigate a world where every solution also comes with risks and unexpected side effects?

Maggie Koerth-Baker on GM mosquitoes and more.

We need more of this: Stories about what it’s like to be a scientist in underreported countries, like Romania. Great stuff from Virginia Hughes.

Why paleontology is relevant: It helps us not be biologically short-sighted. By Sarah Werning.

To what extent is evolution predictable? Here’s an interesting experiment with bacteria that addresses the question


Why Julius Robert von Mayer was one of the unluckiest men in science (& why we measure energy in joules not mayers)

Maia Szalavitz explains succinctly everything that’s wrong with press coverage of mental illness & psychiatry

“The alternative to ‘good statistics’ is not ‘no statistics,’ it’s ‘bad statistics’”. On David Brooks.

One retinal implant restores vision to the blind, while another gets FDA approval.

The best images and animated gifs of wild animals captured by camera traps

In which we move a step closer towards The Diamond Age with the most terrifying drone video yet.

Carnivorous plants that glow blue to attract their prey.

Love Craig McClain’s ode to the awesome (and disappearing) sawfish

Who Should Be In Charge of Defending Earth Against Asteroids?

Cheap genetic screenings makes shift to a national health care system inevitable

Why cyclists enrage car drivers. Thought-provoking Tom Stafford article whips up a storm.

Dig up space for new highway, find fossil whale

Massive Bird Nests Built on Telephone Poles in Southern Africa

50 Shades of Grey Reef Shark: Valentine’s Day Report on Shark Sex (With Pictures! And Video!):

Constructive post from Adam Stevens on where the “science” in Citizen Science is.

Cheating monkeys conceal noises of sexual engagement.

Jared Diamond: the more you know about what he’s writing about, the less you trust him

This guy is trying to breed a rare octopus in his bedroom. “With whom?” I hear you say.

Hey, Science: Can You Eat Your Own Poop?

London neuroscience centre to map ‘connectome’ of unborn brain

Most zombie ant photos are upside-down. My mind is blown. Rather like these ants

Oldest Known Wild Bird Hatches Chick at 62 – Christina Dell’Amore talks to the 94-year-old biologist who first banded it

Okay so we filmed the giant squid. Let’s get onto the colossal squid. “Swivelling hooks, people!”

The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature – the folks who decide what animals are called – may soon be out of money.

Tom Levenson interviews Cynthia Graber about bioelectricity, modern science journalism, and Matter.

“The modern mind had arrived long, long before; it just took us until very recently to realize it.” – Michael Balter on the faltering quest for “modernity”.

The newt genome is huge, a bitch to sequence, and a bummer for people hoping to achieve human healing factors.

This is great. Michael Eisen puts his unpublished paper online & invites peer review comments from… anyone

Octopuses inspire 3-D printed super suckers for robots

Don’t harass manatees

WTF?! A case of scientific misconduct that has surely led to actual deaths.

Is The uBiome Project Performing Human Subjects Research Without IRB Approval? Good posts from Physioprof and Danielle Lee

How we fall victim to tongue twisters and spoonerisms

The head of Fukushima’s Health Management Survey calls it quits

UK team discovers deepest hydrothermal vents in the Caribbean

The widely-used insect repellent Deet appears to be losing its effectiveness against mosquitoes. Good time to launch my “helmet-of-tethered-flycatchers” start-up

Brian Switek gives advice to a lovelorn sea squid, who only wants to fly.

The weird irony at the heart of the Napoleon Chagnon affair

New exoplanet whirls around its sun in a 13-day year

You think you have problems with work-life balance? At least you have gravity

An infinity of viruses

99 reasons to love horseshoe crabs. Warning: some of these probably aren’t true. Like 21.

Congrats to Christie Wilcox on moving her blog Science Sushi to Discover

Complaining about “dumbing down” is dumb (but science on the telly could be better). t.co/bnyG9ByV

Bridging the Gap Between Scientists and Policy Makers

Forcepflies are usually known as earwigflies, because the males have a large genital forceps” t.co/R56jNEU9

‘Nuff said, true believers! The research that led to the regulation of comic books was faked.

In honour of World Pangolin Day, six facts about pangolin anatomy and biology, from John Hutchinson.

Volcanoes from space. Behold Earth’s fiery death-pimples.

Chocolate: seriously not good for pets. Deborah Blum explains why.


Calvin & Hobbes photoshopped into real photographs. Love the Mars one! Sniff. Miss these guys.

A map of rude place names around the world

Sadly, this is not the Onion

Meet the awesome margay – a cat that can climb trees upside-down. Video kicks off at 1.18.

A gorgeous map of global population density. Love the negative space here. Himalayas, deserts, Amazon.

Men are rarely seen posing like this.”

The worst logo for anything.

I Dreamed a Dream from Les Mis… in the voice of Gollum.

10 incredible hand-painting illusions

The 15th-century equivalent of a cat walking on your keyboard

Wait, what? At one point, Superman gained the ability to shoot tiny Supermen from his hands.

Snakes: better than you.

The world’s shortest escalator. And it’s going down!


A word cloud of my 4 years on Twitter.

On the awesome Lena Groeger and the changing face of science communication.

A New Yorker piece about a Wired piece that’s a Hollywood movie: Argo.

23 Terrifying Runways That Will Stoke Your Fear of Flying

The jury for the Pulitzer prize is a closely guarded secret, so definitely don’t read the list at this link

Remember, guns don’t kill people. Ovens kill people. With gun clips.

Posting in forums can be a great journalistic tool. Unless, of course, you work for a loathsome rag.

In the last 10 years, which country has seen “the most dramatic improvements of health in history”? Rwanda!

Tips for photographing wildlife on the Galapagos

A great interview with Rose Eveleth about the successfully funded Science Studio

The Internet has a Kevin Bacon number: 19 clicks of separation

“Every time a journalist interviews a journalist, you are being offered theatre, not reportage.”

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