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

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Top picks

I highly recommend Ross Piper’s coffee-table guide to the animal kingdom. It’s visually stunning and beautifully written. Best of all, it really is the whole animal kingdom. The vertebrates are just a tiny portion of it. Feast your eyes on the true breadth of the kingdom that we’re a part of.

Support the wonderful Story Collider—purveyor of fascinating and inspiring science stories. They do an amazing job and deserve your support.

What would a post-antibiotic world really mean? It’s a LOT worse than you think. Maryn Mckenna explores the answer for medicine, agriculture & more in this superb story.

Phil Plait’s post on facts about comet ISON is utterly awesome, in the traditional sense of the word

Native Americans trace part of their ancestry to western Eurasia as well as east Asia, according to the 24,000-year-old genome of a Siberian boy. By me.

Hope Jahren’s post on hijacking #ManicureMonday is hilarious

Obituaries of the amazing Fred Sanger, at the New York Times and the Guardian.

HPV, the virus behind cervical cancer, has increasingly been linked to a form of mouth cancer. This Nature story by Megan Scudellari goes into the science behind this link.

Carl Zimmer on the quest to make a better flu vaccine

“‘Because’ has become a preposition, because grammar.” By Stan Carey, with more from Megan Garber.

Ancient DNA once again reveals itself to be a cross between time travel and Chatroulette. Lots of ancient humans having sex with each other, including a fourth mystery group! By Ewen Callaway.

“It’s easy to criticize people for not following rules that you’ve made up.” A great piece on irritating grammar pedants.

Polish Concert Pianist Builds a ‘Viola Organista’ Based on a 500-Year-Old Sketch from Leonardo Da Vinci

Steven Strogatz on catastrophe theory and what it tells you about sleep and the economy

“8 years ago, I aborted twins, maybe. But I found that out only last month.” Emily Willingham with a haunting tale of how hard it is to find out about your own medical information.

Do mice inherit the fears of their fathers? Virginia Hughes covers an amazing claim, and the reactions to it.

Science isn’t the answers, science is the process.” Superb Q&A from John Hawks on the Rising Star Expedition. THIS is real science communication. Plus: a hilarious take. “Can you imagine the first time they met? Like an Ocean’s 11 of female scientists

What does cancer smell like? Good coverage by Veronique Greenwood of a topic that’s often badly handled.

“Being called out on your privilege is like being informed that your fly is down.” The metaphor continues wonderfully. By Andrew Thaler. See also this good piece by Hannah Waters.

Do cockroaches have consciousness? Brandon Keim discusses.

Scientists Confirm Existence of Moon (not long after confirming that the Sun exists). By Sean Carroll.

The cats, dogs, porpoises & humans all shared a single tormenter – yeast. Jennifer Frazer on emerging fungal threats.

WEIRD. Some cells go into retirement in *embryos*, just like they do in ageing tissues. Why? By Carl Zimmer.

HIV-1 evades the immune system with an invisibility cloak–which can be lifted. My story for The Scientist

“How to reach every single child in the world’s most unreachable places.”- Matthieu Aikins on the quest to eradicate polio.


What is the porpoise of Google’s dolphin research?

Bambi should have been shot, says mercilless, cold science.

I’ve no view on the petition to add more scientists on Question Time but, oh my god, the reasons for signing! “[Scientists] are not swayed by money or personal motives to make certain judgements.” Snigger.

Darwin’s Frog is now extinct

The Secret World of Fluorescent Arthropods

Oh, SURE, well that’s not suspicious AT ALL.

Tickling yourself is impossible even if you are fooled into thinking someone else is doing it

The “impossibly adorable” king ragworm.

Strange eyes, twisted wings—a post on a really bizarre group of insects.

What a big momma alligator in her burrow tells us about dinosaurs

Snails High On Acid Make Poor Choices, Get Eaten By Predators. Post features the “Tonga Fighting Conch”

Fences divide lion conservationists

Meat mummies – because your loved ones still need noms in the afterlife.

‘Duelling’ dinosaurs fizzle in auction

What’s a fresh human brain like? An anatomist demonstrates, straight out of the skull

More people are being told they have genes for potentially fatal diseases but don’t show any symptoms.

A great TED talk from Greg Asner, a man who laser-scans the world from a plane.

Coldblooded Does Not Mean Stupid: Exploring reptile smarts.

Find Wally quicker, using maths. (Or find Waldo quicker using math.)

Promiscuous mice bear sexier smelling sons.

Myths, facts, and presumptions about obesity

Katie Mack on the two-body problem—the problem of maintaining a committed relationship between two individuals who are trying to have careers in academia.

DNA viruses from Neanderthals found in genomes of modern humans

Re-evaluating the biplane model of Microraptor

‘You’re modelling human disease in an organism that’s like [somebody] on speed.” Room temperature of mouse experiments skews cancer studies.

An ant mimic spider escapes ant attention by being nearly odorless

Radio interview with the great Kate Clancy on the experience of women in academia.

This piece on taxonomy sounds like a fantasy film. “For 100 yrs… there was chaos. The code brought some order.”

Snakes use their tongues to “smell” the air, but also more conventionally to taste the ground

“Have you ever paused to wonder why we’re not all drowning in poop?”

“Fears were confirmed when Wong’s bag broke open in transit to reveal 95 boa constrictors.”

Good feature on the race to predict/stop the next pandemic

The big-fin squid. WHAT?

Cholesterol Risk Calculator Appears Flawed; mistakenly suggest millions more are candidates for statins

“The development of the Phalloblaster is being met with excitement from universities, museums…”

If you like hummingbirds, you should also care about spiders

Worm-like movements propel octopus ballet

Adopt a skull! “Your $200 pays for the initial restoration and remounting of a skull of your choosing”

This was a bad time to start reading Flight Behaviour: The iconic monarch butterfly is near collapse.

20 tips to help non-scientists interpret scientific claims.

2 Y-chromosome genes are enough to make fertile male mice, given assisted reproduction. (No idea what to make of this)

We really don’t know that much about muscle knots.

New giant predatory dinosaur named Siats (see-atch) after a North American cannibalistic clown monster.


A list of 10 time-sucking lists. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Or click.

Find the Invisible Cow

Woolly suits for tortoises

A photo gallery of tiny animals sitting on people’s fingers. Troll-Haired Mystery Bug Found in Suriname

An ad in which little girls turn their house into a Rube Goldberg protest against pink princess toys

A photographer who uses microscopes to take pictures of human tears

Everything you need to know about cognitive neuroscience in 4 panels

36 Realistically Colorized Historical Photos Make the Past Seem More Real

What are the biggest plotholes in world history? Reddit critiques our lazy script.

The greatest nature photography of the year, from National Geographic.

A deer running from a flying squirrel on a trail camera

Introducing the new blog WTFPR – about silly press releases. First up: ‘The W**ker Gene.’

Bryan Cranston actually filmed a skit in which Breaking Bad is just a Malcolm in the Middle nightmare.

Man Who Drinks 5 Diet Cokes Per Day Hoping Doctors Working On Cure For Whatever He’s Getting

A totally accurate list of US-UK terms.



All Matter stories will now be free to read! That’s awesome.

“It seems disruption is hard when poor people insist on existing.” Takedown of Thrun & MOOCs

An open letter to men scared that women will call out their behavior publicly.

Brandon Keim warns us against careless “takedowns”.

Chuck Wendig gives the best writing advice. “Failure is an instruction manual written in scar tissue.”

An ill-advised video in which a bobblehead Einstein assaults a bobblehead Marie Curie drew a justified outcry; the video has since been taken down.

How an unemployed blogger in Leicester became the key journo on Syria chemical weapons.

One way of learning narrative – compare how different writers covered the same story

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