I’ve got your missing links right here (24 September 2011)

Top picks

In India’s lush Kaziranga National Park, a new policy allows rangers to shoot rhino poachers on sight. As a result, rhinos and tigers are thriving. An absolutely stonking piece of journalism.

Plant RNAs switch genes on and off in mammals. Wow. We really are what we eat.

“Somebody else can clean up this mess.” But no one did.” New study challenges the role of so-called longevity genes

Robert Krulwich’s paean to the awesome bar-tailed godwit, the toughest little bird you’ve never heard of

A useful rape analogy.

Singapore is growing by importing sand, at other nations’ environmental expense

Science “partially retracts” XMRV-chronic fatigue paper, and a nine-lab study fails to confirm the link. More from the NYT

This week a team of London surgeons separated twins joined at the head. How did they do it? Great explainer by Ferris Jabr

Premature particles perplex physicists. Phil Plait pontificates

Data – what the military have and what scientists get to see, from Geoff Brumfiel

Why being relaxed makes us spend more money, by Jonah Lehrer

With “utter disregard for the extraordinary environment”, a shrimp swims through liquid CO2. By Calbeb Scharf

“Don’t start bathing in the blood of virgins just yet,” advises Scicurious. Could a single injection make your older or younger? No. But the science is still awesome.

“In many respects, the history of technology is a history of failed machines”- Alice Bell on how the fridge got its hum

Good debate here on whether journos should ever fact-check content with sources. Hosted by David Kroll.

Science museums are failing grown-ups. And it’s a failure we can’t afford. Spot-on piece by Maggie Koerth-Baker

Brain scanner can recreate movie scenes you’ve watched. What this does do: after recording your brain activity as you watch movies, it can predict what scenes you’re watching later based on your brain activity. What this doesn’t do: record fresh brain activity and tell you what you’re looking at. Cool though.

Pretty. Emission spectra of the elements. Check out thallium and tungsten.


“It’s not the bad apples, it’s the bad barrels that corrupt good people.” Philip Zimbardo on evil  

Neuroscience of the intense Amazonian hallucinogen ayahuasca. Featuring a vomiting Vaughan Bell

NASA monitors over 20,000 bits of space junk circling Earth?

Heh. 50 Reasons I Reject Evolution

Neutrino stories move faster than the speed of science, by Martin Robbins

Don’t believe what other people think they see. Eyes (and Minds) Deceive: Witness Unreliability Casts Doubt on Death Penalty Rulings.

Newly Discovered Plant Bows Down and Buries Its Own Seeds

“No fewer than seven possible explanations for eggshell color

The first Aboriginal genome has been sequenced.

Scientists Successfully Induce Hibernation in Animals for the First Time

Chemistry’s 10 grand challenges. Misses out No. 11, which is getting people to care about chemistry.

“Eye movement is one sign that things have gone wrong.” On unvetted drugs & the death penalty

Pack Your Umbrella: Friday’s Weather is Sunny, with a 1-in-21-Trillion Chance of Getting Hit by Orbital Debris

Measles cases in California reach 10-year high, mostly due to unvaccinated kids.

DEET scrambles insects’ sense of smell

Resurrected Woolly Mammoth Protein Proves to Work Well in the Cold

Too Hard For Science? Might investigating brains of conjoined twins helps shed light on consciousness?

How to Resurrect a Terror Croc.

The mind-blowing cost of patent trolling – £500bn since 1990.

Former Trainer Says Killer Whale Captivity Causes Attacks. Or mebbe making an apex apex predator do tricks is bad idea?

“How should we make hard decisions?” asks Jonah Lehrer.  I DON’T KNOW, JONAH. WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?

Stubbornness Increases the More People Tell You You’re Wrong. And thus was the internet explained HT

How do you sequence bacteria that you cannot grow, without relying on Macgyver?

Why does the antlion make a larger deathtrap during the full moon? (Spoiler: We don’t know)

Synchronized Swimming: Patrolling for Pollution with Robotic Fish. We’ve come a long way since Billy Bigmouth

5 antique versions of modern social media – from Edison’s YouTube to Voltaire’s Facebook

Smartphone EEG

Doodle app turns your Kindle into An Etch-a-Sketch

Deborah Blum’s post on Dr Oz is great for this line: “the higher the valence bond number, the grabbier the compound”

41% of primatologists have been bitten by a non-human primate; 10% injured by needles containing bodily fluids/tissue

Global map of the world’s submarine cables

Researchers Find Out How Pigeons Make the “Milk” They Barf Into the Mouths of Their Young. This is all sounding a little “molecular”. I wonder if pigeon milk could make pigeon cheese? Or if pigeon cheese would go with pigeon?

How quirks of language can reveal subtle ‘Daily Mail’ racism. I say “subtle”. It’s all relative.

How do you counter a honeybee’s waggle dance? With a waggle song, of course

I’m a Scientist – the film.

On Oct 31, the 7 billionth human being will be born. Where, who?

Bottom of Form

There are nine US medical insurance codes for being attacked by a killer whale. Here are some other good ones.

The brain as a slum – nice metaphor via David Dobbs.

Genomics research by twitter: we need people who’ve had severe altitude sickness.

The Psychology Of Yogurt, or what probiotics can teach us about the mind-body problem

New ways to fund research, including crowdfunding and SciFund.


A phylogeny of bread clips

Things I like: misrepresenting airline safety cards. “In emergency, throttle your baby. Then grieve”

We really have to start doing this (XKCD on neutrinos)

A swimming feather-star. Utterly mesmeric

Hobbit homes!

Around World In 60 secs on International Space Station. Love the yellow line of the ionosphere

New Yorker cartoon made me laugh.

Beauty in mundanity. A Year of Mornings – how photographers do long-distance friendships

New life ambition

AskReddit’s “Hotel Workers, What’s The Weirdest Thing You’ve Ever Caught Guests Doing?”

Heh. “Scientists assume pupils are listening


A journalist’s guide to Google+

A sad but fascinating tale about the human punching bag – a boxer who wasn’t very good but simply couldn’t be knocked out

Jay Rosen versus “he said, she said” journalism at NPR The Guardian live-blogs reading a book. I should live-blog reading their live-blog. No. No I shouldn’t.

Facebook is killing taste… it’s somehow eluded Zuckerberg that sharing is fundamentally about choosing”

Amazon lets you borrow Kindle books from your local public library

Is Branded Journalism Still Journalism? No. Why not just call it PR?

Is Amazon Running a Sweatshop in Pennsylvania?

A woman next to me on a plane excitedly raved at her husband about this Daily Express headline: NEW ARTHRITIS JAB GIVES HOPE TO MILLIONS. She didn’t read paragraph 18, where you learn that it’s based on mouse experiments, or paragraph 21, which mentions an increased risk of bone cancer.

Nearly 40% of people online look for health info, but 90% think what we find is accurate!

What does getting “off the beaten path” really mean? Great travel blogging.

Astonishingly bad coverage from misogynistic media. Somehow, this study turns into bollocks about bossy women.

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet