I’ve got your missing links right here (25 February 2012)

Top picks

From Carl Zimmer and his Amazing Friends: Download the Universe, a new blog that reviews science ebooks:

Great story from Rebecca Morelle on the race to the deepest part of the ocean.

One man controversial ambition to model an entire human brain, and why loads of people think it’s a fool’s errand.

The biggest news this week has to be the fact that climate scientist Peter Gleick leaked the Heartland Institute documents. The Knight Science Journalism Tracker rounds up some of the best coverage.

You have to see this. The Scale of the Universe 2 – it’s back and even better than before

The second photo blew. My. Mind. The Fly That Banks On Arachnophobia

Carl Zimmer profiles Tom Seeley, bee whisperer

Some cultures don’t have a mind, by Vaughan Bell.

Bobbie Johnson and Jim Giles are creating a new digital magazine called Matter for in-depth, long-form science journalism, I watched the vid & hurt my head from nodding too much. Support it.

Robot dinosaurs are the future of paleontology, and possibly the end of humanity.

Lovely in idea + execution: What John Glenn saw from space, by Alexis Madrigal

Interesting Jack Stilgoe post on the term “anti-science” and science’s martyr complex. Plus decent comment thread.

Brilliant. 25 Things To Say To So-Called “Aspiring” Writers, by Chuck Wendig.

The last experiment of Alex T. Parrot, super-genius. His last words got me all teary.

“At 20, he attempted suicide-by-jaguar. Afterward he was apprenticed to a pirate” Most insane obit ever?

Nice. A profile of Susan Lindquist – her of heat-shock proteins and prion fame – in Nature News

Five Kinds of Fungus Discovered to Be Capable of Farming Animals! Nice twist, by Rob Dunn

Huh. So this one Russian scientist stuck his head in a particle accelerator. (He got better)

Bangladesh rickshaw driver earning $6/day saves for 30 yrs & builds village clinic

Amazing “domino chain” of kidney transplants, involving 60 people, and 30 saved lives.

It took a decade to sequence the first human genome. Now, Nanopore’s sequencer does it in 15 minutes

We use Xhosa-like clicks in speech but hardly notice. Why not?

Tourette’s-like disorder in New York school confounds experts



Russian doll warfare: plant, bacteria, aphid, virus, wasp. Evolution is frickin’ amazing. By Carl Zimmer

Schreckstoff – awesome name for fear chemicals released by injured fish

Rainforest Science: Researcher Licks Frogs to Tell if They’re Poisonous

Systematic wonder” – a lovely definition of science that accounts for whimsy

Dudes: reports of our demise have been greatly exaggerated. The Y chromosome is here to stay.

Augmented reality glasses via Google. I want misanthropic ones that labels people and things with insults.

Real fish welcome robotic overlord into their school

Brian Deer on the danger of the HIV deniers

10 ocean species for manly man-men

Mo Costandi on a rapidly reversible, light-activated painkiller

The fractal nature of musical rhythms

Are you a RESEARCHER? Do you make DECISIONS? If so, these folks want 10 mins of your time for a study

The worst reproductive strategy in the animal kingdom, even when it’s not shagging Mark Carwardine’s head.

“Scientists hoping to give dolphins the same rights as humans have been told to button it by the creatures themselves.”

I’m a doctor, Jim, not an ethicist. Bioethicist takes job in controversial stem cell company

Tags bring the incredible deep dives of Humboldt squid to light & get scientists puzzling over their low O2 tolerance

Awesome headlines! “MPs warn over nuclear space bombs and solar flares

How cranes are built

Brian Switek is a shill for Big Dinosaur. Were two species really bigger than a blue whale?

Tree Pompeii: 300 million-yr-old forest ecosystem reconstructed w/ fossils preserved in volcanic eruption

Sounds like a graduate student project: find brown bears, walk towards them, write down what they do

YouTase? Taser has built a cloud-based network of tiny cameras for “evidence management”.

Slimeball: A sticky weapon to immobilize large ships

Jonathan Eisen’s talk on the Earth Microbiome Project: “A Field Guide to the Microbes

New species of fungus resurrected from ancient Andean tomb

Here’s why squid sometimes fly rather than swim. Airborne Cthulhu shock-troops!

The exquisite nature of skin cells, captured in a single image

“How I dismantled the world’s deadliest weapon” – about nuclear bombs, not Chuck Norris autopsy

Epilepsy – it’s not just about fits

Forget real time: ‘next time’ is far more disruptive

Citizen science in the Congo Basin: Bayaka pygmies patrol their forests w/ handheld tracking devices

Embodied Cognition: What it is & Why It’s Important

The name-pronunciation effect: Why people like Mr. Smith more than Mr. Colquhoun

The DARPA-funded ostrichbot

Good Robin McKie piece on the “rise of anti-science

AIDS research done by 17-year-olds.

Guitar Zero – a neuroscientist debunks the myth of a “music instinct” and learns to play

“He may well be involved in every study of termite balls ever published. ”

The brain, weaponized: In the future of warfare, neuroscience offers dark possibilities

Hamlet, and the power of beliefs to shape reality

H5N1 flu is still bad, says Deb Mackenzie.

Underwater variant of Google Street View lets you explore the Great Barrier Reef

The sky is falling! Sort of

First they came for the frogs. Then they came for the bats. Then they came for the rattlesnakes. By they, I mean fungi


Utterly bizarre SNP study on genetics of choral singing. Abstract takes surprising turn in final lines

BBC News – ‘49% homes have less than average broadband speed’. Outrageous! We demand that 100% have above-average speed!

Triple bill of woo papers on the healing/mystical/oooooooo powers of pyramids on lab rats

Rabb’s fringe-limbed tree frog now down to one individual.

Time-lapse video of a human skeleton being assembled

Wait, you want Captain America to do WHAT?

Heh. Coolest astronaut photo ever, asks David Dobbs? Might well be

XKCD on internet commenting

2000 dolphins race a whale watch boat.


I gave a talk about storytelling in science and science writing. Here’s an interesting reflection from the talk.

The once-conventional wisdom that web users want it short is wrong

Navigating edits – are changes to your story demands, suggestions, or something else?

More wisdom on writing long-form narratives from Amy Harmon, channelled through Seth Mnookin

An open letter to Channel 4 on Big Fat Gypsy Weddings

On cadence in writing – This sentence has five words. Here are five more words…

Richard Dawkins’ encounter with a muck-raking journalist who doesn’t understand genetics. Or journalism. Newsthump satirises it beautifully. “Exposed! Richard Dawkins in ‘single-celled ancestor’ shock

Mark Henderson debates the ridiculous Susan Greenfield about Twitter

Is right to be forgotten the biggest threat to free speech on the internet

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