I’ve got your missing links right here (25 June 2011)

Top picks

I have only just discovered the Paleofuture blog. It chronicles past visions of the future like jetpack mailmen.

“Was this my destiny? Writing words in order to make gullible people be auto-forced to watch ads?” An AOL content slave speaks out. And this comment nearly killed me. “Wait, AOL still exist?”

Beautiful Proteins are beautiful proteins.

The animal that’s a sheet: a fantastic look at placozoans

“Do you worry that the research you do might be exploited in a way that harms people?” A great post on an important topic by two students embedded in a lab that tests how the human body crumples and explodes.

The names of 30 elements are an anagram for the names of 30 other elements & THE SUM OF THEIR ATOMIC NUMBERS IS THE SAME. Mind-blowing.

“A giraffe had to be trained to urinate in a cup, & Ferrero had [an] encounter with an uncooperative jaguar” The smell of a meat-eater.

A brain implant restores memories in rats by recording and playing them back. That. Is. Incredible.

Incredible! A camera that enables you to focus long after the picture is taken

I Resistant snakes eat poisonous newts; resistant caddisflies eat poisonous newt eggs.

“What was the most valuable compound they could make w/… synthetic biology?” Cancer drugs? Nope. LSD. Awesome feature by Ian Sample.

A wonderful piece by Ferris Jabr on rabies, why it’s so difficult to beat, and why we don’t know if the Milwaukee protocol really works; it’s never been clinically tested

Byliner.com – a massive treasure trove for narrative non-fiction. DROOL.

“We’re going to take… “we don’t know” & eliminate it.” Cause of mystery genetic disorder quickly found. An awesome piece by Brendan Maher

The invisible gorilla experiment except instead of the gorilla, there’s a guy getting seven shades of **** kicked out of him


Scientist estimates that the planet has three times as much water as in the oceans. By Robert Krulwich, and thus wonderful

“Increasing the number of women on a team raises group intelligence.” And thus the corollary…

“The most scientifically literate/numerate subjects were less likely to see climate change as a serious threat”

Blind Runner Starts Off On 100-Mile Ultramarathon

CFS activists scoring own goal by threatening scientists, stifling research (paywall)

Two unusual traits converged to make German E. coli a killer: fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency…

‘‘We now face losing marine species and entire marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs, within a single generation”

Marine biology as big science – the results of massive tagging study of sharks, turtles, albratrosses etc

Read what Darwin read, and see his margin scribbles! 330 books from Darwin’s library have been digitised

Three months later, an update on what the Fukushima situation is really like, by Michio Kaku

A vigorous attack on culturomics, and an equally vigorous defence by one of its co-founders Jean-Baptiste Michel

Fight diabetes by buying 800 calories of sugar from KFC

Headline win. ‘Cluster Flocking‘ Is No Energy Saver

This city-living paper… with n=32, how could they possibly adjust for all the confounders between city/country living?

Maybe Richard Dawkins should’ve *read* Mara Hvistendahl’s superb book before criticising it based on a Guardian write-up?

Lightbulb display pulses in tune to poetry reading. Coooool.

Love this very earnest discussion of how Magneto could control blood flow

The grasshopper that turns turquoise to show that it’s tough.

Each half of monkey brain (& prob human too) has its own working memory store.

Time-lapse fungi. What’s a noise that’s halfway between eeewwwww and oooooooo?

A random collection of psychological concepts you’ve never heard of

Technical but fascinating Razib Khan piece on culture, imitation and evolution

Should we give drug companies incentives to make antibiotics? And if yes, which?

More Dangerous Than Nuclear Power: The Floods Caused by Aging Dams

Stunning superyacht inspired by the maths of a dragonfly’s wing.

Biologist going on wild goose cull to stop bird/plane collisions

I would expect a Taxonomy Coordination Committee to be well-structured, but only after vigorous arguments

Entertaining animated explainer on the science of hangovers

How to turn any old stick into a sabre

MIT researchers study how to motivate big breakthrough ideas – allowing failure plays a key role.

Living and hunting in the Arctic sea, resting on ice floes. Gyrfalcons: the polar bears of the bird world?

The Almost Extinct calendar: a great concept

Tim Carmody analyses Robert Krulwich’s legendary commencement speech using Batman & the Green Lantern Corps

Advice from someone who now believes that man-made global warming is real: I, Global Warming Skeptic

Mating with Neanderthals “good for human health.” Any old excuse

Big dinosaurs were cool – teeth tell temperature tale

One of the great evolutionary leaps in the history of life on Earth has been achieved in the lab… possibly.

Nice piece on the cult of personality in science


Completely unpredictable. The 100 longest Wikipedia entries

The story of how Carl Sagan sued Apple for calling him a butt-head.

XKCD on connoisseurs

Every foul from a game of football frozen into 1 compressed frame. Presumably doesn’t include the *imagined* fouls…

I’ve always thought this about rock-paper-scissors. Paper beating rock is like a duvet beating a missile or a tent beating Jackie Chan.

Fish on the brink of surrender

This remains the best “paleontologist at work” photo of all time

Sounds like dodgy equation story, actually brilliant. A mathematical formula for saying hi

A career photographing icebergs

The only possible follow-up to this headline is “It’s an alternative spelling for ‘cock’.”

Head-screwing picture

Heh. Marine iguana facepalm!

Powers of ten, cubed.


I happen to have that research right here, Mr Keller. The NYT’s executive editor challenges a critic and gets smacked down with a deluge of citations. Wonderful.

Washington Post reporter reveals that he’s an illegal immigrant. The Post responds.

Seven UK universities (inc. UCL) are thinking about moving away from honours degree classes and adopt US-style GPA

Brilliant. A blogger calls out journalists for misreporting a story about bloggers vs. journalists

A stupid story about the web being “dead”, based on a piece of PR that the world’s news outlets lapped up. The web is growing. That’s sort of the opposite of dying. If only newspapers could die so well… And look, here’s Chris Mims actually doing some journalism rather than just parroting PR: Despite the Hype, Native Apps Aren’t Beating The Web

Wow, there are a lot of science festivals around the world.

“I want to show the best and worst face of humankind” Tales of war photographers

A working list of data repositories worldwide

Pottermore: Harry Potter finally comes to e-book format, but in an unexpected way.

Bringing news to diverse communities, to make journalism more meaningful

Lulzsec gets hacked (oh, theirony) and turns out to be disorganised group of 6-8 media-obsessed people

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