I’ve got your missing links right here (26 May 2012)

Top picks

This is beautiful. Alexis Madrigal watches an eclipse by turning his fist into a pinhole camera, entrances passers-by

Must-read piece on the NSABB – the board that assessed the risk of those mutant flu papers – by Brendan Maher

Do Plants Smell Other Plants? This One Does, Then Strangles What It Smells. By Robert Krulwich. Love the diagrams!

The ultimate counterfeiter, who fancies himself an artist. A brilliant piece of narrative journalism by David Wolman.

For all the concern about Fukushima, did you know that tobacco smoke contains radioactive polonium? The tobcco industry did.

Deathtraps so beautiful you could cry (and I did). Jennifer Frazer on glow worms.

I love this piece so much. 10 science concepts that would make awesome supervillains

The CIA’s fake vaccination campaign to get bin Laden: still undermining state relations, polio eradication

Human water use on land accounts for 42% of sea level rise between 1961 and 2003; climate change, the rest.

Report about questionable research practices practises questionable research practices

Cancer risk from Fukushima radiation is very low but the mental health risks are high. “I’ve never seen PTSD questionnaires like this.” Essential reporting from Geoff Brumfiel

How One Flawed Study Spawned a Decade of Lies – Forbes covers the man who supported a gay cure, and is now apologising for it.

What is the “Bible of Psychiatry” supposed to do? DSM & challenges of uncertain science, by Vaughan Bell

Space junk piling up around Earth has reached a tipping point. So how are we going to get rid of it? (UK people: use Anonymouse)

What Mark Henderson’s The Geek Manifesto has to say on GM crops. Essential reading for the Take the Flour Back campaign.

Despite all the worry about Fukushima, smokers have been inhaling radioactive particles for decades

Nicotine – murder weapon of choice for the 19th century blackguard, by Deborah Blum.

Citizens in Space is sponsoring… a $10,000 competition to detect organisms at the edge of space.”

“It belongs in a museum!!” Tyrannosaur illegally smuggled out of Mongolia, ends up in auction, by Brian Switek


From cockfights to KFC: how chickens conquered the world

Doctors save baby’s life with the world’s smallest artifiical heart

Two positive charged metal spheres will… attract?

About time for a paradigm shift? Neurobonkers riffs off my replication piece and brings in Kuhn and Sagan for good measure.

Deep-sea explorers dragged ocean creatures 600km away on ‘Alvin’ sub – an ecosystem worry

Compared to Jupiter’s moon Europa, our planet’s practically a desert. More NASA water visuals.

Do these beetles have oral sex?

An Ant Ballet, Choreographed By Pheromones

At 96, inventor of TV remote control hits Stop button

High-ranking baboons heal faster

Headphones are the new wall.” The horrors of open floor plans. I agree with this so much.

Task force says PSA test for prostate cancer should be dropped. Yes. It’s a rubbish screening test; should never have been introduced in the first place.

Prediction: these pollution-hunting robot fish will be released, instantly eaten/destroyed by actual fish

Shameless Aric Sigman is back with his usual awfulness. Pete Etchells takes him apart, as does Vaughan Bell

“Amgen’s incomplete report on a major trial of epoetin misled the medical community… & helped make Amgen rich.”

Rewritable memory encoded into DNA. “The arduous work involved… is almost as notable as the achievement itself.”

Bizarre tale of unscrupulous Nigerian-scammer-style folks stealing specimens from museums

Yeti genes? Really? Actually a press release about Yeti genes turned out to be just a grainy photocopy of a gas bill.

Will Obama climb aboard the open-access roller coaster? By David Dobbs.

Sound the evolutionary-psychology bullsh*t klaxon! I don’t even know where to begin. Maybe it’s yet another attempt to excuse the ogling of women? Maybe it’s the use of Chatroulette and Girls Gone Wild as evidence? Maybe it’s the brazen, sweeping gender statements with nary a supporting link in sight?

Why great ideas come when you aren’t trying

Why aren’t cities littered with dead pigeons? Fascinating read on where urban wildlife goes to die

Killer polar farts. Release of Arctic methane could accelerate warming

Bad Statin Science: The study saying healthy people should take statins is deeply flawed

“When it comes to influenza… we have short-term amnesia.” Can a universal flu vaccine beat our cycle of failure?

Happy 2nd birthday to Last Word on Nothing! They celebrate by picking their favourite reader comments

Finches learn even when practice isn’t perfect.

On the replication issue in psychology, here’s a piece on whether priming effects are real, with a reply from John Bargh

“How the singularity of the self emerges from the cacophony of mind” – Bruce Hood talks to Jonah Lehrer

How to discover new deep-sea hydrothermal vents (Hint: Google Maps doesn’t work)

Quantum mechanics explains why it’s dark when you close your eyes

Awesome new research on octopus camouflage

Can old-school drug discovery techniques solve the critical lack of new antibiotics?

Irises, it turns out, change with age. Which is bad news for iris scanners



Ha! Scientists Find Thousands Of Previously Undiscovered Species Cowering In Amazon Rainforest

The Thing, from the point of view of The Thing

Heh. 9 things everyone used to love that need a new plan.

David Dobbs will win a Pulitzer for his fearless report on a really bad date.

XKCD on crowdsourcing

Ha! Brilliant! Scarlett Johansson wins.

An anger room. I have always wanted to do this!



Unintended consequences? What the new ASCO embargo policies have wrought. Interesting post + comment thread

Google+ is LinkedIn: After Hours.” OUCH

Man stranded in desert builds motorbike out of his broken down car

Paul Bradshaw on why marks don’t matter. With snark from me

A strong contender for the worst piece about science journalism this year, appearing in, of all places, the Atlantic. Apparently, all news outlets rely on press releases to understand science? Really? And journalists who actually do their jobs are nay-saying trouble-makers who have the temerity to not rely on press releases. And finally, we need bullsh*t science journalism to get the meaty “contrarian” stuff!  This piece isn’t just stupid, but it’s a blanket excusal for future stupidity.

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