I’ve got your missing links right here (28 April 2012)

Top picks

Planetary Resources isn’t your average start-up: their plan is to mine asteroids. Top analysis by Phil Plait.

“In March 2012, the sun unleashed its most intense radiation storm since 2003. One rubber chicken saw the whole thing.”

Mary Carmichael (great to see her writing about science again) on the demise of the Lynn Margulis lab after the death of its leader. I love how she sums up Margulis’ legacy in two concise sentences in para 6.

“The cultural limits on the age of motherhood are far stronger than the biological ones” – Virginia Hughes on ovarian preservation

Fascinating. The Chinese characters for epilepsy are changing to reduce stigma. From Vaughan Bell.

You can now blog from Everest. “And if you can’t even escape the incessant hum of humanity on Mount Everest, where can you?”

This is awesome! Using Leeches to Track the World’s Rarest Animals. By sequencing ‘their’ blood

The Invisible Borders That Define American Culture – a fascinating project by Samuel Arbseman

Snowballs that punch through Saturn’s rings

Wonderfully caustic critique of the Royal Society’s People & Planet report. A most enjoyable fisking.

The superstars of botany are disappearing. Who will replace them? Awesome story by John Whitfield

Pygmy. Glowing. Sharks.

Not Knowing Is the Key to Science – a great interview with Stuart Firestein

Great Wired piece about A/B testing – I really want to do this for writing styles and structures

We’re winning the war against glaciers: a 7-year time lapse video of an Alaskan glacier in retreat

Paper examines media coverage of neuroscience. Any guesses? I think you know the answer

Wow! A cringeworthy new G-spot study came out this week, based on an autopsy of an 80+ year old woman. Read Dr Petra’s incisive post, but specifcally, read the conflict of interest bit half-way down

A program that highlights words based on their etymology.


Can national statistics be self-fulfilling? Why saying that we’re going into recession can lead to it.

Insightful corrective sci-writing. In the Daily Mail. Meet the cousins (not the ancestors)

Sometimes dumb science turns out to be pretty smart: randy screwworms and other tales

Philip Ball has a solid analysis of the new study showing analytical thinking promotes religious disbelief

Ancient microbes from melting glaciers are spilling into oceans: what will these “bacteria-sicles”? do?

Great piece by Mary Elizabeth Williams on why the end of cancer treatment isn’t singing + dancing.

Earth: stumpier and fatter than one might imagine.

In other expected news: no risk of ill-health effects after 15 years of cell phone usage

Body armor for breathing? ‘Dermal bone’ may have helped early land dwellers overcome inefficient lungs

Who’s in the running for the position of UK’s Scientist Supreme?

This Camera Doesn’t Take Pictures. It Describes Them

Skepticism isn’t something you are. It’s something you do.” Very much agree with this.

Chinese scientists call on Govt to ban “bear farming” for make-believe medicine

Mystery fossil found, named Godzillus

Erika Check Hayden continues to impress with her reporting on some RNA controversies

Best. Headline. Ever. Eminent chemist denies self-plagiarism in ‘space dinosaurs’ paper

Researchers have discovered a “neighbourhood watch” element in great tit society

The Institute for Dark Tourism Research. Yes.

Canadian scientists closely monitored during polar conference. Chilling.

Genome Run: Andean Shrub Is First New Plant Species Described by Its DNA

Isn’t Insulamon a Pokemon? Beautiful new crab from the Philippines: bright purple, with claws of red

Health blogger could be jailed for giving health advice. This is fascinating given the state of many so-called “nutritionists”

This is not your family tree. This is not evolution

Life-saving match-making: to speed research, advocacy groups match patients with clinical trials

Superior subordinates. Meerkat underdogs (undermeerkats?) come out on top at problem-solving.

Hooray! American Airlines reverse their decision to f*ck over children. Congrats.

Huh. Imitating people has an uncanny valley

Tom Stafford on personal superstitions

139,000 children died of measles in 2010. That’s 139,000 lives that could’ve been saved by vaccine costing a few cents.

Do People Hold a Humanoid Robot Morally Accountable for the Harm It Causes

Take to London’s skies in the Pigeon Simulator. For extra realism, simulator gives you foot tumours.

“One of my favorite images is of an Au. afarensis being dragged down by a giant otter” – how humans doomed giant carnivores.

Me and my exoskeleton: New Scientist field tests a Japanese cybernetic suit

Osteoarthritis in Caudipteryx – one dinosaur with arthritis may have hobbled

Death of a log brings life to the deep ocean

Apparently, letting a not-doctor forcefully rearrange your spine can lead to health risks. Who knew?

Electricity aside, we sometimes forget that tasers also feature metal spikes.

Fouchier received export license for his H5N1 study. “Now we can move on.”

Narwhals! More on the evolution of their tusk

Thinking in foreign language makes decisions more rational.

The truth about lie detectors – the first of a promising new column series by Vaughan Bell

“Including the scientific theories ‘would’ve undermined the strength of an objective documentary’.” – an incredible quote about the one-episode-down US version of Frozen Planet

17 equations that changed the world – and why understanding them is part of modern literacy

Project Noah – Darwin meets Foursquare in mobile platform for crowdsourcing natural science data. Hate the “nature deficit disorder” bollocks but love the idea.

Meet the scientist who feeds his mosquitoes with his own blood, enduring 15,000 bites a year


The only thing that can stop this asteroid is your liberal arts degree

Dr Hedgehog gets angry

Absolutely stunning time-lapse video of Iceland wins “Why do you explore?” competition

Klouchebag, a parody of Klout that is both more accurate and entertaining.

Sh*tter: creates toilet paper from your Twitter feed

Pure Krulwich: the joy of words that look the same upside-down

Faith in humanity rising. German garbage men convert dumpsters into pinhole cameras

Beautiful. “Lava coils” seen on Mars

Stewart on Murdoch: “This scandal goes all the way to the bottom.”

A wonderful thing: when his wife was diagnosed with cancer, Searle did this

When you think about it, Commander Shepard (from the Mass Effect games) is a massive creep

Facts died Wednesday, April 18, after a long battle for relevancy with the 24-hour news cycle, blogs and the Internet

The Cartoon Laws of Physics

A Wall of Shattered Glass Floods a Benedictine Monastery

Skynet becomes *too* self-aware”


Silicon Valley’s sexist culture: “‘Brogrammer’ isn’t an exclusionary term,” said one male programmer. “The female equivalent is called a ‘hogrammer'”

Vogue is trying hard to erase its profile of Syria’s first lady from the web

That legendary long piece about Frank Sinatra and his cold gets dissected in the latest “Why’s this so good?”

The Oatmeal’s State of the Internet 2012 – a spot-on skewering

Tracking Food Trash From a Restaurant to a Landfill:

David Foster Wallace defines true heroism

Curators are the new superheroes of the net (helps if you say it like Cura-Tor)

“Science Writing in the Age of Denial” – a great conference by the sounds of it. Open Notebook collects the coverage.

Your logical fallacy is…” – cool site, with good explanations.

396 years ago, the world lost Shakespeare. Here’s a book about some surprising things he left behind.

“Like building a zoo in the jungle” – an $800-million ancient Rome theme park planned… in Rome

Jay Rosen identifies four types of scoops – I love the thought scoop

Closing The Pigeon Gap: when pigeons formed a vital part of a country’s military capability. Fascinating long read.

Moral: supporting good cause doesn’t justify being a prick. A thoughtful piece on “twitterbombing

The Huffington Post, having aggregated everyone else, decides to aggregate itself

The Utah state falconry exam is no joke

Read This Next

I’ve got your missing links right here (08 September 2012)
I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (23 May 2015)
I’ve got your missing links right here (21 April 2012)

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