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

Top picks

This is bloody excellent. There was a big story about a massive Greenland ice melt, and Mark Brandon (and a supporting cast of climate researchers) explains the caveats in an epic Storify

Some baby gorillas managed to dismantle a poacher’s snare. Kimberly Gerson did a SUPERB analysis of the brainpower that such an act would entail. Read it to understand how animal behaviour researchers think, and how hard it is to avoid reading too much into behaviour.

Inside the Minds of Mass Killers – measured, humane, standout piece by Daniel Lende on the Aurora tragedy.

Wonderful David Dobbs post on how culture shapes the course of mental illness.

What would it take to really build a jellyfish? Ferris Jabr with a great take on last week’s jellyfish/rat/heart paper. A good antidote for the folks who thought I went too far in my coverage.

“The sexism of the day overwhelmed the science of the day.” Alexis Madrigal on the women who would have been Sally Ride

It’s insectapalooza, with the stick insects that mate for 59 days (Bug Girl), the ants that hang their larvae up on wall via Velcro hairs (Alex Wild), and the traumatic inseminating penis of the bedbug (SciCurious).

Poignant piece by Frank Swain on how he became a cyborg to deal with becoming deaf

The glass frog. Everything’s rather awesome, isn’t it?

Firenadoes, pearl clouds, “elves”, sky waves + other awesome tricks the sky can pull

A fascinating piece on Homicide Watch – an initiative to cover every homicide in Washington DC – what makes a newsworthy murder

XKCD visits the planet of moles. Not covered in moles, MADE of moles.

Which is bigger: the human brain or the universe? Robert Krulwich comes down on Team Universe after a wonderful piece.

Two neurosurgeons were banned from human research after allegedly experimenting on ppl w/o permission. And by experimenting, I mean “infecting brain cancer patients with bacteria. Nature has a good explainer for why they tried and Jon Eisen is collating coverage.

“And that is why i ask for evidence.” Carl Zimmer vs the Creationists. Guess who comes out on top?

10 Scientific Missions That Became Action Adventures

Crows are “beautifully adapted to learn about this world”. Children are “beautifully adapted to learn about many possible worlds.” Great story by Michael Balter, featuring Aesop’s fable.

Mary Hagedorn has the world’s largest collection of frozen coral spunk.

Scientists Debate Whether Oscar Pistorius’s Prosthetic Legs Should Disqualify Him from the Olympics. Great Rose Eveleth feature



New Jersey jurors will learn about the (really quite considerable) limits to eyewitness testimony

The peacock mantis shrimp is neither peacock nor mantis nor shrimp, but is ALL awesome.

The guy’s a f*****g idiot.” Why do the ppl I interview never give quotes like this? Australian crocodile “paper” published by some guy in his own non-peer-reviewed journal inspires a rather caustic reply.

What’s inside a T.rex? Inside Nature’s Giants totally lied to us.

Skin’s secret surveillance system – partner microbes influence your immunity against dangerous ones

Manta rays are being hunted to extinction for traditional fake Chinese “medicine.”

Words Can Wound: How The Media Describe The Mentally Ill And Disabled. Great piece, esp. the kicker.

Blind mice see… for a while anyway. File under “preliminary but cool”.

Car headlights that see through rain by predicting the drops and shining light between them

This comment utterly & pithily nails why false positives pollute the scientific literature

Muhammad Ishaq was trying to save lives as part of Pakistan’s polio vacc’n programme & someone shot him for it

Hunter-gatherer study suggests we’re fat because we stuff our faces w/ pies, not because we’e immobile. I overstate for effect, but the activity results are quite interesting.

The horrible truth about Spider-Man, featuring sperm webs and a turkey baster metaphor

Snakes on a plain! Fossil snake Coniophis suggests that snakes evolved on land rather than at sea.

The Galapagos has a people problem

Reverse-Engineered Irises Look So Real, They Fool Eye-Scanners

Pop music is evolving… to be louder and more samey

Good lord, what is that bizarre sea creatur… oh. It’s just entrails.

A year of scientiic ne’er-do-wells, compiled by Michael Brooks.

This lesson on running up a wall was brought to you by SCIENCE. And Rhett Allain.

Er, wow? With each heartbeat, your face changes colour slightly. And this program can tell

Giant wave from glacier breakage almost swamps boat

Air-pumped mascots turn people with autism into great performers

“The girl who loves spiders”: 17-yr-old describes new species, names it after Aragog.

Criticism of UK’s education system includes the fact that a quarter of ‘bio sciences’ degrees were in sports science.

How to survive a zombie invasion? Run *through* the zombies, and harness the “bystander effect”:

In 2002, an Ohio nuclear reactor came within 1 cm of disaster. Aging reactors and how to keep them safe

40 years of environmental destruction as captured from space

Geometry proves sheep are selfish jerks.

Jon Eisen and others critique an NYT story about a supposed “simulation” of a whole cell. Which isn’t.

Uri Simonsohn’s fraud detection paper, now available for downloading, suggests that Smeesters’ data was not generated by actual subjects

Belgian dispute over ovarian transplant findings includes claims of theft, arson

India temporarily bans tiger tourism. Tigers irritated at being forced to stay at home.

PLOS has become so successful that they can now afford to capitalise the O. Good times.

Pertussis opens can of whoop-ass on Washington. “Epidemics [are] not polite,” says David Dobbs.

Next time you see a Rorschach test, say,”I see a butterfly. Also, some pseudoscience.”

Ending U.S. chimpanzee labs will save chimp research, says primate researcher

Drop in prostate cancers seen after new U.S. advice

Industry money and questionable ethics contaminate UT Austin fracking study

Did Modern Humans—Not Environmental Catastrophe—Extinguish the Neandertals?



“Experts predict tonight’s opening ceremony will cause other countries to back away from Britain slowly while saying ‘oookay”

This woman is playing a walrus. More orchestras could do with a walrus.

Algae paint the valley red. Amazing pics.

This fish is a dickhead. Well, dickchin.

Wazzock” is a fantastic word, and the New Yorker is ON IT!

Best headline of the week

Incredible. Rupert Murdoch – champion of the 99%

This is EXACTLY how I felt about genies as a kid. First, game the system. Then, mischief.

If they can do it in a paper, I can surely do it in a story?

This is what two handfuls of burrowing owls looks like

It turns out that thermodynamics doesn’t give a toss how much you believe in yourself

A Librarynth

Smart bin moves to catch thrown waste. Throw paper at someone; watch bin rush them

Boris Johnson’s Olympic welcome.

Snake devours its tail: science media studies study finds science media studies “biased” http://t.co/k3Vk7M41



The Twitterjoketrial is over and we (and by we, I mean Paul Chambers but also the non-muppets of the world) won.

I love the variety in the gravity of the topics covered by this Wikipedia ur-list.

Kelly Bourdet on why it’s entirely appropriate to out rapists on Google and the Internet

I’m the first guy. The 14 most annoying people on Twitter

BBC story on tropical forests cuts/pastes straight from the paper. I suppose it’s not as bad as cutting/pasting straight from the press release, but it’s still lazy as hell (and dry as hell as a result.

Internet pornography — like so many storms, like so much kale — is seasonal.” By Megan Garber.

Terribly misjudged Nature opinion piece on why “science writers shouldn’t fear jargon” that utterly misses the point that all your semantic accuracy and sophistication doesn’t matter if *no one reads you*. Once again, my views on jargon, and a case study for how to deal with it: Carl Zimmer.

To counter Matt Richtel’s tedious NYT techno-fearmongering, read this smart take on our servitude to work

Save us from godawful infographics, Superman! Or failing that, Google…

Europe’s plague of plagiarism includes a book chapter on plagiarism that was plagiarised.

4 million hotel room key cards are hackable

Co-sign! A 12-step program to end press releases

Feminism and men – discussion between Martin Robbins and Laurie Penny

If you’re as sick of Olympics coverage as I am, try the Guardian. One click to hide all of it.

“Twitter may sound trivial. It’s not. It’s hugely important.” – David Attenborough!!!

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