I’ve got your missing links right here (30 April 2011)

Top thirteen picks

Euthanasia Coaster – how to design an actual killer coaster, by Jennifer Ouellette. Note, this post features Fabio vs a goose

Smash moons together rip Saturn’s rings off destroy universes yeeaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh

A neurologist finishes his last paper, on the disease that’s killing him.

Beautiful stuff about lyrebirds as historians, by Robert Kruylwich. Nature’s Living Tape Recorders May Be Telling Us Secrets. This is how it’s done, folks.

Inspired and appalled by this atrocity from Cell, I give you Not Exactly Royal Wedding Science. Now can we all please shut up about it? Except for Heather Pringle and John Rennie who have provided some wonderful tie-ins – one on inbreeding among bees and another involving axe murders and death pits

“One of the most important decisions a writer makes is one a reader never sees” – to do a story or not. I couldn’t agree more with Paul Raeburn that the New York Times’s profile of Andrew Wakefield (another one?) is a story that shouldn’t have been written.

Tiger Moms v Orchid Children. A post about nature of nurturance and resilience, by David Dobbs.

How sorting out hookworm infections boosted the economy of the southern US. (This looks like a fascinating new blog)

Jonah Lehrer makes the psychological case for knowing more about wine

Is it possible to analyze DNA from Egyptian mummies? Jo Marchant investigates.

Measles: it’s incredibly hard and expensive to stop. Here’s Maryn McKenna vividly describing the cost of vaccine refusal.

Absolutely stunning origami X-ray animals

In tribute to the legendary Tom Eisner, Jennifer Frazer’s takes us on a tour of the chemical world of insects & plants, featuring bombardier beetles, bolas spiders and more


A delectable post on the science of taste

Mind-controlled prosthetics could be available to amputees within a year. Awesome.

Armadillos linked to leprosy in humans. I can’t read this without thinking of this

Rube Goldberg contraption is world’s least efficient machine, even more so than Donald Trump’s brain.

Geologists reject mega-annus. Scientists have ruckus about the definition of a year http://goo.gl/5V1Mx

The invincible harvestman – fends off spiders by just being incredibly hard, by Matt Soniak.

Playboy Mansion besieged by legionnaires. Er, sort of.

Poet tries to immortalise verse by inserting it into genome of Deinococcusinserting it into genome of Deinococcus, a really hard bacteria

Atlas Obscura’s Guide to the Longest Running Scientific Experiments

Guantanamo doctors ignored broken bones and other signs of torture. Paul Raeburn asks why there’s been so little reporting of the study

An update to the Marc Hauser situation – he’s partially replicated the results from his contested Science paper. Now, if only someone else would do so…

Is the ocean really getting less green? Andy Revkin covers interesting rebuttals to a Nature paper from last year on the decline of phytoplankton

What does “Buffo the truffle-hunting dog” have to do with climate change? Great story by Dave Mosher

Hypothesis: bacteria emit radio signals by bouncing electrons around their chromosomes. Nutty, theoretical, fascinating. A good take.

Alex Wild on common vs scientific names in science writing

Why we need to remember our past to envision our future, by Carl Zimmer

Jason Goldman on “fixing” the A-not-B error. (That is much more interesting than it sounds)

“When times are tough…cannibalism can become a rather attractive option

My time as a PhD student was an utter unmitigated failure. It was great. Here’s Wired UK’s feature on why you need to fail to succeed

Chris Atherton talks about the value of being disruptive

Scientific American’s in-depth report on Chernobyl 25 years later and a personal piece from Olga Belogolova on how Chernobyl changed the course of her family’s life,

Rubbish. The journal that accepted the Bem et al paper on ESP refuses to publish three negative replications. A big problem for science.

Man Discovers New Life Form at South African Truck Stop. An old story this, but beautifully told.

Flies dog-paddle through the air to achieve fast forward speeds.

This piece on MAOA (the inaccurately called “warrior gene”) is bizarre. The media uses a silly label. It’s wrong. Science doesn’t support that label… so it’s wrong too? See my comment. I really hate this logic and I’m seeing it more and more. A field of science fails to live up to hype, and thus is rubbish. Noooo… that means the hype is rubbish. Where did the hype come from?

Who owns Einstein’s face?

Brian Switek on why MOMA needs dinosaurs

After a nice, hot lunch of blood, mosquitoes go into heat shock.

Successful urban bird species have bigger brains than exclusively rural species

Tiangong ‘heavenly palace’: China’s rival to the International Space Station

Peer reviewers: stop wasting researchers’ time by demanding pointless extra experiments – a Nature opinion piece

Insects transform and roll out: the real version and the robot

The Ignorance Of Voters – Jonah Lehrer on the difference between rational voters & rationalizing voters

Biggest Ever Assemblage of Whales Isn’t Necessarily Good News. They’re up to something…


I would be overjoyed to take one of the photos in Alex Wild’s fail pile

Amazon prices book about flies at $23 million. Why?

Onion: We Must Preserve The Earth’s Dwindling Resources For My Five Children

Best. Bedtime book. Ever.

A chemistry kit that’s free of chemicals. I wish i was joking.

Caution: God.

Hungry great tits tweet to the world via Twitter using keyboards made of fat

Happy World Tapir Day. Raising awareness of the symptoms of tapirs and how to check yourself for them

You could post to say “I haven’t been blogging for a while.” Or you could do this. I love John Rennie.

“If you’ve read this far, mention ‘bananas’ in your comment.”


National Geographic is taking control of ScienceBlogs. Ivan Oransky had the scoop, and the follow-up with details. Meanwhile, Chris Mims told the secret history of ScienceBlogs, Martin Robbins compiled the entire thing on Storify, and Curtis Brainard sums it up on CJR.

A lovely, honest post by Brian Switek on blogs, journalism & the science writing ecosystem while Alice Bell muses about whether blogging has changed science writing

Sentenc.es – A Disciplined Way To Deal With Email

Human meets computer: an infographic from punched cards to brain-computer interfaces.

Is social media ruining students? Hint: Twitter is awesome.

“A conference is not a place to hear someone read their research paper or blog post aloud. It’s a place where a few hundred people get together to agree to pay attention together.” Conversation is the New Attention

Great news about OpenLab – it’ll be edited by the awesome Jennifer Ouellette and it’ll be published by SciAm Books

There are at least two journals dedicated to negative results (well, and are open about it…)

Storify is now in public beta so anyone can try it out. More free tools! Gimmegimmegimme

Your taste is why your work disappoints you“- Ira Glass

DeLene Beeland posts her original piece with the edited changes marked. Illuminating.

This Startup Just Solved Every Publication’s Paywall Problem

Universities, stuck in the past, are failing today’s students. With an intriguing Master’s programme.

Why churnalism isn’t journalism, and why that matters. Good stuff from Martin Robbins. I’ve always liked Mark Henderson’s measured take, as voiced in the comments.

Slate’s Will Saletan tells the story behind his series on false memory at the Open Notebook. I love this series.

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