Sign up for The Ed’s Up—a weekly newsletter of my writing plus some of the best stuff from around the Internet.
From me at the Atlantic:
- We’re the Only Animals With Chins, and No One Knows Why
- No, Really, Other Animals Don’t Have Chins
- To Lions, Zebras Are Mostly Gray
- Ninja Eagles On Stilts
The Neurologist Who Hacked His Brain—And Almost Lost His Mind. This is Dan Engber at his very best. Superb journalism.
Nonsense paper on conspiracy theories gets widely shared by “skeptics”; I died of irony poisoning.
“You wouldn’t really die of anything. You would just stop being biology and start being physics.” Welcome back, What If?
A wonderful and ongoing series of dispatches from the ConspiraSea Cruise, a floating haven of irrationality.
Ex Machina’s flaws reflect the flaws in modern thinking about artificial intelligence. By Martin Robbins.
Calories consumed minus calories burned: it’s not that simple. By Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley
European Go champion on losing to a Google AI: “If no one told me, maybe I would think the player was a little strange.” Next up: the world champion
Teens Aren’t Ruining Language. Adrienne LaFrance Can’t Even.
Hilarious, informative Q&A about Planet Nine, by Nadia Drake
“Policing the microbiome is central to Eisen’s identity”. Lovely Wired profile of Jonathan Eisen.
Loving this science-in-action story from Hillary Rosner, on an awesome fossil site with a cool unsolved mystery
Excellent David Quammen explainer about Zika, this year’s scary virus
Why cheetah researchers spend a lot of time sneaking up on bushes
US government says Theranos lab poses ‘immediate jeopardy to patient safety’; they have 10 days to respond
Mastodons, ground sloths, and sabercats disappeared after the Ice Age. How did jaguars survive?
Chimps hunt monkey prey almost to (local) extinction.
Why leafcutter ants evolved into sophisticated farmers
Tardigrades get weirder: pretty much their whole body is a head
Using nuclear bombs to study sea turtles
What you should know about the birth defect tied to Zika virus
“The reality is that forensic science today is a strange mix of the high-tech and the outdated”
The extraordinary world of illegal bird killing
David Quammen heads to Chile to catch some cicadas
“The way prizes give disproportionate credit to a handful of individuals is an injustice to the way science really works”
Why Eric Lander morphed from science god to punching bag
Warm-blooded lizards switch on mystery heat source at will
Cat-gras syndrome: “the case of a man who believed that his cat was in fact a different cat”
TIL that the female nautilus has a structure called the “Organ of Owen”
Death of a Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle takes species 25% closer to extinction.
Alarming’ spread of Zika virus spurs global emergency response.
I’m a lichen this piece.
A wearable sensor that multiplex digitizes your sweat
Criticism of ‘research parasites’ moves NEJM in the wrong direction
How to grow identical snowflakes
Worst year ever for rhino poaching in Africa
Pet project hunts genetic links to behaviour by polling owners on their companions’ quirks.
New Tests for Zika in the Works
Genetics rewrites story of fish species trapped in single hole
Because of Zika, “El Salvador is advising all women in the country not to get pregnant until 2018.”
Bigger-brained mammals do better with a baited puzzle box
“Whatever you do, don’t name your new species after yourself. That’s tacky.”
Storks are building their lives in landfills, altering their migration patterns
Bee cum protects queens from STD
Three dead sperm whales wash up on Skegness beach
Jumping spiders can think ahead, plan detours
Bagworm moth cocoon is a tiny log cabin.
A “truly astonishing find” shows how ancient Babylonians tracked Jupiter’s movement across the sky.
The world needs a Zika vaccine. Getting one will take years
Did you know cheese, even mild cheddar, is considered gag-inducing in China?
Hahahaha screw you, nut graf!
On machine guns: “It is the most dreadful instrument that I have ever seen or imagined.”
8 Incredible Symbiotic Relationships From The Animal Kingdom
Neil Gaiman’s library. Drooooooool
Tian Tian the panda, enjoying the snow
Why we picture bombs as black balls with burning wicks. (That’s not what they look like.)
How to fix Twitter: some excellent suggestions about changing the way replies and mentions work
I always thought Darth Vader’s lower faceplate looked like a harmonica.
Memories of a revolution that failed: the fifth anniversary of Tahrir Square
Adrienne LaFrance tried to send a telegram. It did not work.
“Mushroom death suit” feeds on your corpse, grows mushrooms from it.