I’ve got your missing links right here (30 June 2012)

Top picks

“Despite appearances, this isn’t [a] cruelly bisected alien stone organism or a tomato thunderegg.” Amazing post from Bec Crew about a really unusual animal.

Incredible post from Craig McClain on how presidential elections are affected by a 100 million year old coastline

This scientist may be about to rewrite the mammal family tree, but doesn’t really care. Really good Nature feature from Elie Dolgin.

Science: it’s a people thing. Alice Bell is spot on about “Science: it’s a girl thing” fiasco. Plus: three actual ways of getting kids into science

A Tale of Two Robots – a very interesting piece by Andrew Wilson on what “embodied cognition” actually means.

Longread on EteRNA, a videogame that lets citizen scientists mess w/ RNA. By Brendan Koerner. The lede is wonderful, as is the rest.

Why isn’t there more coal? Because 300 million years ago, fungi evolved the ability to decompose trees. By David Biello.

Really nice advice for young writers: “Never describe yourself as an ‘aspiring’ anything.” And other tips.

A male chimp in an LA Zoo killed a baby chimp. That’s normal, and not something keepers can do much about. By Jason Goldman.

The lives of Africa’s mysterious fairy circles. Here’s the best writing but here’s a better discussion of potential causes

Great reporting from Deborah Blum on a new study on condors + lead ammo poisoning. Much better than my efforts.

How a Chinese man in space chatted to one in the deep ocean & what it means for science

Er, WOW? Oxygen microbubbles injected into bloodstream could sustain asphyxiated patients.

Lonesome George, last of his species of Galapagos giant tortoise, died. Henry Nicholls wrote a lovely obituary. And someone misquotes him really badly. The Guardian had a really sad gallery.

Student solves mystery after listening to Nature podcast! Ancient text may explain 8thC radiation spike.

A psychologist resigned over misconduct charges this week. As ever, Daniel Simons has some interesting thoughts about the implications for priming research and whether better disclosure of author contributions would help in fraud/misconduct cases. Ivan Oransky has more on anti-fraud data-sleuthing. And What happens to the co-authors when a scientist goes down for fraud? One of them will tell you himself

Massive congratulations to Aatish Bhatia for winning the Three Quarks Daily Science Prize. Go read his post on colour and the brain.

What the Supercool Arctic Ground Squirrel Teaches Us about the Brain’s Resilience. By Ferris Jabr.

How to solve impossible problems: Daniel Russell’s awesome Google search techniques. Try the building test!

My son has cancer. He can’t go into day care because of unvaccinated children.”


Oh dear, palaeo dieters. Early humans ate bark. On you go then.

One of the EU’s advisors on the “Science: it’s a girl thing!” campaign offers thoughts on how the farcical video happened.

Ancestor’s Trail: very cool sci activity, combining rambling through English hills + evolutionary biology

New Brain-Machine Spelling Device Could Help the Paralyzed Communicate

How finger counting varies around the world

Clear winner for worst science article of the month. The Telegraph cottons on to the fact that humans have a common ancestor. Or something. Story makes no sense. Also, STOP LOOKING AT ME.

Leo Hickman on fracking, and its climate change risks.

Mark Walport is appointed as Govt Chief Science Adviser

‘Zombie’ worms with no mouth, gut or anus use acid to “eat” bones

Controversial paper on life-extending buckyballs corrected after blog readers note problems

Microbial genomics will be more profitable than human genomics in short-term

Neal Stephenson’s Kickstarter campaign to make the greatest swordfighting game ever. Take. All. My. Money

Andrew King is blogging about tracking hunting dogs. Love the “rule of forearm

Tiny crustacean rules oceans with rubbery gums

If only all physics homework was like this: “Estimate the force that The Hulk pulls on the hammer.” By Rhett Allain.

EPA is not required to re-prove the existence of the atom.” Climate science gets a win in US appeals court

Wellcome Trust will withhold researchers’ final grant money if they fail to make results open-access

Dear Marie Curie: We’re really, really sorry for this

Is everyone a little bit racist? Mo Costandi looks at how the brain views ethnicity

The living rainbow: A fatal flaw in a classic study of sexual selection

“It basically invented the concept of a cat.” – on Google’s brain simulator

Panguite, a new mineral discovered by a meteorite hunter, that predates the formation of the Earth

Greenland is feeding endangered whale meat to tourists

Deborah McKenzie has a new column at New Scientist about the manifold ways in which we’re all going to die

How Frank Swain unleashed a silly code upon his website and created a monster of “aggressive nothingness”. It’s like he’s never seen any sci-fi

Highest Man-Made Temperature: 4 TRILLION Degrees

2009 swine flu outbreak was “15 times deadlier than thought”. Jeez. Thought is already pretty deadly.

Biologists quiver at the prospect of maths, apparently.

Loch Ness monster cited by US schools as evidence disproving evolution. Wait till they hear about the haggis…

Depressing. Final Rio report is the “longest suicide note in history

From Galileo to Turing: a timeline of persecuted scientists. Note who’s not on the list: you and your crackpot ideas

“Hello world. I am tony nicklinson, I have locked-in syndrome. You can now watch the video of my first ever tweet

Daily Mail “reporter” who spread BS about vaccines and autism threatens blogger with libel



A gem from the Guardian Style Guide: the correct spelling of “awopbopaloobop alopbamboom”

Wonderful headline.

J. Jonah Jameson appears at Leveson Inquiry

Bristlecone pines are just so staggeringly beautiful

Wikimedia photos of the year. I especially like #2

Here’s the back of Elsevier’s flyer, advertising their newsletter for journos. What, er, choice stories :-/

Queen Elizabeth has 10 times the lifespan of workers and lays up to 2,000 eggs a day”


Science journalists: now you too can experience the horrors that scientists feel when they see TV scientists

What do we want? THINGS! When do we want them? At a time of Facebook’s choosing.

Move things on PC screen with a wave of the hand. Must place other hand on temple like you’re telekinetic

Open Notebook secures extra NASW funding. Congrats! It’s the best resource for science writers out there.

A decent discussion of the Lehrer incident, with Carl Zimmer, Deborah Blum, David Quammen, Jack Shafer, Seth Mnookin – all being sensible.

How CNN’s puerile quest to be first made them look like idiots. The lesson we can all take from this debacle is that we can punk the media by writing ambiguous intros to important docs. To battle!

Buy your own Tuscan village on eBay

To be read by anyone commenting on the BBC ever: is the news biased, or are you?

Lunch is an urban invention: didn’t become a regular meal until 1850

Want to see who is bragging about drugs/is hungover/hates their boss on Facebook?

Aaron Sorkin’s at the “self-plagiarism” kinda-thing too.

Brazilian prisoners get shorter sentences if they read books and write essays about them

Wow. Chuck Norris didn’t just plagiarise Carl Zimmer. Chuck Norris GHOST-plagiarised Carl Zimmer.

Transparency changes repetition from deception into consistency” – Steve Buttry. Yes. That.

Slate invites you to give a fork, with this excellent history.

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