I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (5 July 2014)

Top picks

Presley, the second-to-last wild-born Spix’s macaw, who may have influenced the movie Rio, has died. Beautiful story by Nadia Drake.

Of the 200 cases of leprosy diagnosed annually in the US, most are thought to stem from contact with armadillos. Natalie Angier doing what she does best.

With his genius for observation, Charles Darwin noticed a curious fact about colours that’s still little known to this day

Chris Chambers analyses whether Facebook’s mood manipulation experiment was a breach of ethics. “Were it not so amateurish, one might be tempted to think this is all a ruse.”

What it will take to get the largest Ebola outbreak ever under control? Dick Thompson reports.

Fascinating post on loss, forgetting, and what it really means to delete an email. By Jacqui Shine.

Researchers stimulated a single part of a woman’s brain (the claustrum) & she became unconscious, but still awake

How do you make an exoplanet? Ann Finkbeiner reports

The (surprisingly limited) solid surfaces of the Solar System

“I can’t believe that’s a living thing.” Scientists find incredible purple jelly. I love how excited they are.

Time to redraw the map of the brain? Excellent write-up by NeuroSkeptic

Three new mushroom species found in a porcini packet bought at a London shop!

The only thing you need to read about the STAP stem-cell saga, by David Cyranoski who was all over this since the start. Note also: Nature’s journalists holding their own bosses to account. Great stuff.


“If I didn’t know those were eggs, I’d think the squid had lucked into a marine bubblewrap deposit.”

Another over-egged psychology study from Science showing that people don’t like being bored & can be morbidly curious. Uh-huh. Tom Stafford’s interpretation of the results is far better than the authors’ own.

Algorithm predicts whether 14-yr-olds will binge-drink by 16. Better than chance, not great; but that’s not the point

On the “Nature does this all the time” defence of flu-modification research

This Monet knock-off is just 3 times the width of a human hair

Engineered red blood cells could become miniature medicine cabinets – and avoid some of the risks of gene therapy

Government leaders take strong public positions against antibiotic resistance

Are we heading towards world where the lifespan gap between rich & poor is even larger than it is now?

Sentences you don’t often read: “We should be glad that it was only anthrax.” An op/ed on worrying pandemic flu research.

The kangaroo’s fifth leg

The 11th Archaeopteryx has feathery trousers that got scratched off the first one.

“Its name is Otocyon megalotis, which means literally, ‘ear-dog large ears’.”

Wildlife at Chernobyl: lots of radiation but, on the plus side, no humans.

Evolution’s contrarian capacity for creativity

Four theories about why the massive amount of plastic littering the ocean’s surface is disappearing.

Fungi borrowed bacterial gene again and again to colonise plant roots.

Emily Graslie hands museum specimens to an engineer and gets him to guess What the Function? And it’s brilliant.

Mass cull of cattle, not badgers, is only drastic action to end scourge of TB

This squirrel has the most ludicrously fluffy tail.

“Exsanguinate.” Wonderful talk on the science of fireflies, by Sara Lewis.

Bat feared extinct for 120 years turns up in Papua New Guinea

Watch It Swallow An Entire Tree In Seconds

Squeezing or acid-bathing stem cell papers for 6 months reprograms them into a retracted state.

WHO calls emergency talks on “biggest and most deadly Ebola outbreak the world has seen”

The science of why your headphones always get tangled.

The birth of the “modern pig” is a love story of sorts: how a Western sow and an Eastern boar found each other

Why would a plant evolve the ability to hear?

8 summer miseries made worse by global warming, from poison ivy to allergies

Flame Retardants Are Everywhere (from peanut butter to penguins)

These guys are actually making Dr Octopus tentacles.

Invertebrates make up 97% of animal species and, now, almost 0% of the Smithsonian National Zoo.

What will happen to temperate forests after the emerald ash borer is through?

“Why does everything keep on having sex?” ask still-baffled biologists.

Turtles are really resilient, but they heal really slowly”. Inside a turtle rehab centre.

10 Mad Science Projects Funded by DARPA

The cost of food is up 2.5 percent since May

Malarial parasite alters smell of an infected mouse, making it more attractive to mosquitoes

Public asked to look out for clever rooks in their gardens to help research

“The UK is facing a major sperm shortage.”

Exploding the 10,000 hours myth – it’s no guarantee for greatness

Fellow journalists, could we maybe please stop recycling each other’s bullshit? Do some original work? No?

These chimps just started sticking grass in their ears for no reason.

Diverse colourful faces evolved to stop guenon monkeys from cross-breeding.

Why snakes flick their tongues (and why Encyclopedia Britannica is wrong about it)

How the science of reputation could help to prevent summer blackouts

Daily Mail screws up this cancer story in a way that could harm patients, and won’t correct it.

SOUNDWAVE SUPERIOR: Animal tissue grown in patterns on scaffold made of soundwaves

Maryn McKenna on the progressive Dutch farm-antibiotic policy

Secrets of how spindly-legged giraffes support their weight

Mountain gorillas have bounced back from a record low of 254 in 1981 to 880 individuals today

What if all the bodies of water on Earth magically disappeared?


Creepy isopod iPhone case

Books vs Kindles

A lightning storm from the ISS

Rather than seeing Transformers 4 in the cinema, just read io9’s hilarious FAQ

How to milk a stonefish

A comprehensive overview of chemical-free consumer products. Groundbreaking.

How to make fireworks even cooler: film them from within using a drone.


A short film about a mantis shrimp, for people who enjoy silent movies, housework, and ultraviolence

Ukrainian astronomers have named a star “Putin is a d*ckhead”.


Scientists Translate Chimpanzee and Bonobo Gestures That Resemble Human Language

This Chrome extension redirects Daily Mail and Daily Express links to Tea and Kittens. Bliss.

Guardian articles are being censored by Google following Euro ruling

“Could your Strong Female Character be seamlessly replaced with a floor lamp with some useful info written on it?”

“I Punch First.” On self-defence and training.

Here’s what happens when you accidentally email your whole company, and that company is Buzzfeed

How “Frozen” took over the world

Forget AP. Forget Chicago. Here’s the CIA Style Manual.

Journalists: if you misrepresent your sources, they can now call you out at length on their blogs.

Google Is Being Forced To Censor The History Of Merrill Lynch — And That Should Terrify You

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