I’ve got your missing links right here (5 October 2013)

Top picks

DNA testing is totally changing the way people look at their genealogy, and some people are learning that they’re not who they thought they were. An amazing story from Virginia Hughes, who cements her place as one of the best science writers around.

NASA has almost run out of plutonium, which could spell the end of deep-space exploration. Fascinating story by Dave Mosher.

Camera trap captures astonishing photos of a golden eagle taking out a deer.

“As the Prozac nation fades, the empire of the circuit-based human will rise.” Wonderful ending by Vaughan Bell.

“When you get a tick up your nose, you tell the story.”

We contain genomic multitudes: Carl Zimmer on chimeras and mosaics.

Birth Of The World’s First Underwater Museum – wonderful piece by Erik Vance

Who ate the dead shrew for science? One of several great IgNobel pieces from SciCurious.

This hilarious piece by Ian Sample will not tell you how to make a Jedi lightsaber.

The MERS coronavirus celebrates its first birthday. There are some great retrospectives by Bob Roos and Helen Branswell.

A spoon for people with Parkinson’s, which counteracts the wobbles of a shaky grip. By Rebecca Rosen.

“It was a funeral that was typical in every way but one: Boomer was a machine.” By Megan Garber.

Behavioural genetics can ignite controversy and some scientists have been burned. An interesting piece on taboos within genetics, by Erika Check Hayden.

“What makes the world of a sperm so different from that of a sperm whale?” Wonderful animation by Aatish Bhatia.

Infertile woman gives birth after ovaries were removed, stimulated to make eggs & reinserted. Note cautious comments.

When you’re a naked mole rat, why stop at just one weapon against ageing? By Carl Zimmer

African rhinos may be extinct in as little as 10 years as poaching climbs.

On New Guinea, there are lizards with green blood, bones, and tissues. Why?



A big NYT piece on why there are still so few women in science. Not new, but sweeping & well-written

Dad’s testosterone cream sends 2 toddlers into puberty

Spinning ballerinas around in a chair. For SCIENCE!

If you want to test your new robot, ask a dog.

Why you can’t vaccinate an octopus

Platybelodon: the elephant with a spork for a mouth.

The remote recording machines and wireless robots of a planetary geologist researching “alien spaces” here on Earth

This swarm of jellyfish-killing machines is a terrible idea.

“We have reached exoplanet overload.”

Puking amphipods, voracious sea angels and giant rutting fish in Helen Scales’ TEDx talk

Want to know how to blindfold a dolphin?

This fish may be the earliest known creature with what we’d recognise as a face.”

Man controls robotic leg with his brain, kicks football.

Science (the journal) ran a “sting” where they got a fake paper accepted in several journals. Great, but they made it about open-access despite never having a control group. It drew lots of fire – here’s a selection from Peter Suber (measured), Michael Eisen (a little snarky), and Mike Taylor (immensely snarky but also collecting links).

“We are less likely to behave ethically and kindly if our belief in free will is diminished.”

Pics of “stone animals” make Lake Natron look like a graveyard. The truth is that the lake is a place of vibrant life

A heartrending story of scientists who are euthanizing animals in government labs affected by shutdown

In which the CDC screams, “Nooooooo,” and jumps into the air in front of an explosion. By Maryn McKenna.

A small Mexican cooperative is starting to farm octopuses.

The Man Who Saved the World by Doing Absolutely Nothing, by Megan Garber.

The stunning beetle that wrestles with its huge legs.

Hidden cameras capture the moment a tiger cub is born at London Zoo

Zombie: “It’s still good; it’s still good!” Human brain boiled in its skull lasted 4000 years

Watch this adorable crow play fetch with its human friend!

Coloring In Birds’ Bellies with Magic Marker Makes Them Healthier

So, yes, apparently quite a lot of entomologists *are* afraid of spiders.

Sometimes you just gotta punch deep-sea squid with a toilet brush.

Interesting debate about regulation of e-cigarettes.

On Darwin’s moth and the predictive power of evolution:

The way you move is tied to a hole in your skull.

A collection of insects hugging Alex Wild with their stings and mandibles.

New Catalog of Gorilla Calls Could Help Reveal What They’re Saying

The drop in pressure that precedes a rain shower means less sexytime for some insects.

The “innards principle” is less gross than it might sound.

Delighted to see Bug Girl bringing little creatures to the big leagues at her new Wired blog.

“The vanilla flavoring in your baked goods and candy could come from the anal excretions of beavers.”

Thor’s Hero Shrew has a better name than you.

Is Toxoplasma really a parasitic puppet-master?

Just Posting It” works, leads to psychology retraction: Uri Simonsohn launches a new blog

Red Bull gives you [REDACTED]. Red Bull may be suppressing science on risks of alcohol & energy drinks

“The pain, at that point, wasn’t unbearable, and he proceeded with fishing.” On black widow bites

The long history of frogs in space.

A powerful NYT piece on the real causes of drug problems

How to Cook up Your Own Social Priming Article

Here is an octopus popping out of a beer bottle.

Extraordinary human brain found in archives from old psychiatric hospital

Bug vomit tricks plants.

Science you can use! How much energy does it take to vaporize a human?


XKCD on infographics

There is no lake in this photo.

“This complex and tragic event supports my own view” – Vaughan Bell.

Incredible HD footage of plankton, including what it looks like when a jellyfish stings

A breathtaking gallery of otherworldly ocean life.

Some courtship rituals of birds of paradise. *looks at evolution over rim of glasses* *shakes head*

Stunning photo of cane toad eating a bat

A terrifying wave of Marios, sweeping the land, destroying all in their path

The Impossible and Improbable Objects of Giuseppe Colarusso

Giant spider crab, reporting for duty! Then it rotated its claw in a small circle.


On the origin of goo goo ga joob.

Popular Science made the decision to shutter its comments. Marie-Claire Shanahan thinks that’s a bad idea. See also: this piece from Slate.

The 12 people you find in news website comment sections.

Video shows what the Sagrada Familia will look like when it’s finally bloody finished in 2026.

“You’re like a robot.” Amazing pictures of Amazon’s huge warehouse in UK

Late to this, but congratulations to fellow blogger Carl Zimmer for his 10 year bloggiversary.

An amazing story of defensive looting.

A Day in the Life of David Quammen

“The German war machine had to choose between long-range bombing and wurst. It chose the former.”

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