I’ve got your missing links right here (8 October 2011)

Top picks

The Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to three scientists for understanding immunology. Because, let’s face it, no one else does. Meanwhile, it transpired that one of the laureates had died three days before. Cue hijinks.

“The US is experiencing ant invasions that are like those “endless [movie] franchises that never dies” Great post on invasive ants by Alex Wild.

A scan reveals a lemon-size mass in boy’s chest. Fearing cancer, surgeons operate & see something odd

Can you use brain scanners to detect paedophiles, by measuring their response to images of children? Would you even want to? Top Neuroskeptic post.

A great explainer on dark energy, by Sean Carroll. Where one I was completely lost, now I am merely very confused.

Awesome artist turns the dingy tunnels near Waterloo Station into musical instruments… with SCIENCE

How the Tate Britain used eye-tracking tech to restore a flood-damaged masterpiece.

AWESOME! ‘Invisibility Cloak’ Uses Mirages To Make Objects Vanish

It’s 1940. Niels Bohr needs to melt his two Nobel Prize medals before the Nazis find him. What does he do?

Carl Zimmer on the amazing slime moulds

The New York Times published a truly awful op/ed piece on iPhone addiction. There’s no shortage of takedowns of this neuro-fluff, but my favourite one was by Vaughan Bell: “The New York Times has just pissed its neuroscientific pants in public.”  Here’s another good one and one more from the Neurocritic. Meanwhile this old list of “Brain Scans Show That…” media stories from Dorothy Bishop is still relevant.

An awesome tribute to the science teachers who change our lives, collected by Steve SIlberman and featuring me, Rebecca Skloot, David Dobbs and more.

Astonishing down-the-microscope photos. This is one of the best of such series. My favourite are the spider eyes at the very end. Like domes on Mars.

Breast cancer’s false narrative, by Christie Aschwenden. What the media rarely tells you.

Top 5 volcanic lairs for the aspiring evil genius from the Geological Society of London

“[The Nobel in Medicine] was given to a scientist that many feel is undeserving of the honour,” says Kevin Bonham. But Carl Zimmer argues that Nobel Prize disputes are tedious and inevitable. “The people behind the Nobel Prize have done a lot of good. But the vehicle that delivers this good is absurd”

Awesome: watching an episode of Lie to Me makes people worse at detecting lies. Lie to Me lied to me!

Large Hadron Collider putting family-run particle colliders out of business

How the evolution of armadillos made them good carriers for leprosy, and surprisingly well-endowed.

“A bonfire is basically a tree running in reverse.” A lovely list of 20 things you didn’t know about fire, from Discover.

Oh bloody hell. A computer virus has hit the U.S. drone fleet. “We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back… We think it’s benign. But we just don’t know.” Great.


Science is Vital continues: Vital signs of an unhealthy future for UK science

What 300 sea otters can tell us about the ocean. Other than that it is insanely cute

The first clinical uses of whole-genome sequencing show just how challenging it can be. A great feature by Brendan Maher. And not all whole genome sequencing ends happily: an important story by Erika Check Hayden.

Russian tigers threatened by dog disease. These cats do not LOL.

Steve Jobs died. Here’s a well designed tribute. Meanwhile, Dr Len from the American Cancer Society calls Jobs a cancer survivor and SFGate describes the rare pancreatic cancer that Jobs had. But the last laugh goes to the Onion: Last American Who Knew What The F**k He Was Doing Dies

Judy Stone explains how clinical trials work and why they’re expensive.

“Science, besides having crackerjack storylines… and superb metaphors, is a cure for neurotic uncertainty.” Ann Finkbeiner on her conversion to science writing.

The Galapagos Islands are largely inhabited by creationists. From -5:01 onwards.

Eric Kandel on that unpopular and obscure branch of biology known as neuroscience. What a dude.

Cloned human embryo makes working stem cells. Er, yes, but they’re triploid! That’s not actually very good! All the fuss over abnormaliites in iPSCs seems trivial when the best the alternative technique can do is make triploid cells.

A gene that affects moral choices?

Screw you mind. Eight counter-productive effects of thought-suppression

How epigenetics works – a video by Neil deGrasse Tyson

How papers are withdrawn from scientific literature

“Shechtman said to himself in Hebrew, “Eyn chaya kazo,” which means “There can be no such creature.” 29 years later, he wins the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

Fossils Help Revitalise Hard-Hit Newfoundland Fishing Area

How do you build a prosthetic foot that can support the weight of an elephant?

NESTA are developing a UK Alliance for Evidence, to look at the evidence base for social policy decisions. Interesting.

Prehistoric Dog Found with Mammoth Bone in Mouth

Solyndra and our solar future: the real story is $30 billion dollars being invested in renewables

100 year old time capsule could tell us more about the evolution of bacteria.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force says that PSA testing has no benefit for healthy men. About time. It really is a truly rubbish screening test.

Memory errors are all in the groove. Mo Costandi covers a new paper on a fold in our brains that affects our ability to discern what actually happened from what we imagined. Meanwhile, Time gets it completely wrong.

Empty space is empty except for all the “frothing, turbulent gas”

Judy Mikovits, the controversial researcher behind the XMRV-chronic fatigue syndrome link, has been fired. And there are some mighty dodgy dealings with some of her images.

The Guaraní believe that people with recurrent seizures are a gateway between the worlds of life & death.

“The surgeon fumbled and panicked, cursing the patient loudly for having “a very deep perineum” – more horror stories from the pre-anaesthetic era.

The origins of the midlife crisis

Drawing the line between science and pseudo-science.

Alzheimer’s might be contagious like prions. Er, only if its transmitted by a scientist injecting you in the brain with a needle. And if you’re a mouse.

What does success look like in big science?

“It went from ‘Oh, this is a terrible mistake’ to ‘Oh my God, this might be the right answer!” – Adam Reiss on his Nobel win.

Would-be geoengineers must listen to the public

A creationist’s claims that atoms are “irreducibly complex” have been thoroughly dismantled.

Whales – one of evolution’s greatest punchlines

There are little mites in your eyelash and they can pop out and crawl over your face. Thye’re largely harmless, until they’re not.

The hairs in your nose continue to beat after death

Paleolithic finger painting? Finger flutings in Rouffignac cave suggest young kids contributed to cave art

World’s largest river restoration project is now underway on Washington’s Elwha River, with the tallest dam ever to come down.

A fascinating account of a woman with multiple personality disorder

18% of statistical results reported in psychology papers are incorrectly reported.

Future of Chernobyl health studies in doubt

800,000 Manmade Plant Fossils (and counting)

Yeah when I’m 85, I probably won’t be jetting off to Antarctica. All hail David Attenborough



The Bloggess declines a pointless pitch & the Vice-President of a PR company calls her “a f**king bitch”

Forget Siri, get GLaDOS on your iPhone

When there is writing on the blackboards in porn, is it correct? NSFW-ish.

Sea snake versus moray eel.

A giant herd of thousands of walruses hauled out on the Alaskan coast

“Deliveries anywhere? ALRIGHT! Bring me llamas now!

Phil Plait with the week’s best/worst headline.

A surprisingly funny abstract if you happen to know someone called Tim, or six.

Passive Aggressive Birds

The Star Wars/Seven crossover ended badly

An intelligent design children’s book with a fire-breathing Parasaurolophus.

First and last authorship determined by coin flip”

Six ways to never get lost in a city again

Dan Macarthur asked for a consensus phylogeny of mammal species. I drew one

Abandoned Lego Victorian houses.

I really want a satirical 21st-century reimagining of Captain Planet

Beautiful pic of a meteor’s lingering glowing streak, with and equally beautiful explanation by Phil Plait.

Heh. Cat learns harsh reality of internet viral videos

Gnarly. Surfers make bioluminescent waves off San Diego coast by disturbing bloom of phytoplankton

Solving all your problems…with tanks


Italian Wikipedia replaces every page with free speech protest

For Ada Lovelace Day, Alice Bell compiled a list of 50 lovely women tweeters in sci, tech, environment and/or health

“Blood must be spilled but the cat will be anesthetized.” On vampires, magic duels and headless bodies in Highgate Cemetery.

Before Hitler, who was the rhetorical Hitler? The Pharaoh.

The Daily Mail produces little good content of its own, so it lifts what other people do.

John Rennie complains about Andy Revkin’s false equivalence on climate message machines.

“It’s not that journalists are biased, lazy or stupid… the problem is that they’re slaves to formula.”

On Naïveté Among Scientists Who Wish to Communicate – Kevin Zelnio takes issue with Christie Wilcox’s post on scientists and social media. And Christie comes back: “I wasn’t saying build it & they will come. I was saying don’t build it & they can’t come.”

Remember that game where you stopped your digital wristwatch on every second? There’s an app for that.

Please welcome Robert Stewart-Rogers & his new science blog Handsome Science. Photos, insects, lovely writing

The biggest mall in the world is in China, and it’s empty. 2% occupancy

Alice Bell is collecting memories of kids’ environmental media.

Sendak is still enraged by almost everything that crosses his landscape.”

Why are so few popular science books written by women?

Facebook is okay with pro-rape pages, and likens them to rude jokes in a pub.

And ambitious project: Hypothes.is: The Internet, Peer Reviewed.

Dan Harmon of Community treats every story arc as an eight-part circle

Tuvalu, a small island nation, is down to its last few days of water.

After 25 years, The Scientist, a magazine that made the careers of many science journalists, has folded.

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