I’ve got your missing links right here (9 February 2013)

Yes, the links are back, and it’s a bumper selection including stuff from the last two weeks. I was away at a conference last weekend, so you can all stop your plaintive emails and comments 😉 However: Bad news. I will also be travelling next week so there will once again be a missing missing links. Normal service will resume after that.

Top picks

A devastating profile of quackery-monger Dr. Oz by Michael Specter, who lets him hang himself by speaking.

Fascinating – Dan Vergano got his hands on the reviews for the infamous Arseniclife paper!

“If all your friends jumped off a bridge…”

The curious case of the disappearing homing pigeons, by Becca Rosen

Darwin loved pigeons, and they’re still teaching us about evolution. Carl Zimmer reports.

“I think I’m one of the few people,” she said, “who have taken the rectal temperature of a grizzly bear.” A great NYT profile of the awesome Hopi Hoekstra

Gene therapy restored sight in hundreds of blind people, but new study says it might be temporary.

How scientists scared a woman who could not experience fear.

Ever wonder how owls can turn their heads all the way around?

Great Virginia Hughes post on invisible gorillas and cancer scans

How The Mars Curiosity Rover Grew Up And Became A Woman

Fascinating piece on why air traffic control still needs the low-tech human touch.

OKAY, STOP EVERYTHING. First, find a way of stopping the fungus that’s killing coffee. Then, the other stuff.

“If we’re honest with ourselves, the best solution to this problem is to kill cats…” – Hannah Waters on the controversial outcome of a recent study.

Another opus from Bora Zivkovic on online commenting and moderation. It’s bang-on.

Conor Friedersdorf’s list of the Best journalism of 2012 – 102 longreads for you.

What does your stomach really do? Does anyone know? Is it “guide all my decisions”? Interesting piece by Rob Dunn.

Whale goes all-out and photobombs a seagull

This gorgeous snow angel is actually an imprint of death

Here’s what happens when you open a can of mixed nuts in space. It’s a little sinister.

Genes mix faster than stories: “I’ll sleep with you, but I prefer my stories to yours.”

Mice have touchy-feely “massage neurons”? I love that Nature is running LOLcat videos now

How do researchers feed bed bugs in the lab?

This… just… wow. A stunning photo of feeding birds in the snow.

Don’t buy into the New York Times’ dangerous chemophobia

How do you measure the world’s largest fish and why would you want to? Craig McClain explains with wit & clarity

Do animals have imagination? Can they pretend? Great column by Jason Goldman

Okay, so we make new neurons. But… why? Virginia Hughes explores.

Magnetic memories guide salmon home. I LOVE the natural experiment in this study

The Guardian’s tips on fixing the gender gap in science are butt-clenchingly awful. What the hell were they thinking? It did however lead to this awesome retort by Kate Clancy and Chris Chambers.

This is the most wonderful collection of GIFs EVER – largely made from nature documentaries. Here, for example, is freelancing encapsulated in three animal GIFs.


Why brain training is (probably) pernicious hogwash

In the human brain lab, with a bread knife

65 million years later, the Cretaceous extinction is still raising mysteries.

UNGH. I hate sloppy referencing. I particularly hate sloppy referencing that gives people an easy line of attack. Here’s the BBC exaggerating global warming stats in Attenborough’s Africa documentary.

The Guardian has a new science policy blog, featuring a number of good writers. First up: Alice Bell on the AllTrials initiative.

“‘Hey, we helped save a language. How cool is that?” The intentional revival of Yurok

Interesting glasses for treating colour-blindness

Crock Pot Microbiology: How to make your own yoghurt, using SCIENCE.

Sooo…. what’s this weird hunk of metal Curiosity just found on Mars?

Ferris Jabr on the science of what triggers depression

Leaf-nosed snakes are leaf-nosed, weird

Whosoever explains this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor

New prime number discovered w/ 17 million digits. “Cooper will receive a $3000 prize from GIMPS…”

Is your make-up killing pygmy elephants?

Breast cancer caught in the act of spreading

Why the times on departure boards at Grand Central are deliberately wrong.

Cockroaches groom their antennae to improve their sense of smell

Iran’s Space Monkey Returned To Earth As Different Monkey

Ethan Perlstein on the coming postdocalypse

At least 2 bits of footage where crocodiles grab trunks of adult elephants

Little House on the Prairie: a seething den of herpes?

Why the ballerina bird should be a blob bird

Endangered Hawksbills turn out to be monogamous

A gold-digging bacterium

NASA will begin testing a shape-shifting, water-mining spacebot in 2014.

“As beautiful as a snapshot is, how much richer is a moving picture?” Sam Arbesman makes the case for long data, not big data

You’ll Never Guess Who: Strange Recordings From the Library of Animal Sounds

This guy is basically fishing for lava with a steel rod

The snails that travel from rivers to oceans as babies, and then back again as adults

Could you deflect a killer asteroid with paint?

Man sentenced for abusing a great white shark

Hugs/applause in equal measure for Emily Willingham’s poignant essay on depression

Disabled goldfish swims around in cute goldfish sling

NASA’s resurrecting the mammoth F-1 engine to steal its secrets.

This Weird Antarctic Building Can Ski On Ice

Daily Mail claims to find “where evil lurks” in the brain, and invents a whole new lobe

Brian Hare—biological anthropologist, dog whisperer, and academic entrepreneur—has created a new start-up to fund some animal intelligence research

On gender “differences“. Love the headline.

Like a cat or falcon… Tyrannosaur feeding behaviour.

Amazing. Indian site attempts to pull Retraction Watch’s coverage of Anil Potti’s career with a bizarre plagiarism reversal move.

“There is no blueprint, no map. That’s not how the system works.” PZ Myers on why DNA is not a blueprint.

Stereo Mole Noses: Never underestimate a mole.

Hillary Rosner tracks how an old ecological theory has new use in climate change work

Some dinosaur brains really were the size of a walnut, but less tasty.

More great reporting from Dr Brock on overlooked stories on autism in the DSM-5

Possibly the most revolting or possibly delicious fungus I’ve ever seen

Joe Hanson has a new PBS-backed Youtube science show. Congrats Joe!

A cloud of chemicals. One researcher detects a smell. The other doesn’t. What happens next? Science”-

Doug Fox’s Antarctic dispatch: Scientists First Glimpse Interior of an Antarctic Subglacial Lake. Is there life?

The teacher who’s trying to create young Darwins, using Darwin’s actual experiments and letters

Why poor sleep and forgetfulness plague the ageing brain

Iran begins deployment of monkey space commandos

How the Remora develop the sucking disc on their heads. Also: Remoras all the way down

Great set of giant squid links.

Messing With Time: Why The Flash is in Hell

Very cool visualization that shows how much languages involve silent letters

Dave Hone wants to know if giant tyrannosaurs cannibalised each other and he wants your help


I definitely don’t want to dive into the middle of this penguin chick huddle. Nope. Definitely not.

The Fake Science tumblr, for when facts are just too confusing.

Here is a cyborg piglet called Chris P. Bacon. YOU’RE WELCOME

“What does it eat?” “Baby crocodiles.” More awesomeness from WTF Evolution

Cool Wired post on amazing 3-D dissections

Remember the dolphin that was stuck in a net and seemed to ask for a diver’s help? The Daily Mash’s version.

A great photo of two of Earth’s moons

A stunning mantis

Awesome pics of sharks/dolphins preying on mackerel.

Fund me, maybe?

A face mite—no, not mine—collected at ScienceOnline 2013

In which I shove a squid into Carl Zimmer’s face.

Wonderful footage of a rampant sea cucumber about to spawn

“Bacterioptica”: A living chandelier made from petri dishes that actually grows bacteria

A beetle carved from a piano, and other awesome creatures made from objects

Disgusting, beautiful photos of an ant full of worms

Teenage Girl Blossoming Into Beautiful Object

Deadly Diseases Are Less Scary When They’re Beautiful Glass Sculptures


Interesting idea on Google News, Google Scholar and that pesky “linking to papers” thing

Open Notebook is starting a new feature called “Single Best Advice” for writers. First up: Deb Blum.

This Jay Rosen post on the future of news basically obviates 99% of commentary on the topic

Investigative Journalist Claims Her Public Tweets Aren’t ‘Publishable;’ Threatens To Sue Blogger Who Does Exactly That

The Daily Mail describes Heidi Klum’s daughter as a “leggy beauty“. She is 8.

A Storify of the Explanatory Journalism session at ScienceOnline 2013 that I co-hosted with Mark Henderson.

A digital playbox of tools for creating non-text content.

Carl Zimmer’s advice for aspiring science writers.

Who knew? Turn your browser into a notepad

Roosevelt: “Do stuff.”

Great post by PaleoRomano on thinking about audiences when talking about science.

Awesome Meta-Internet Battle: Steven Johnson vs. Evgeny Morozov and a duel of reviews.

Gathering your mates in a pub is not science outreach. Neither is tweaking content

The current language of headlines

“I’m constantly thinking about the reader. Is the reader bored?” – David Quammen. And that, folks, is writing.

Seth Mnookin reviews an ebook on the Zanesville animal massacre. Ebooks can be better than this.

These guys have been playing the same game of Tag for 23 years. Involves hiding in car trunks

“For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn.” There’s no good evidence Hemingway ever wrote that!

When people say science has impenetrable jargon, I wonder if they’ve recently been to an art gallery

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