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

Top picks

I’m doing a Reddit AMA with my fellow Phenomena bloggers, Ginny, Carl and Brian, on Thu 14 March, 2pm ET. Join us!

“We have a very serious problem, and we need to sound an alarm,” says the CDC on a new antibiotic-resistant superbug. Reporting by Maryn McKenna. Carl Zimmer has an explainer.

Vaughan Bell on the rhetorical use of neuroscience as spray-on authority

Stop blaming every stupid career choice on “addiction“. Maia Szalavitz on Diederik Stapel and frauds

In time for International Women’s Day, Nature has an entire special out on women in science. And related to that: Finkbeiner’s rule for doing a profile on a female scientist.

The Professor, the Bikini Model and the Suitcase Full of Trouble. An extraordinary tale of smart people being dumb.

The New York Review of Books demolishes Ray Kurzweil’s claims to understand the brain and makes some important points about how we describe neuroscience.

This geoscientist rewrote her entire PhD thesis as a 60-page booklet aimed at non-scientists

Workers on “decades-long” Fukushima cleanup face radiation, exhaustion, stigma.

Journalist Nate Thayer outs the Atlantic for asking him to write 1200 words for nothing. Twitter loses it. Alexis Madrigal writes this thoughtful, heartfelt piece on the problematic economics of digital journalism from an editor’s point of view. There’s also some good analysis by Felix Salmon and Ann Friedman at the CJR. And I love Rose Eveleth’s piece: “Should you ever work for free? …no single answer. Hello, this is the world, things are complicated”

Maggie Koerth-Baker continues her excellent series on why gun research is so weak. First, the data. Second, the methodology

The Phenomena crew will be representing at this NatGeo TEDx event on resurrecting extinct species. For now, here’s Virginia Hughes on what it would take to bring back a Neanderthal.

Synthetic biology passes from precocious youth toward maturity: good state of the field by Paul Voosen.

The Giant Camels of the Prehistoric High Arctic

It’s Venus, seen from Saturn.

The bowhead whale has a 12-ft brain-cooling penis-ish thing in its mouth, and no one noticed.

Insect wings shred bacteria to pieces

In which a young Erik Vance follows a porcupine around and tells it all about his relationship woes. Er, for science.

“I want to be famous for the right reasons.” Boy blinded by acid attack becomes a scientist.

Mantis shrimps are better than you.

Was the cat-dog-fox-monkey-lemur actually a flying squirrel? By Darren Naish.


“3-D-Printed Implant Replaces 75% Of Man’s Skull.” One can only hope the man consented.

“I don’t recommend cougars in Central Park. Not enough poodles to sustain a viable population.” An interview with David Quammen.

How Frances Arnold mutates DNA and breeds strange, new, and useful creatures, by Jennifer Ouellette.

Virginia Hughes on the “disease Olympics” and the power of advocacy groups

Trying to make yourself smarter by gently electrocuting your brain might have downsides…

A rhino is slain every 11 minutes since beginning of 2013

Another case of misconduct in psychology, with retractions to follow

Aw, what a beautiful upside-down floweOH GOD IT’S WASPS, FLEE FOR THE HILLS.

Living in an asphalt lake can be good for your health.

You and me, baby, ain’t nothin but mammals. Mammal Society photographer of the year competition

Italian seismologists appeal the l’Alquila ruling

Human brain cells boost mouse memory (and they’re glia–that’s important)

Irony: Brian Nosek, founder of the Reproducibility Project, gets plagiarised

Some plants lure bees with caffeine!

On the recurring headlines about processed meat and cancer, on the ever-reliable CRUK blog. Last line: “But you knew that already”

Science tells us which of the Starcraft races will eventually conquer space

“Failure to halt Canada’s export of polar bears helped, idiotically, by fact they’re not on brink of oblivion.”

An interview with Chris Chambers on psychology, Twitter, science communication, and more.

“Some animals vent their anuses.”

The conception of the Brain Activity Mapping project. Good reporting from Nature

Are we now blasé about brain scans?

Infrared Images Reveal Frigid, Purple Penguins.”

This is how a meteor dies.

Woolly rhino site reveals ancient British temperature

Sean Mcarroll reviews this week’s Higgs special in the NYT

Recon2, the most comprehensive virtual reconstruction of human metabolism to date

More on Brian Nosek’s Center for Open Science by comrade-in-reporting Tom Bartlett. And views on the new publication model for psychology that I wrote about earlier this week, by Melanie Tannenbaum and Sanjay Srivastava.

The New York Times kills its Green blog so that it can focus on the important issues of the day, like budget travel and fashion.

Matthew Francis reflects on screwing up a science communication opportunity, and then making up for it

Prion Problems: Proteins resembling disease-causing prions are behind an inherited degenerative disease. Me, at the Scientist.

You might be about to hit a right whale, but how can you tell? There’s an app for that.

Darpa Wants You to Transcribe, and Instantly Recall, All of Your Conversations

So, you found a vent of hot fluid in a dark abyss, and you called it Hashtag? Well played, scientists. Well played.

Was a baby really cured of HIV? Rose Eveleth summarises the best reporting.

Francis Crick’s letter to his son, the first written description of DNA as a code, to be auctioned

Why eat tongue when you can eat testes? The castrating worm.

Good take from SciCurious on those mind-melded rats. Experimental details matter!

Brilliant photo of wasp on water, with explanation of how this works.

Amy Shira Teitel talks about meeting Apollo 17 Commander Gene Cernan

A duckbill dinosaur survived a T. rex attack

Fungus forces grass to make more seeds, so that more fungi get passed on to the next generation of grass


Stunning photos of swimmers and surfers underwater.

Ha! Sesame Street’s Count von Count can’t count.

Tough Love from animals. They know your shame, your guilt, your soul.

The original Mind the Gap returns.

Maths Fail.

Inside Nature’s Littl’uns! New BBC insect programme

Petri dish art

FATALITY! Watch animals capture their prey in slow-motion.

Very cool minimalist posters of famous scientists.

This hairdryer goes up to 11

Gollum sings Mad World


Inventor of classic board game Diplomacy, RIP.

You are boring.

“Things I’ve Learned From Writing Under A Gender-Neutral Name

Six essentials for ultralight field reporting

An unusually touching surprise encounter between two ex-lovers

Great Guardian interactive for International Women’s Day: Mapping women’s rights around the world.

New Knight fellowship at MIT provides year-long support for a digital science journalism project.

I really want to know how this journalist managed to transcribe the conversation inside my head.

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling – also good life advice.

Q&A with Rebecca Skloot on Henrietta Lacks, the writing process, and more.

Communicators of science: work out what you’re good at. Get help with the rest.”

Science journalists: good advice from Tim Radford is always worth a read

How many UK immigrants speak no English? Really not that many.

“Never write anything bigger than your own head.” – Stephen King (Letter, 3 March 1986)

Edited lowlights from a life of sexual harassment.

Laura Helmuth’s single best advice on what you should write about

BREAKING: Non-random slice of the population turns out to be unrepresentative.

A wonderful retrospective about why Gilmore Girls was so damn good.

5 classic writing rules we could do without (or are worth breaking regularly)

Let us celebrate National Grammar Day by not being gargantuan pricks about grammar.

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