I’ve got your missing links right here (2 April 2011)

Egyptian cobra by Michael Ransburg

Top twelve picks

This, my friends, is how it’s done. Carl Zimmer on “The Human Lake“. If you read one post this month…

Inspired. Craig McClain draws parallels between a 1st century Germanic chieftain and a baby coral

I loved the Bronx Zoo Cobra story. It was a wonderful break from a month of depressing news. I loved this line: “The case of the missing [cobra] has yielded much interest… What It has not yielded is the snake.” I loved the @Bronxzooscobra Twitter feed, and the @Bronxcobrawife one too. I loved the exclusive interview in the NYT.

An amazing story that starts with an egg sandwich, continues with a weird bag of blue powder, and ends with mass radiation poisoning. By Sally Adee

A touching look at the people on Fukushima’s frontline. “My town is gone… My parents are still missing… I still have to work…”

Mark Peplow of Nature News visits Chernobyl. What lessons does it hold for Fukushima?

Unbeleafable! Scientists create artificial leaf, 10x more efficient than the real deal.

Bugs vs drugs: Maryn McKenna, writing about two terrifying new antibiotic resistance genes – NDM-1 and, even worse, KPC.

It turns out that brilliant science writer Brian Switek has a third nipple. HE’S A WITCH! KILL HIM WITH FIRE.

It’s a heartbreaking week for endangered species. A cute YouTube video is fuelling illegal trade in endangered slow lorises. Live animals are being sold as keyrings in China (beware terrifyingly florid writing). Bob Parsons, CEO of GoDaddy, shoots elephant, films it and boasts about it. What. A. Wanker.

A new PLoS paper: Reminding people of their own mortality increases support for Intelligent Design and rejection of evolution. A quote from Carl Sagan vaccinates against this. This isn’t a write-up but the paper is readable enough. Why escalators bring out the best in people.


Which countries are least vulnerable to natural disasters? Do British stag parties count? If so, Estonia gets struck off list

Fossil vomit reveals 37k-yr-old petrel colony. This story features Professor Thor and his hammer.

Mama didn’t raise no foal. Pregnant mares more likely to abort foals if they’re kept close to stallions.

They’re out to get you, and more so since the 1950s. Vaughan Bell tracks changing trends in delusions

A journalist seeks out four shrinks who all fell asleep on him during their sessions

Erika Check Hayden on the tyranny of patient/consumer “choice” in medicine in the face of uncertainty & complexity

Rebecca Watson on atheists who take things too seriously. Wonderful.

“There’s even an instruction manual and an online support team for spammers who need assistance.” Inside the big business of botnets.

The world’s most “thoroughly debunked weight loss gimmick” could give you mad cow disease HT

Mercury exists, confirms MESSENGER

Human virus linked to deaths of two endangered mountain gorillas

Bignose bites again: proboscis monkey is amusing to look at, is only primate that chews the cud

Does Alcoholics Anonymous work? Scientific American investigates.

Bats are worth more than $3million per year. That’s presumably how they can afford those wonderful toys…

“Moniz and Freeman just drilled into skull and guesstimated where they should core or cut” – a history of the lobotomy

GOCE satellite mission reveals ‘true’ shape of the Earth. If it’s a 20-sided die, that would explain a lot

Newly discovered ancient Egyptian catacomb contains the mummified remains of 8 million dogs. The cats did it…

Scicurious reviews last week’s paper on serotonin, mice and sexual preferences

“There’s something really adorable about little devils.” Saving the Tasmanian devil with PR and science

Students rate professors higher in credibility if they write personal rather than only scholarly tweets

Desert long-eared bats – snarling winged gremlins that take scorpion stings to the face and just don’t care”

Journey to the Not-quite-the-center-but-a-bit-below-the-surface-at-least of the Earth – geologists plan to drill to the mantle by 2020

Poisonous lifestyle makes frogs more fit

Recording from hundreds of human brain cells during a seizure

Why China is going nuclear in a hurry, by David Biello

Is Bigger Really Better? In which Christie Wilcox analyses that world penis map


Cyborg taxidermy transforms beetles into airplanes and buses.

Pebbles and cars, arranged in the same way by moving water.

There’s a protein called Skywalker. Maybe, there is another…

The second line of this paper doesn’t instil confidence

Radiohead releases newspaper. The Guardian responds with a terrifying club-singer cover of Creep. The “uh-huh” and “baby” are unforgivable.

The Daily Mail brings you the house that looks like Hitler. Really.


Color: the app that lets you realise that other people are having more fun than you.

An old New Yorker article about a respectable chap who fell for a Nigerian email scam

Bar charts piss all over circle charts. That is all.

Author destroys career over mildly negative review

The science blogosphere. Bigger. More diverse. More recognised. Better? Sheril Kirshenbaum kicks off the discussion.

Myth busted: Teenagers like science.

Episode 3 of ConsilienceCast, featuring an interview with me.

Stop the presses! No really, stop them. Tear them apart. With a Decepticon.

Charles Choi has a great idea. He wants to interview scientists who have ideas that are too hard for science. Pitch him.