I’ve got your missing links right here (27 August 2011)

Top picks

Anonymous blog written by a Fukushima robot operator, reveals the inner workings of the clean-up effort. He’s probably a Syrian lesbian though.

How do you freak out lampreys? Give them a whiff of death. With TERRIFYING video of deranged, leaping lampreys

The Neuroskeptic is killing it at the moment. He discusses whether sleep give us a chance to defragment out brains and your third parent – random chance – in the context of eugenics.

The illusion of asymmetric insight & how it affects perceptions of others and turns summer camps into Lord of the Flies

A *beautiful* post on resonance, by Ann Finkbeiner.

“Having a restless planet is a consequence of having a habitable one.” Phil Plait on what’s with all the quakes.

I am mightily irritated at this count of “8.7 million species“. Without bacteria and archaea? Nonsense. John Wilkins has the right idea: “It’s hardly an objective fact about the world. We may as well be cataloguing toys.”

Susan Dominus tells the story behind her NYT mag story on remarkable twins joined at the head

Tiny rainmakers: Bacteria, fungal spores & algae in the stratosphere, changing weather

I love that Nature News is the type of place that commissions long features on the quest to solve a protein structure

A fish within an amphibian within a shark – the Permian, freshwater lake equivalent of a turducken, by Brian Switek

When deciding to marry, Darwin made a list of pros and cons!

“I know scientific revolutions; scientific revolutions are friends of mine… epigenetics is no scientific revolution,” says Jerry Coyne.

Great if depressing post about the threat to rhinos, Irish horn gangs, “shaving alive technology” & unanswered questions, by Rachel Nuwer

This is a truly wonderful piece by Brandon Keim on the “mathematically nasty” physics of a crumpled paper ball.

News/science/writing

Culinary student who loses sense of smell begins to experience phantom smell of own brain.

Dr. Pal, why do you love Big Pharma so? PalMD explains why skeptics target quacks more than big pharma.

Technology to track the path of a raindrop points the way to better environmental awareness.

New titi monkey species found in the Amazon

On “warfare ecologists“: “Ecology is an unlikely objective during wartime but one that can help secure peace”

This amphibious fish mates with itself – up a tree Hey, who hasn’t these days?

From the Department of Predators Ploughing Headfirst into Prey: falcons and starlings, and dolphins and fish

Nothing like a massive incorrect straw man in the opening para to instil confidence in a piece. A terrible piece on twin studies in Slate – very unusual for them.

A “totally disruptive” eBay for scientists. “You post an experiment that you want to outsource, and scientific service providers submit bids to do the work.”

There’s a social network for patients with chronic disease. Steve Silberman profiles its founder

“Males attack with bacteria-covered penises, jabbing them straight into a females abdomen.” Yes, kids, it’s traumatic insemination!

It took 20 years, but scientists found the stomach of Otzi the Iceman. He died with a tummy full of goat.

What comes up… How dangerous is firing a gun into the air?

Scientists show that bisexual men exist. “The finding is not likely to surprise bisexuals…”

Some of the Fukushima evacuees won’t be going home. Do the exclusion zone numbers add up?

Kamikaze Satellite vs Asteroid. It’s 56 times more likely that the planet will be hit by asteroid than I’ll win lottery. Bum.

Unconvinced by this piece on preparing for alien contact. Britain can’t even prepare for leaves/snow on our railways

The London riots were due to our belief in evolution (3rd letter). No wait, they were due to climate change propaganda.

And when the Higgs finally showed up, the villagers don’t believe the boy and all the sheep get eaten.

How China controls the race for rare elements, upon which your precious internetz depend

Chronic fatigue syndrome researchers face death threats. Massive own goal on part of extremists.

Genomics has the power to reconstruct cholera epidemics. But why did it take 10 months?

Gene therapy successes spur hope – 20 year follow-up of a SCID trial

“According to keepers, the giant pandas did not appear to respond to the quake.” Proof that giant pandas simply will not respond to ANYTHING.

Giant killer pigs that weren’t pigs

Great Virginia Hughes piece on virtual robots modelled after rat brains (free reg) & some bonus material from her

People who doodle learn faster. Yay! People who doodle *about the topic at hand*. Oh.

Clive Thompson chats with a spambot about the Turing test.

Underground river found flowing beneath the Amazon. (Isn’t it a bit crass to discover a river & name it after yourself?)

“I have the conch!” shouts dolphin, before murdering the fat kid

A diamond planet. Just 4,000 light years away. Bet it’s full of diamond geysers…

Alert over Nurofen Plus drug mix-up: “could mistakenly contain antipsychotic drugs.”

Heh/wow/huh

Journalism/internet/society

A genius mashup of Steve Jobs coverage. This is all you really need to read.

Regarding the Boiron blogging case, I very much agree with Martin Robbins and Zenbuffy’s takes.

In Gaddafi’s lair, rebels find photo album full of page after page of Condoleeza Rice. AWKWAAARD

What’s it like when your film flops at the box office? The screenwriter of Conan tells all on Quora

The graphing calculator has remained largely unchanged in design and price for 12 yrs

The portable foldable house that Brad Pitt nearly bought