I’ve got your missing links right here (16 February 2013)

Still travelling, but here’s a shorter-than-usual list of links to keep you occupied.

Top picks

A flurry of frog legs. Carl Zimmer on parasites, and the importance of biodiversity. And what about that first photo?!

How to tell bad evolutionary psychology from good – top-notch explainer from Kate Clancy.

Does a hooked fish feel pain? Does a lobster dropped in hot water? Researchers debate what animals can feel, and Brian Switek investigates.

Great piece by Maria Konnikova on the man who couldn’t speak and how he revolutionized psychology

Wait, the appendix evolved more than 30 times? Not quite so useless then.

Fascinating forensic problem: Normal DNA tests can’t tell the difference between two identical twins, one of whom committed a murder

Lovely piece by Philip Ball on the discovery of the microscopic world

A virus called HTVC010P may be the commonest living thing on Earth

Having trouble publishing your junk science? Just buy an old journal and rename it! John Timmer covers the ridiculous sasquatch genome “paper”. Also, I love Michael Eisen’s online tool that calculates what percentage of your genome is sasquatch.

How Google Flu got this flu season so wrong.

Redefine misconduct as distorted reporting – really good opinion piece about scientific fraud and other forms of bad behaviour.

Really good Q&A about the Russian meteorite strike, by Stu Clark.

Cameron Walker has a great take on the alligator penis paper that I blogged about. Lovely storytelling here.


Virginia Hughes on how neuroscience will fight old afflictions like blindness, deafness and more.

A New Culprit in China’s Tainted Milk Saga: Gut Bacteria – Yet *another* fantastic Virginia Hughes piece

The Argus II retinal implant, which restores partial vision in some cases of blindness, gets FDA approval

Sweat mutation may have helped us colonise Asia”. But note Ewan Birney quote at the end

Anti-anxiety drug found in rivers makes fish more aggressive

What do prions do when not causing disease?

10 reasons why dolphins are a$$holes.

What’s it like to sleep in space?

I love it when people discover new owls. Because the owls always look cross about it.

Neil Tyson was wrong about Thor’s hammer, but interestingly so.

Here are all the bits of your body named after other people

This is cool. Competition to create best caller ID for right whales. (ID must not identify the wrong whales…)

Why are thousands of spiders swarming in the skies over Brazil? Other than, y’know, to destroy us all?

TAPAS at the dawn of life…

Does our immune system sharpen our minds?

Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Surround Big Swine Farms — In China as Well as the U.S.

“It appears that there lies a large wetland ecosystem under Antarctica’s ice sheet, with an active microbiology.”

Where Do the Millions of Cancer Research Dollars Go Every Year? The call for more prevention is spot on.

It’s a worm-derful world. Nematode Roundworms Own This Place

Immune system “remembers” pathogens it has never seen before.

A tiny 3-D printed spaceship, the size of a dust mite

OMNOMcillin. Meat industry consumes 4/5 of antibiotics

It’s World Pangolin Day. The pangolin is yet another animal threatened by the nonsense of traditional Chinese medicine.

We Studied a Zoo: How Two Studies Assessed Outreach Impact


Why Russia’s culture of dashboard cams was uniquely suited to capturing the meteor. Also: from meteors to power plant explosions – ten amazing scenes unintentionally captured on dashboard cameras

A coin rolling on a treadmill for an hour.

The world’s most ridiculously adorable frog.

The amazing winners from the World Press Photo of the Year 2012 contest

Stunning photos of frozen trees

Two leopards encounter a mirror for the first time

What happens when you project a movie onto falling snow? Something rather beautiful.

“The order of authorship was determined from a twenty-five-game croquet series”

Matabele ants of Gorongosa


Jonah Lehrer gives a keynote in which he sort of apologises for his journalistic misconduct in a way that manages to be both cheap and flagrantly expensive (he was paid $20,000 to do so). Taylor Dobbs captures the frustration that so many of us feel. Kathleen Raven has a classy post about her own journalism mistakes.

Red Phone Box, a “darkly magical story cycle” by Warren Ellis and many other writers, edited by Salome Jones.

How journalists can create better explainers

“Writing’s awful.” “Writing’s great!” “Writing’s awful and great.” This is self-indulgence that forgets about *all other jobs*