I’ve got your missing links right here (30 March 2013)

Top picks

History repeats. Scientists publish HeLa genome without consulting Lacks family. Important op/ed by Rebecca Skloot. And Ewen Callaway takes a deep look at the ethical issues raised.

Fascinating piece by Virginia Gewin: Future diets could be more diverse if climate hardy species get a fair taste.

Paul Salopek begins his 7-year walk to retrace humanity’s footsteps. And the writing is *beautiful*.

“A mission on the very edge of being possible.” – Kevin Fong on a private mission to Mars

A beautiful piece on portraits of Phineas Gage – he who took the railroad spike through the head. By Vaughan Bell

The trap-maker who fitted secret compartments in cars – an outstanding Wired story by Brendan Koerner

Biologists home in on Turing patterns: nice piece by Jennifer Ouellette on the crossroads of maths and biology.

For a few weeks in 1961, humans’ dreams of space travel hinged on a doll. By Megan Garber

Bacteria transplant provides some of the benefits of gastric bypass surgery without the surgery

Michael Moynihan gives Jane Goodall the Jonah Lehrer treatment over plagiarism and shoddy anti-GMO evidence in her upcoming book.

That’s just unfair. Paige Williams’ story on dino-smuggling was SO good & her story of *finding* the story is too.

Stapling this to some faces: The 9 Hottest Reasons Why It’s Not Hot to Make ‘Hot’ Lists

“The landscape is just basically dead.” Bleak news of North Korea’s ecological ruin

Yes, we should spend money on studying duck sex, argues arch-deviant Carl Zimmer.

“I donated my body to medicine. Here’s why.” Wonderful piece by Annalee Newitz

Great story in Aeon on genetically modified pets, by Emily Anthes


Why Time’s “How To Cure Cancer” cover was wrong, grandiose, and cruel.

Smuggler caught with more than 10% of AN ENTIRE SPECIES

New fish species gets a magical name – blue-bellied night wanderer!

Oh, the pathos! There’s a word for the last individual of a species: Endling.

A tiny nocturnal hunter with an amazing invisibility cloak? Meet Astrosquid!

The Prank the Changed the Face of Medicine

There’s some really weird epigenetics going on in the placenta

Er, live bomb found inside squid? The Cthulhu suicide bombers are getting ready.

The mysterious football octopuis. No, not THAT ONE.

The Falkor – a luxury science ship

This microbe has seven sexes. How does it choose?

Jeez, the US uptake rates for the HPV vaccine are ridiculously low. In England, it’s around 80-90%.

Con artists are stealing the identities of real journals to cheat scientists out of publishing fees.

Eye-drop poisoning is more routine you might think.”

One in twelve Belgian medical scientists admits having “made up and/or massaged data”

An estimated 3,000 great apes smuggled for pet trade, circus acts, etc. every year.

Great reflections on post-publication peer-review following an amazing takedown of a shoddy new psych paper.

Amazing story: Gene therapy cures “untreatable” leukaemia in eight days

Thanks for donating your submarine, James Cameron, but can we have the power loader instead?

10% of world’s birds went extinct after humans settled Pacific islands

Shrinking blob solves one of hardest problems in maths

Hey, do you remember where we put that vial of hemorrhagic fever? Down the sofa, behind the Pringles?

10 Dinosaur Myths That Need To Go Extinct

88% of respondents would rather get faecal transplant from a healthy chimp than a sick human

On April 1 the NHS will change forever. This short piece is all you need to know about the loss.

Most doctors prescribe placebos? Well, depends on what you call placebos

What we’ve learned about the history of disease from studying mummies

Bill Gates Has $100k For Anyone Who Invents a Next-Gen Condom

Jim Watson continues his quest to be a git to the very end. There is a reason why the Watson strand is the anti-sense strand.


Ctenophores. ‘Cause sometimes evolution only feels like making the mouth.

The R2-DD2 is the bra you’ve been looking for. Jesus.

Game-changer. I’m renouncing the UK for Finland. Finnish passport also a flipbook of walking moose.

A gorgeous weather app.

Underwhelming Fossil Fish of the Month

“Dammit, they’ve hacked the mainframe!”


This OneTab chrome extension is so … calming.

David Grann nails big part of Twitter’s appeal: “extended office culture” for isolated writers.

30 Things Every Writer Should Know

“People I burgled got rich by greed & skulduggery – they deserved me & I deserved them” Obit to king of cat burglars

A list of words and phrases that don’t translate between British and American English

The largest cyberattack in history… isn’t happening

Oh, America. Atheist packages 10x more likely to be lost in the post

Google gets ungoogleable off Sweden’s new word list. And a righteous retaliatory Swedish Language Council post: “Google does not own the language!”

“F*ckton” of material on web but people gravitate to “the good stuff” – Bobbie Johnson on the creation of Matter.

Americans oppose drone strikes on Americans

Trends in journalism, or why environmental reporting is probably not quite dead yet.