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By Ferenc Szalma

I’ve got your missing links right here (18 May 2013)

Top picks

Commander Chris Hadfield ended his amazing run on the International Space Station with this beautiful video of him singing Space Oddity. When he croons “floating in a most peculiar way”, and he *actually is because he’s in space*, it’s pretty much the best thing ever. (And is this the most expensive pop video ever?) And Megan Garber looks at what made Hadfield’s run on the ISS so unique.

The ScienceSeeker award winners are out, and they’re great. Massive congrats to Ginny Hughes and others. For some of the best science blogging out there, start here.

Maia Szalavitz’s five (maybe six) diagnoses of mental illness show what’s right and wrong with the DSM. An amazing, brave, insightful post.

This. Is. Fascinating. Could DNA databases curb human trafficking? By Virginia Hughes

Bravo, Alice Bell. “Politics doesn’t distract from the science. An over-emphasis on decontextualised science is used to distract from the politics.”

Antibiotics for back pain? Authors involved in setting up for-profit clinics and stand to make money from them.

Industrial scale rat-killing on the Galapagos – great feature by Henry Nicholls

Mosses Make Two Different Plants From Same Genome: Single Gene Can Make the Difference. By Jennifer Frazer.

How post-disaster therapy is a disaster by Vaughan Bell.

More than half of the world’s population lives inside this circle (which is mostly water)

No, wi-fi doesn’t make people sick, but it’s pretty easy to convince someone that it does. By Elizabeth Preston.

Canadian mine may host an ecosystem that’s been isolated for 2.6 billion years

Your frontal lobe is decidedly average. It’s vanilla. Nothing special. Just like mine.

Good piece on BRCA1 and breast cancer, with some carefully laid-out stats, by Henry Scowcroft. A very good piece on Jolie, Minogue & reactions to celebrity health decisions, by Hilda Bastian. And a look at BRCA1’s history, by Carl Zimmer.

Something often lost in the controversy about replication in psychology: how much people are doing to fix it.

Psychological Science article titles start a nerdy in-joke that keeps on going and going.

I’ve got a new feature in Scientific American (subscription required) about stereotype threat.

“The evolutionary race is not in fact won by the perfect, but by the good-enough.” – Carl Zimmer on mediocre adaptations.

This post on a monster dandelion, by Malcolm Campbell, is a marvellous example of how biology enriches one’s world-view


This “scrappy, open-source project” to build a virtual worm began with a tweet.

Awesome headline: “This disease’s deadliest weapon is the fact you’ve never heard of it”

New research on malaria-directed mosquitoes arose from dumb-sounding, Ig-Nobel-winning study. Science needs the silly.

How A Virus Hid In Our Genome For Six Million Years

Brain-controlling magnets: how do they work?

Study claims that electrical stimulation of the brain can boost maths skills. It looked at 13 people, and the long-term results are based on 6 people. This post on underpowered neuroscience experiments seems apposite.

Johnny Depp immortalized in name of extinct creature with ‘scissor hand-like’ claws

Opportunity just broke NASA’s record for miles driven in space

Did eyes really stare down bicycle crime in Newcastle?

On the difficulties of sci-comm when your message (and research) is a huge downer.

The Trouble With “Limitations” In Science

A slug of very little brain manages to learn something

Half of researchers have reported trouble reproducing published findings: MD Anderson survey

Has a Lidar survey found a lost city in Central America?

Attendees at the World Conf on Research Integrity search for ways to tackle misconduct and sloppy science

Human cloning successfully makes embryonic stem cells. I’m underwhelmed, but Paul Knoepfler has a good bit of analysis.

Science communication is at a tipping point, and it’s the community that matters. Good post by Liz Neeley.

Very interesting and helpful critique of Temple Grandin’s “The Autistic Brain

Ants protect aphids from predators and parasites. Except these ants. These ants are rubbish.

There’s no us in uterus. Al Dove on embryonic cannibalism. I especially appreciate the final image.

“That’s only [a factor of] 35 million away” from the target”

The Sun says these huge radiation eruptions happen to every star and it’s insensitive to go on about them

Surprising discovery: Species of male spiders eat females

Is Galileo really a good example of admitting when you’re wrong? No.

Why everything you know about wolf packs is wrong; the alpha wolf doesn’t exist—at least not in the wild.

What is Wrong With Dissections? Not what you think.

Skyping with some elephants


Don’t play the Star Trek lens flare drinking game

Now is the printer of our discontent: A 3D-printed model of Richard III’s head

World’s most comprehensive guide to primates – in pictures

Oh, Nature. See also: the standfirst.

The Japanese have a word for “the act of buying books and not reading them, leaving them to pile up”

Distance to different stars, as measured by the pop culture memes that have just reached them

What’s up with the British accents in Game of Thrones?

“There’s two ways we can do this.” “Is one of them the easy way?” “No.”

“An earlier version of the headline suggested humans have the same genome as the western painted turtle”

Steven Poole’s review of Dan Brown’s new book, written in the style of Dan Brown


Bizarre op/ed pretends that “infotainment” & “critical” science journalism are discrete, opposing things. Brian Clegg’s comment says it all.

Publisher threatens librarian blogger with $1bn lawsuit

New Yorker introduces Strongbox, a way for sources to share info anonymously w/ journos

“For everyone on the client side who must approve your work, add 12% to the fee.” Freelancer guidelines

So This Is How It Begins: Guy Refuses to Stop Drone-Spying on Seattle Woman

The umbrella has to be one of the best examples of terrible yet long-lasting design

This is the best moment to be in journalism