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By Ferenc Szalma

I’ve got your missing links right here (25 May 2013)

Top picks

This is chock full of gold. Alex Witze’s profile of Ed Stone, legendary project scientist for the Voyager project.

This. Is. Amazing! Viruses form part of your immune system – by me at Nature. Carl Zimmer also has a deeper take on the story.

A 19-gigapixel NASA flyover of a strip of Earth from Russia to S. Africa!

32 metronomes are set off independently. In less than 2 mins, they’ve synchronised.

The FDA steps in to regulate faecal transplants. Maryn McKenna curates the reaction, while Judy Stone asks the FDA’s new control will lead to a DIY backfire

A guy solves three Rubik’s cubes. In six minutes. WHILE JUGGLING THEM.

Absolutely stunning nature photography blog, featuring this ridiculously weird centipede.

A natural history of fluoride. Great Deborah Blum piece providing context for the “chemical”-phobic of Portland

Alexis Madrigal’s one tip for being a better writer is *spot on* and perfectly captures my blogging ethos

The Girl Who Turned to Bone. A long piece about a remarkable rare condition, by Carl Zimmer.

This is fascinating. Could probiotics save the frogs? Can we use microbes for conservation? By Richard Conniff.

“9 years ago, Graham woke up & discovered he was dead” An interview with a Cotard’s syndrome sufferer

Stem-cell cloner acknowledges errors in groundbreaking paper. Given past scandals, surely people in this field would redouble efforts to check papers before rushing through publication? Apparently not.

The big fat truth: being overweight doesn’t always shorten life, but some scientists don’t want to talk about that. Excellent feature by Virginia Hughes. Plus a blog post on our cultural war on fat

This piece starts with water on the moon (well, in the moon) & just keeps getting better. By Caleb Scharf

Dreaming of animals & other warning signs of neurodegeneration. By Mo Costandi.

In which I get criticised for inaccurately comparing the silly Aquatic Ape Hypothesis to Phlogiston Theory. I sort of meant that stories on the AAH are as silly as discussing phlogiston now, but this is still a really good read on an important old hypothesis.

Good explainer on the difficulty of predicting tornadoes. By Adam Kucharski


The story of 7-56, the ubertree. Malcolm Campbell continues to impress

Dear Guardian: You’ve Been Played. Weinstein is no Einstein.

A pitcher plant-dwelling ant species attacks and kills nutrient-stealing larvae

7 reasons killer whales are evil geniuses.

Cash-strapped MD Anderson Cancer Centre spends [$1.5m] on office suite for the president’s wife.

Salmon have growth rings on their scales, like tree rings

Remember that study on electrical brain stimulation and maths ability? Tom Stafford has a great analysis of it.

Google Street View goes to the Galapagos (and soon, so will you).

Kiera Wilmot, the student arrested for a chemistry experiment, speaks.

Carl Zimmer on the chlorine in your pool and ancient stars.

Degradable 3-D printed splint holds a baby’s airways open & saves his life

Patients leave a microbial mark on hospitals

A brief, beautiful history of mental illness in art

Inhibit mitochondria to live longer? Provocative results, but… BIZARRE.

Your brain on sleep – lovely explanatory graphic.

Adorably chubby mini-spider found in China, makes webs between leaf litter

What cicadas tell us about our secret sexy-time.

Why orange juice tastes so bad after you’ve brushed your teeth.

The mycobiome microbiome.

Bacteria use molecular pump to get rid of antibiotics. Scientists use it to reclaim antibiotics from water

Well, crap. Chytrid fungus kills caecillians too. This thing destroys all amphibians. Imagine if something did that to all mammals.

Why stories make a good vehicle for science communication

A vet, hummingbirds, citizen science.

Tamiflu drug bill ‘shocking waste of taxpayers’ money’

How do tornadoes form? A new video explainer

Interesting piece on microbiome hype

Irish potato famine killed millions. Now the ancient plant pathogen has been sequenced

How ants engineer tunnels so they don’t fall and slip.

Why penguins don’t fly, says study that doesn’t actually involve any penguins

Great profile of Simon Fisher, who first identified [motor coordination] gene FOXP2, which is involved in language.

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a… On average, humanity built 1 large dam every day for last 130yrs

Everything your mum told you is true- not wrapping up warm in winter can bring on a cold!

Scientists accidentally discover cornstarch will extract gold. No more toxic cyanide.

Flies can detect nutritional value, even when they cannot taste

“Too often, death is treated like an embarrassing fact, a regrettable failure of life best hushed up”

Alice Roberts the search for woolly mammoths

Pregnancy tests brought frogpocalypse to US

The scientist who sued the Nobel because he didn’t win is now suing the people who did

It’s 2013. You can download the DNA sequences from someone’s faecal sample, under an open licence.


HA! Tech journos, take heed. Origin of the small tyrannosaur forearm.

“Ground control to … ground” – awesome parody of Chris Hadfield.

The Don’t Be A D*ck Public License

Extreme Superchess. “Kasparov is conglomerating his pawns into a MegaChessaTron.”

Programmer shuns images, recreates intricate London Tube map from pure web code

This XKCD is basically a Susan Greenfield script.

The NYT has discovered football. This is wonderfully, brilliantly, inadvertently hilarious.


Forget politics, religion, the pronunciation of GIF. Let’s all agree on this and move on.

Great insights into the age of long-form journalism on the web, by Longreads founder Mark Armstrong.

“I’m sorry for being the part of Reddit that is intolerant and douchebaggy.” Sikh woman schools a Reddit user.

“Shame that SnowFall model eclipsed Nate Silver model in imagination of ‘future of journalism’ crowd”

During the horrible incident in Woolwich, this woman did something astonishing

Lovely Lost Lecture by jelly-mongers Bombas and Parr

Here’s how Thomas Hayden reads journal articles as a science journalist. I skip straight to the funny bits

What rhymes with “plagiarism“?

Wonderful. Google Faces finds the hidden faces of our planet.

How the magic happens. Behind the scenes at Radiolab

The Story Trumps Everything: an Interview with Deborah Blum

“This is what happens when publishers invest in long stories