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By Ferenc Szalma

I’ve got your missing links right here (29 June 2013)

Top picks

“What would you do if you were given the opportunity to become another person—one whose life promised to be more glamorous and prosperous than your own?” – an incredible story by Evan Ratliff, who worked on it for five years. Well worth your $2.99.

Wow. WOW… … Holy… WOW. Watch 50 metres of magnetic beads come alive.

“What determines the color of each butterfly scale is, in a word, chance.” Lovely. This piece is classic Brandon Keim.

David_Dobbs, writing on the seasonality of suicide, demonstrates yet again why he’s one of our most elegant writers.

An incredible story of man taken by Taliban, who then escaped. Look at the list he wrote in captivity

Superman could NOT punch someone into space. Because physics. By Rhett Allain.

Neal Stephenson wants to see more utopian sci-fi, to boost our belief in getting big stuff done.

Can you throw with half a brain? Holly Dunsworth discusses a new paper on the evolution of throwing. And John Hawks has a sceptical take on the study’s interpretation.

Human-sized mystery blob is actually a surprise bag full of ultra-adorable baby squid

A phenomenal example of butterfly mimicry, via Alex Wild.

“Never Say Die” — on the struggle to defeat the ageing process. A new story from Matter.

“In harvesting the fruits of wonder, we came into our own as a species.” A lovely Aeon ode to wonder, by Jesse Prinz

Boy hears dad’s voice for the first time following brain stem implant

“The language of science & medicine must be cautious & humble because diseases like cancer are relentless & humbling” –great response from Andre Picard to yet more oversold cancer research.

“Skeptics”, take note. Why linking to bad science (in your debunking) only makes them more popular with Google.

Surviving a Fer-De-Lance Bite. Steve Rankin shares a terrifying story of getting bitten.

These cells from one fetus have no doubt saved the lives of millions of people.” The complicated HeLa-esque story of WI-38 cells, by Meredith Wadman.

Cancer evolves to outfox targeted therapy. Carl Zimmer on a future problem.

How a giant tree’s death sparked the conservation movement 160 years ago. Great historical tale by Leo Hickman.

WOW! We’ve sequenced the genome of an ancient horse using DNA that’s 700,000 years old!!! Kate Wong reports.

“Talk about personal genomics. It doesn’t get more personal than trying to figure out what’s wrong with your own kid” – Wonderful story by Brendan Maher.

I love this series from Ben Lillie on how to tell stories. End at the end; begin in the middle.


Thorough longread by on antibiotics and the human gut microbiome, by Melissa Sweet

Could the niqab be protecting Saudi Arabian women from the MERS coronavirus? By Rebecca Kreston.

“We are beneficiaries of Mr Switek’s undiminished passion.” Yes! Awesome NYT review of my blogging comrade’s new book. Congrats, Brian!

This Is What It Feels Like to Pass Through A Singularity

Transferring two genes from wild wheat into domestic wheat may thwart devastating stem rust fungus.

OH GOD, why did I read this story about doomed sea otter pups?

Brain-eating amoebas: In globally-warmed waterways, pwning your cortex.

Correcting Some Common Misrepresentations of Evolution in Textbooks and the Media

Expectation alone turns a rubber hand into a ‘real’ one

Diederik Stapel settles with Dutch prosectors, won’t face jail time

Battle between lions and wallabies goes back 98,000 years

How easy is it to fake mental illness?

Saiga Mega Drive Doubles Population in 5 Years.

White leeches from the underworld

Animal-rights idiots “liberate” immune-suppressed mice from labs & house them in cramped cages in their bathrooms.

“The motive behind the use of carcasses as missiles is topic of hot debate”

Never go outside, ever. The most unpleasant, ignominious, and terrifying ways to die in the wild

Meet Ming, the panda who left China to boost Britain’s wartime morale.

Are climate scientists “erring on the side of least drama”?

Bizarre sea ‘vampires’ heat up for sex.

Alleged Danger of GMOs Not Looking Very Real

There’s a lot more to neuroscience than media ‘neuromania’ (and knee-jerk neurobacklash)

Gut bacteria provide link between obesity and liver cancer

A cow-sized reptile named Bunostegos, which means “knobby roof”

A female octopus with glowing lipstick. Beakstick. Something.

Some great words of advice from Lauren Reid to kids who are interested in science.

Bison will be smaller and lighter. Mini-bison. “M-Bison”

Turtle embryos move inside their eggs to the coolest spots.

In the Triassic, a mammal and an amphibian snuggled up in a burrow. Daw! (And then drowned.)


At some point, remember that everyone was nothing but an a$$hole

If there is a tail to be pulled, a corvid will pull it.

“Scientists Probably Discover New Species Of Frog; They’re Always Doing That Kind Of Sh*t”

Amazing subreddit of silly science questions.

A William Gibson lorem ipsum generator! “Monofilament refrigerator pre- realism katana free-market”.


Every time people ask me “So how do I become a science writer”, I’m just gonna point them to this post

Ben Zimmer’s first WSJ language column, on the word “cyber

Ten tips for journalists reporting on clinical trials.

The Best Superhero Comic of the Year Is About a Crime-Solving Dog Who Loves Pizza

We don’t know what a shrift is but we don’t want a short one. Stan Carey on fossil words

Seven writers—Athill, Atwood, Barnes, Enright, Jacobson, Self, and Shriver—discuss failure