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By Ferenc Szalma

I’ve got your missing links right here (6 July 2013)

Top picks

What is it like to be a bird? Brandon Keim meets the semipalmated sandpiper and muses on animal individuality

One of the hardest parts of medicine: the waiting. By Ilana Yurkiewicz

Killer lede in this piece on an obesity epidemic… in invasive lionfish. By Christie Wilcox.

SciCurious has the dope on dopamine—an utterly remarkable chemical that gets stupidly simplified.

“The concept of a minimal genome, while provocative, is ultimately a dead end.” – Carl Zimmer.

The neurosurgeon behind the “Proof of Heaven” story has… a bit of a past. A summary, and the full story.

Brian Switek shoots Bigfoot down in flames.

Cards with smiling chimps on them are harmful and sinister, says Lewis Dean.

“I think that science can be self-correcting but it requires people to do that correcting.” Great Virginia Hughes piece on science’s self-correcting nature.

Stem-cell transplants may purge HIV but any talk of a “cure” is premature. By Erika Check Hayden.

Time and again, we see that wine-tasting is bunk.

Amazing! Retraction of 19-yr-old Nature paper reveals hidden cameras, lab break-in and evidence tampering. Two authors won’t retract, one is dead, one can’t be found.

On the noble biological tradition of eating your study animalNegative portrayal of science in sci-fi does little to affect public understanding of science.

It’s easy to write sexism off. “He didn’t mean it,” “I don’t want to start trouble,” “He really means well” Don’t do that. By Janet Stemwedel.

“It just spirals into subatomic story of pain, broken marriages, and really acidic water.” – Erik Vance on the world’s worst glass of water.

WOW. Carrier snails make their shells spikier by gluing on the shells of other snails! By Craig McClain

I love science/I hate science. A fascinating tool from Rose Eveleth, an explanation of its origins, and a very astute analysis at Skepchick.

Wonderful writing advice for scientists and… anyone. From Rob Dunn.

Brendan Maher on the quest to build a heart for transplant.

Bacterial species barrier! Removing wasp bacteria saves crossbred offspring from death

The night parrot: “They are the most secretive thing I have ever seen in my life & certainly the hardest [species] I’ve ever worked on”


A newborn infant can take steps. Why can’t she walk?

Love! The Neurocritic has created the Neurocomplimenter blog, to highlight good studies in face of fashionable backlash

Paragraph 1: Most science papers are inaccessible, because jargon. Paragraph 2: You must pay to access this article. :-/

Behold the flight of the terrifying undead skeleton bat.

Drones used to launch precision strikes… on weeds. Yes, actual weeds. That’s not just what they call the dissenting humans.


Starfish have eyes at the ends of their arms.

“Almost nothing they’ve done is complete.” Lab-grown liver news is preliminary

Dippy the star-spangled dinosaur – lovely piece about the NHM’s iconic exhibit

Psychology professor’s ‘obese’ tweet not part of any research project. I’m *shocked*.

Vibrating genitals may ward off predators

5 Air-Conditioning Designs Inspired by Nature

Giant freshwater turtle is down to two in wild and two in captivity. At least the captive ones mated last month

Orang-utans seem to be adapting to deforestation – they are walking on the forest floor

Whales flee from military sonar, new research proves, showing link to mass strandings

“Did caterpillars kill off the dinosaurs?” (Spoiler alert: Probably not.)

Remember that awesome gravity-defying chain of beads? Aatish Bhatia explains the physics behind it.

Odd-Looking Orcas May Be a Distinct Species

Storytelling science illuminates climate views

To fight monsters, we created monsters. (But to carry *those* monsters, we needed bigger helicopters)

A lionfish-print wetsuit won’t protect you from sharks, but it will reduce your chances of being taken seriously.

Etched in dirt: evidence of oldest known offering of flowers for the dead

Losing the “taste” for sperm: “knocking out receptors that regulate taste…can make you sterile? Who knew?”

That time an astronaut got a pie delivered to the International Space Station

Europe is looking at an invasion of adaptable, adorable raccoon dogs from Asia

A song of ice and lava. What happens when lava is poured over ice?

Australia’s Blue Lake has been untouched by changes in climate for past 7,000 years

Ladybusiness Anthropologist Throws Up Hands, Concedes Men Are the Reason for Everything Interesting in Evolution


Awesome GIFs of science demos (not experiments)

He’s neither the extra that Gotham deserves, nor the one it needs right now.

From this, I deduce that bad lighting is a more powerful force for ageing than actual age

“A drab, flat, atom-thick rectangle of weaponised disappointment made from tear-stained sawdust and hopelessness.”

Ron Perlman’s kaiju remedies ad is making me love Pacific Rim that much more

Wildlife photography: you’re doing it wrong.


This! Economics needs a public understanding movement, similar to the science one, says Henry Scowcroft.

A lesson in misogyny, thanks to a spoof BBC Question Time Twitter account of all things.

Better than a bench! Iain Banks is getting a memorial asteroid.

Blogging fast for money, providing context, without ripping other reporters off. Colin Schultz explains

World’s leading experts say there’s a problem with false balance in journalism; Steve disagrees

Awesome 15-yr-old US student from Nigeria tells reporter that he chucked spears at zebras as a kid. There are no zebras in Nigeria.

Snowden and Assange targeted by mysterious hacker The Jester. Best. Story. Ever.

A discussion on the rise of the professional science blog network. With me, Bora Zivkovic, Alok Jha and Betsy Mason, at the WCSJ

Depressed or anxious? Read this

Twitter’s new “embedded on these sites” feature helps us discover the story behind a tweet

How to survive a seagull attack. Might not work against Steven Seagull.

Stories are all around us -you never know what will hit you on the head. Meet Open Notebook’s new serendipity feature.

Sharing news is not the same thing as journalism.” Science reporting vs reporting science.

A recap of the session on narratives in science writing from the World Conference of Science Journalists, with me, Helen Pearson and Maryn McKenna.