I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (26 October 2013)

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Top picks

Interesting piece by Maria Konnikova on the psychology of online commenting and anonymity.

Essential reading on the new Dmanisi skull, from John Hawks.

How a night class student blew a celebrated psychological theory wide open

Joy Morgan isn’t a mother, but she may have kids.” – Cassandra Willyard on the quagmire of privacy around sperm/egg donation

“I pulled out the intestine of the barnacle, cut it open, and a bright blue piece of plastic popped out.” – Miriam Goldstein on her own research.

Laurie Garrett on synthetic biology, the dual-use research controversy, and biology’s Brave New World

Carl Zimmer on the genetic code, why it’s universal, and how some scientist are recoding it.

Virginia Hughes on the similarity between the brain and codebreakers: both face an unavoidable tension between speed and accuracy

Is Wikipedia in decline? A long analysis of the online encyclopaedia’s struggle to keep editors

Researchers keep mum on botulism discovery. Great coverage of the debate by Helen Branswell.

Great feature by Kerri Smith on Jack Gallant and his brain-decoding work

When sexual harassment isn’t “overt” or “physical”, it’s still insidious. Jennifer Ouellette explains why.

There’s still a ton we don’t know about T.rex. Brian Switek discusses.

Cultured follicles offer hope for beating baldness. And don’t miss this old feature from Helen Pearson about the scientist behind the discovery, and her great hair.

Great explanation by Gia Milinovich about the difference between sex and gender, and a recent controversy about the same.

High-school student finds trumpet-headed dinosaur—by me in Nature News.

Any piece that begins with “Back in my baboon-watching days…” is surely a winner. Barbara King, writing in Aeon.

The unexpected lessons from Hiroshima. David Ropeik on the mismatch between fear and radiation.

Saving killer whales by using dogs to track their poo. By Brooke Jarvis.

Why is snot green? Nice little explainer by Ben Bleasdale

Ha! A review of the new dystopian novel: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.


Should slaver ants be renamed as “kidnapper ants”? Alex Wild makes the case.

Pubmed opens for trolling. I mean comment. Yeah, comment.

Australian Lizards Thrive When Humans Hunt Them

The extinction event that killed off most of the dinosaurs also killed a lot of bees.

Biomimicry of dolphin echolocation produces a very sensitive new type of sonar

Singing fish grunt to jam each other’s mating calls.

No, Brits. Flesh-Eating Spiders of Death Are Not Invading Our Country

Whatever it is this time, it really can’t predict earthquakes. By Chris Rowan.

Citizen science project may have found the first 7-planet system

Pesticide makes invading ants suicidally aggressive

Amusing parody of I F*cking Love Science.

Once again, viral images prove to be an effective way of communicating about sci… oh wait.

How crocodiles have sex.

Turtle’s got the bends, oh no.

Baby’s number sense at 6 months predicts mathematical ability years later. And OMG the video!

The skeptical scientist from my turn-taking monkeys post expands on her critique at Language Log.

“Worst single massacre in southern Africa in 25 years”; cyanide used to kill 300 elephants

It’s finally time to test genome sequencing at birth, argues Carl Zimmer

Marc Hauser corrects a tiny part of the scientific record. Ivan Oransky on fine form.

Mystery of the galloping dung beetles

#DrownYourTown: Exploring Sea Level Rise through real-time, interactive, GIS modelling

Behold the terrifying spring-loaded jaws of the goblin shark

Second Oarfish In A Week Washes Ashore

Well huh. Susumu Ohno didn’t coin the term “junk DNA”, as Dan Graur’s detective work reveals

Deadly chytrid fungus is wiping out amphibians around the world by making their immune cells self-destruct

The Blue Peter approach to incubating baby cephalopods

“Using dolphins as bait? That’s like using Albert Einstein as a traffic bump”

What does it feel like to hold a human brain in your hands?

Today I learned about Eucladoceros, the brush-antlered deer. And boy is it beautiful.

“The teeth in your mouth started as body armor.” – Brian Switek on a new study about the mysterious conodonts

“Just when it seems it couldn’t be worse, your abdomen explodes” Rebecca Helm on the parasitic barnacle.

Awwww. They grow up (and bore through your skin) so fast. Snf.

Positive developments at Psychological Science to shore up the reliability of research

“After 20 mins at it, I realized I’d make a terrible monkey but I could eat reasonably well as a mongoose”

How small long-distance tweaks to genes make a face go round.

The Cheer pheasant – a beautiful bird which hints that quails might be stripped-down sort-of-pheasants.

The ocean is broken: a disturbing story from a global sailor

An immune suppressive drug can unexpectedly help immunized mice fight off diverse strains of flu.

Study pre-registration soon to be *mandatory* part of research ethics in psychology & cog neuroscience

What’s Creepy, Crawly And A Champion Of Neuroscience?


The Onion’s guide to breast cancer awareness is no less ridiculous than a lot of pink merchandise.

A partial list of all the things scientists are told they need to be good at which are also full-time jobs

A lovely comic, inspired by Bill Watterson

Capt Durand doth protest too much

Spider-Man shooting web fluid into someone’s blood bag. What. An. Ass.

Paracelsus‘ full name was the best name ever conceived.

Peer-Reviewed Arthropod Farting

Would-be groom fails to confirm wedding venue, tries to cover up mistake with hoax bomb threat, goes to jail.

An astonishing photo of Saturn.

The Daily Mash on Malcolm Gladwell


“They have successfully tested their new space cannon.”

The Japanese are done with sex? No. No, they’re not.

Proof: The Science of Booze, is an upcoming book from the amazing Adam Rogers. You should pre-order it.

CHAMPIONS! “Freelance science journalists…are undoubtedly the most poorly paid science writers”

Mexican drug lord assassinated by killer clowns.