I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (16 February 2014)

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Top picks

Seth Mnookin wrote an incredible piece on addiction, the omnipresent threat of relapse & Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death

Jason Goldman superbly analyses why Copenhagen Zoo decided to euthanise Marius the giraffe: a “surplus animal”

This is almost certainly the best photo I will ever take of a pelican.

Bionic hand gives amputee a grip *and* a sense of touch after nine years. By Greg Miller.

The ancient genome of a Native American boy stirs an ethical debate about handing of tribal remains. Great reporting by Ewen Callaway.

This is your body. This is your body on Mars. Kevin Fong’s new book looks amazing

Brilliant! Anti-“Daily Mail” signs appear all over UK’s rail network

Carl Zimmer on a fascinating condition where people hallucinate music

A fascinating tour through research into arachnophobia. By Gwen Pearson.

Emily Willingham deconstructs the reporting of a recent autism/oxytocin study

Is the ability to distance ourselves from the here-and-now uniquely human? Virginia Hughes reports.

Immune cells in the brain pluck off “unwanted” synapses to improve connections later on. By me.

A truly beautiful story by Richard Lloyd Parry about ghost-sightings following the 2011 Japanese tsunami.

What would a beach of stars look like? (And XKCD introduces the SD card as a new SI unit for length)

“Most of what mammography has done is turn healthy people into sick, but grateful cancer survivors” – Christie Aschwanden.

Cancer biologists & beetle experts aren’t all that different… they walk the same foggy road together.” Carl Zimmer seeing interesting links between two different fields.

50 years on, a dispute over a Down’s Syndrome discovery leads to cancelled talk and legal shenanigans. Rosie Redfield has another take.

Crowdfunded HIV vaccine project is great at raising money, but based on faulty science. By Erika Check Hayden.

A rousing defence of “unnecessary” words by Stan Carey, ft. Buffy the Vampire Slayer


900-Year-Old Coded Viking Message Carved on Wood Fragment Finally Solved, It Says “Kiss Me”

What dyslexic musicians tell us about the brain.

Mice develop sharper hearing *very quickly* after a stint in the dark, even as adults.

“It dispenses w/ blinding & randomization & will not even have a control group…”

The rainforest is “the wild, rambunctious product of genes and evolution, competition and symbiosis”

New beetle collected by Darwin 180 years ago

Is There Right-Handed Bias In Neuroscience Studies? Yes, with interesting implications

Craig McClain did a Reddit AMA on his exploring the deep seas, and his rotten, damp, abyssal wood

H7N9 two years on, and still going strong.

Salmon inherit a magnetic map

10 Stubborn Sex Myths That Just Won’t Die, Debunked by Science.

“He knew it worked. There was no risk in his eyes.” On Jonas Salk testing the polio vaccine on his son

How the octopus changes its texture as well as its colour.

Stinky mammals are loners, but not for the obvious reasons.

“Even with a team cleaning up after him, obtaining DNA from the president really wouldn’t be that hard.”

A cricket infected with a hair worm is 20 times more likely to stumble into a stream

This newborn baby just lies down and shuts the hell up for months.

Crocodiles can climb trees. All is lost.

The nasty bite of sail-backed Dimetrodon

A hummingbird’s nest is also a garden.

Rethinking how the sensory bits of our brains work

Brian Switek’s dinosaur reporting is just taking the piss now.

On the fall and rise of “longue durée“–historical thinking across really long timescales

Greenland sharks: giant, long-lived, poisonous, catholic in their tastes, and riddled with eye parasites.

What was the snuggliest dinosaur?

Scientists use electricity, drugs, to uncover the secret world of jellyfish

New ape: the changing face of Guy the gorilla

Can couples really get stuck together during sex? A piece on “penis captivus”.

No “feelpinions” please: “Anti-vax activists should not be given a say in science journalism.”

A complex array of factors can lead to lack of reproducibility in science, and the NIH is planning to tackle them.

John Hawks argues that “TED is not directing people to good science content” and suggestss ways forward

Weird virus makes cross-kingdom leap from plants to honeybees.


Loving the Brain Scoop’s blooper reel

Stunning high-speed photo of sea foam.

XKCD on updates

The deer desk: for people who are too hardcore for standing desks

Very cool. A “kinetic sculpture” that creates the illusion of a rotating head.

Stunning photos of ice caves in Lake Superior


When you fall in love, this is what Facebook sees.

Gawker announces a new way to recruit writing talent.

Ellen Page’s brilliant coming out speech.

Journalism is a trick to find a way of making the boring interesting, and as yet it hasn’t found a way of doing it”

A day in the life of the fabulous Maggie Koerth-Baker.

Why starred book reviews are “as hopelessly beside the point as giving four stars to your mother or two to your cat.”

If you can’t bear Infinite Jest, here’s an early David Foster Wallace work that’s 20000 times shorter

“What the New York Times doesn’t always excel at is giving full credit to the work of other news organizations

“The only true currency is this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.” –Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs in Almost Famous. RIP, PSH.

“I will never publicly admit to disliking a book. Do you know how hard it is to write one?”

Want to map drone killings by the US? There’s an app for that.

MoMA is getting towers made of fungus

The photographer who tinkers with time