I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (22 February 2014)

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Top picks

XKCD’s “Frequency” cartoon is one of its best. Whimsical, inventive, delightful.

252 million years ago, 96% of life went extinct in just 60,000 years. We still don’t really know why. By Carl Zimmer.

First ever photos of a successful snow leopard kill in the wild. Beautiful.

The most beautiful animal you’ve never seen, by Rebecca Helm.

Some couples are now using IVF to screen embryos & avoid passing BRCA breast cancer genes onto kids. By Bonnie Rochman.

Darwin’s children drew battling vegetables and other stuff all over his On the Origin of Species manuscript

David Attenborough narrating curling is the best thing ever.

Climate change is acidifying the oceans, spelling trouble for the entire marine food web. By Peter Brannen.

The US Supreme Court years ago ruled against applying the death penalty to people unable to understand the legal process. Now it must grapple with the science of how intellectual disability is measured. Fascinating piece by Sara Reardon.

Galapagos Finches are famous, yet Darwin learned more about evolution from the plants. By Henry Nicholls.

No more cold chain? 150,000 doses of meningitis vaccine delivered in Africa without ice boxes

Japanese institute launches inquiry after allegations of irregularities in blockbuster stem cell papers. By David Cyranoski.

What’s going on with Britain’s storms and floods? Tom Phillips explains (really well).



Big Corn versus Big Sugar, using paid-for science and biased non-profits.

Prions may be important for memories

Paul Bloom on psychology’s “war on reason“.

The Black Death left a mark on European genomes.

Monkey see, monkey BEND YOU TO ITS WILL.

Counting whales from space

A Pacific-Atlantic canal through Nicaragua could be an enviro disaster. (Also, er, isn’t there already a competitor?)

Squeezed light“? Seriously, physicists? That sounds like The Day Today’s “heavy electricity”.

Wildleaks: a website that allows tipsters to report wildlife crimes.

Western Australia shark cull is a ridiculous embarrassment

Let’s stop the ‘hero worship‘ when it comes to big name academics

Three new species of marsupial discovered that engage in 14 hour suicidal sex sessions

What will happen after the rhinos are gone?

In worms, bursts of activity in mitochondria accurately predict lifespan.

Finnish reindeer sprayed with glow-in-the-dark liquid to prevent accidents

Psychologist fisks five of his own papers

Asian elephants console others who are in distress with vocalizations and gentle touches

“(blah blah oxytocin blah)”

I love Shara Yurkiewicz’s contemplative, philosophical medical snippets.

Embarrassing report on astrology and the unscientific public is more about the NSF’s crappy survey skills

Death by filthy monkey bite would be an ignominious way to go

In 2006, astronauts chucked a spacesuit packed with sensors out of the ISS, to see what would happen to it:

Why Watson and Siri are not meaningful examples of AI

Female Mimicry in Rove Beetles: How to Mate with Everyone at the Same Time on Dung

An interactive guide to the bluefin tuna

Careful reporting by Ian Sample on new study into genetic influences of sexual orientation

Nice set of tributes to Daniel Kahneman’s influence


HA! More research is (increasingly) needed.

Zack Seckler’s bird’s-eye-view photos provide a new take on the African savannah

The shifting adjectives of coolness.

Tumblr: Artist makes signs for little lost objects.

The Onion skewers rhetoric around “battling cancer

The “Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed” selection here is AMAZING.


Portraits Made From a Single Thread Wrapped Around Thousands of Nails By Kumi Yamashita

On making the switch from writer to editor

A kosher product that’s only kosher specifically because it doesn’t have kosher certification.

V.good piece on the problems of voluntourism

Washington Post vows to stop reprinting press releases after Paul Raeburn calls them out. Hey British newspapers, take note?

“If you squint, tilt your head & look closely at [Vitruvian Man’s] groin, you might see what the fuss is about.”