I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (12 April 2014)

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Top picks

Thanks to hidden trial data, the UK spent £500,000,000 on a Tamiflu stockpile that doesn’t work. Ben Goldacre discusses this shocking farce, and how the path to revelation began with an online comment.

Stewards of Condor: Fantastic piece by Lizzie Wade about saving condors with puppets, and whether that causes more problems than it solves.

Here’s a parasite that zombifies a plant and manipulates an animal with the same molecule! By me.

“’When I should have been thinking about marriage, I was worrying about HIV. OCD stole something from me: it took away my attention.” –Great science writer David Adam talk about living with OCD in this astonishing excerpt from his new book.

Great Tim Harford piece on potential & limitations of behavioural economics as it nudges its way into public policy

Finding MH370’s black box is actually a billion times harder than finding a needle in a haystack, as Al Dove (and this handy graphic) show.

The Curse of the Unlucky Mummy, by the wonderful Rose Eveleth.

Carl Zimmer takes us inside the crowded, jittery interior of the cell with some astonishing animations.

Ebola is pehaps more inimical to humans than any known virus, except rabies and HIV-1”. David Quammen puts the recent outbreak in perspective.

Save the salamander, save the world. Great piece on an unappreciated star of nature, by Richard Conniff.

How many of these are really breakthroughs, and how many of them are just exercises in hyperbole?” Great, necessary post by Michael Wosnick on the untrammelled hype of cancer conferences.

A great essay by Eric Michael Johnson on the origins of altruism and why Bill Hamilton’s inclusive fitness theory is still robust 50 years on.

One of our best psychology writers, Maria Konnikova, joins the New Yorker as a contributing writer. Congrats!



Measles outbreak traced to fully vaccinated patient

How do giant and red pandas co-exist? Through mutually assured destructi… oh, wait. Skull shape.

The journal that gave in to climate deniers’ intimidation. Its chief specialty editor has since resigned.

More dispatches from the frontlines of malaria research in Thailand and Burma.

Confrontation with rare hamburgers evokes more fear & disgust than confrontation with well-done hamburgers”

Here’s what happens to prawns and other aquatic life when Prozac disperses in our rivers

“If you bite a Life Savers Wint O Green mint, it lights up in your mouth.” Which reminds me rather of earthquakes.

A new documentary about how the Earth is at the centre of the Universe. Made now. In the 21st century.

These new crystal-clear videos of live (soon-to-be-not-live) oarfish are incredible.

How to photograph the biggest fight on the planet: the humpback heat run

Journal invites scientists to write commentary on upcoming paper. They’re critical. Commentary gets canned.

KC—the man who could remember only facts—died last week. He taught us an immense amount about the brain.

Whistle-blower’s study suggests informing authorities privately is less likely to lead to corrective action.

Don’t Throw Out The fMRI Baby With The Dead Salmon

Doctors implant lab-grown vaginas in four women.

This absurd sea slug is like a cross between a jellyfish, a dinosaur, and a watermelon.

Fruit flies can pull off these *ludicrous* banked turns WITH A SINGLE WINGBEAT.

Scientists name world’s 100 most unique & endangered birds. We must eat them all. Wait, SAVE. I meant save. There’s the full top EDGE list. Some favourites here. Shoebill! Egyptian vulture! Kagu! Secretarybird!

“From chocolate and coastlines to bee and butterfly habitats, we need to protect the cherished things that climate change endangers“

It’s Homeopathy Awareness Week. You can celebrate by having zero concentration and not working. Also, check out these 12 facts about homeopathy.

This botfly removal video is the most gruesome I think I’ve ever seen. Honestly, I could barely watch it. You really shouldn’t. Seriously. Don’t click that link.

Neuroscientists says he invented push-button orgasm implant. No one cares.

“What the [three new species’ names] also evoke is the air of elite ninja ant triplets.”

“I’ve never seen someone lose their carotid pulse.” Shara Yurkiewicz with another beautiful bit of medical writing—this one on checking on a patient post-surgery.

“Smetacek got it right. Whales do, in fact, garden the ocean, fertilizing the seas to grow their own food.”

The world’s newest island is a volcanic cannibalistic siblingavore. And it’s seen FROM SPAAAACE.



XKCD explains the Heartbleed bug beautifully

Cosmologist on a tyre swing

Onion: Progressive zoo houses animals in natural destroyed habitat

“This is the story of Todd Manly-Krauss, the world’s most irritating writer.”

Fire + Tornado = Fire tornado. Somewhere, a filmmaker is reading this and thinking, “Fire… sharknado?”


Blogger Pulls Off $30,000 Sting to Get Her Stolen Site Back. Incredible story

The Internet may have been haemorrhaging your secure stuff for two years. Great NewYorker piece on the Heartbleed bug.

Journalist Laura Bates has published a book collecting the cumulative stories of the Everyday Sexism Project. It’s “a ground breaking, anecdotal examination of sexism in modern day society.” Worth your while.

In the which Economist tells the NYT to stop ****ing around

I wish journalists could call for better science coverage without creating a false dichotomy between “wide-eyed stories about the ‘wonder’ of science” & coverage of serious issues like the “replication crisis”. I do both, you know.

A conference on solutions to harrassment & inequality in science writing. Bravo to Emily Willingham and others for organising it.

Great Q&A with Will Storr about writing revealing stories with unreliable sources

This is a pretty great summary of why Game of Thrones is so compelling. It’s about the death of the fairytale.

Google Glass shows how large private technology companies are determining how we behave in modern society (still).