I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (02 August 2014)

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Top picks

The largest Ebola outbreak is not a global threat, despite the virus’s terrifying ability to liquefy judgement and make one’s sense of proportion dribble out of every orifice. Here’s a great explainer by Declan Butler. Meanwhile, Sara Reardon reports about the problems that health workers are facing on the frontlines in West Africa, where there’s actually a serious problem. Peter Piot reflects on nearly 40 years of investigating this virus. And Helen Branswell talks about the lack of drugs or vaccines for the disease.

Explorer talks about descending into a hellpit that’s been on fire for 40 years. Stunning photos.

“The mother became a mosaic when she was a tiny clump of embryonic cells.” By Carl Zimmer.

Wow. Mum flies west, dad flies east, & the hybrid bird flies down the middle! Like flying pink snapdragons. By Elizabeth Preston.

Koba from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was the antithesis of bonobo behaviour. By Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods.

“For fifteen years, Richard Norris had a face too hideous to show. Then, one day, a maverick doctor gave him a miracle too fantastic to believe: a face transplant. What’s it like to live with a face that wasn’t yours—and that may never quite be?” Amazing story by Jeanne Marie Laskas

Great read on caviar poaching, and the bizarre-looking paddlefish, from Michelle Nijhuis.

Why are disgraced doctors running our drug trials? Outstanding investigative journalism from Peter Aldhous.

This Cosmo profile of the wonderful Emily Graslie has a picture of flesh-eating beetles devouring a goose, and it’s therefore THE BEST Cosmo article ever.

A man walks into a bar”. This is funny and perfect.

Michelle Meyer and Chris Chabris have written a great state-of-the-union address on the growing replication movement in science.

Fascinating bit of “digital forensics” connecting a haven of pseudoscience to anti-GMO threats against scientists & journalists.



China’s appetite for fish bladders may cause the extinction of the vaquita porpoise.

In 2015, 100 rhinos will be airlifted from South Africa to Botswana, where shoot-to-kill anti-poaching measures exist

Scientists deploy ocean robot to study great white sharks. They attack it.

The Smithsonian is disassembling its dinosaurs—and hoping to learn about the animals in the process

“The study didn’t quite find Neymar to be some kind of brainless soccer zombie.” But it did uncover some fascinating things about the neuroscience of professional sportspeople.

Why are tattoos permanent? A cool TED-Ed animation explains.

MD Anderson postdoc faked results of Novartis anti-cancer compound study

K-index: “a measure of how much hate one can generate on Twitter with a single paper”

A Melbourne oncologist has dealt a $1.2 billion blow to Big Tobacco.

Deborah Blum talks about scientists who lick poison frogs, and get bitten by poisonous snakes

50 million years of theropod evolution (and shrinking), from Allosaurus to hummingbirds

Where The Birds Are Is Not Where You’d Think

So, basically the earth farted and blew this crater in Siberia.

Huh. Tractor beams are *real*. They’re just not very good.

Features on next Mars rover include x-ray vision, weather station & adamantium claws.

Gambler’s fallacy trips up goalies: Penalty kickers could score more goals by exploiting hidden patterns in dives

There are 8 species of pangolin and they’re all screwed because the 1 species of us is awful.

If you work hard at school, you too might one day be a costumed monkey-scarer.

Kate Clancy on the new K-index and jokes that don’t work.

Drug-resistant malaria has spread. Here’s my story about its rise and how to stop it.

Designing for the microbiome: Fart alarms, digital bacteria, and more

Scientist names new species after David Attenborough, who narrates a video about the work

“The scientists found that arms were a nice accessory for runners to have.” Best if they’re your own, though.

Contaminating bacterium is a major problem for cell biology.

Really expensive sham-poo

Bacteria built the Bahamas using Saharan dust

Daw, who’s da cutest widdle Cthulutron? Is it you? Is it you?

A sexually-transmitted virus that makes crickets all hot and bothered.

How long-term couples develop interconnected memory systems

UCL has launched a new “bad genetic science” website, including the sorry saga of BritainsDNA

Waves of insect sound, and a wonderful tale of science getting done.

Social Octopus Species Shatters Beliefs About Ocean Dwellers

Just imagine how many bacteria I’m transferring by facepalming right now.

Flaws emerge in microRNA method to build tree of life.

Abilify is America’s best-selling drug. Did you know it was tested on homeless people?

When a Species Poisons an Entire Planet. Not what you’re thinking…

This anglerfish does not have a parasitic dwarf male. The Oatmeal and Blue Planet were wrong.

Asteroid’s ‘bad timing’ killed off dinosaurs, new evidence shows

Control restored to beleagured sex gecko satellite

The Epic Fight to Protect Whales From the U.S. Navy

Monkeys use researchers as human shields.

Don’t mess with giant anteaters


Woman finds IKEA bags stuffed with human bones. Man who dug up the bones says “it’s not as bad as it looks.”

Eye of the tiger” on dot matrix printer

The Natural History Museum’s vertebrate zoology Pinterest board is amazing.

Maine fisherman snags extremely rare (and stunning) calico lobster.


The best essay about ramen and reading that you’ll read.

Big congrats to all Society for Environmental Journalism winners, especially Amy Harmon for her superb, nuanced reporting on GMOs

Art doesn’t needs to be “relatable” to be worthwhile. On Ira Glass and Shakespeare.

Adrienne LaFrance considers failed predictions in piano tech and asks: “When is a piano not a piano?”

How did the World War One change the world? A lovely bit of data visualisation.