I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (9 August 2014)

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Top picks

The Ebola outbreak continues in West Africa, as does the outbreak of panic and misinformation. Here are better sources:

Tragic: Amazing stem cell scientist Yoshiki Sasai was found dead in wake of the recent STAP scandal. David Cyranoski (who wrote a feature about Sasai’s work) collates tributes from his fellow scientists. Michael Eisen offers a deeply personal post on how science deals with misconduct. And Ivan Oransky responds to criticisms that a focus on retractions is part of the problem. (And for future reference, here are some suggestions for journalists reporting on suicides.)

Building chemistry’s dream machine—one that could synthesise (almost) anything. Fascinating feature by Mark Peplow.

For the first time, a spacecraft—Rosetta–has made a rendezvous with a comet (that looks like a rubber duck and has a face). Ian Sample explains why that’s important and what comes next.

How to cross 5 international borders in 1 minute without sweating. By Robert Krulwich.

A team of scientists (including Phenomena’s own Brian Switek) have been excavating an incredible natural trap cave, where the bones of tens of thousands of animals are piled 10 metres deep.

“If the question is how we should think of addiction, the answer is from every angle possible.” Great piece from Bethany Brookshire.

This is so beautiful. Ben Lillie mingling the dynamics of stars with the uncertainty of adolescence.

Leigh Cowart reports from a clown convention and it’s glorious.

The Great Emu War: In which some large, flightless birds unwittingly foiled the Aussie Army. Most emusing, from Bec Crew.



Thriving microbial communities found in tar lake, with implications for breaking down oil spills. By Mark Zastrow.

A husband and wife spent 40 years in the Galápagos watching Darwinian evolution happen

Truvada, a drug for reducing the risk of HIV infections, could help women in abusive relationships take back some control — why aren’t people talking about it?

Chilaquiles, fried rice, pain perdu: there’s a long tradition of dishes that prevent things being wasted.

1 in 6 dolphins in the Bahamas has been bitten by a shark. You know what they should do? They should jump the sh… [pulled off-stage by cane]

World’s oldest eel dies in Swedish well. Love the picture caption.

In 2011, Slavc the wolf walked 2000km from Slovenia to Italy. Henry Nicholls talks to the guy who tracked him.

This has got to be the worst way of treating a battle wound.

Watch Pluto and Charon endlessly circle one another in this animation

How do other animals deal with disease?

Space is surprisingly full of stuff. But there are also vast empty voids. How do you find them?

This self-folding origami robot is really cool… until it walks.

“The human brain can judge the apparent trustworthiness of a face [even if] the person has no idea they have seen it”

The quantified microbiome self—a couple of people monitored their microbes every day for a year.

China’s greed for ivory could drive elephants to extinction in just 20 yrs

The Royal Society’s new professorship “makes a mockery of both science & sci-comm expertise”

Aspirin for cancer prevention is looking pretty good. Caveats as ever, but evidence is piling up.

“I am a Bear of Very Little Diabetes…”

The star is in an awfully deranged state and no one knows why.” I blame society.

A tiny piece of DNA keeps two species apart.

An obituary for autism scientist Paul Patterson

An ode to moss, by Elizabeth Gilbert, via Robert Krulwich

Artificial selection can change colours in a butterfly’s wings in record time.

Parasite Shoots Tiny Animals with Harpoons Launched from Guns

Dodgy claims and magical thinking about saving the world by eating more meatby eating more meatby eating more meat, as featured in a TED talk viewed 2.6m times.

This parasite eats shark cornea

Quick, fetch me my tiniest possible violin.

A study everyone cites to say fish oil prevents heart disease actually doesn’t show that

A scare about toxic algae has left 500,000 people in Ohio without drinking water

The K-index paper gets the Red Ink treatment.

This basically works as a comprehensive list of Galileo myths.

101 geysers dot the surface of Saturn’s frozen moon, Enceladus


Elephant uses car as scratching post. I’m not sure the insurance will cover that.

An utterly nerdy explanation for why Gandalf didn’t just send the ring to Mount Doom via eagles.

An FMRI study of inconceivable cosmic horror.

Watch a transparent glass mantis gobble down a decapitated blue bottle fly

What Men Are Really Saying When Catcalling Women

Grootify: make it look like any webpage was written by Groot

That time when Nic Cage broke his cave bear skull while drinking with Sean Bean

Dead koala with $50 stuffed in mouth dumped at Australian police station


The online scienceverse: kicking itself in the groin once again.

Kabaddi is awesome! An ancient Indian village game in India has been given a slick TV makeover

Shut Up About “Clickbait

Indonesian family finds daughter swept away in 2004 tsunami

The evolution of slang, as told through the NYT’s often-hilarious attempts at wordsplaining.

2000 words of HIV feature retracted after it transpires that a main source just made stuff up.

No, Wikipedia didn’t claim that a monkey has copyright over a photo it took.

Well here’s one way of stopping students from googling exam answers: shut down the whole country’s internet.

Bompas and Parr grill a steak over lava.