I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (25 October 2014)

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Top picks

Last wk, Eric Betzig won a Nobel. This wk, he publishes another revolutionary Science paper. Next week, a nap? (Seriously, the videos here are amazing).

A fascinating story about people with extremely rare (and extremely useful) blood types. By Penny Bailey

Life Story is the best BBC wildlife documentary for a long time, which is saying something. Catch it on BBC iPlayer if you missed it.

This excellent critique of “The Hot Zone” by Ebola researcher Tara Smith explains why Richard Preston’s credibility has liquefied and bled out of every orifice.

‘Small, cute, fuzzy animals’ likely to be part of ‘invisible extinction’. Fascinating comment piece on the things that we lose and may never remember.

Three artificial sweeteners were discovered when chemists failed to wash their hands.

“Will we ever know if this widely-used contraceptive increases the risk of HIV infection?” Captivating piece about medical ethics, by Arielle Duhaime-Ross.

A wonderfully touching story about an autistic boy’s friendship with Siri. By Judith Newman.

This incredibly important long-term study on guillemots is going to shutter, for the want of £12,000. By Tim Birkhead.

2 thoughts came to me: I can’t believe what I’m seeing right now; I wish Darwin could have seen this.” Jennifer Frazer on an amazing underwater light show.

Marvellous. An oral history of the discovery of the Hobbit fossils, compiled by Ewen Callaway


Megalodons—the biggest sharks ever—died out 2.6million years ago, the same time as whales got really big. Coincidence?

Virginia Hughes on whether video games could help with ADHD

How Nigeria and Senegal stopped Ebola “dead in its tracks”.

On the brink of extinction: Northern White Rhinos. There are now only SIX left in the world.

A student writing competition that I’ll be judging:

Seeking stars & finding creationism – George Johnson on a conflict between native beliefs and astronomy

Steve Caplan on how super-resolution microscopy made him fall in love with science all over again

Competition drove these lizards to evolve big, sticky feet in just 15 years

Ferns communicate to decide their sexes

Cancer cells can ‘infect’ normal neighbours

On a Decade of Getting Pooped On By Birds

These things are not tied w/a pink ribbon (this is what breast cancer has done to me). By Lisa Adams

Carl Zimmer covers the oldest modern human genome from a 45,000-year-old man.

US suspension of gain-of-function research funding: common sense or knee-jerk reaction?

Take a unique journey inside the body of a tarantula, to see how it moves, breathes, hunts, eats and defends itself

Drones Are Taking Pictures That Could Demystify A Malaria Surge

Dinosaur Noses Are Cool

“Why didn’t we know comets smelled so bad before?” “That’s mostly because we’ve never been that close to a comet.”

Seriously, evolution, WTF? A look at the world’s most hacked-together species

Human faces are slower than chimp faces.

Chimps ‘daring’ night time food raids caught on camera

Neuroscientists speak out against brain game hype

“Good news: your cancer has not returned. Bad news: there’s a plant growing in your lungs.”

Engineers build robot that drills into skulls and destroys brain tissue. Rise, Trepannotron.

Scientist tries to mimic tactics of wasp-eating woodpecker, gets stung a lot.

Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after pioneering surgery. Alok Jha urges caution.

Emily Willingham fisks a terrible Newsweek story about autism, and patiently responds to its increasingly incoherent author

No, that spider isn’t the size of a puppy, unless you mean a chihuahua at birth. Which is more terrifying anyway.

Fossils rewrite history of penetrative sex

Gorgeous Drone Footage Of Killer Whales Is The First Of Its Kind

BBC iPlayer really cannot cope with this ridiculous number of budgies.

This guy says don’t panic about Ebola & he is literally called Doctor Brilliant. (Also, he helped to eradicate smallpox)

As if apocalyptic fungus wasn’t bad enough, now new viruses are killing amphibians too


Galaxy NGC 1291 is watching you.

The Most Epic Airline Safety Video Ever Made

Halloween costume ideas for physics geeks. I’m fond of the Feynman Diagram one.

Strong winds blow waterfall upwards. Amazing.

“Huge, if true = I have no interest in finding out if this is true” An Internet Glossary

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition returns to the Natural History Museum!


The town that had to be moved to avoid falling into a mine

A wonderful and brutally honest interview with Seth Mnookin about the reporting of his recent New Yorker piece on a boy with a rare genetic disease.

A wonderfully cathartic rant about Gamergate by Chris Kluwe

The Report has thrown all its fake resources into the fake story, sending a fake journalist to file fake reports.” On the rise of fake news.

Megan Garber wins the Internet by getting Don deLillo, author of White Noise, to review Taylor Swift’s new track, White Noise.

“My eyes hurt at the end of the day”: Inside Pantone.