I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (03 January 2015)

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Top picks

Moral of story: if your roommate is a sociopathic parasitologist, don’t evict him. By Rebecca Kreston. Also from her wonderful blog: In the early days of penicillin, we recycled the drug from the urine of treated patients!

What would happen if the Earth stopped in its orbit? Aatish Bhatia considers in his own inimitable style.

The events of 2014, as told through seven addresses. A lovely, creative approach to a year-end list, by Amy Davidson.

“Guess I’ll go eat worms.” I missed Robin Henig’s beautiful essay on loneliness last year; you shouldn’t.

To end 2014, the NYT published a stunner of an Ebola story, narrating the unfolding of a preventable epidemic. By Kevin Sack, Sheri Fink, Pam Belluck & Adam Nossiter.

Ebola virus may hide in bats, but not the kind of bats we were expecting. By David Quammen.

China’s lunar rover has sent some wonderful new pics back from the moon. By Nadia Drake.

Here’s me, with Jonathan Eisen, Jack Gilbert, and Margaret McFall-Ngai, talking all things microbiome on NPR

Does the FTO gene create risk of obesity? Yes, but only if you were born after World War Two. Carl Zimmer talks about the subtle interplay between genes and time.

Orcas, Orangutans, Elephants: Legally human, non-human or something in between? Thoughtful post by Barbara King.

A wonderful tribute to the grammatical diversification of “nope”, by Stan Carey.

“Once the laughs have worn off, spoof papers can actually do damage to science.” Rose Eveleth on the ethics of the BMJ’s Christmas issue and other sarcastic publications.

A packrat ducks into a Wyoming cave. This is a mistake…” Brian Switek explores the Natural Trap Cave.

A great guide to sniffing out bad health journalism, by Carolyn Kylstra, with quotes from me and others.


Raindrops are like tiny asteroid strikes

11+ things everyone needs to know about microbes

A new study, and accompanying press releases and news stories, claimed that most cancers are due to “bad luck”. The results didn’t show that. Adam Jacobs, and Bob O’Hara and GrrlScientist dissect the results.

Maryn McKenna’s ethical eating resolutions for 2015

The world’s largest pit of slithering snakes

“Humans have a long history of tinkering with animals’ sobriety this way.”

“I tried to make sure no one was raising a fork to their mouths when I blurted out “There are frogs that have sex!””

“This could be a real turning point in the war on bed bugs [but] it’s too early to declare victory.”

Bacterial infection strikes one of five remaining northern white rhinos.

ENHANCE! Extracting images from corneal reflections

A half-male, half-female bird that doesn’t mate or sing. More on gynandromorphs

Some animals specialise at sucking the warmth out of other things. [SIDE-EYES YOU]

You’ve just dragged a cart for 4 hrs using hooks embedded in your backs. How would you rate your experience?

Characterizing the “Healthy” Vagina Microbiome. Or lack thereof. Good piece.

“We note that both the alcohol and control groups sang robustly on all days.” A paper about drunk birds.

This is what the Ebola outbreak really looks like. Photos by Amy Maxmen.

Vampyrella: microscopic vampire amoebas, which are everywhere

Neuroskeptic interviews Cordelia Fine about sexism and neuroscience.

On the front lines of Ebola’s most pressing mystery. Erika Check Hayden continues her first-class dispatches from Sierra Leone

The anaconda guy speaks. I loathe the “we secretly won because we stirred controversy & got people talking” attitude.

Nice piece about why scientific retractions are like both Superman and Clark Kent.

A beetle joins the growing list of animals named after David Attenborough

NuSTAR stares at new star.

Top medical journals filter out poor papers but often reject future citation champions.”

Landmark: Argentine court recognises orangutan as “non-human person” that has human right to freedom

Top 10 genetics stories for 2014.

Antarctic tourism may pose disease threat to penguins

These are snow tunnels built by birds

What is time, really? Physicists debate about whether time really passes.

Pelican spiders use their long jaws to grab other spiders



The “nosebleed” bit of this graphic cracked me up.

Reporters roasting on an opium fire

“Sometime in the next hundred millennia, the growing fairy population would start to crowd out the human population.”

Kangaroo punches drone out of the sky

Photographer Beth Moon’s portraits of really old trees

A little Reddit exchange to restore your faith in humanity

My New Year’s Resolution is to become a 13-year-old Mongolian eagle huntress

The Walking Dead/Love Actually mash-up we always wanted

Apple Releases Brief, Fleeting Moment Of Excitement

This New Yorker post on Christmas injuries has the perfect headline



The Deborah in Pulp’s Disco 2000 was a remarkable woman who recently passed away.

The Track-Everything Revolution Is Here To Improve You Whether You Want It Or Not

“2014 was the year we finally realized that to save social media, we need to make it less social”

The Blink tag was born of drunkenness.

2015 was the year that Marty travelled to in Back to the Future II

Before Google, people asked the NYPL questions. Things like “What is the life span of an eyelash?”

Meet the Dogged Researchers Who Try to Unmask Haters Online

How a Nickelodeon Cartoon Became One of the Most Powerful, Subversive Shows of 2014 (and the creators discuss the finale).

“”Like an Uber for” became one of the most hackneyed phrases in tech this year. It’s also one of the most profound.”

“Mostly, though, it is a story about blindingly excessive holiday lights.”