I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (10 January 2015)

Sign up for The Ed’s Up—a weekly newsletter of my writing plus some of the best stuff from around the Internet.

Top picks

Deepest Fish Features Angel Wings, Tentacles and Amazing Ability to Perform Under Pressure. By Jennifer Frazer.

Robin Henig on the origins and purpose of play

Nice piece on the “strange inevitability of evolution” and the source of biological innovations. By Philip Ball.

“People with autism, who often have trouble describing discomfort, could benefit from alternative methods of measurement. But there are so many to choose from it can be hard to know which to use.” Rose Eveleth on alternatives to the smiley-face pain scale.

Emily Graslie meets a pregnant bat and the world’s largest spider. “Got to let it get closer to her face.”

“Those weren’t noisy pixels. Those were freaking stars.” Phil Plait on an incredible image of Andromeda

Matthew Herper on the $60M deal between 23andMe and Genentech

“And though these are known as the pillars of creation… they’re also regions of destruction.” Nadia Drake on a new version of a classic image.

Why fighter cockpit designers have to predict the future 40yrs in advance. By Angus Batey.

How a surgeon general got saddled with a notorious quote he never said. Michael Specter on how lie becomes fact, and how journalist can deal with getting it wrong.

“The under-reaction to NDM is as misguided as the over-reaction to the global movement of Ebola.” Maryn McKenna on typical incisive form.

This is the best thing I’ve read on the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, satire, and solidarity. It’s thoughtful, nuanced, compassionate.


If you get kicked off a roof by the bad guy, you won’t be able to grab a ledge on the way down.

Beneficial gut bacteria have evolved resistance to antimicrobial peptides that hosts release to fight pathogens.

Underwater graveyard of extinct giant lemurs discovered in Madagascar cave.

Biologists shocked to discover new species of Australian animal with no obvious way of killing you.

A stiff facial mask could block emotional memories.

Monkeys can learn to recognise themselves in a mirror, which might not mean much. I love Gallup’s quote.

Lizard Penises Evolve at Super-Speed

Game theorists crack (a very simple form of) poker

Female shark holds onto sperm for at least ~4 years before fertilizing her eggs

Men on the internet don’t believe that sexism in science exists even when presented with evidence. SURPRISE.

Another good take on teixobactin, the new antibiotic that I covered earlier this week.

A story about studying the vampire spider

Trying to harvest rhino horn ‘sustainably’ won’t save them

Dwarf elephant beats up big rival

Why goes the disco clam flash?

“Oooooh, look at me, look how many planets I’ve found, aren’t I amazing?” Shut up, Kepler.

10 Grossest Bug Parts, Ranked

“Who da raptor?” “Utahraptor!” “No, Utahraptor!” “No, Uta…” and then they all died of embarrassment.

Tinamou eggs are up to 14 times as glossy as the average chicken egg.”

“The newly discovered microbe has been named the Bourbon virus

Carl Zimmer writes about selfies. That’s when C.elegans fertilises itself.

Treated mosquito nets may have created an insecticide-resistant hybrid mosquito

One-eyed fish gets googly prosthetic to stop all the bullying

New drug works like an “imaginary meal“, moving us closer to solving the obesity epidemic in mice.

In India, Falcon Hunters Become Fervent Preservationists

Stars without makeup: how NASA retouches images.

Cancer Genome Atlas, a mammoth effort to genetically profile 10,000 tumours, comes to an end

Seven moments in polar bear propaganda

On migrating swans and Sibelius’ Symphony no.5

By eating ants, black bears help mountain meadow’s key plants thrive.

2015 will see the first trial of optogenetics in people


“Your gut macrobiome is out of balance.”

NASA made these gorgeous travel posters for actual exoplanets


I proclaim myself King of Kyrzbekistan. I will rule wisely and fairly.

A heartbreaking story of secrets, loss, betrayal.

Incredible photo of female cardinalfish depositing eggs inside male’s mouth

Jeez, steady on, NYT headline writer person.


22 Heartbreaking Cartoons From Artists Responding To The Charlie Hebdo Shooting

Leah Reich starts a new skein of essays, this one on stories we tell about ourselves

Tech will save us! But not this tech. This tech is rubbish.

This site of screenplay structure dissections is like a more erudite TV Tropes, and just as addictive.

20 maps that never happened

Field reporting tips from the Open Notebook

Here’s Bill Gates enjoying a glass of water that was sewage just five minutes before.

Uncle makes Jaws-themed crib, is clearly best uncle ever.

2015 may give us words such as “honkenbonkers

Emily Anthes on the emotional toll of smart tech