I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (28 February 2015)

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Top picks

Two boys from either side of the Iron Curtain, united through a love of birds, turn a no man’s land into an ecological success story. This piece from Phil McKenna is one of the best I’ve read recently. I cried at the end.

The time everyone “corrected” the world’s smartest woman, and she was right. A great piece about the Monty Hall Problem.

The Science of Why No One Agrees on the Color of This Dress. Adam Rogers explains.

An Italian surgeon claims that he can do head transplants. It’s complete nonsense. Virtually every new organisation covers it terribly. Azeen Ghorayshi at Buzzfeed does it right.

You think you’re safe and then–BAM–an octopus leaps out of the water and kills you.

Mars Missions Are A Scam. Dan Vergano tells it like it is.

Science routinely reinforces the public’s mistrust with our everyday foibles.” Hope Jahren with some harsh truths about science communication.

Patients with bionic hands control them using thought alone. Lovely piece by Alok Jha

On icebergs, by Donovan Hohn, in Moby-Duck. I highly recommend this book.

Jessica Wapner’s piece on circumcision is a great exercise in thinking one’s way through convoluted evidence where there may be no right answer.

Eyelashes in mammals are always roughly 1/3 as long as the eye’s width. Why?

“It’s one of the world’s most startling ecological calamities – the story of how cotton soaked up an entire sea.”


“She moved with a kind of liquid speed underwater.” An obituary for “Shark Lady” Eugenie Clark

Killer chytrid fungus has been confirmed throughout Madagascar

Significant move: psychology journal bans p-values.

Games are to AI researchers what fruit flies are to biology — a stripped-back system in which to test theories.” New AI plays old games like Pong and Space Invaders.

How sign language is developing new signs for modern words

Avoid Killer Gerbil Headlines Like A Cliche

Baby sea turtles starved of oxygen by beach microbes

“I guess you can make hypothesis about anything & a ‘hypothesis’ about ‘potential’ isn’t very strong.” Carl Zimmer on a new paper about whether Ebola can go airborne.

When did dinosaurs learn to fly?

This is nonsense. You cannot reconstruct a person’s face from DNA at a crime scene.

Dragonfly eyes see the world in many colours.” This is wrong. Extra opsin genes doesn’t mean seeing more colours.

Frontiers, throwing its reputation onto a spike

The fantastic transformation of subway cars into artificial reefs

The six challenges the world faces in trying to fully wipe out the West Africa Ebola outbreak.

“If any creature needs the publicity a “day” can provide, it’s the pangolin.”

Rob Knight’s TED talk: How our microbes make us who we are.

The bladderwort packs its genome in the same way that I don’t pack my bags.

You’ve handled brains; it’s not like silly putty that you can pull through a hole.”

Autistic people spark Twitter fight against Autism Speaks

“I would never be motivated by money for anything”, says shady climate scientist receiving fossil fuel industry money

The deeper issue with the UCLA superbug crisis: how likely it is to happen again.

Toronto Star retracts HPV vaccine story



“In the 19thC, everyone used standing desks. [It] was a great century that didn’t have any problems.”

Best selfie ever, by Buzz Aldrin.

This Wisconsin house is perfectly ordinary if you ignore the 55-ton boulder forcibly embedded in it



“He didn’t lack the time to read. He was simply choosing not to.”

Aeon Ideas: the cool topics of Aeon fused with the discussion style of Quora.

“I wanted to tell him that inspiration is a joke and is about as meaningful as a bartender’s smile.”

Comics fan dies of unexplained causes. Family gets obit to list cause of death as “uppercut from Batman