I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (30 May 2015)

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Top picks

“But how do expenses work if you’re a spy, doing secret work?” This is an amazing piece by Sarah Laskow about espionage and bureaucracy

More than 19,000 saiga antelope have died in Kazakhstan in the last two weeks, and no one knows why.

Fascinating piece on people who experience psychosomatic blindness or paralysis w/o any neurological problems. By Suzanne O Sullivan

“So you’re related to Charlemagne? You and every other living European… “ Superb piece by Adam Rutherford on the value (or lack thereof) of genetic ancestry testing. Featuring Charlemagne… and Hugh.

Antibiotics aren’t profitable to make, so who will pay for the new ones we desperately need? Maryn McKenna reports.

When did consciousness begin? Veronique Greenwood on the weird world of Julian Jaynes & how his 1970s theory of consciousness fares in the present day.

This robot can perform brain surgery on fruit flies, while this one can recover from a broken leg.

6 Extra Pairs of Genitals Is Just Too Much of a Good Thing.” By Gwen Pearson

“Where are we headed? Is it really to Mars? Or is it just to Kazakhstan?” Elizabeth Kolbert considers the case for colonising Mars

“For scientists who study human evolution, the last few months have been a whirlwind.” Carl Zimmer on our blossoming family tree.


Butterflies Have an Extra Stomach Attached to Their Vaginas

Save the dementor wasp

I give you good odds that this won’t replicate

Moby Dick Got Busy

The story of LaCour’s fraud just keeps on giving. Don’t miss the final paragraph.

Caught on Camera: Swifts reunited after 9 months apart

A giant freezer in Antarctica to store ice, in preparation for climate change.

Replica early microscope shows van Leeuwenhoek saw what he claimed

3D-printed ‘fake’ eggs could help us find out how birds spot impostors in the nest

First bats successfully treated for White-Nose Syndrome.

A twist of poo? Caterpillar disguise strategy.

This Futuristic Concrete Heals Itself With Built-In Bacteria.

A community turns to a massive fake orca in its battle with nuisance sea lions.

Office workers set up crash mats for goslings in Canada

Many ‘amygdala’ activations might be blood vessel artefacts

Bed bugs are an insect version of the vampire tale, and evoke that sense of creepy psychosexual invasion

Madagascar’s panther chameleon is actually 11 diff species, not just one

Kangaroos sometimes adopt babies. Is this a case of evolution’s imperfection?

The female mathematician who changed the course of physics—but couldn’t get a job

Mice develop thinner skin after just 3 months in space

“it’s not really anything we need in our log cabin.” Why physicist has put Nobel prize medal up for auction

A lovely, safe-for-work slide show about the biology of sex across the tree of life.

Volcanic eruption in Galapagos threatens pink iguanas.

Critically endangered dolphin has only 10 mature females left, and will be extinct within 15 yrs

Hacking the nervous system through the vagus nerve

“C’mon guys, tell it like it is: You’re making brain balls.”

Evolution is a grand process that works even on a tiny scale

“Science has taken a turn towards darkness“.

In this extraordinary case of mimicry, a harmless katydid, mimics the feared tarantula hawk wasp

Mexican jays ‘weigh’ peanuts and take the heavier ones

Thoughts on the Promises of Big Genomics

And I would’ve got away with it too if it wasn’t for you pesky archaeologists

US military accidentally ships live anthrax to labs

NY Centre ends support for Liberian chimps it used for research


Beautiful bubble snails, nudibrancs & other underwater wonders.

American falls down rabbit-hole of British slang, gets well confused. Hilarious.


Today’s word is “paracosm

Using Twitter as a reporting tool, featuring me and others.

This is what it’s like to fall in love with a woman who doesn’t exist

Spot-on analysis of the ethical flaws and spurious claims of that chocolate hoax