I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (13 June 2015)

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Top picks

Meanwhile in the Future is an awesome podcast by Rose Eveleth, which combines science, science-fiction, radio drama, and fun speculation. I recommend it. Highlights real future scenarios (end of antibiotics) to fun implausible ones (space pirates drag second moon to Earth).

On rabbit-holes, real, figurative, and both. By the peerless Kathryn Schulz, who is clearly having too much fun at the New Yorker.

“If the GoPro camera is first-person singular, the camera trap is third-person plural.” Wonderful piece and slide-show about Serengeti camera traps, spying on Africa’s wildlife. By Alan Burdick.

“Using less than a drop of blood, a new test can reveal nearly every virus a person has ever been exposed to.” Okay, sure, every known virus, but this is still a cool technique with many possible applications.

Sea spiders: not spiders; move in slow motion; genitals on legs. By Matt Simon

DARPA had a robotics challenge. Here’s a vid of robots falling down.

What? Oh, nothing. Just an injectable polymer mesh that can wire nanoscale electrodes up to the brain. La dee da. By Elizabeth Gibney.

Please welcome the wonderful Robert Krulwich to Phenomena!

My New Scientist feature about programming gut microbes to fight disease & improve health. Paywall, sadly.

Blanket octopuses literally rip the tentacles right off portuguese men-o-war and use them like little nunchuks”. And other amazing facts, curated by Rebecca Helm.

“Among the most puzzling aspects of Ebola virus, since its first recognized emergence almost four decades ago, is that it disappears for years at a time.” David Quammen tries to track down its hiding place.

“How many times does the world have to be threatened with a deadly pandemic that moves from one species to another before people get the point?” Michael Specter on our relative unconcern over bird flu in chickens

The surprisingly fascinating science of how Swiss cheese gets its holes. By Nicola Twilley

Nobel laureate makes an ass of himself, but spawns a wonderful rebuttal hashtag and this great piece: The unseen women behind Tim Hunt’s Nobel discovery, by Helen Cahill

A delightful look at Pluto’s five moons. By Nadia Drake

What did the notorious Stanford Prison Experiment really show? By Maria Konnikova



Evolution tuned this moth’s night vision to follow swaying flowers

Weird animal world discovered in deepest Pacific Ocean vents

Eating brains helped Papua New Guinea tribe resist disease caused by… eating brains.

Ants show metacognition? As always with these kinds of stories, it’s debatable.

“In West Africa, scientists have found a group of chimpanzees who make a habit of pilfering alcoholic drinks.”

“This is what passes for good news from Fukushima…”

Cells that give fruit flies direction are arranged like a compass, “kind of like a cosmic joke”.

New dinosaur Regaliceratops, sporting its jazz frill

Computer scientists develop automated methods to recognize tattoos in images, aiding law enforcement.

Traces of dinosaur blood/proteins found in rubbish fossil fragments.

“This is going to be the Hegel summer.” On the goals of summer reading.

Sooo… what’s up with the terrifying, giant, green, slimy worm?

Odorous house ants smell like blue cheese- both create the same chemicals. A lovely tale of scientific curiosity.

Critics say new study linking creativity and mental illness is lacking

Dinosaur Physiology Debate Continues to Simmer.

How much DNA is on Earth?

If I could choose a word to precede “lampreys”, “raining” would be near the bottom of the list

Polar bear caught eating dolphin for the 1st time: adaptability in the face of climate change

Meet Australia’s only non-venomous animal: this guy whose blood has saved two million babies.

Robbers are looting ancient Iranian cemetery with NSFW gravestones

“The fairest message is that both these methods are equally wrong. Ours is just wrong at the lower end.” Scientists downsize the giant Dreadnoughtus

Meet the team who built a dead T.rex so scientists could autopsy it on TV

Greedy killer whale eats 27 porpoises and seals

Strongest biological material known? Limpet teeth

“No need to wait for the cyborg future—it’s already here.”

Lawsuit reveals details of chronic fatigue syndrome-XMRV research fiasco

Carl Zimmer talks to Radiolab about rewriting DNA & what it means for our future.

Ten stories from the history of science and technology Hollywood should tell next.

“Then I found out that ‘storia‘ meant both ‘history’ and ‘story,’ and I was desperately confused.”

The Tyranny of Planned Obsolescence

The frog with a frog in its throat

US gives captive research chimps endangered-species protection

There was a reason US gov’t placed Plum Island bio lab where it did; now it’s moving to Tornado Alley

Some centipedes & spiders have converged on a similar venom that may guide insecticide design


Clickhole visits Google’s headquarters

‘Arrangements’ by Emily Blincoe: assorted objects neatly arranged.

The Microbes on the Handprint of an 8-Year-Old After Playing Outside

The last paragraph makes this

Neuroscience lab manager talks about the Human Brain Project

Africa’s Oldest Trees Photographed Against Starry Night Skies

Funniest thing I’ve seen all week? Month? Year?



Film critic couldn’t get to a press screening of Jurassic World, so interviewed a 10-yr-old about dinosaurs

“A sword in the hands of a woman doesn’t transform into a symbol of love.” Jess Zimmerman on Furiosa Imperator and warrior women in culture

Astronauts have the Internet in space but it is slooooow

The life of a shepherd—Q&A with the unlikeliest of bestselling authors.

“Why Is There So Much Hate for the Word “Moist”?”

How ClickHole became the best thing on the Internet