I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (20 June 2015)

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Top picks

Hazing Ravens With Lasers: A Humane Way to Save Baby Tortoises?” By Chris Clarke.

The genome of Kennewick Man rekindles a legal feud—coverage from Carl Zimmer and Ewen Callaway. Watch out for Jennifer Raff’s superb quote in the latter.

Fascinating job: from theatre make-up artist to guardian of scientific data integrity

Jurassic World wasn’t faithful to science, but so what? Great comment by Stephen Brusatte. (Let’s talk about sexism, instead. Or heels. But also hilarity.)

Astronauts Have Done So, So Much With Duct Tape And Electrical Tape. By Mika McKinnon

If the sea swallows a country, does it survive as a virtual nation? By Rachel Nuwer

Vaccines in the ’60s made people more likely to develop chlamydia — and now we know why. Arielle Duhaime-Ross on the solving of a decades-old mystery.

“But the biggest mistake, he said, was a simple one: South Korea did not expect MERS to arrive.” Maryn McKenna on how we forget about the border-hopping abilities of diseases, to our detriment.

““What are the odds that you are wrong?” I asked, or so I remember. “I’d say zero,” the critic replied. “No chance.” That’s how you fail the nut test.” How Dan Vergano converted from a climate change skeptic to a believer.

A single-celled organism with a complex eye. By Michael LePage

The Relentless Symmetry of a Jellyfish, by Adrienne LaFrance. “When a moon jellyfish is injured, it grows new tissue to become more symmetrical—but not necessarily to replace lost limbs.”

Two weeks ago, Facebook disabled Nadia Drake’s account. Here’s what’s happened since, and why it matters. Superb post on all kinds of important online issues.

“The phrase, ‘the rabbit died’ was, at one point, a euphemism for a positive pregnancy test.” By Cari Romm

Neural nets can “hallucinate” items that they were trained on, creating really trippy art.

Such a wonderful Helen MacDonald ode to field guides. Got a little emotional at the last 2 lines. Also: duck chart!



“A persistent, lopsided cloud of dust is hanging around our moon.” Nadia Drake, on the continuing surprises of our little satellite.

Blind researchers are better researchers. Here’s how we should be taking fuller advantage of that.

“Science isn’t just sexist – it’s also deeply hierarchical.”

“Now we have to get rid of the chief penguin.”

Activating happy memories cheers moody mice” but “hard to imagine how… could translate to humans”

A researcher sent evidence of data anomalies in 29 papers to 3 journals. 6+ months later, not one editor has replied

Ace Laura Schulz talk on the surprisingly logical minds of babies. (And, boy, TED audiences really don’t get literary refs)

“The perception is that we are all looking for a fountain of youth. We want to avoid that”

Is there anywhere on Earth that is still free of pollution?

Below Our Feet, a World of Hidden Life: the Earth Microbiome Project

The story of a slave who solved the high-stakes mystery of vanilla bean sex.

First full genome of an organism sequenced and assembled using technology the size of a smartphone

When animals break out of the zoo, who survives? Weirdly, flamingos make the best fugitives

Retractions Coming Out From Under Science’s Rug. A profile of Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus.

“No matter how thrilling this movie may be, one question will plague me throughout: where are the dung beetles?”

High-speed cameras capture how bouncing rain spreads crop disease.

Humanity’s Most Problematic Attempts to Get All the Water

A placenta on a chip. Microchip, not potato chip. That would be weird.

Two of the best things–naked mole rats, and Emily Graslie–in the same video. I rest my case.

These ‘silver’ ants use special hairs to survive the harshest desert heat

Kangaroos are lefties

Promising new antimalarial drug with many advantages; mouse study, but very interesting

Well, we’re probably all still screwed with climate change but at least everyone now knows what an encyclical is

Sophie Scott’s awesome TED talk on laughter has had 1.2 million views in 8 weeks! Go watch it if you haven’t already.

How the mantis shrimp beats the crap out of everything without breaking its fists.

Finding the unlimited funding gene, and inserting it into people with CRISPR.

The cutest octopus ever may end up with the name ‘adorabilis’

Broccoli: the silent killer.

Mining unknown microbes for antibiotics

Almost 80% of crop pollination by wild bees is provided by just 2% of the most common species

Disrupt wildlife trade in China and you could reduce most of global wildlife trafficking

Can your brain get too full?

Meanwhile in the Future: Never Sleep Again, Using This Drug

Microbiologists discovered 35 new phyla of bacteria in Colorado

Nepal earthquake moved Mount Everest by three centimeters

The Philae comet lander woke up after 8 months!

I already assumed that this is all Jack Horner does with his spare time

A microbial vaccine against post-traumatic stress? (Mouse study; preliminary; intriguing)

I honestly thought that we’d already accepted African elephants as 2 species, but apparently, the debate continues


Italy’s “culture commandos” wage global war, recover 137,000 objects

Oh come on, with this paper title

7 Things Everyone Does When They Work From Home

No one ever thinks of the reputational cost to animals that appear on natural history documentaries


Anatomy of a Myth: the World’s Biggest E-Waste Dump Isn’t.

On people who define themselves by what they don’t like

Deborah Blum writes about the impact of Tim Hunt’s comments on women in science—and she was actually there when he made them.