I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (01 August 2015)

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Top picks

A new illness or mass hysteria? The village in Kazakhstan where people fall asleep for days. Incredible story by Sarah Topol.

One of the big myths: scientists know how drugs work. By Carolyn Johnson

Hospital checklists are meant to save lives — so why do they often fail? By Emily Anthes

Fantastic piece by Christie Wilcox into the four-legged snake fossil that I covered last week, including the ethical snakepit that it crawled into.

A rare condition causes Joel Salinas to experience other people’s emotions and sensations. Is mirror-touch synesthesia a superpower or a curse? By Erika Hayasaki

“Every means of confession creates a kind of person who confesses. “An essay on Fitbit and productivity tracking, by Moira Weigel.

The case of the night vision eyedrops “showed how biohacking works, and where it all falls apart”. By Rose Eveleth, who also has another piece out on the missing women futurists.

Cancer cells as cheaters in the game of life. By George Johnson

American dentist killed Cecil the lion, and triggers an online storm. Henry Nicholls interviews a conservationist who studied Cecil, and David Shiffman and Brigid Hains wrote some good pieces.

“It is so important for that empty chair to be there, so all of us who stay silent for whatever reason can know there is a place, waiting for us, if and when we are ready.” Roxane Gay on New York Magazine’s incredible cover and Bill Cosby



The Case for Fetal-Cell Research

Tornado wrecks town, infects the survivors with mysterious fungus.

“The discovery was made by analysing videos of ants carrying oversized food items, including Cheerios.”

Buzzfeed vs some common tanning myths

Pluto: a world that’s evolving in slow motion, with nitrogen glaciers, and dark organic rain.

Car-sized ball of squid eggs off the coast of Turkey

Some people feel music so strongly, the experience is almost sexual

Crumb of mouse brain reconstructed in full detail

How to avoid a salamander apocalypse.

Uganda chimpanzees are binge eating clay to make up for the loss of a mineral-rich food plant.

Blueface, the masked seducer: a new species of peacock spider

Live Anthrax Was Shipped To 192 Labs (+ Counting) And Congress Is Pissed

A double review of ‘Life’s Greatest Secret’ by Matthew Cobb and ‘The Vital Question’ by Nick Lane

Oh, nothing, just a hyena carrying off the disembodied head of a lion. It’s the ciiiiiiiiiiircle of life.

From stem cells to 3D-printed nipples, breast reconstruction is constantly evolving

If scientists used droplets of fat to turn cells into lasers, this fried breakfast will give me heat vision, right?

Researchers are going a little bug-eyed trying to improve robot vision

This butterfly “avoids flowers, preferring rotting animal corpses, faeces, mud puddles – and even human sweat.”

The reign of the terror birds

Biologists led by Pamela Ronald make good by producing right result after high-profile retraction

Snow leopard, manta rays, and other endangered species to be projected onto the Empire State Building on Saturday.

How did you get that job: designing a parachute for NASA’s Mars rover

Golden jackal: A new wolf species hiding in plain view

Things like Fieldworkfail are where science Twitter really comes into its own: good-humoured, community-building joy

The wonderful David George Haskell on the moon moth

Our Absurd Creature of the Week is a two-foot-wide sea star that’s basically a bear trap

“This will go down in history as one of those hallmark public health efforts.” The Ebola vaccine trial proves 100% successful in Guinea

Swedish blood donors now get a text when their blood helps someone


Brits Tried To Guess The Cost Of American Healthcare And Got Really Confused

My life as a introvert

Man creates moving tribute to late grandfather by hand-drawing every single item in his shed

A gif of the Aurora Borealis from the International Space Station


The Tragedy of iTunes and Classical Music

Overspill: The adblocking revolution is months away

Thomas couldn’t be doing anything that could be perceived by children as evil Thomas”

Humans are indeed underrated compared to machines

This fungus eats the butts off cicadas but “cicadas don’t seem too bothered, continuing about their short existence as if losing your butt is totally normal”