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From me at the Atlantic:
- 6 tiny cavers, 15 odd skeletons, and 1 amazing new species of ancient human
- Why don’t we know the age of the new ancient human?
- How wasps use viruses to genetically engineer caterpillars
- Fighting Ebola with a palm-sized DNA sequencer
- Want to census a jungle? Sequence DNA from blood-sucking leeches
- How data-wranglers are building the great library of genetic variation
- Sweeping psychology’s problems under the rug
- And finally, we now have a dedicated Science channel, as my boss Ross Andersen explains in his manifesto.
A Visit to Amsterdam’s Microbe Museum, by me in the New Yorker
This piece on dead, dying, and resurrecting trees is quintessential Helen Macdonald: nature writing suffused with poetry; the world around us, and the emotions it provokes within us.
Love this piece. Ostensibly about whether an ancient plague was Ebola, but actually about how we’d even tell. By Simon Davis
Really good piece on a continuing study on the evolution of lung cancer, by Henry Scowcroft
Remember that paper on the Holocaust, epigenetics, and how stress cascades across the generations? It’s rubbish. Read this excellent piece by Ewan Birney on what it means and doesn’t mean.
Ann Finkbeiner looks at indigenous knowledge of Cascadia quakes, and why local people refuse to leave the region.
The women-led Black Mamba ranger unit has reduced poaching in South Africa’s Kruger National Park by 3/4
Researchers Have Made A Major Cancer Breakthrough You’ll Somehow Never Hear About Again. Once again, a parody site nails it better than most news outlets.
A wide-ranging piece on science, philosophy, and… look, just read it. By Simon Critchley.
Very interesting piece on the debate about testing Ebola vaccines *for chimps* on chimps. By Caleb Hellerman
An ode to tardigrades, by Cornelia Dean
“Q: [Would it have] been better if we never discovered hydrothermal vents? A: That question haunts me” Brandon Keim interviews Andrew Thaler on deep-sea mining
Behold the mighty sage grouse: dances flamboyantly, annoys Republicans, flies at 60mph, shags robots.
Everybody’s got the fever/ That is somethin’ you all know/ Fever isn’t such a new thing/ Fever started long ago. A cultural history of fever
The $12mm Longitude Prize for whomever dreams up a novel, portable drug-resistance detection device: will it be enough to deal with antibiotic resistance? By Maryn McKenna
No, there’s no evidence that you can catch Alzheimer’s. A good corrective from Kelly Oakes
Interesting Amy Harmon piece on a dying woman’s choice to invest her hopes in brain-freezing
“Trying to identify animals caught in the frame feels more like a session of Chat Roulette than meaningful work.” On being a crowdsourced zoologist.
This is a human sperm that was grown in the lab
Species That Had 25 Million Years To Evolve Pathetically Snuffed Out In 8 Years
Bats perform $1 billion in corn-protecting services.
Groups are better at detecting lies, which is handy when there are werewolves about.
Er… this piece on “orca-patterned wetsuits” to deter sharks… guys, that’s just countershading.
All the rubbish people said (and still say) about what separates humans from other animals: a farce in 12 acts.
Welcome to Not Doomed Yet: Robinson Meyer’s new newsletter on climate change, for The Atlantic. Great name, great idea.
How zombie spiders modify webs for wasp overlords
Who owns the bones of Homo naledi?
Do babies even know when they’re Skyping with someone?
Sperm Whales’ Language Reveals Hints of Culture
“First, you have to understand that boobies are dicks”
4 ways polar bears are dealing with climate change
In praise of wasps, even when they sting you in the testicles
Apparently this is what you might find when flipping over rocks in Australia
The psychology behind our fascination with mobsters
Skin Microbes Help Clear Infection
Following the Homo naledi discovery, Nadia Drakelooks at how other animals treat their dead.
If you’re white, science says you’re probably a racist. Now what?
Pluto is HAWT
Geel, Belgium, where for 700 years ‘mentally ill’ boarders have lived with residents
“I knew something was wrong when I took a bite of a falafel sandwich &it hung in my mouth like tasteless cardboard.”
“P.Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney.” “WHAT?” “I SAID P SHERMAN, 42 WALLA…” “SPEAK UP, I CAN’T HEAR YOU.”
Utterly absurd person accuses Rebecca Skloot’s book on Henrietta Lacks of being pornography, because cervix.
Carolyn Johnson on bad gene tests, using the amusingly abbreviated MTHFR gene as a case study
How foul weather and physics can turn a crane into a tragedy
Fleeting Wonders: A Meeting of the Secret International Tortoise Assembly?
Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015 finalists
Seal spotted surfing humpback whale in Australia
Who Decides What Makes a Poem Great? Megan Garber on an interesting debate over ethnicity and “best”.
“App gives college students the option to only report a sexual assault if someone else is raped by the same person.”
Very smart analysis of the new iPhone news
The Meanest Email You Ever Wrote, Searchable on the Internet
Sculpting Identity: A History of the Nose Job
Housewives, tranquilliser use and the nuclear family in Cold War America
Kathryn Schulz’s earthquake story was easily one of the best this year. Michelle Nijhuis asks her about the craft behind it