Photograph by Faramarz Hashemi, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Photograph by Faramarz Hashemi, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (Oct. 17, 2015)

Sign up for The Ed’s Up—a weekly newsletter of my writing plus some of the best stuff from around the Internet.


Top picks

Me at the Atlantic:

A good profile of “Planetary Protection Officer” Catherine Conley, by Kenneth Chang

This is a superb op/ed about the folly of big science prizes, like the Nobels. By Vinay Prasad

This plant exploits dung beetles by making nuts that look like poo. Isn’t nature beautiful? By Elif Batuman

What If Everything Your Doctor Told You About Breast Cancer Was Wrong? Essential piece from Christie Aschwanden on why mammograms are largely ineffective

Ebola panic a year later: Why the worst predictions didn’t come true. By Tara Smith.

Two pieces by the peerless Carl Zimmer: one on the first ancient human genome from Africa and another on why elephants rarely get cancer

This is amazing. Can you evolve into a duck? From the good people at Clickhole.

Famous astronomer Geoff Marcy sexually harassed many students for years. Important story from Azeen Ghorayshi, leading to actual change. Ross Andersen has a great follow-up: “Without genuine atonement, there is no going forward.”

The Tragic Neglect of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. By Olga Khazan

This stone is a marker of one millionaire’s personal vendetta against gravity

Rose Eveleth has a list of what not to write about prosthetics.

“It isn’t that he is too easy to see. It is that he doesn’t appear to see us at all.” Helen Macdonald on manufactured safari experiences.

Jess Zimmerman on a con-man who reinvented himself as a reality TV magician.

Very early modern human teeth found in China challenge our ideas about the date of ancient human migrations. By Ewen Callaway

How Doctors Take Women’s Pain Less Seriously. By Joe Fassler



Madagascar’s frogs are in trouble and people aren’t doing enough to help

Why are firstborn children 12% more likely to be nearsighted?

A really interesting history of the continually changing definitions of empathy

What Pauline Cafferkey’s relapse with Ebola means

“You can’t say Earth is your favorite planet. That would be obnoxious. Like saying your spirit animal is a human.”

“Where it hangs, the stars struggle to shine. It’s as if someone outlined a portion of the sky & dimmed the lights”

Neuroscientists surprised to find new neurons in C.elegans

125 million year old fossil shows organs & hair.

Meet the Mashco — or the Nomole, the name they prefer — an Amazonian tribe emerging from lifetimes of isolation.

CIA torture survivors sue psychologists who designed infamous program

A new hope: captive-bred, vaccinated Tasmanian Devils returned to the wild

Watch flesh-eating beetles strip this body down to the bone

Wire Animal Sculptures that Look Like Scribbled Pencil Drawings by David Oliveira

A report from ASHG15, including a summary of the panel I shared with the amazing Liz Neeley and Andrea Downing

Not photoshop: the world’s largest marsh is growing bright red grass

Possible immunity to Ebola in some women from Guinea, says slightly confused report.

Hallucinations: “relying more heavily on prior knowledge than on the actual sensory info”

Poorly-designed animal experiments in the spotlight

Where in the world could the first CRISPR baby be born? A look at the legal landscape of 12 countries

Sequencing… in spaaaaaaaaaaace

Gene-editing record smashed in pigs

Andrew Gelman weighs in on the stats behind that terrible gay epigenetics study

Chemistry Nobel goes to DNA repair, the field where I spent two abortive years as a PhD student. One of the quotes in this piece is hilarious.

Why a trawl through Eurekalert is like an existential death by a thousand painful cuts.

“I think the microbes might almost deserve it more than I do” – recent Nobel laureate

Love that palaeo-artists are getting some love at The Atlantic

In this economics replication project cooperation with original authors increased replications from a third to half



If a Pulitzer-nominated 34-part series of investigative journalism can vanish from the web, anything can.

Controlling these women was considered important to the defense effort”

Rent an Airbnb with 6 million skeletons in its closet

Really interesting: the sexism of the standardised American kitchen

Archaeologists ousted by ISIS return to ancient Iraqi cave