I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (14 November 2015)

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Top picks

From me at The Atlantic

Michael Specter on the rise of CRISPR and the implications for easy gene-hacking.

This piece on uterus transplants is fascinating because they’re like rentals? You get one, have a baby or two, & then it’s removed. By Denise Grady.

Ringo, a puppy bred to have muscular dystrophy, is saved by a surprise mutation and might hint at new treatments. Such a great story by Ewen Callaway.

Harvard has hundreds of freezers full of toenails. By Megan Thielking

What makes Lake Tahoe so blue? Adrienne LaFrance investigates

“A scan of every Gmail message taught the machine that the proper response to ambiguity is an outpouring of love.” By Nicola Twilley

This Man Made a Movie by Interviewing Himself 38 Years in the Future

Lauren Morello writes about how Twitter is changing the conversation around sexism in science, and Azeen Ghorayshi discusses how bigwig astronomer Geoff Marcy—& likely many others—got away with sexual harassment at their universities for decades

“When you collect edible fungi, your expertise in identification is all that keeps you from death or serious illness.” An ode to mushrooms, but Helen Macdonald

A damning analysis of past studies on “romantic priming” & a visualisation of psych’s replication crisis. By Neuroskeptic

And finally, some satire… Trudeau considers re-muzzling scientists after 3 hour conversation about rare seaweed


Can the rift between patients, doctors & researchers over chronic fatigue syndrome be mended? Good piece by Virginia Gewin.

To Study the Brain, a Doctor Puts Himself Under the Knife

A vampire snail that feeds on fish

Engineered bat virus stirs debate over risky research; familiar talking points here.

Down-Syndrome Screening: A One-Parent Test for a Two-Parent Risk

Siffre was so lonely in the Texas cave that he attempted to catch a mouse to keep as a pet”. A story of people who lived alone in caves for science.

After a mass extinction, only the small survive

And then there was one. Eradication of another polio strain leaves just one in the crosshairs.

Troubling: mounting evidence that repeated flu shots might, in some cases, reduce the effectiveness of the vaccines.

Advice: If you want to become a fossil, try burying yourself in batshit.

“Swallowing capsules filled with human faeces is not without risk..” https://t.co/Azy6SF08pL

An interesting debate on e-cigarettes and their regulation

It’s only a matter of time before the BBC commissions Attenborough to make Life of Animals Riding on Other Animals

This handy infographic explains what would happen to your weak, feeble fleshsack were you to try an ultramarathon

“Unlike human names, which aren’t usually unique, parrotlet and dolphin signature calls typically are.”

Canada’s First (and Female) Science Minister is a Badass

“If so, the world has spent 25 years and countless billions of dollars pursuing Alzheimer’s drugs that won’t work.”

Why do hammerheads have hammer heads?

Sick monkeys in Uganda eat the very same plants that local people use to treat illnesses

Tons of elite athletes are doping — here’s why science won’t catch them all

Joan Strassmann talks about social insects, the evolution of sociality & what counts as an organism

Nat Geo’s new blog, Wildlife Watch, is dedicated to shining light on the illegal trafficking and exploitation of animals:

Breakthrough prize goes to ancient genetics pioneers, PCSK9 discoverers, optogenetics pioneers, and… 1000+ physicists.

The Mystery of the Arctic’s Toxic, Lethargic Shark

Kangaroo farts won’t save the world

LOL I probably have dementia

The myth about carrots improving eyesight was deliberately started by the Allies to foil Nazis

“In the often-Darwinian culture among grad students… too many people assume psych problems are only for the weak.”

Fraggers rock: inside the world of coral collecting



Big Pharma the video game makes it easy to be evil

“As a PDA user & Windows Mobile user, this thing has nothing on my phone” & other reactions to the original iPhone

On writing, and what writers should stop saying.

One way to close the gender pay-gap: “just pay women more.”

“The International Council for Science announced the addition of a “Seek Funding” step to the scientific method.”

Oh sod off, these are all fantastic words

Nation Figured Everything Would Run On Some Kind Of Cubes Of Blue Energy By Now

This splendid alarm clock wakes you up by slapping you in the face. Bonjour!

This is f**king great! A blog about swearing, by linguists and lexicographers.

It was once socially acceptable and surprisingly affordable to send children by parcel post

Biologists Announce They’re All Done With Rodents