I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (9 January 2016)

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Top picks

A collection of things I was proud to write, and things I was delighted to read, in 2015

Me at the Atlantic:

Books in 2016: a literary calendar. I’m honoured to be included!

MERS is spread by camels, and camels… are not easy to work with. Love this Helen Branswell story.

What’s the Plural of Emoji? Robinson Meyer’s investigation quickly turns into a delightful examination of borrowed words.

Nadia Drake witnesses two green sunsets and writes beautifully about them.

“If there are no polio cases in 2016, eradication might be achieved by the end of 2018.” By Maryn McKenna

Unit 9900: The Israeli Army Unit That Recruits Teens With Autism. By Shira Rubin.

The first email ever sent wasn’t even read on a monitor; it had to be printed out. This and other gems from Adrienne LaFrance’s examination of email, and why it has come to suck so much.

On polite parties and casual racism. Essential (and for me, all too familiar) reading by Nicole Chung.

“We recently published an article naming Jupiter “the best planet.” As everyone knows, Saturn is the best planet. We regret the error.” By Ross Andersen.

Ants, like anxieties, come in two quantities: one and infinity.” By Leah Reich.

A behind-the-scenes look at how nutrition studies are done and why most of them are rubbish. By Christie Aschwanden.


Best lede of the year so far

A Brief History of Noise, from the Big Bang to cellphones

CRISPR treats Duchenne muscular dystrophy in mice

Missing mice: gaps in data plague animal research. More problems with reproducibility in science.

Following Marcygate, Astronomers Are Finally Doing Something About Sexual Harassment

Brain games like Lumosity are snake oil. They’ve now been fined $2m for lying about their rubbish products.

I really really want khipus to turn out to be an elaborate long-game joke on future archaeologists.

Study on cattle manure turns out to be bullshit. Thank you, irony gods.

New Worm Species Has Five Faces

You have to say “leader of the skeptic movement” with air-quotes and then snort into a closed fist. John Hawks on a major misunderstanding about Homo naledi.

The Storm That Will Unfreeze the North Pole

Auto-brewery syndrome“: where people make their own booze, possibly due to fungi in their gut

Great close-up video of a giant squid

Poachers using science papers to target newly discovered species

I’m really looking forward to Helen Pearson’s upcoming book The Life Project, about the longest-running study of human development in the world.

Does your favorite supplement contain an illegal drug? Search this database to find out

10 Animals That Support Your New Year’s Resolutions

How to deal with Australia’s toxic cane toad problem: Train goannas not to eat them.

Why are there still monkeys? Jennifer Raff uses a creationist trope to teach evolution

Starfish-killing robot to patrol Great Barrier Reef

Kratom, an Addict’s Alternative, Is Found to Be Addictive Itself

Dogs thwart effort to eradicate Guinea worm

It’s the first time the disease, which is devastating amphibians worldwide, has been eradicated in a wild population

Pioneering ‘bionic eye‘ restores sight to woman with an incurable genetic disorder

Ballistic tongue projection of thumb-sized chameleon produces peak acceleration of 264g

Thousands of Jersey kids help dig up fossils from a mass extinction.

Your Cells. Their Research. Your Permission? Rebecca Skloot encourages readers to have a voice on controversial proposed changes to how our cells are used.

Great profile of fearless lion conservationist Craig Packer

Vultures are often seen as vile. But they’re vital to our world—and rapidly declining.

An excerpt from Maria Konnikova’s new book on the minds and motives of con artists

The best of the Buzzfeed news science desk in 2015

Brooke Borel on why science journalists have to report on the people behind science and their flaws

“What happens when you mix a flood of dumb money eager to invest in anything “disruptive” w/ life science companies”: a lot of funded pseudoscience

Why do we feed wild animals?

On competing theories about self-control

“Go get 30 other mummies from around the world and get more data”



Wonderful piece on adulthood, and when people think that they’ve reached it.

Is History Written About Men, by Men? Spoiler: yes.

The single best thing about The Force Awakens

The perfect person to interview Daisy Ridley about fame and Star Wars? Carrie Fisher.

Cleveland Museum of Natural History Patron Spots a Tiny VW Bug Mixed in With the Insect Collection