Photograph Courtesy of The Opte Project
Photograph Courtesy of The Opte Project

I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (17 January 2016)

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Top picks

From me at The Atlantic:

“Does science set itself up for a fall by appropriating the trappings of myth, legend, magic, or science fiction?” Philip Ball visits a lab where “invisibility cloaks” are made, and is a little disappointed.

The Outcome of My Clinical Trial Is a Mystery. Emma Yasinski on a big medical problem.

We won’t understand the origin of life if we don’t think about energy. Tim Requarth is exactly right here

Olga Khazan interviews the wonderful Maria Konnikova about her new book on cons and con artistry.

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

The Surprising (and Mostly Legal) Trade in “Mermaid Ivory“. Really interesting piece by John Platt.

Here’s the story of the first ever artificial insemination, and OH MY GOD, WHAT? By Elizabeth Yuko.

The science of boredom is, in the hands of Maggie Koerth-Baker, decidedly not boring.

“It’s everything wrong with modern-day science-by-press-release in one anecdote.” By Julia Belluz

Rose Eveleth’s amazing podcast about the future gets a new name (Flash Forward) and new home (Boing Boing)


Bitter fight over CRISPR patent heats up

Explaining that cotton-candy raccoon

Great White Shark Dies After Three Days in Captivity

Here’s What Happened When a Doctor Fed Infants Whatever They Wanted.

We Don’t Trust People Who Withhold Personal Information

I continue to love Ivan Oransky’s and Adam Marcus’s Five Year Watch series, which assesses hype-y news claims five years later.

Zika Virus: A New Threat and a New Kind of Pandemic

As the Ebola outbreak ends, 7 lessons that we learned

The Ebola epidemic is officially finally over. Or…not.

8 researchers talk about why the science of food and nutrition is such a mess

Hunt for Ebola’s wild hideout takes off as epidemic wanes

This microbe is sneaky, deadly, and way more prevalent than we’d known

This Professor Fell In Love With His Grad Student — Then Fired Her For It

Studying Sharks’ Social Lives to Expose Their Friendly Side

Astronomy roiled again by sexual-harassment allegations

A big step to save US salamanders: 201 species barred from entry.

First children diagnosed in DNA project

Teratomas are really weird, as this mountain lion and its weird toothy growth attest to.

The Narcissism of Collectors: beautiful reflections from Fredrik Sjöberg’s “The Fly Trap

Two good pieces on this “cancer moonshot” nonsense

A new book collects business cards from the travelling salesmen of the nuclear-industrial complex

The myth about breakfast being the most important meal of the day was started by Big Cereal.

Life-affirming image of grieving kangaroos is actually about necrophilia



How Contact Lenses Plucked From A Corpse Helped Close This Murder Case

An amusing tour of period patents

The 3-D-Printed Gun Is Retro, Not Futuristic.

Monsanto Lab On Lockdown After Scientists Find Shattered Tomato Containment Unit

On London Underground escalator logistics