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

I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (6 February 2016)

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Top picks

From me at The Atlantic:

“You are worthy”: Melissa Wilson Sayres’ wonderful letter to students, on the subject of harassment.

Beautifully written piece on how body clocks affect our medicines, by Jessa Gamble

How to See a Famine Before It Starts: a really interesting Robinson Meyer piece on an oddly low-tech forecasting system

Very good explainer on the past, present, and future of Zika by Julie Beck; a list of questions that need to be answered, by Helen Branswell; and a list of conspiracy theories, by Tara Smith

Twitter Nerd-Fight Reveals a Long, Bizarre Scientific Feud. Great story from Matt Simon

An interview with me on my career and science writing

An often beautiful piece about veterans and parrots helping each other through PTSD, by Charles Seibert. Some weirdness in the quotes (social neurons? all vertebrates have compassion?) but the story’s great.

Professor Who Helped Expose Water Crisis in Flint Says Public Science Is Broken

Helen Shen writes about the next generation of flexible robots

Welcome back to Rose Eveleth’s wonderful podcast about the future, now called Flash Forward.

Mammoth wasn’t served at the 1951 Explorers’ Club dinner. Nor was ground sloth. A wonderful detective story, by Eric Boodman


“Movies are more likely to portray men’s stalking as charming and women’s as crazy.”

The Embarrassing, Destructive Fight over Biotech’s Big Breakthrough

Baby giraffes are calculating thieves

The 6 most evidence-based teaching methods are ignored in most teacher training texts

On the neuroscience of free will

“You could eat a snow leopard from its nose to its tail and still have aching joints.”

Biotech giant publishes failures to confirm high-profile science in new online channel for reproducibility.


This botany experiment has been running for 137 years, and won’t end until 2100

Snowed in at NASA, Keeping Watch Over a Space Colossus

Tori Herridge is fronting a documentary on the megaflood that separated Britain from Europe. UK viewers can catch it on Saturday at 8pm on Channel 4

How not to get killed by a cow

Vaginal microbe transplants for C-section babies? Maybe, but tiny sample, only partial “restoration” of microbiome, and  no idea about long-term effects

Embarrassing error in ancient African genome, but a win for data-sharing, and a laudable mea culpa from the authors.

Lions and elephants and bears, oh my. Inside a sanctuary for retired performance animals and rescued illegal pets

When it comes to dinosaurs, how do you define the ‘biggest‘?

Imported American raccoons are threatening Japan’s wild raccoon-dogs

Does the Loneliest Plant in the World Need Help?

How power naps are related to near-death experiences

The latest ugly story of sexual misconduct in science & the system that failed to prevent it

This is total nonsense. It’s not a quagga, it’s a differently striped zebra. And the final quotes make no sense.

HFEA approves UK scientist to edit genomes of human embryos.


Unexpected rise in suicide rates among UK women; important post from the Samaritans

Mouse in the museum finds the one thing designed to kill it, crawls inside it and dies.

A robot designed to annoy telemarketers.

The Atlantic wins Magazine of the Year at the Ellies

“Finally, a government agency that tells me, to the letter, exactly what to do with my body.”

“I definitely need media training but check this out…”