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

I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (13 February 2016)

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Top picks:

From me at the Atlantic:

NASA has built a rock collection so its rovers can practice punching holes in Mars. Wonderful Nadia Drake story.

Sad story about the genuine harm that terrible press releases can inflict on vulnerable people. By Ivan Oransky

Is Toxoplasma driving chimps towards leopards? By Carl Zimmer

These Scientists Saw Zika Coming. Now They’re Fighting Back. Superb colourful reporting by Sarah Zhang

“Scientists have identified neural pathways that react almost exclusively to the sound of music — any music.” By Natalie Angier

You can train your body into thinking it’s had medicine. Two amazing stories from Jo Marchant.

Another tragedy of sexual harassment, this time in anthropology. Reported by Michael Balter; with commentary from Azeen Ghorayshi who broke the first of the recent spate of stories.

Human evolution is more a muddy delta than a branching tree. By John Hawks

Scientists finally detected gravitational waves. Nicola Twilley has a beautiful story about how it happened and what it means. Nadia Drake has a shorter but equally good explainer, and also talks about the rumour-mongering that preceded the announcement. Allan Adams writes about the sound of gravitational waves. And  Rachel Feltman has the most delightful story coming out of the discovery: “This is actually the second time she’s broken an embargo with a cake.”


Some troubling data oddities in a money priming study

Does it take too long to publish research? (Spoiler: yes)

A rare albino turtle hatches

“Space is hard. Engines are hard.” “Zero gravity fun time is over now.”

“We want to… guide lampreys’ movements by manipulating the landscape of fear and opportunity.”

No, an Indian man wasn’t killed by a meteorite. Sit in the corner, media sites, and think about what you’ve done

This week’s Flash Forward: what would it take to get sex robots?

New study suggests sleep deprivation markedly increases false confessions

What will it take to get plastics out of the ocean?

How the Fight Over Transgender Kids Got a Leading Sex Researcher Fired

Scientists make artificial tissue with commercial cotton candy machine

Johns Hopkins to Perform First HIV-Positive Organ Transplants in US (to HIV-positive patients, obviously)

This parasite hasn’t had sex in 10,000 years and it still probably gets more action than you.

Scientists will sequence the genome of every kakapo to find the gene for shagging Mark Carwardine’s head.

Hidden Epidemic of Fatal Infections Linked to Heart Surgeries

How would you actually prove that Zika causes birth defects?

I freeze first. Then try to escape. Only later do I consider avoid, fight, retaliate.”

DarkFly! Flies reared in the dark for 60 years give up their genetic secrets

A Skeptic Infiltrates a Cruise for Conspiracy Theorists

150,000 penguins die after giant iceberg renders colony landlocked


Where are the women in science journalism? The Science Byline Counting Project

Palaeontologists, I have big news for you

A site that offers free access to academic papers moves to the dark web