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

I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (5 March 2016)

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Top picks

From me at The Atlantic:

In this week’s episode of Flash Forward, Rose Eveleth’s amazing podcast, I talk about microbiomes, and in no way do I suggest or condone kidnapping Beyonce.

This lady can hear her eyeballs moving. An amazing story about a weird and debilitating condition. By Todd Bookman

A year ago, The Dress showed us how complicated colour and colour vision really are. Adam Rogers dives into the rabbit hole again.

How ancient coral fossils revealed the changing length of a year on Earth. By Kate Golembiewski

Why we often make the same mistakes repeatedly. By Olga Khazan.

Why stress makes your hair fall out–after three months. A really interesting piece on the life cycle of hair, by Julie Beck

“How undercover agents infiltrated the global black market for cacti.” Yes, INTERNATIONAL CACTUS SMUGGLERS! By J. Weston Phippen

The STAP stem cell scandal ended careers and one life. Dana Goodyear tells its tragic story.

Julie Beck meets the people who are studying and categorising coincidences.

On stopping ageing. By Zach Weinersmith

Should you edit your children’s genome? Erika Check Hayden talks to parents.

We are more rational than those who nudge us. By Steven Poole


Illumina, the Google of Genetic Testing, Has Plans for World Domination

Cool, simple use of new tech: 3D-printing maps for the blind.

Is psychology facing a replicability crisis or not? Here are two good pieces and a technical analysis

The stethoscope is iconic, but is it still useful?

The Quantified Welp: how measuring an activity makes it less fun.

On the controversy over detecting reeeeeally tiny amounts of DNA for forensic purposes

“Patients at hospitals that perform more autopsies suffer fewer major diagnostic mistakes.” Shame they’re declining

Always interesting to see the kinds of test that New Caledonian crows are terrible at

The life in one cubic foot of a coral reef. From a new exhibit by David Liittschwager, who did the amazing photos for my Nat Geo eye piece.

What one year of space travel does to the human body

The ancient magicks are failing. The old ones are returning.

“Findings could inform forensic science & development of innovative hair products.”

This is a story about a cheetah called Chewbaaka

A Science Journal Published An Article Mentioning “The Creator” And People Are Not Happy

Scientists Breed Pigs Resistant to a Devastating Infection Using CRISPR

Archaeologists are doing some outrageously cool things with data

A visit to a Polynesian island where the mosquitoes are disappearing.

These birds use alligators as bodyguards—for a gruesome price

“Problematic” fossil turns out to be oldest known example of life on land

Invasive Species Aren’t Always Unwanted

The correlation between brain size & their likelihood of being endangered

“Like it or not, Farahany’s findings suggest, neuroscience is already entrenched in the U.S. legal system.”

A fender-bender caused by a driverless car isn’t a big deal. But the first fatal accident will be.

Horses Can Read Human Facial Expressions. (And they don’t always like what they see.)

Ha! Cute little baby hands in 8,000-year-old rock art were actually… lizards

Helen Pearson talks about the astonishingly valuable resource that is the UK’s birth cohort studies

Synthetic biologists spend ages engineering yeast to make malaria drug and no one wants it

A Sea Snail That Moves Like a Flying Insect

“I’m surprised the video is getting the attention it’s getting”, says biologist about that knife-wielding crab. Er…

Invasive species could sail across whole oceans on pieces of plastic garbage

I was rooting for the robot to grab the hockey stick and retaliate

Why reporting on health/sci is a good way to lose friends & alienate people

“Somebody explain to me again why we have journals?”

Those extinct animals that looked like giant armadillos were giant armadillos

Delighted that Attenborough will be narrating Planet Earth 2; can’t wait to see what the film crews come up with

Seven poignant portraits of primates in their zoo enclosures

Neuroscience and the premature death the soul

Biologists are working on a replacement for slow, stodgy peer review. It’s a rainbow unicorn.

Not Every Drop of a Person’s Blood Is the Same, a Study Says

Why ‘vaginal swabbing’ your newborn might not be a good idea

One being friends with kids, yet not wanting any

Flies Could Falsely Place Someone at a Crime Scene. By Erika Engelhaupt

Two huge studies have just shown for the first time that a vaginal ring could be used to prevent HIV in women

Why the planet’s ancient past holds a worrying lesson about Antarctica

5 myths about placebos by Jo Marchant

Amazing close-ups show that chameleons are more than masters of camouflage:

Do Not Read About This Giant Hornet or You Will Die of Fear

Does Toxoplasma gondii alter human behavior?



I think she maybe didn’t like the film.

An Oral History of Dress/Llama Day

“The long-term absenteeism of Joaquín García” is a magical realism book waiting to be written.

“They described it as the sound of angels’s wings.”

This Tortoise Is 182 Years Old. So Why Hasn’t He Stopped History’s Greatest Atrocities?

A journalist summarizes her experience on a cruise for conspiracy theorists

“Good essays start with a question, a turning in the head.” Michelle Nijhuis on science writing.

And thus began the crazy remake of Homeward Bound

A is for Alphabet, Awww, Absolute power, and Adrienne LaFrance

London in five crazy maps

Bored God Tries To Fit All Of Jupiter In Mouth

Here’s the Onion on that gender bias study