I've got your missing links right here (25 March 2011)

By Ed Yong | March 27, 2011 12:23 pm

Top ten picks

As with last week, the Japan/Fukushima coverage counts as “one”:

Wow. Just wow. An interactive timeline of Middle East protests at the Guardian. I’ve been waiting for something like this since they started.

We know how human populations react to two nuclear bombs. How does a coral reef deal with 23 of them? Thomas Hayden reports.

Nuralagus rexgiant extinct bunny, couldn’t hop, tiny ears, once mistaken for a tortoise. Pass me the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch… Meanwhile, Brian Switek discusses the giant “bear otter” that got much less publicity.

Hannah Waters on the danger of appealing stories and anecdata, featuring spider-saturated trees and Chernobyl.

Listen to Adam Rutherford’s excellent Science Betrayed, a radio documentary about scientific fraud, featuring Piltdown Man, Marc Hauser and an interview with the still unrepentant Andrew Wakefield. It’s possible that you won’t be able to listen to this outside of the UK…

Imperial Sci-Comms students have completed their group projects and the results are wonderful.

Houdini versus the paranormal, featuring Scientific American, fisticuffs and Arthur Conan Doyle

“Scientists take the wonder and beauty out of everything.” XKCD debunks a common trope

“It was rather like finding a tiny star buried in the dirt” – Deborah Blum on the discovery of radium, in a stunning three-part series.


China recalls 2000+ tons of pork products after the meat tested positive for an illegal stimulant drug. Maryn McKenna reports.

Self-control pisses us off. Jonah Lehrer basically tells you, yes YOU, to just hulk out and be done with it.

I’ve previously highlighted Carl Zimmer’s great post on what the mere existence of whales means for cancer research, but it’s worth revisiting for the lengthy comments thread, and the fact that the authors of the paper Carl referred to have joined in. Blogs are wonderful things

“Infusing a scientific aesthetic into a thing of beauty only enhances our appreciation of it.” The physics of blooming flowers

3D printable insect wings! The future is now.

Long-necked dinosaurs were like 1950s vacuum cleaners

Virginia Hughes on barcoding bushmeat – how genetics can help conservation

A world map of penis size. And kudos to John Rennie for drawing the comparison to this map of the world’s nuclear weapons. Draw your own conclusions.

Salmon fertilise forests by getting dragged to land by bears and wolves and then helpfully rotting. Go salmon!

A great tale of break-ins and security systems, featuring Salmonella, by Kevin Bonham

Success in recruiting women to MIT creates unexpected consequences

SciCurious debunks the 5-second rule with DATA and SCIENCE.

Hive of 137 biologists elbow-slams trio who questioned the relevance of kin selection. Reporting on the brawl are Carl Zimmer and Ewen Callaway

Frightened birds produce smaller young with longer wings [

Sleepwalkers act out earlier learning.

What was a vegetarian animal doing with massive saber teeth?

Waaaahh, life’s not fair and no one understands us. Except Carl Zimmer. His new piece on the teenage brain.

The more serious a brain injury, the higher one’s self-reported life satisfaction. Pass me that drill.

Nerve cells grow along semiconductors. “They seem to like the tubes.”

Humans arrived in North America 2,500 yrs earlier than thought,” says the Guardian. Some would argue that thought still hasn’t arrived yet. Kidding.

An intriguing piece on the spatial nature of natural selection

Jeremy Yoder has another good critique of the evolutionary psychology hypothesis on the adaptive value of homophobia

“By staging mating trials, we documented genital amputation, sexual cannibalism and genital organ reuse” Of course you did.

A picture of the plastic inside one sea turtle’s stomach by Brandon Keim

Ten simple body postures that boost performance – I love embodied cognition

Slow and steady wins the race: pelicans, crocodiles, and the meaning of evolutionary stasis, by Brian Switek

The Neandertal genes in Europe are by and large different from those in China, by John Hawks

Calls to ban shark fin soup growing around the world


Venn pie-agram

The blog from the editor of The Journal of Universal Rejection

“The true bitch – ass prevalence may be obscured by random variation in the sample”

If I was Mendeleev, I would have drawn the Periodic Table like this

“No student is in a cow for more than five minutes now and up to 90% leave the first session having felt a uterus”

Fungus makes ant look a bit like a d*ckhead

Hugo Chavez says capitalism and imperialism “finished off” life on Mars. Maybe he should write for the Journal of Cosmology…

OED traces “OMG” back to 1917.

The aurora borealis: God’s screensaver.


The Open Laboratory 2010 is now up for sale! A recommended buy for some of the year’s best online science writing.

Ben Goldacre has another go at sloppy (read: non-existent) referencing of primary sources, and Paul Raeburn chimes in at the Knight Tracker.

How happy people flock together on Twitter (unhappy people, too)

“Our ideal candidate has also cursed out an editor…” Best journalism job ad ever

Ninja journalist mug

Alice Bell on a thought-provoking seminar on science journalism


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