I've got your missing links right here (7 May 2011)

By Ed Yong | May 7, 2011 11:18 am

Top thirteen picks

This Pulitzer-winning series on a desperate bid to identify and treat a rare genetic disorder is incredible science writing. Truly incredible. You have to read it (and the story behind the story).

BLOODY HELL!! Those are whale sharks! 420 of them! Read Al Dove’s take on his own paper for a textbook example of a scientist blogging their own work.

Charles Darwin was the original crowd-sourced scientist.” Carl Zimmer on the wonderfully named “Evolution Megalab”

Forget arseniclife. Here’s Deborah Blum with a moving tale of arsenic death

If you read one thing this month on the challenges of live, real-time, breaking news, read this by  Emily Bell.

I loved this New Yorker profile on David Eagleman and his research on how the brain deals with time

This is why it’s important for journalists to get it right first time round: Vaughan Bell on why retractions fall on deaf ears.

“Are there circumstances in which feeding kittens to boa constrictors might be morally acceptable?” by Emily Anthes

Do we reason to find truth or simply to create more persuasive arguments? Jonah Lehrer on a compelling new hypothesis

Don’t read this in company. You will cry. “Here it is. I’m dead, and this is my last post to my blog”

“To my credit I neither screamed nor vomited [but] for a yr I couldn’t eat garlic” Great post on delusional parasitosis

Jason Stephany can play rugby, but he can’t donate blood. Because he’s gay. By Cassie Willyard

What was Triassic Park like? Alex Witze on the dawn of the dinosaurs.


“Before I break your heart with a magnificent demonstration of naked, forlorn, magnificent passion, I should tell you a thing or two about the male jumping spider.”

205 million gallons of oil went into the Gulf – where would it have gone otherwise?

Parents’ ‘ums’ and ‘uhs’ Help Toddlers Learn New Words

The League of Extraordinary Extremophiles goes to space.

82% of people agree that “science is such a big part of our lives that we should all take an interest in it”. More stuff from the Public Attitudes to Science 2011 poll.

The Independent and Telegraph claim that Daniel Craig is replacing David Attenborough as the voice of BBC nature films. No, he’s not.

Leafsnap – not a simpler name for Venus’s fly trap, but an app that identifies plants by their leaves

Here’s a typically sharp analysis of the latest news on Marc Hauser by David Dobbs

Welcome to SCIENCE: 101, the NEURON, by SciCurious

Hearts Beat as One During a Fire-Walking Ritual

A really cool example of the power of reader response: Robert Krulwich on a Cosmonaut’s Fiery Death

The story of Nefertweety the mummified chicken

Why people sometimes have to redistribute themselves about an empty plane

Does Revenge Serve an Evolutionary Purpose? By Katherine Harmon

These ARE the droids you’re looking for: Cooperative robots obey evolutionary law

Darwin’s vast trove of letters to be published in full by 2022.

How that lonely grey whale ended up off the coast of Israel last year

GIANT HEAT-SEEKING ANTS! As big as a (small) bird!

High-speed videos show how hummingbirds really drink

Giant Squid Are Killed By Ocean Noise Pollution

Around Chernobyl, black is the new orange

A very good piece on the science of insomnia by Kristina Bjoran

More on XMRV and chronic fatigue syndrome – another negative result, not that it’ll change anyone’s mind…

Swarms of tasty cicadas don’t help the birds — why not?

Brian Switek reconstructs a glorious sea-monster battle

9/11 memorial groups names by social bonds

Thoughts of death increase the appeal of Intelligent Design

Brightly coloured bird feathers inspire new kind of laser

Check out my transient Discover blogger Jamie Vernon post on the birth of a new denialism – Osama “deathers”


Behold Brian Switek’s thorough, scholarly and comprehensive debunking of the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis

I think this may be the greatest comic book panel of all time

Creepy and mesmerising Man’o’war video.

Best. Zoology. Exam. Question. Ever

And the award for most hilarious Osama bin Laden tie-in goes to the Lonely Planet

Headline of the day.

Pink fluffy cat-ear hairband that wriggles in response to brainwaves.

Acupuncture needle found in ex-South Korea president’s lung

Hijack a car, get a bunch of poliovirus-ridden poo. Crime really doesn’t pay.

The greatest front page ever

“Then Thor slaughters every last one of them wearing a wedding dress and fabulous jewels.“

On science metaphors. About physics, but could apply to anything really


Fellow writers, let us pin this to our desks with notes that say: “If you ever write like this, your hands are forfeit”

On Monday morning, the British papers had no mention of bin Laden. Meanwhile, someone livetweeted the raid

Have you ever had the experience of ‘life flashing before your eyes’ when in danger? Vaughan Bell wants to hear from you

Reflections from a veteran journo after blogging for a year

Ivan Oransky on tips for PRs on interacting with journalists

The Atlantic picks almost 100 pieces of amazing journalism from the last year. Instapaper the whole lot.

A skin-crawling example of attempt to buy health care news coverage – $100 if you run our news release!

Why journalists should think twice about Facebook

The 7 Stages of News in a Twitter and Facebook Era.  I personally love the fifth stage.

Welcome Seth Mnookin’s arrival at PLoS’s mighty network

WSJ launches its own WikiLeaks

“Workers were asked to sign a statement promising not to kill themselves and pledging to “treasure their lives”

The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) “seeks to regulate press Twitter feeds“. This is massive news because it means the PCC will actually plan to regulate something.


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