An amazing three-part feature from Daniel Engber on why the focus on mice and rats in lab research is a problem. Also: naked mole rats
Deborah Blum explains what pepper spray is and why it categorically isn’t just a “food product”. Meanwhile, Rebecca Rosen has a great piece on the regrets of pepper spray’s inventor and other people who created weapons
A killer icicle – a “brincle” – reaches down and kills life on the Antarctic ocean floor. Incredible stuff.
A must-read piece on the strange, tangled history of chronic fatigue syndrome research, by David Tuller at the Virology blog.
By day, he was a corporate sales exec; by night, he led a paramilitary vigilante squad that targeted Ponzi operators
An excellent takedown from Neurobonkers of a scaremongering newspaper health story about a fake health scare.
In response the latest set of hacked climate emails, Damian Carrington argues that the failure to catch climate email hacker is the real scandal, while Leo Hickman is looking for clues. Meanwhile, a detailed response from Phil Jones regarding specific quotes from the emails.
That land-walking octopus explained by Katharine Harmon (who has clearly been paid to cover up the imminent invasion)
Ann Finkbeiner’s science metaphors series is just wonderful. Here’s the latest on degeneracy
Superb Lucas Brouwers post on the origins of a frog-killing fungus
We are all connected: a beautiful short video from the WWF showing the humans and other animals juxtaposed in split-screen, shot for shot.
In which Jennifer Ouellette finds significance (and beauty) in insignificance
Awesome. Rebecca Skloot talks with David Dobbs about structure, storytelling and more in the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Great Steve Silberman piece on Susan Kare, the iconic icon-designer who gave computing a human face
A great Carl Zimmer piece about whether teaching is a uniquely human behaviour
David Dobbs: “I call on science writers everywhere, writing about behavioral genetics: Do Better.”
Great Sally Adee post on the neuroscience of The Knowledge: the brutal test that London cabbies must endure
“You won’t find those fecal pellets in Happy Feet Two” – Thomas Hayden on diving for krill
How a baby turtle reaches the sea. Lovely Al Dove piece, featuring Robo-turtle and Blake
“Dear Professor, I think my husband may be a Neanderthal” Great Ian Sample story on Svante Paabo’s mailbag
How the Arab Spring is affecting ancient Egypt and the archaeologists who study it, by Jo Marchant
How the ‘one at a time’ effect changes our interpretation of facts and can ultimately fool us
Lynn Margulis is dead, as are all her mitochondria. Dawkins on Margulis: “She was right about one big thing… but she more than used that credit up being wrong, in a big way, about almost everything else. ”
One minute you’re a hyena whisperer, next you’re hyena food, by Bec Crew.
Fetal mouse sends stem cells to repair mum’s heart if she has a heart attack.
US lab bred chimps despite ban
Scientists to top Spirit and Opportunity with Curiosity
“Transplanted human neurons, derived from embryonic stem cells, can integrate with a network of mouse neurons in culture and the mouse brain.”
In which we learn that an animal carrying an entire other animal inside it moves more slowly
You had me at “flesh-eating disease”
Alien skull? Or evidence of ancient cultural practices? Spoiler: it’s the latter.
“Microlives” – a way of measuring risk from David Spiegelhalter
“Use-By” Dates: a Myth that Needs Busting
Kickass women scientists explain why evolution should be taught in schools
If mutations in one gene can cause wide range of brain problems, does it make any sense to ask what genes are for?
Augmented reality contact lenses (w/ a resolution of one pixel, but hey)
The Genomes Unzipped crew expand on their comments about my post on the OXTN gene.
DARPA want to ditch antibiotics in favour of siRNA-infused nanoparticles
Did you know less than 10% of the ocean is mapped out? These tiny ocean robots will change all that
How the fairy wasp deals with a body that’s smaller than some cells.
How some musicians can play despite amnesia or brain injury
Unique night-flowering orchid found
Blame your crooked teeth on early farmers
Anita Goraya’s take on a recent C-section furore
Will CT scans and MRIs kill the autopsy?
A species of crustacean makes silk underwater
Wanna buy an invasive species? Now you can! THANKS internet!
Satellite Photos Show Ancient Saharan Fortresses of a Lost Empire
“Does a parasite have a better chance of survival if an Inuit or a Mayan spits on it?”
Did Jupiter punt a planet out of the Solar System? Is it “cruising dejectedly thru the interstellar wilderness”?
Monogamy helps geese reduce stress
Ah, when Brian Switek talks about whales that walked, all is good
Tell Obama to save the bats
“A somewhat bonkers plan” – artificial glacier for cooling Mongolia’s capital
What does it actually take to author an IPCC report?
On prions, and the plausibility of 24
Needless to say, the cookie-cutter shark will be on Nature Wants to Eat You soon. For now, read this
The hyperexcitable brains of people who associate numbers and letters with colours
How Kayt Sukel had an orgasm in an MRI scanner
A synthetic material that can balance on the head of a dandelion
Apparently, Christmas cards are a rubbish way to learn physics and it’s an affront that snowflakes aren’t more accurate. Hmm.
I am “Area Man”
What Kind of Fish are You?
Where citations come from
Series of photos capture moment camera is destroyed by gun
Truly wonderful collection of pics of animals shaking themselves dry, via Robert Krulwich
Old but great: the world’s most generic news report
Some cool C.elegans-based art
Snakes remain some of my favourite animals, as this stunning slideshow demonstrates
I think this is the best headline I’ve read in recent memory
Suzanne Moore’s 11-step guide to journalism is brilliant
The amazing history of the bendy straw – a lovely tale of ingenious problem-solving
The world’s last 3 handwritten newspapers
Is health journalism evidence-based?