The last paragraph in this piece on radioactive spider-webs by Sally Adee is my favourite end to a piece. Ever
There are endless Best Of lists this year, but do have a look at The Browser’s choice of 48 top articles. They have exceedingly good taste.
A fantastic animated history of fossil fuels – 300 years in 5 mins
The price of superstition: how traditional Chinese medicine is a threat to wildlife
How much does the internet weigh? Robert Krulwich is wonderful. Don’t miss: “Look what weightlessness can do”
War reporter discovers that he has Huntington’s: I will die the most horrible death
Social Networks Matter: Friends Increase the Size of Your Brain, by Eric Michael Johnson
Cloning vs. conservation: viable strategy, flawed fantasy, or Swiftian modest proposal? Great piece by John Rennie
How big is Saturn? This staggering picture will give you an idea
That’s the answer to light pollution: a dictatorship. Satellite images captures Kim Jong Il’s legacy.
Bizarre Kelvin-Helmholtz Waves Appear Over Alabama
World’s oldest rocks could weigh a man down. Great story. Worth it for the one para that sums 4.5bn yrs of history
The only thing that birds have to fear is fear itself, by SciCurious
Mysterious “nodding syndrome” spreading through Uganda
Insect cuticle inspires new material
What were most interesting neuroscience papers of 2011? Some good answers at Quora.
10 facts about portable electronics on airplanes (Fact 11: cabin crew don’t understand e-ink).
Oldest known “animal” fossils may have been living in the wrong kingdom
How a mental disorder opened up an invisible world of colour and pattern
Can a pic of your mum diagnose depression?
How falling snow in the deep ocean creates a quilt of life
What’s the greatest invention? A good choice from Roger Highfield.
Female Elephants Teach Inexperienced Mating Game
Nature’s 10: ten people who mattered in science this year
Nice piece on catching condors in the field
Diamond Weevil’s Rainbow Bling Really Is Diamond
“Dunno what your company does but you sent me a pic of a Steve Jobs statue, so I’m running it!”
Egypt’s Endangered Sharks: Arab Spring had unintended consequence for conservation
Should nature documentaries pay for the conservation of the animals they profit from?” An argument against a Nature comment piece that suggested as much.
Brain-eating amoeba isn’t an amoeba, but does eat brains. And can be transferred via neti pots.
Retraction by reason of insanity? A look at a 60-year-old entomology paper
Why it’s such a great idea to let non-scientists into the lab: they see it as a death-trap.
Science finally retracts XMRV/CFS paper, but without authors’ consent
Asterisk the robot spider walks, rolls, cartwheels, climbs, terrifies
Bioengineers create living ‘neon signs’ from bacteria
On Freakonomics: “unquestioning trust in friends and a desire to be counterintuitive appear to have undermined their work”
Why neuromarketing isn’t a science
Bad week for Science. It broke own embargo, faced censorship allegations & mangled CFS-XMRV retraction.
How Europe caught syphilis from the New World
Loving Smithsonian’s new “Evotourism” package – places to travel to to learn more about evolution.
“Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism” is Steve Silberman’s book of the year, and he beautifully explains why
The Scientist’s top science scandals of 2011
Journalists now leaderless
Check out Nature’s best features of 2011.
Gay men in better health after states legalise gay marriage
10 Common Faults in Human Thought
The best advice on creativity what I have ever read
Congratulations! It’s a massive ball of flaming gases! You must be proud!
Who invented the Petri dish? Unsurprisingly, it was actually Mr Petri.
There have been lots of these, but this iteration of fact-checking Santa is very good.
Robot carves vast “drawing” you can only see from the sky
A sound map of London’s rivers
National Geographic’s photo contest includes this wonderful shot of two teenage beluga whales engaged in a spitting-contest
List of humorous units of measurement
I knew Christopher Hitchens better than you
Beautiful arthropod macro photography by Thomas Shahan
Science babywear. Love ‘em
The Internet Justice League is awesome.
I turned 30 last week, and Alice Bell made me a cake shaped like a scary animal mouth
The modern holy shroud. I’m going to bet that this didn’t happened to Jesus
How Amazon built the world’s 42nd fastest supercomputer, which doesn’t exist
Solutions journalism is stories “about people doing remarkable things that are hidden from view.”
The war is over, but the US still holds a biometric database of 3 million Iraqis
When and how should I use anonymous sources? More great advice from The Open Notebook
Tweets by mail? This guy replicated Twitter via the postal system
It’s time to punish terrible viral marketing
São Paulo, Brasil’s largest city, 5 years after banning outdoor ads
Good thinking from Jeff Jarvis on how paywalls can better value readers
Journalism’s killer app is credibility. A thousand times this. Also, I laughed heartily at “Just to make Gene Weingarten angry, brands brands brands brands brands”
Putting the social web to civic use – Facebook tries to find a system for flagging suicidal behavior
“Remember to turn your cocks back” and other epic news media errors of 2011
Genius. New app punishes writers who procrastinate! This is brilliant, especially kamikaze mode
Here’s what a story looks like when you can see our sources