I've got your missing links right here (31 December 2011)

By Ed Yong | December 31, 2011 9:00 am

 Top picks

Amy Harmon’s beautiful piece about two teens with Asperger’s navigating love and intimacy is surely one of the highlights of the year. Seth Mnookin really nails why it’s so unfeasibly good, and I also love that NYT ran a correction about a misidentified My Little Pony character in the piece.

Don’t miss The Browser’s selection of 48 long features from the year. They have superlative taste.

Everyone’s putting together lists of their best work in 2011 and John Rennie is collecting them all. Check it out for some truly great work from some truly talented folk. I particularly want to highlight lists by Alex WildRennie himself, Jennifer Ouellette, Ivan Oransky and Kate Clancy.

From a Christmas argument to four-eyed fish: why can’t we see underwater? By Michael Holcombe

A science writer’s take on the famous Christmas poem. “Twas the nocturnal time of the preceding day…” Bravo to Edward Willett.

The Elephant in the Room: How Contraception Could Save Future Elephants from Culling, by Rose Eveleth.

NYT on the tangled history of science & censorship, in reference to the latest story about flu. Meanwhile, Michael Eisen clearly analyses the risks and benefits.

Twins and epigenetics: “Same keyboard, different tunes.” Great Peter Miller feature on what twins tell us about life.

The bloggers at Last Word on Nothing are doing a great series on the seven deadly sins. I particularly love Erika Check Hayden’s piece on sloth (and cancer screening), and Virginia Hughes’ piece on pride (and hype in science writing). See also: lust and envy.

How the Frozen Planet’s wonderful ‘ice finger of death’ sequence was filmed

“One of the first pieces I improved was the infrared sensor mounted on Stephen’s cheek.” The man who saves Stephen Hawking’s voice

Kudos to Rebecca Watson for calling out the condoned awfulness among Reddit’s atheists, and to Kate Harding for picking up on some of the awful reactions.


Panda filmed eating meat in the wild. Fascinating, but it’s not a gnu, is it?

10 images that change the course of science (and one that’s about to)

It’s not a domestic animal. It’s a wild one that hasn’t killed you yet.

Ha! The sentence that psychologists must inevitably write

Mmm… “decomposing algal matter”: weird mystery foam engulfs seaside town

Mayo Clinic to sequence patients’ genomes to personalize care

Chem prof faces criminal charges after researcher’s death

MIT develops a suit that makes you feel 75 years old so that young people can empathise with the elderly

Congratulations, it’s an island! You must be so proud. Say hi to the world’s newest island.

Millipedes have set up a 150 mile long demilitarized zone

What happens in the brains of doctors when they look at brain scans? “Only then will we be able to… find the brain’s looking-at-a-blob blob.”

Samoa is going to leap forward in time by switching sides of the International Date Line

Deep-sea creatures at volcanic vent

Housing boom in Monterey > leaky septic tanks > algae bloom > poisoned seabirds > Hitchcock’s “The Birds”

Extra chromosome set = larger cells = deeper voice = awesome. Deep Frog Voice Signals His Chromosome Number

Pavlov’s lion – taste aversion could solve predator problem

Larry Witmer explains why it’s been a good year for Archaeopteryx on its 150th anniversary

Sea snails learn better in staggered lessons. Nice bit of modelling work predicting real behaviour

Wearable camera helps stave off memory decline by capturing an entire day.

Nick Bilton myth-busts ridiculous airline regulations about not using e-readers during takeoff/landing

How Robert Redford got a beetle named after him

Study suggests antidepressants reduce fear in adult mice by increasing synaptic plasticity

Animals like you’ve never seen them before, through the eyes of 5 fine art photographers


The TSA nabs the world’s least effective ninja

The hits and misses of female fantasy armour

A psychology experiment in an elevator – what happens when everyone stands the wrong way?

Earth’s history as a 24-hour clock. Alive since 4am, having sex since 6pm, human infestation for 17s

Creationists find an unassailable loophole in science. Time to pack up.

What happens to checked-in baggage?

Are you planning on destroying the world? If so, this is the course for you.

Hilarious episode of RadioLab explaining how US toy importers saved tax money by classifying X-Men toys as non-human

How to Deal With Slow Walkers


Why “Yes, But” Is the Wrong Response to Misogyny

“As a child, he never dreamt of becoming a communist ruler & fell into the role almost by accident.” On the sadness of Kim Jong-Il’s double

How to become a PR laughingstock

Little girl rails against gendered toys. Awesome

Wow, that’s VERY different. I kinda love it. A look at the new London bus design.

Gladwell vs. Shirky: A Year Later, Scoring the Debate Over Social-Media Revolutions

Mobile phone review site sues former writer for leaving company with his 17,000 Twitter followers

When only 1 in 130 applications results in a job, how do you ace a Google interview?




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