I've got your missing links right here (29 January 2012)

By Ed Yong | January 29, 2012 12:00 pm

Top picks

Cancer is hard. This post is excellent.

Carl Zimmer has the best angle on the new story about Archaeopteryx’s colours: an embargoed tattoo

A secret group of Parisian artists break into museums & restore neglected artworks

X-Ray Laser Turns Up the Heat to 3.6 Million Degrees. That’s hotter than the sun’s corona.

People who regularly take their placebo pills are less likely to die than people who miss their placebo doses. Amazing.

Declan Butler has terrific piece assessing the claims in the debate about mutant H5N1 flu.

The Titanoboa Project wants to create a 50ft robotic version of prehistory’s biggest snake. What could go wrong?

Can a person actually survive being swallowed by a whale? An Ahab-like quest to find out.

GPS helps track what happens when vultures tear a human body apart. Forensic scientists have all the fun.

This is a great idea – two of Nature’s neuroscience editors are blogging about why they published specific papers. Transparency win.

Kevin Zelnio tells his moving and utterly unique story about how he got into science… and inspires hundreds of others to do so.

Back off, that’s MY teat! SciCurious on “teat ownership” in baby binturongs. Also known as bear-cats. And their butts smell of popcorn.

There’s a great discussion here on how people react to female scientists, following the ScienceOnline 2012 keynote speech by Mireya Mayor.

The sad saga of Little Albert has just got a lot sadder. A horrific tale of unethical science, and experiments on a mentally disabled infant.

Researchers watch as a virus learns a new way to infect bacteria. Carl Zimmer reports.

Charles Duhigg is killing it with his deep investigation into the human costs of Apple’s products


Unleash your inner dummy: Scientists would do well to occassionally let go of the mantle of ‘expert’

Famed palaeontologist Jack Horner, 65, has married his 19-year-old woman who volunteered at his museum.  The joke about “ankylosaurus monitor” in the comments is wonderful.

It’s the 45th anniversary of the Apollo I fire – a preventable accident, but one NASA did learn from

Jessa Gamble’s epiphany: as a science writer, what she loves is not so much the science as the life of reason.

Nature News has an interesting feature on the paperless lab

Big trees are big. Bigger than big. BIG. And threatened.

Alain de Bottom wants to create a giant tower to celebrate atheism. You don’t need to build a massive godless cock, Alain. We have PLENTY.

Excellent piece pouring a health dose of skepticism on 3D-printing hype, by Chris Mims.

Prehistoric crocs kicked ass, took names, imitated dinosaurs

Very clear explanation of why many traits are caused by many genes of small effect

World’s only iridescent mammal is a cute shiny accident

The power of introverts: a manifesto for quiet brilliance. Wonderful.

How Dr. Seuss Got His Start–an illustration of just how important luck and chance can be

Whistleblower uses YouTube to assert claims of scientific misconduct

Wiretap revelation could aid Italian seismologists’ defence

The secret to a new, improved rat penis? Stem cells

Very interesting piece about the cultural factors that are holding back China’s science

Strange endangered primates you may never have heard of

Researchers study great white shark nursery

USA! USA! USA! 11 graphs that suggest strongly that inequality is terrible for society

First stem cell clinical trials are for eye diseases because it’s an alluring test ground.

Have you seen that tank-sized jellyfish going around? It’s big, but not that big.

Sumatran elephant upgraded to critically endangered status

How long is the longest running lab experiment? 85 years old.

A marine worm that infects whales AND humans

This really is the most hilarious press release. Scientists, YOU CAN ALL GO HOME. We’re done here. PZ Myers takes it apart. Ivan Oransky notes that the press release has disappeared from the university’s website. John Timmer investigates how it ever got published.

Bacteria that make explosives. What could possibly go wrong? Rob Carlson mulls military synthetic biology at Slate

Why do we want autistic kids to have superpowers? Great comments from Steve Silberman on Kiefer Sutherland’s new show.



Packing your nose with bacon stops bad nosebleeds. “Because of special circumstances.” What. The. Hell??

On small step for (Lego)man, one giant leap for a couple of teenagers

The biodiversity project – stunning photographs of the world’s endangered species.

Wonderful. What scientists actually mean in their papers.

The best Wikipedia page of the day

Why people shout at each other on the internet.

Hipster microbes

Professional ant-hunters

Geese can fly upside-down in a move called “whiffling”. Here’s a slow-mo video.

The planet: 8000 x 8000 pixels

If Oscar-nominated movie posters told the truth.



More stuff from ScienceOnline 2012: a call to enlist in a war against misogynist a***holes from Kate Clancy; a really lovely piece by Barbara Guenard about what ScienceOnline is like for new attendees, and how we inadvertently set her up with a writing idol; and a set of beautiful photos from Russ Creech.

Twitter announces a new micro-censorship policy

Should respectable writers publish in Playboy? Good piece by AV Flox.

David Kroll’s blogger version of “I am not your [expletive] transcriptionist“. Journalists get this ALL THE TIME.

The BBC’s problem with science – an ever-provocative piece by Martin Robbins.

Your friends are giving away your location online.

“I sometimes think of this more subtle weaving of science into a story as a kind of subversive education”  – excellent thoughts on storytelling by Deborah Blum.

O2 is accused of appending your phone number to every website you visit.

The First Woman To Go ‘Round The World Did It As A Man

Apparently, some journalists didn’t know that many press releases aren’t vetted by scientists


Comments (5)

  1. HP

    Some day, I will be able to smugly point out that I saw the “hipster microbes” gif before it was LOLified and went viral, and that it’s not nearly as funny now as it was then.

    Thanks, Ed!

  2. Old Geezer

    “The power of introverts” seems to be so introverted that it has no functioning link to it.

  3. Steve Morrison

    Re the BBC’s science stories, I recommend the following Language Log post: It’s always silly season in the (BBC) science section (and the many other LL posts it links).

  4. Quinn O'Neill

    Good piece by AV Flox? I couldn’t disagree more. Zuska’s piece does an great job illustratring the deeply-entrenched and problematic nature of sexist stereotypes in science. While it’s important to bring science to a wide range of audiences, it’s a very bad idea to serve up a mixture of science and sexism to anyone.

    When respected writers publish in Playboy, they lend their respectability to a magazine that treats women as play things. Their contribution may boost readership and sales and may ultimately promote all of the ideas the magazine endorses, since the respectable parts aren’t sold separately.

    Carl Zimmer’s an excellent science writer and I’m a big fan, but he should not be giving his fans an incentive to buy sexist trash. Sure science writers have to make a living, but when they endorse damaging stereotypes that they oppose they effectively sell some of their integrity.

  5. Mike B

    Turns out if you google search the Introvert line, it’s the actual name of the article.



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