This week: we parked a science lab with a nuclear heart on a Martian crater, and I talked to friends on the other side of the world about it using my hand-held computer. It was amazing. Here’s a round-up of Mars Curiosity coverage, chosen to highlight different aspects of the cool main story.
- Ross Andersen captured a collection of tweets, depicting Curiosity’s landing as it happened. It’s beautiful, and still gives me chills.
- Ian Sample and James Randerson live-blogged the whole thing – definitely the right way to report this story.
- “No photo or it didn’t happen? Well lookee here, I’m casting a shadow on the ground in Mars’ Gale crater,” tweeted the Mars rover.
- Here’s mission control when Curiosity landed
- This is an actual image of a robotic science lab parachuting onto Mars. How did we get it?
- Why Curiosity’s sky crane *isn’t* the future for Mars landings.
- “He pulls out a pair of red sequined devil horns, sticks them onto his head and grins.” – meet the man who tried to break the rover.
- A family portrait of Mars rovers. And, er, a rock for scale
- The Photo Geek’s guide to Curiosity’s 17 cameras
- How NASA mohawk guy’s became an instant internet celebrity
- Thomas Hayden interviews a man who actually drives the Martian rovers.
- Alexis Madrigal has a visual guide to understanding the Curiosity rover is producing.
- Opportunity, annoyed at all of Curiosity’s attention, releases gorgeous, hi-res, panoramic photo of Mars
A new level of disturbing: Maggie Koerth-Baker on what Christian fundamentalists have against set theory. And a great comment thread. No, really. On the internet, and everything.
Spot-on piece from Skepchick about the skeptic community’s knee-jerk response to anecdotes. “Much of skeptic community values quantitative data over qualitative data regardless of the research question being asked.”
Can people fake mental illness or do they give themselves away? Intriguing Slate explainer.
A wonderful story about a child who says he’s both “a boy & a girl”, and society’s changing view of gender norms, by Ruth Padawer
A Belgian woman creates a hidden-camera documentary about the sexual harassment she gets on the street. It’s vitally important that we keep speaking out about this.
Becky Heggett on the long history of mapping Mars
This piece by Tim Harford, on the futility of explaining events like the London riots, is a must-read
Story of the year! A random coffee shop encounter turns into a lesson on serendipity – and computer history. No spoilers; just read it.
Annaleen Newitz talks about the perils of anthropomorphizing animal sex behaviour
The epic tale of Mat’s unfortunate hacking, and why your security could probably do with being a bit tighter
David Dobbs on the No 1 challenge for a science writer: portraying complexity & uncertainty, and avoiding tidy fables
The Largest Ever 3D Map of the Universe, by Megan Garber
What’s it like to cut open the last of a species? Henry Nicholls finds out as he presides over the autopsy of Lonesome George
A 3D-printed exoskeleton gives a little girl use of her arms. The future is now.
Spare a minute for this short NatGeo piece on gannets – it’s a beautiful, taut piece of nature writing.
How the Amazon rainforest gets half of its nutrients from a tiny spot in the Sahara
Australian spider named after Sir David Attenborough
The Wall Street Journal’s Long War on Science
A drone “hexacopter” is being built “to map the inside of radioactive silos,” using lasers, at Sellafield
Women get smaller grants in biomedical sciences, and the reasons why are interesting.
Dan Simons and Chris Chabris on new research on why the Nigerian email scam works
The collars that let sheep cry “Wolf!”… via text message
Massively overhyped study about a resurrected bacterial gene. Joe Hanson’s reaction is the same as mine
Welcome to Thunderdome: US recently granted 100k PhDs while needing 16k new profs
Danish neuroscientist challenges fraud findings
Scientists discover beautiful new insect species after stumbling upon photos on Flickr
Researcher accused of misleading pregnant women about an experimental therapy to prevent foetus masculinisation and same-sex attraction
Congrats to Dave Hone on his new Guardian dinosaur blog: Lost Worlds
Hillary Rosner pretty much sums up my reaction to the Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting: “Life on Earth: How F**ked Are We?”
Armageddon outta here: Asteroid Splitting Doesn’t Work
How to unstick a gecko. (Requirements: 1 bathtub, 1 lizard-sized harness, 1 pulling machine.)
Ecologist talks about his 40-year study of guillemots and the importance of long-term research.
Arachnophobes, if you click this, you might die. Eight eyes, staring out of an ear canal.
Gigapixel view of a zebrafish embryo that can be browsed GoogleEarth style to subcellular level
The global importance of blue whale poo
Interesting read from the Verge on basement body-hackers & amateur cyborgs
Nature Comes Into Full View On Twitter
Results in a “peculiar” number of psych studies are statistically significant, and only just
Jaw structures suggest that at least three Homo species once roamed the African plains
Carbon seeps are gorgeous — and could hint at the future of coral reefs in an acidifying ocean
From Hugo Spiers: “Ralph Adolphs asks Ralph Adolphs what its like to be Ralph Adolphs in a Current Biology article titled ‘Ralph Adolphs’”
If you can use a mouse, why not an ‘interactive plant‘?
Thousand-Year-Old Dirty Tea Cups Suggest Ancient City Had Far-Reaching Influence
US survey of opinion on GM-mosquitoes to fight malaria/dengue – most oppose if risks are explained.
Study finds that sarcasm is hard to detect over email, which comes as a MASSIVE shock
The first photo of Earth taken from space proves that the world was grainy + black & white in the 40s
Online tool identifies bat calls
Petra Boynton on the ‘shocking epidemic’ of pubic hair removal, as made up told by journalists.
Is corn the new milk? Evolutionarily speaking, that is
Are red-wearing athletes more likely to win? “Be wary of neat explanations for complex phenomena,” says Tom Stafford.
At what point should you stop offering tours to an active volcano?
“The principle value of peer-review is it provides opp for authors to [show] that they’re prepared to undergo peer-review.”
Golf ball-sized tumour removed from 15-yr-old’s brain stem through the nose
The sophisticated tango of plants and the bacteria around their roots. That first image is stunning.
Guinea pig hearts beat with human cells
“For the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is virtually no explanation other than climate change,” says James Hansen, writing in the Washington Post. But just in case Hansen’s op/ed worried you, here it’s undercut… by the Washington Post
Man Creates Life-Size Wall-E That Tugs the Heartstrings
The unexpected beauty of abandoned psychiatric wards
“Cat immersion project” comforts kids with cancer using cat photos crowd sourced from the internet
Science Proves Luke Skywalker Should Have Died In The Tauntaun’s Belly
“The Olympics closing ceremony will feature the fighting and vomiting aspects of the UK.”
The 1%’s 1%: in China, the rich and powerful can hire body doubles to do their prison time for them
Felix Salmon writes a spot-on piece about TED but massively, ironically, undercuts his own argument by linking it to Jonah Lehrer, who has never given a TED talk.
David Quigg pulls apart a flawed defence of Jonah Lehrer’s fabulism
Reflections on Hiroshima, Nagasaki… and Tokyo. Was the Bomb qualitatively different to those that came before it?
“My mother’s maiden name is 4dAm3Y3fv9nIks.”
Guy makes game of lying to journalists, wins big.
NYT piece on the US Rubiks’ Cube championships. “Purists consider foot-solving an unbecoming gimmick.”
TOS;DR – a site that reads and peer-reviews terms of service so you don’t have to.