One woman’s craving for sleep led to the discovery of a mystery sleep-inducing chemical. This is an amazing piece. Virginia Hughes is science writing royalty.
Attack of the mutant pupfish: a spectacularly written feature by Hillary Rosner on a bold approach to conservation—hybridising species to save them
Excellent longread on a 50-year quest to find cases of “laughing death” (kuru), which led to the discovery of prions
Animal vision evolved 700 million years ago. This is a *beautifully* written post by Lucas Brouwers. Highly recommend
“Where is your mind?” Tom Stafford on the fine line between cultural & neural networks
Don’t miss Charles Seife’s investigation into how drug company money is influencing scientists.
Nature takes a hard look at its own sexism & commits to do better. Massive kudos to them for this
If you’re 27 or younger, you’ve never experienced a month when the global temperature was colder than the 20thC average
Yet more evidence of Retraction Watch’s continuing effect on scientific integrity. Congrats to Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus
Check out Gaia Vince’s radio series on the anthropocene.
NatGeo GIFs: it’s like wonder on a loop.
Feather by feather, scientists reconstruct primitive wing of Archaeopterx, a prehistoric bird. By Carolyn Johnson
Hunt for life under Antarctic ice heats up. This is a marvellous quote: “This is the very pinnacle of the science I’ve been doing since the turn of the millennium. Now guess if I’m excited.”
Mankind isn’t a gender-neutral term. Let’s use humanity instead, argues Annaleen Newitz. Lovely piece on etymology
Vaccines: because it’s great when babies don’t sh*t themselves to death. A hard-hitting chart.
Mind-blowing Jennifer Frazer post: Zombified bacteria are a thing.
Troubled bonobo facility reinstates controversial researcher, Sue Savage-Rumbaugh. Great coverage from Kate Wong.
Coming soon: Africa, a new 6-part Attenborough series.
British physicist jailed for smuggling 2kg of cocaine into Argentina, says he was duped by bikini model
DNA has been around for billions of yrs — but that doesn’t mean scientists can’t make it better.
Where did it go? Scientists ‘undiscover’ Pacific island
“Counting white animals against a white backdrop from a helicopter, over 100,000s of sq.kms, is actually pretty tricky”
It is frankly amazing that the guy behind the “Things I Learned as a Field Biologist” blog is even alive.
Self-filling water bottle that condenses water from the air, modelled on namib desert beetle
Here’s a campaign to stop animal rights groups who are targeting firms that transport animals for medical research
Carin Bondar launches a new web series on animal sex
‘Lonesome George has relatives’
Bora Zivkovic on expertise. I love the point about the difference between a good writer and a seductive writer.
Oliver Morton on the Martian organic molecules scientists have already found and studied
In case you need to sort gorilla sperm from human sperm… Jennifer Ouellette on telling one sperm from another
Google engineer turns vacuum cleaner into dirt-cheap book scanner
Nutrition recession: Families struggle to eat healthily amid rising food bills and shrinking budgets
Gamers prove equal to surgeons in operating robotic surgery tools. But they keep dragon-punching my spleen.
Excellent post by Melanie Tannenbaum on the psychology of the Petraeus affair – much better than the usual tripe in this vein.
Why being able to hold your booze might not be a good thing, but could lead to targeted interventions
Man CT scans and 3D prints own skull, makes art of forensic facial reconstruction
To horn or to sneak? It’s all about balls. Tom Houslay on beetle sex lives.
Winter to be cold, say Met Office to press, with tremendous weariness
Gorillas & humans last shared a common ancestor 10m yrs ago— how do we know that? Nice explainer
“It is quite usual that an amputated penis is tossed out of an open window, where it may be captured by a duck.”
The cost of basic lab equipment is absurd. Can 3D-printing help?
First randomised controlled trial to show spinal cord regeneration in dogs
Nice campaign from Parkinson’s UK – fund research by sponsoring a C. elegans worm for £5/mth
Great website on the incredible Burgess Shale by the Royal Ontario Museum
JNK Nature paper has 3 corrections and counting… Very rich comment thread
BBC makes absurd decision to axe the great popular science radio show, Naked Scientists
Breast Checking mitt loses fight to prove credibility
‘Super-Jupiter’ Dwarfs Solar System’s Largest Planet. Jupitest?
How birds are used to monitor pollution. They’re like canaries in the coa… wait.
Science isn’t necessarily hard, nor scientists necessarily clever, and both tropes are unhelpful.
Which Bond villain schemes might actually have made economic sense?
Fascinating paper: how the Mian of Papua New Guinea use rivers to represent space & time how education is changing it
This is a thing? DESTROY ALL TICKS. Evidence mounting that tick bites cause unusual allergy to meat
Relocating rattlesnakes as conservation tool for homeowners?
A teacher’s perspective on the study on neuromyths held by teachers
Skeleton might be Richard III; DNA results delayed from December to January. So… winter of discontent?
Picture taken at London’s Natural History Museum. “We are evolving.” Charles approves.
In which Dean Burnett single-handedly fixes the British economy
“They have pictures on the boxes that mean science.” Humans buying any sh*t with ‘immune system’ written on it
Beautiful Chinese leopard wins wildlife camera-trap photo prize
“Using your brains to think of an idea? That’s the old model.” The Onion on social media “gurus”
WTFs from textbooks.
Excited frog is excited.
Robot spider seeks missing legs
Spiders from Mars! (made of dry ice)
“Irrational hatred of fruit” and other hidden motivations of video game characters
Second cutest book ever! ZooBorns has new book of dangerously adorable baby animals.
Gaze in wonder at Professor Walter Lewins’ best chalk lines.
No fair, I wanna ride a capybara.
Mechanical Arthropods and Insects Made from Watch Parts and Light Bulbs
Oh HAI, baby mantis!
On dead pigeon’s leg, an unbreakable code
Writer/journalist and scientist are among kids’ dream jobs, proving again that kids are morons 😉
Are Japan’s ninjas heading for extinction? Or are they just hiding?
The John McAfee story is unbelizeable
The next generation of touchscreen tech or the emperor’s cumbersome new clothes?
Freelancers, find a home for your science story, by reading what editors want
What does war sound like now?
How many times should the government rebuild at-risk areas? The “retreat” quote is chilling.
Here are 10 golden rules of Twitter
A Q&A about MATTER, the new long-form science publishing initiative
Portraits of politicians made from collages of bits of pornography.
Lord McAlpine plans to Sue 10k Twitter Users
Dystopic, awful read on a possible future for Twitter
This is a shocking example of men who hate strong women. Also: terribly written. Skip to the letter at end