National Geographic

I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (20 July 2013)

Top picks

“Continual risk of death, even more than the ability to cause it, is what shapes the social behavior of [the lion]“. This is David Quammen at his absolute best.

A moving, compassionate and masterfully written piece from Robin Henig on end-of-life care

“Call me when you’re at Uranus and I’ll meet you at Saturn.” Lee Billings drives through a scale model of the Solar System. Glorious.

The two cultures aren’t science + humanities, but academic + everything else. Lovely essay by Anne Buchanan.

“There is bad neuroscience, because there is bad science, period” – SciCurious calls for some neuronuance between the neuromania and neurobacklash.

These caterpillars get a speed boost by build a constantly-reassembling conveyor belt out of each other.

After 69 years, scientists have finally witnessed a drop dropping from the pitch-drop experiment.

Tuna are more closely related to seahorses than swordfish. Wow.

Remora? I don’t even know her. Carl Zimmer on the use of half a sucker.

The media loves its cancer drugs but most cancers are treated through surgery. So it’s nice to see a good story on surgical advances—a smart knife that literally sniffs out cancer during an operation. By Virginia Hughes

Asymmetric (Gender) Warfare & Japan’s Rubella Virus Outbreak. By Rebecca Kreston.

Neuromarketing“: an alternative spelling of “bullsh*t”. By Matt Wall.

There’s a new paper on whether T.rex was a hunter or scavenger—a tired nontroversy that John Hutchinson is bored with.

Someone needs to do this playful EO Wilson experiment right now.

Wow. This story on forensic linguists who rumbled JK Rowling is also about the maths of writing. By Virginia Hughes.

This video on entropy, by John Pavlus, is *wonderful*. From 2010, new to me, just bloody brilliant.

Stem cells reprogrammed using chemicals alone.

“You’re an Astronaut on a Spacewalk — and Your Helmet Is Filling With Water” By Megan Garber

 

News/science/writing

Positive psychology paper gets completely demolished (critique’s authors include Alan Sokal!). By Neuroskeptic.

“Eighty-three percent of the radiologists did not see the gorilla”

Some dinosaurs got a visit from the tooth fairy almost every night

How rice twice became a crop, and twice became a weed.

A new era in lung cancer research

The Surprising Origins of Evolutionary Complexity.

Large-nose, horn-face” dinosaur; love the pic w/ another dinosaur on its bum.

Fascinating. Randomly generated bits of DNA still look “functional”.

The science will be there—no pressure to learn, no signals of in-group/out-group, just there. Right where it should be.” By Ben Lillie.

Bees make circular cells which become hexagonal honeycomb just by physics

Hungry Canadian aboriginal children were used in government experiments during 1940s

Science “literacy” surveys are “to put it bluntly, blatant concern trolling.” Exactly so.

Scientists levitate and move objects using Soundwave. Wait, what? Oh. Sound waves. Still cool.

“If you only follow one food issue, become a fish nerd,” says Erik Vance.

Your tapeworm might be dealing w/ heavy metals in your diet so you don’t have to. Thanks guys!

Ioannidis’ latest: Animal studies produce many false positives

Scientists have developed a way of charging mobile phones using urine

Using acoustic signatures to identify rainforest species.

How an astronomer followed a whim — and discovered a new moon for Neptune

Scientists’ favourite adverbs? Finally, additionally, interestingly. “Soul-crushingly” never appears…

“But first, some backstory on why there was a frog sexbot in the 1st place.”

“Once plants become weeds, they keep evolving.”

How one community brought these cute penguins back from extinction.

Portable peer-review – a new initiative to make peer-review less time-consuming

Giant turtle sucked.

A mushroom is merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

The history of empathy research–featuring Whitman & Darwin.

SeaWorld has apparently never heard of the Barbara Streisand Effect

Typhoid’s been killing people for millennia and we’ve *just* figured out how it works.

Later today, Cassini will spend 16 mins taking one last look at home. Then it will turn to salt.

The fungi and mosquito of the London Tube.

Before a long roadtrip, it’s wise to fuel up on seal fat.

New clue in mysterious manatee die-off

How war-like were early humans?

“A person writes ONE paragraph about giraffes ONCE…” – Zen Faulkes on poor, poor Lamarck.

 

Heh/wow/huh

Wired distracted us with that magazine thing so they could secretly build a mech. Run.

The best scene from Game of Thrones Season 3, recut as a the world’s most awkward dinner party

Clouds: purty.

The idiocy of relating everything to social media.

An elegant weapon for a more civilised agDON’T LOOK DOWN THE BARREL.

How many people does a Kaiju need to eat every day?

Posters for possible Sharknado sequels. I’m still holding out for Volecano.

So. It turns out that if you cut a golf ball in half, it might look irresistably tasty.

Five foot fence? Please. Parkour goat’s got this

Dinky! BABY OARFISH.

 

Journalism/internet/society

Need to tape a call? Here’s how: “Six essentials for recording phone interviews

What’s the right number of interviews for a mid-length feature?

Good for her: JK Rowling published an acclaimed crime novel in April under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith

Cameron on back foot over cave-in to Big Tobacco.

“One would nominate it as the world’s worst-written sentence but it is only the opening clause.”

 

 

There are 4 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. Physicalist
    July 20, 2013

    Hmm. I happen to know the author of “the world’s worst-written sentence.” I find that mildly troubling.

  2. Rebecca
    July 21, 2013

    Thanks, Ed! You’re a champ.

  3. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    July 24, 2013

    The video on entropy is a nice take on seriously flawed physics. We can’t say that entropy equals “disorder” since in very constrained systems the highest entropy states are the most ordered. We can say that the universe is headed towards disorder on average, but that distinction is seldom if ever made.

    It is like saying that the physics of liquids are all about “flow lines”, then see cavitation bubbles implode your fantasy.

  4. Andrew Wetzel (@CircleReader)
    August 4, 2013

    Thanks for the great collection of links! I keep trying to think of the sharknado-sequel title for the rolling swarm of caterpillars. Caterpillavalanche? Crawlnado?

    (The two cultures mentioned in Ann Buchanan’s essay, though, are not “academics + everything else,” but “farming + everything else,” which is a whole different ball of goat cheese.)

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