National Geographic

I’ve got your missing links right here (14 September 2013)

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Top picks

“Meet the Overwhelmed Psychiatrist in the World’s Happiest Country” – This piece by Jennifer Yang, on the first psychiatrist in Bhutan, a country where every policy proposal is screened by the Gross National Happiness Commission, is incredible.

You definitely want to read a 2,000 word essay on power outages caused by squirrels.

An amazing feature by Brendan Borrell about a young scientist following the jungle path of a disgraced herpetologist-cum-spy

David Attenborough claimed that humans have put “a halt to natural selection” but he’s very wrong. Holly Dunsworth and John Hawks explain why.

Watermelon is a word that tells you what is wrong w/ the climate change debate.” Thoughtful piece by James Randerson.

The ageing process in 5 mins. Incredibly fast; imperceptibly slow.

Cake AND death: Death has become too sanitised, and it needs raucous laughter to make it real again. Lovely Aeon essay.

All hail your new jellyfish overlords. This book review by Tim Flannery is also a fascinating look at jellyfishes and their ascendancy.

The Second Draft of the History of Science – Carl Zimmer on a very cool journalism project

Ancient desert people & the archaeologists that dig them up get infected by the same pathogen. Terrifying stuff, from Rebecca Kreston.

From a sunshade to a large-scale solar energy grid, Roger Angel is trying to design the next energy revolution. By Lee Billings.

Spend 5 mins with Ann Finkbeiner’s wonderful piece on sidewalk astronomers. It’ll be worth it.

This piece on bellybutton microbes is actually a lovely essay about doing science by Rob Dunn.

Brian Switek’s on a roll this week. First, how T.rex became famous while other dinosaurs did the scientific heavy lifting. Then, the origin of clothes.

This piece about a frog caught in a rocket launch has the best/saddest photo ever. Ever. By Megan Garber

DNA does not survive in insects fossilised in amber. Jurassic Park will never happen. Sorry. Science enjoys the taste of your dreams.

An amazing interactive series: how ocean acidification is so much worse than we thought

 

Science/news/writing

Some female squid can paint fake testes on themselves

Carl Zimmer on the recent Mars-as-origin-of-life kerfuffle

Food-borne illnesses are not always home-grown” The photo is perfect.

Iain Couzin’s fish-gaze-tracking software is just too damn cool.

NASA wants to give the next Curiosity some curiosity

“A furious infection but a fake fear of water” – Vaughan Bell riffs off Radiolab’s episode on rabies.

Male lions snuzzle each other

“This hideous man-plant was too much, even for Rabbi Simeon…”

The Endangered Species Act at 40: Forty Things Journalists Should Know

The 10-ft bobbit worm – “it’s a really dangerous rainbow, like in Mario Kart.”

“Even though the tickling was brisk and assertive, care was taken not to frighten the animals.”

The riddle of the singing sands

Important video from the Lancet on the global burden of mental illness.

Mars One is either ignoring the psych effects of colonisation or not disclosing them. By Chris Chambers

The Gattaca frame, that DNA means destiny, has outlived its usefulness

Quicksilver, a map of global temperatures, is also a map of global guesswork.

“Figure 1. Bovid femur bolted in log, accessible to paws, but not jaws.”

Big-brained birds stress less

Blobfish wins ugliest animal vote—check out Simon Watt’s Ugly Animal Preservation Society

The Most Boring Squid on Earth?

Lovely post on creating scientists in 140 characters.

The memories that we most expect to be memorable are the ones that are prone to distortion.

This adorable little isopod is sad that you’re destroying its beach

Both science and the humanities would be better off with fewer old dudes arguing about disciplinary boundaries.

Vaccine campaign in sub-Saharan Africa reduces meningitis by 94%

Adult cells reprogrammed into stem cells in living mice.

Scientists engineer E.coli to hunt and kill other bacteria

When the NEJM got banned from Facebook

Explains why getting out of bed was hard: Did the strength of gravity just change?

This is important – first good evidence that HPV vaccine can prevent oral infections

How Szechuan peppers make your lips tingle

A see-through snail discovered from the bottom of the world

Creepy video shows how plant spores walk and jump

Student resigns from academia with scathing 2,800 word letter

Yeast: it’s more of a lifestyle, than a group.

Ooooo! Some mosasaurs–awesome prehistoric sea reptiles–had shark-like tails!

Can we create a vaccine against cocaine?

“There is so much bias, it makes one of his dreams – an encyclopedia of bias – a supremely daunting task.”

David Quammen reviews George Johnson’s Cancer Chronicles – both equally masterful.

Many scientific papers lack enough methods info to allow others to reproduce findings

A 1970s “Rat Park” reveals that drug addiction is more complex than the “1 use gets you hooked” idea.

An amusing look at history’s silliest sea monsters and the animals that inspired them

“Reattachment of the penis. Unless it was first eaten by a duck.” The IgNobel Prizes are out!

On insect legs: “That mouth-feel is zero fun”

“There’s no such thing as living alone.” Veronique Greenwood on microbes in the home.

Caterpillar, you look like crap.

Feynman Lectures are now free online

 

Heh/wow/huh

Finding the Ocean Inside an Opal

Dude. Turn. Around. Slowly.

Apple Unveils Panicked Man With No Ideas

Google Street View goes to the Galapagos

The sheer density of fail here is remarkable.

“More Research Urgently Needed on Caffeine” says Journal of Caffeine Research.

Waxbows: The Incredible Beauty of a Blown Out Candle

Jaguar Kills Caiman in “Spectacular” Attack

Soak flowers in liquid nitrogen, shoot them from behind with air gun, take photo. Brilliant.

Microbiome fans may enjoy some of these paintings, especially the last one

Jazz hand lobster.

How to argue with research you don’t like

 

Journalism/internet/society

25 Steps To Edit The Unmerciful Suck Out Of Your Story

Terrifying underground Cold War bunker that looks like a suburban 2-bedroom house w/ fake garden.

The author of “The Art of Thinking Clearly” has plagiarised several books. Also: Real problems with retracted psych paper… on shame.

The family that’s frozen in 1986 — mullets and all

Neil Gaiman’s advice to writers

These Ask Emily videos are *great* examples for scientists interested in doing media interviews.

Nobody testified. Nobody was hurt. Nobody was surprised.

 

 

 

There are 2 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. marko
    September 14, 2013

    Ed
    I just want to thank you for these missing link posts. I enjoy kicking back on Saturday afternoons and going through the entire list. Destination blogging.

  2. Matt
    October 6, 2013

    I feel like it’s especially ironic to reference Gattacca in the “genes as destiny debate” since the moral of the film was pretty much exactly the opposite. Although the film’s world treats genes like the entirety of a person’s worth, the main character clear surpasses that expectation. Oh well, on the bright side, it’s a great film *and* it got us the GINA.

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