I’ve got your missing links right here (12 October 2013)

Top picks

Extreme becomes normal: in 35 yrs, global average temperatures will be greater than historical extremes. A chilling piece by Virginia Gewin. And from the NYT: “Think about the hottest, most traumatic event you have experienced…that event is going to become the norm.”

It’s not just that Malcolm Gladwell misrepresents science; it’s that he wilfully does it & thinks that’s better. A spot-on piece by Chris Chabris. Steven Poole also joins the fracas: “‘Exploring” ideas through stories is now the preferred mode of, or replacement for, serious thought & argument.” And John Crace satirises the whole new book in a few hundred words.

A great animated explanation of what the Higgs Boson is, what it does, and why that matters. And you should definitely read Ian Sample’s great profile of Higgs, and his touching story on the moment of the discovery’s announcement: “The tears Higgs cried weren’t for what he contributed but for what his contribution had become to others.”

There’s a major foodborne illness outbreak in the US: 278 sick, 18 states. Too bad the federal disease detectives are shut down. By Maryn Mckenna.

An anthology of stories about amazing women scientists, in support of Ada Lovelace Day.

Wow, brown recluse spiders have *really* weird, ribbony silk. By Nadia Drake.

Great piece from Christie Aschwanden on why she’s saying no to a mammogram

Study says jellyfish outperform fish in the efficiency stakes. I got a rebuttal comment from one Prof Fish.

Sea air + sunlight produces mercury from red paint, blackening old paintings. Fascinating story by Davide Castlevecchi.

That cute “tickled” slow loris? She was actually getting ready to fight back: The Curse of Cute

Mislabelled microbes lead to two retractions (from Science & PLOS ONE) and lots of questions about other papers.

Remember that study about literary fiction, which was published in Science. Language Log absolutely savages it.

An amazing idea: Animals that can summon their own drones (so we can track them)

Wonderful piece by Leigh Cowart on a new plant organelle that makes your tea & wine tasty!



Important: Calvin Klein’s Obsession for Men attracts jaguars.

Scientists 3-D Print Tiny Cages That Imprison Bacteria

What recourse is there for early career scientists stuck working on projects based on eventually retracted papers? A post related to the retraction that I covered earlier this week.

A different type of twin study – one *done* by identical twins.

Superstitious rituals can really work — but it’s not magic, it’s psychology.”

More evidence that MERS came from bats (but NOT the vampire pictured in the piece!)

A study that uses IMDB to quantify the rise and fall of creativity in Hollywood films

Maps of sound and smell

“Here is a planet of unknown origin, of unknown lineage, in utter solitude.”

Alice Bell on the foolishness of #ScienceSaysSo

Science writer asks to be paid, gets called a whore.

Elephants follow human pointing to find food, but [what] does that mean? Veronique Greenwood has the best take on the study.  And DrugMonkey is seriously annoyed with it.

Oral Fertilization“. No, evolution. No.

The “Rediscovery” Of Anolis proboscis, And The Evolution Of A Viral Internet News Story

Meerkats ‘pay rent’ to dominant female to stay in group

Apparently, Sunday is UK National Fungus Day. Celebrate by drinking beer, eating mushrooms & contracting thrush.

Man-Faced Stink Bugs can come in several colours…”

“After developing in space, astronaut jellies have a hard life back on Earth.”

“I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page.” LA Times on why it won’t publish letters from climate deniers

On butterflies vs moths, and practical tips for avoiding evil butterfly hordes

Ancient bird w/ 2 tails, “one perhaps for flying and the other for showing off”.

Decades-long Antarctic studies are forced to shutter thanks to the US blue screen of death.

On why sci-comm matters: “Art is the lens through which science transforms into wonder” by Chels Whyte

iPad-controlled roaches spark ethical debate.

False killer whales partner up with bottlenose dolphins

Prizes are just the recognition thereof, not the actual point of the exercise. Sean Carroll on why Nobel is annoying

When crime scene evidence crawls away.

Faeces-filled pill stops gut infection

Manta rays lacking libido in empty blue seas around the Maldives

The real Kingslayer is a tiny jellyfish

Mourn Breaking Bad with this joyous celebration of crystal meth(ane).

Remember Science’s flawed “sting” on open-access journals? Apparently it featured some selective reporting of results



Greatest Nature paper ever? 1962 study on effects of LSD on a koi carp’s surfacing behaviour

The Onion’s “8 Unlikely Animal Friendships” slideshow is hilarious.

Postdoctor Who. Brilliant.             

Animals hiding in the London Underground map

Putting a firecracker in your mouth to replicate a kaiju’s atomic breath is not advised. Repeat: not advised

An unbeatable lede.

This great white shark should be embarrassed.

Higgs, who is currently deliberating between the license plates PART1CLE or H1GG5…”

Washing machine settings for normal people.

“I didn’t know cheeks could flap like that—but the pilot appears to stay alive.”

Adventures in journalism: When Hugh Jackman remembers that he used to teach you PE


The Guardian rounds up the world’s top newspapers to kick the Daily Mail in the crotch.

Ben Zimmer on the origin of the grawlix or obsenicon, that string of characters like @#%@# representing swears

A Storify of David Dobbs’ talk on promises & perils of sorting of genes & behaviour.

By Ben Goldacre on why and how he writes

A ferocious logic puzzle.

“The complete history of Twitter as told through tortured descriptions of it in the New York Times.”

From Slate, on the etymology of “d*ckhead”.

Popular Science launches a new blog network, featuring great folks like Amy Shira Teitel,

Delightful NYT article from 1910 explains how jokes went viral by telegraph

Writer asks to be paid, gets called a whore.

Elephants follow human pointing to find food, but [what] does that mean? Veronique Greenwood has the best take on the study.  And DrugMonkey is seriously annoyed with it.

Oral Fertilization“. No, evolution. No.

The “Rediscovery” Of Anolis proboscis, And The Evolution Of A Viral Internet News Story

Meerkats ‘pay rent’ to dominant female to stay in group

There are 2 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. Kudzu
    October 13, 2013

    A few of your links repeat themselves at the bottom of your post there; specifically after the NYT telegraph link.

  2. Adrian Morgan
    October 14, 2013

    So, apparently you’re able to read the Popular Science blog network from the UK.

    From Australia, I can’t. I’ve hated popsci.com for a long time for geoblocking the majority of articles (except for a few that are mirrored at popsci.com.au), but geoblocking a blog network is a whole new level of detestability. The copyright defence doesn’t fly, obviously, as their competitors have no trouble being open to the world.

    If I was on a blog network, I would be very angry to learn that the host prevents people from reading it based on where they live. This is a bad week to propose a blog boycott — what with Scientific American behaving badly — but you may take this comment as my appeal to the Popsci bloggers: get out of there.

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