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I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (4 October 2014)

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Top picks

In the past 40 years, we have killed half of our back-boned animals. Just let the enormity of that sink in.

“The idea that the microbiome of any Hadza represents an “ancestral” or “healthy” human population is nonsense.” John Hawks on a terribly ill-advised self-experiment.

“In the 18 months that he spent without his head, [Mike] grew from a mere 2.5 pounds to almost 8.” Bec Crew on the sad saga of Mike the headless chicken.

The loudest noise in recorded history was so loud it circled the Earth four times. Aatish Bhatia on the big Krakatoa Kaboom.

Giant carnivorous red leech slurps down equally giant earthworm

This is a fascinating piece on the neuroscientific legacy of the Vietnam War, by Emily Anthes

The science of memory has huge implications for police line-ups. By the ever-excellent Virginia Hughes, who also writes about an alternative to the unreliable polygraph

Team of scientists finds 167,000 “species” in Central Park, mostly microbes, mostly unknown. By Carl Zimmer

Genome sequencing w/ 24-hr turnaround is saving the lives of infants w/ mysterious diseases. Great story by Sara Reardon.

The Worst Cat

This absurdly violent duck beats the crap out of anything that moves & uses mafia tactics.

Ebola: what you should and shouldn’t worry about. A fantastic explainer by Nadia Drake, on the stages of transmission, infection, sickness, and death.



Goo goo g’joob? 35,000 walruses have come ashore in Alaska for lack of sea ice

Watch This Droplet of Alcohol Move Through A Maze By Itself

Is ‘sluggish cognitive tempo’ a disease or disease mongering?

New ASBMB president goes off on one regarding science’s young riff-raff. Jesus.

Scientists catch wild chimpanzees teaching each other new ways to drink water.

Laser-guided sea monkeys

A poacher is busted for butchering manta rays at an Indonesian fish market.

Incredible blackwater diving images and an octopus defending itself with Man-O’-War tentacles

Ross Anderson interviews Elon Musk about Mars and more.

Walking Really Is Just Falling and Catching Yourself

Alzheimer’s: “emotions associated w/ events can persist long after the events have been forgotten”

“The histories of our mess-making really matter.”

Wind Turbines Kill Bats by Impersonating Trees

Scientists sneak Bob Dylan lyrics into articles.

The Pluto/planet debate, revisited. #lumpersforever

The Greatest Animal War, by Brooke Borel, with WONDERFUL illustrations; love the hand metaphor

The Ausubel’s mighty claws lobster has the most divergent claws of any lobster. And the best name.

Psychologist/chef creates the “fake tongue illusion“, tests it on Heston Blumenthal

Are swimming plankton driving ocean currents? It’s more complicated than news reports are saying.

“There was no grand jump between nonbirds and birds.”

Why People Used to Think Beavers Bit Off Their Own Testicles

This is fascinating chemistry, but surely people buy civet coffee because it’s a status thing, rather than for taste?

These African plants are more endangered than rhinos, and are being traded on the black market as landscape ornaments

Cry havoc, and let slip the goats of war.

Don’t count on cloning tyrannosaurs any time soon. (Brian Switek is a total natural on-screen; TV people take note.)

The Ebola virus is unlikely to ever go airborne (and currently isn’t)

“Our paper was peer-reviewed, your critique wasn’t” is the most pathetic of responses to scientific debate.

The idea that 1 dog year = 7 human years is pretty much entirely made up

PNAS nixes the “prearranged editor” submission option. Now if they’d only kill “Contributed” papers too…

Did getting sleepy start out as sinking into the ocean?

Harvestmen trap prey with glue

“Ebola outbreak shuts down malaria-control efforts”. Erika Check Hayden on Rube Goldberg epidemics.

This marooned baboon’s family calls to him, as he’s stuck on an island in the Zambezi River

RIP Martin Perl, who “discovered one of the building blocks of the universe”.

Denial doesn’t kill cancer. I still believe it could be worse.”

Astonishing photos of the ice grottoes underneath Mount Rainier.

Some corals have guard crabs that protect them from marauding starfish

“It is not every day you can announce the discovery of thousands of new mountains on Earth.” All higher than 1.5km

“If that is true, fire invented people as much as people invented fire.”



Neuroscientists in rap battle on Twitter

Popular New Exercise App Just Tells Users They Ran 5 Miles A Day No Matter What

50 Years Of Climate Change, Habitat Loss Somehow Unable To Take Down Goddamned Parrotfish

God texts the 10 commandments

An Anti-Feminist Walks Into a Bar: A Play in Five Acts

Absolutely breathtaking entries to National Geographic’s annual photo contest.

“If you see a suspicious-looking filamentous virus particle, stay away.” The Onion’s tips on Ebola prevention

CassetteBoy versus David Attenborough!

Stunning photos of what is arguably the world’s most threatened group of animals

Basically, the best thing about science is parafilm

The David Cameron Conference Rap is *amazing*.



How to illuminate the Sistine Chapel.

Annalee Newitz envisions New York’s future as a megacity.

A history of the woefully inefficient rubber.

Selfies have become boring; that means they’re finally about to get interesting.”

Glowing review for Steven Johnson’s new book on innovation and invention.

How US laws turn battered women into criminals – a horrifying investigation

How Gilmore Girls explores women and finance–& the mom-daughter economies of money and love

3 thoughts on “I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (4 October 2014)

  1. The io9 piece manages to really grind my gears because it’s about the trivia that matters most to me: city population sizes! I know, I know.

    Anyway, Shanghai is ~24 million in the metro area, not city proper. If we’re looking at metro areas, New York is also ~20 million. Heck, it’s the 10th largest city in the world as you see on this list of ‘megacities’:
    So it would be pretty easy to imagine New York with the population of Shanghai…

  2. I think it is highly arrogant of the International Astronomical Union and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics to debate such a vital question as the status of Pluto without ever seeking input from or indeed even notifying the residents.

  3. Not true about the civet coffee! After a week in Vietnam, I have to say the civet-poop stuff had a much mellower, sweeter, chocolatey-er flavor than the usual Vietnamese brew. It was great to mix 1/3 civet 2/3 regular.

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