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I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (18 October 2014)

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Top picks

Carl Zimmer returns to the world of mind-controlling parasites in the new National Geographic. It comes with the most beautiful gallery of parasites I’ve ever seen.

“You need remarkable squared—a system to mass-produce mass production.” Oliver Morton on a system for mass-producing life-saving antibodies.

Emily Anthes delivers a detailed look at the future of insect cuisine.

Excellence from Maryn McKenna on why people love the drama of infectious diseases, but not the detail… and why that hurts us. This is the sort of reporting you get from someone who has spent years covering a beat.

Why some of high tech scientists can’t even microwave their own lunch. A fantastic story from Sasha Ingber.

These tiny animals live only on driftwood. Elizabeth Preston on some marvellous little creatures.

A year after her amazing longread on ancestry & genetics, Virginia Hughes finds the story’s real end.

Italian scientists appeal their absurd conviction for earthquake deaths. David Wolman covers the story.

The beaver was screwing with me, making me worry and care about trees.” A funny piece about man versus beaver, by Chris Andrade.

Just an old guy and the hummingbird who visits him.

Kathryn Schulz wrote an entire piece about how ridiculous a word “czar” is, and it’s brilliant (the piece, not the word)

Your Life on Earth – a glorious interactive bit of data-visualisation showing how the world has changed since your birthday.



A guide to the various giant and giant-ish squid.

U.S. pauses risky research involving dangerous flu viruses

Drawer of narwhal tusks, and other fine marine mammal exhibitions.

Popular on Amazon: Wildly misleading self-published books about Ebola, by random people without medical degrees

No. of Vietnamese buying rhino horn fell by 38% in a yr. Great! But that’s still 2.4 MILLION users.

Brain baloney has no place in the classroom.

People are more swayed by things that look sciencey

Chinese doc puts own money on the line in a bet against traditional Chinese medicine.

The “story [had] a lot of people saying, “NOPE,” & a lot of arachnologists saying “No, that didn’t happen.” http://t.co/NAXrCPHAhE

The media is doing an awful job explaining Ebola, and #ClipboardMan is proof

Mimicry might be splitting this (astonishingly beautiful) poison frog into two species.

Whales can only taste salty.

In Realistic Finding Nemo, after Nemo’s mum got eaten, his dad would have rapidly changed into a female.

To control feral cats, unleash Tasmanian devils?

Forget traumatic insemination. Bedbugs inflict psychological trauma too

Regarding the much-hyped Type 1 Diabetes discovery, Paul Knoepfler has 10 things for you to think about.

The Surgeons Who Make Toes Into Thumbs”.

A wonderful story about rescuing a pangolin (and a pangopup)

“I’m able to remove the bladder & build a new bladder out of small intestine

Social anxiety: why the mundane can be terrifying

Why are bats such great hosts for some of our worst diseases?

Why It’s Awesome These Scientists Failed To Replicate Their Research

To save the scavengers, open up vulture restaurants

Rats aren’t smarter than mice, and that actually matters.

Fish even more abundant under oil rigs than natural reefs

Sea otter teeth are twice as hard as ours.

A great Nature News infographic about the Ebola epidemic

Octopus Fits Through Tiny Gap to Get Back to Water

Elephants Able To Detect Rainstorms 150 Miles Away

A fish Turing test: can you tell which shoal is real?

NYC’s rats carry viruses previously unknown to science

World’s First Sloth Caesarian

Matthew Herper examines the cost of a drug that regrew a little girl’s missing bones.

Science explains why mozzarella is the perfect pizza cheese.

“The problem: endangered tree snails mating in the way of repairs.”

This is a great read on a simple, powerful, and underused medical stat.

Let it go. Let it go. Don’t hold it back anymore.

Brian Deer reports on the latest MMR-study fraud

Is your toddler smarter than a chimpanzee?

“Your initial reaction isn’t to start thinking, oh God, there’s obviously a leech in my face.”

Cane toads are evolving to hop straight, allowing faster invasion of Australia

How to bully a scientist: European Science Foundation demands retraction, threatens lawsuit.

The dirty little secret of cancer research: 1/2 of the cell lines used in research are not what they are said to be.

A “consensus” paper on violent video games says more about dodgy peer review than games.

An alternative to “Grit“, and what Mischel’s marshmallow experiments were really intended to test

For Disguise, Female Squid Turn On Fake Testes

A new kind of cloud has been named.



“There is a deep-seated fear among some Americans that an Ebola outbreak could make the country turn to science.”

Birds & rain

Amazing video of sleeping humpback whale.

Pointer pointer

“Salmon cakes were good” and other 1-star Yelp reviews of amazing national parks.

Okay this Halloween thing has gone too far.

Colobus monkeys have very long tails… Christopher Columbus was tailless, like the rest of his species.”



How to transform London into a giant park

A profile of the ambulance drivers of Liberia. “It never stops.”

“No branch of journalism as self-scrutinizing and anxious about its performance as that which covers science.” Lots packed into this Nature editorial, and I agree with almost all of it.

The ugly tradition of treating Africa as a diseased place

WIRED’s binge-watching guide to “Gilmore Girls”

A Couple’s Incredible 550,000-Mile Odyssey Through 177 Countries Over 26 Years. In a Single Car.

Not all men. Not all industries. But nearly always men in my industry.”

Gamergate is exactly what it appears to be: a relatively small and very loud group of video game enthusiasts who claim that their goal is to audit ethics in the gaming-industrial complex and who are instead defined by the campaigns of criminal harassment that some of them have carried out against several women.”

Ohio sperm bank case in which a white couple gave birth to a biracial baby

How to use lab visits to make a story come alive.

Annalee Newitz raises the bar for journalists by getting plagiarised by a fictional newspaper from 2024.

Janet Stemwedel nails most of the reasons behind ScienceOnline’s demise.

Parrot disappears for four years, returns speaking a different language.

It’s okay to be an irrational atheist



5 thoughts on “I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (18 October 2014)

  1. Hauling out a leech with forceps and brute force from that girl’s nostril seems very painful (for her). Why not first try those standard methods used by bush-walkers, the application of heat (traditionally a cigarette, but a heated skewer would do) or salt? Even a well-attached leech usually lets go with these methods.

  2. Bad call on including the “irrational atheist” article. It’s nothing more then another “atheism is just faith” argument, with a dose of classical theodicy. It may be arguing for inclusiveness, but it’s badly written and argued. It has interest as a personal testimony of the author, but doesn’t belong on a science blog.

  3. The last paragraph of the Cane Toad article is excellent, but it makes me wish it was about gay frogs.

    “But Simon Clulow from the University of Newcastle in Australia is sceptical. “It’s an interesting study but it would be good to see some evidence to support the idea that such a small change in the straightness parameters measured can translate into meaningful changes in dispersal rates in the real world,” he says. He adds that there is a large variation in straightness between toads, and that individual toads themselves vary from year to year. This high degree of variability may mean that path straightness is not such a strongly genetic trait.”

  4. Somewhat random comment regarding all of your Sunday ‘Missing Links’ posts: I absolutely love them…. but would love them even more if you could make each link open up on a new tab. This would improve my reading experience so, so much as I’m often clicking through several and if I forget to ‘CTRL”+click myself then I have to navigate my way back to your wonderful lists….just a suggestion, thanks!

  5. @Brynn
    If you’re using Firefox, just install the Right Links add-on; just right click on any link and it’ll open in a new tab. I’m sure there are similar add-ons for Chrome and IE.

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