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I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (24 January 2015)

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Top picks

I just finished reading The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science, by Armand Leroi, and highly recommend it. It’s a thoroughly researched and beautifully written account that restores Aristotle’s status as the father of modern natural science. Here are a couple of reviews.

A survey supposedly said that 80% of Americans want to label food with DNA, prompting a wave of smug hand-wringing. Ben Lillie wrote the only intelligent, thoughtful take on the results, what they mean, and some of the problems with the science-communication world. On a related note, Phil Plait nails the analysis of a QVC segment in which hosts try to classify the moon—another incident that people laughed over.

Indonesia’s peatlands burn and the rest of South-East Asia chokes. But who’s to blame? Companies, the government, or locals? By Mike Ives.

Shaish is part of a subset of people with Parkinson’s who experience an urgent flowering of creativity.” By Eliza Strickland.

Watch the terrifying Humboldt squid flash at each other.

“Over the next decade, he grew from just under 4’10’’ to a shocking 7’1’’.” Lindsey Fitzharris on a fascinating medical case.

Have scientists created an alternate form of life? Carl Zimmer on bacteria that use a synthetic amino acid.

“‘Maybe I should bank some blood of my daughter’s son…,’ he says, only half-joking.” Megan Scudellari on fascinating experiments in which young blood rejuvenates old bodies.

Fish live 750m beneath Antarctic ice in perpetual darkness and cold. By Douglas Fox.

Does being bilingual really give you a cognitive advantage? Maria Konnikova considers the evidence.



Anti-vaxxers say measles isn’t a big deal. They’re wrong.

Second Calling: A Neuroscientist’s Passion for Wildlife Photography

On missing sawfishes and the importance of history to conservation

There is a fundamental flaw in the “cancer is mostly bad luck” paper

The 25 biggest turning points in Earth’s history

“It’s a poo-nado.” Photographer gets caught in… whalestrom? Poonami? Something.

Venus flytraps are actually endangered in the wild, and Venus flytrap poaching is a thing.

Even Elusive Animals Leave DNA, and Clues, Behind

What exactly makes a star splode?

The brain’s attitude to memory is basically the same as my attitude to USB cables.

Health officials threaten to bar unvaccinated kids from school as Disney measles epidemic spreads through California

Crowdfunding, by contrast, seems to amplify the biases that we are trying to eliminate in the sciences”

An fMRI guide for journalists

A computer quietly teaches itself to play Atari video games better than humans

Darwin’s nose almost got him banned from the HMS Beagle

Sewage is really an unexploited source of rich information about human activities.”

We Lie About What We Eat, And It’s Messing Up Science

Tiger, tiger, burning bright… in India. Population grows by 30% in 4 years. A good-news conservation story!

Massive storms are passing across Uranus

“First DNA tests say Kennewick Man was Native American”. Fascinating; reporter got results through FOIA!

A third of the world’s gorillas and chimpanzees have died from Ebola since the 1990s

“Wolves put increased pressure on coyotes to become smaller.”

“We can never be in complete control of a condition so deeply rooted in trade-offs of being alive.” George Johnson on cancer.

NYT investigation reveals some shocking cases of animal mistreatment at an agricultural research lab.

Larry, 59, with terminal pancreatic cancer, responds to that horrendous “cancer is the best way to die” op/ed

How to discover a new species

A shrimp with 12 retinas, the better to see in ultra-dim light of the deep ocean.

Scientists unleash the power of immunotherapy on stubborn cancers

Remember, remember, the canine distemper

Cone snail kills with weaponised insulin.

New research reveals how orcas attack baleen whales, and how the whales fight back.

“This is not what I would call an academic paper.” On more poor work on wi-fi and cancer.

This Year’s Flu Vaccine Is Shoddy: Four Reasons to Get It Anyway

Most Rosetta images from comet 67P are embargoed.

On cancer and “should“s.

“Right now a lot of microbiome research is about pattern discovery”

A doctor who ate from world’s most dangerous tree

The weird myth of the “alpha” male.

Lobsters Aren’t Actually Immortal




Scientists Baffled By Man’s Incredible Ability To **** Up Every Time

The iceberg cuts its facets from within / Like jewelry from a grave.”

A vine of guitar strings up close

Stop narrating my life, Onion

Beautiful footage of glowing dolphins



The history of books bound in human skin.

““Do you want to make some money today and throw your kid in the pool?” And he agreed.” – The Nirvana baby.

A wonderful story about a vacuum salesman and an autistic teen.

“Every time I see a word cloud presented as insight, I die a little inside.”

The footnote, a landmark in the history of civilization, took centuries to invent [&] mere years nearly to destroy.”

24 things about publishing and books. I’ve been trying to heed #21-24 while writing mine.

The World’s Highest Currencies



3 thoughts on “I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (24 January 2015)

  1. “Stop narrating my life, Onion”

    You can prepare for that moment by deliberately mispronouncing words. The English have been doing this to French for centuries.

  2. Seeing these links. I felt like some skilled chef recommends and brings beautiful/delicious foods from best restaurants around the world every week at my table with different flavours. The only thing is i have to taste them. Thank you.

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