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I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (16 May 2015)

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Top picks

A great profile of optogenetics pioneer Karl Deisseroth, who helped to revolutionise neuroscience with light. By John Colapinto.

“They have found a way to turn the beaks of chicken embryos back into dinosaur-like snouts.” Carl Zimmer on dino-chickens.

“If you think of our planet as an eyeball, the Antarctic plateau is its iris, and the Dark Sector its pupil.” This is a majestic piece from Ross Andersen on cosmology’s faltering winning streak, and the recent BICEP2 controversy. Long but incredibly readable.

“Why Pluto’s Moons Turned William Shatner Into a Sad Volcano”. By Nadia Drake, with wonderful Shatner quotes.

What would the world be like if we could grow babies in artificial wombs? A new podcast about the future, from Rose Eveleth.

What happens to our bodies when we die. Fascinating Mo Costandi piece.

Water: really familiar but also the weirdest liquid on the planet. By Alok Jha

Kathryn Schulz reviews the wonderful Nell Fink, featuring Jonathan Franzen and a kookaburra. Like all of Schulz’s work, a joy to read.

Dying Trees Can Send Food to Neighbors of Different Species via ‘Wood-Wide Web’. Incredible story by Jennifer Frazer.

Tagged animals carry more than human technology; they carry human ways of visualizing the world.” Wonderful piece by Helen Macdonald

When Sandy Bem found out she had Alzheimer’s, she resolved that before the disease stole her mind, she would kill herself. The question was, when? Astonishing piece by Robin Marantz Henig



The legend of the hairy trout – and the awful cotton mold that makes it happen

Death by horn-lock” is apparently a thing that can (rarely) happen.

To help firms deal with angry customers, one company is building a very, very angry robot.

Is some elegant math behind the insanely long time bamboo takes to flower?

Fruit-fly genomics paper has 1,014 authors.

Scientists just published three studies about The Dress

Humans Were Not Made To Sit For 8 Hours At A Desk Balanced On Top Of A Smaller Desk, Drawing Pictures Of Other Desks

The newest crayfish species looks like a Lisa Frank creation

“For the first time in 41 years, no one will climb Mount Everest this year.”

Will Storr on social perfectionism, and why suicide is more common among men than women.

A profile of Jennifer Doudna, a pioneer who helped to make genetic engineering possible.

A third of Egypt’s animal mummies have revived & broken free to terrorise the world; that’s what that study CLEARLY shows

The science behind the 2nd most popular TED talk of all time—on power-posing—doesn’t stack up.

“Think about it: A shark is basically a bear plus deep water and no air”

Root Fungi Can Turn Pine Trees Into Carnivores — or at Least Accomplices

What a Dinosaur’s Mating Scream Sounds Like

How gut microbes influence the body’s clock

Blinding peer review: yes or no? 17 studies (12 trials)

Genome of 40,000-yr-old jaw from Romania suggests humans interbred with Neanderthals in Europe

Jumping trap-jaw ants escape from antlion sand pits

Rabies, one of the world’s most deadly pathogens, is revolutionizing brain science

Do snails have eyes? A 17thC ‘mythbuster’ investigates

Confused spider mite males prefer dead potential mates to living females because dumb

On dimensions

Amazonians know these floating forests weren’t ACTUALLY made by giant anacondas. But they still are wary of them.

The latest dispatch from the Department of Totally Vindicating my Lifestyle

Discovered a disease? WHO has new rules for avoiding offensive names. No people, places, food.

Antibiotic-resistant strain of typhoid driving previously unrecognized epidemic in Africa

This is one of many examples that explain why I have almost entirely stopped reading pop-psych books.

Phil Zimbardo tries to do an impression of a credible scientist. He fails.

In a subterranean laboratory volunteers are signing up be centrifuged to sleep



We Asked These Astronauts What It’s Like To Be In Space

I didn’t know that I needed a smooth saxophone version of the Game of Thrones theme in my life, but apparently I did

Gorgeous video of honeybee metamorphosis

Ouch. NASA felt that.

Guy races the Tube between Blackfriars and Cannon Street

So…apparently this is what happens when you pour molten aluminium into a watermelon

Protein structure font.



A medieval mass grave, discovered under a Paris supermarket. This is what queue-jumping gets you.

Why Scientists Are Upset About The Facebook Filter Bubble Study

“You have to love the words more than anything” – Warren Ellis on life as a freelance writer.

Art project: Raw food in perfect cubes

Oh sure when you put it like that, that’s not at all terrifying, nope.

A tribute to Douglas Adams

Fascinating read on why most of the UK election polls & forecasts were so wrong.