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Planet Earth

I've got your missing links right here (20 October 2012)

Not Exactly Rocket ScienceBy Ed YongOctober 20, 2012 9:00 PM

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Top picks Beautifully written piece by Ross Andersen on bristlecone pines, whose millennia-old bodies are living almanacs of past climates. We discovered a rocky Earth-sized world in Alpha Centauri, the star system next door. From that planet, we’d see Earth as a sixth dot in Cassiopeia. Before bursting into flames. Here’s Lee Billings’ great piece on the discovery and why it matters, and his superb feature giving all the background to the project. Nadia Drake also has a great piece on the planet. An amazing National Geographic investigation on the ivory trade, by Bryan Christy. 1) Religion is heavily responsible. 2) A conservation group really screwed up. Big, Smart, Green: A Vision for Modern Farming. A great write-up of an intriguing approach A scorching and spot-on criticism of the failed opportunities in Felix Baumgartner’s not-space jump stunt, by Amy Shira Teitel. And here’s Will Oremus with an even less impressed take. And Leo Hickman answers some key questions Wonderful, rambling read from Bora Zivkovic on spiders: from Charlotte's Web to hallucinogens. The downsides of winning a Nobel prize. Nice piece by Ian Sample. 'Against animal natures: An anthropologist's view'' on animals as individuals. By Barbara King. Will Storr investigates the mysterious deaths of young men in Central America from a strange kidney disease. Fantastic piece: "On Men Who Think Street Harassment Would Be Awesome" An excellent piece on the badger culls, by Geoff Brumfiel. The amazing winners of the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photography Competition show that a stag can shoot down cars with laser antlers, and that penguins propel themselves with farts. More winners here. Gonzo geoengineer gets media hype. Craig McClain calms it right down. "I'll be your visionary; you do the things I come up with." The Onion’s TED talks parodies are. Just. So. Good. Great piece on how to write evocatively from field reporting. Also: "I had an orangutan eat my tapes once, and I was really glad I had my notes then." Journos, take note. And take notes. What goes on in the mind of a troll? Great piece by Becca Rosen, on the Violentacrez affair. And Lili Loofbourow has an excellent piece on Reddit and “free speech” Take the time to read all of Virginia Hughes’ reporting on autism from the Society for Neuroscience meeting. 15 pieces in FIVE DAYS?! It’s been raining under my eyes. Conservationists rescue a baby elephant from a well Microscopic Beast Caught Hitchhiking on Mayfly with prehensile antennae. Amazing fossil! News/writing/science Why do elephants have hair? To keep cool. "Traumatic memories can be manipulated in sleeping mice to reduce their fearful responses during waking hours." Nearly 15% of African presidents are scientists/engineers. "The road to democracy is being bridged by technocracy." Condition makes man's scalp look like surface of brainHabitat loss may be to blame for an apparent spate of violent attacks by chimpanzees on human in DRC Blood from young mice can reverse some effects of ageing. But here’s a big media-training tip, scientists. Do not say stuff like in the last 2 paras here; you are inviting trouble Moon-forming impact theory rescued. Theia lives! (Or not, as the case may be). When it comes to microbes, pillowcases are statistically indistinguishable from toilet seats Asshat professor complains that there aren’t enough hot women at a science conference. His godawful blog might explain some of this perspective. Three Domains, One Zoom. New PLOS phylogeny explorer Foot-long harvestman discovered in cave. It preys upon rulers How do people draw opposite conclusions about climate change from the same temperature data? This GIF explains Apparently montane cloud forests are like Disney forests, where everything is great and trees catch you when you fall Skipping breakfast primes brain to seek high-calorie food. Solution: eat constantly. Amirite? Cost to Prevent All Future Extinctions: $11/Person? Person signs up for brain donation programme. They die. Now what? These people Amateur astronomers find a planet in a four-star system Aw, lookit da widdle baby scorpionsCraig Venter wants to put a sequencer on Mars. "Perhaps the real fear is that an army of genetically engineered Craig Venters would come back to take over the planet." Oh, you joke. Research about a singing fish. By Dr Bass. Science for Girls, or as we like to call it, "Science". Tania Bronwe on her on-again, off-again love affair w/ science Robot wheelchair climbs steps and elevates over obstacles! AWESOME. Athene Donald on celebrating the historical + continuing contributions of women in scienceModern-day alchemy: getting one element to behave like another so we don't run out Predator X is finally named, and it's a little funkei. Also Hurum exaggerated. I AM SHOCKED. Lovely video on the BBC website in honour of Ada Lovelace Day. Why are humans so afraid? Featuring giant, carnivorous kangaroos GM mouse created to detect landmines. Except they don’t know how it will practically do that. TEDx pulls down a notoriously wacky pseudoscience talk. Seed shrimp thought extinct has been living in cave for 40 mil. years Self-proclaimed stem cell pioneer admits lies but maintains pathbreaking procedure. This story just gets more and more bizarre UM NO NOM: UN warns of looming food crisis in 2013 "The research builds on a long series of marshmallow-related studies that began at Stanford in the late 1960s" Boy with genetic marker for cystic fibrosis - but not the disease - ordered to change schools. Ridiculous. "The night sky is part of our nature and the astronomical imaging is a form of nature photography." "No one knows exactly what [%] of medicines are fake, ill-made, stolen or diverted. But bad pharma is a global problem" More wrong-headed unscientific decisions by Italian courts, the latest in a long-running series of dodgy legal applications of weak science – this time, mobile phones and cancer. Scorchio! Roasting Triassic heat exterminated tropical life The reprogrammed stem cells that made Nobel news last wk reveal a bizarre trait of Parkinson's cells "Gary Farlow can make art out of arteries." Amazing glass medical modelsThe Urine Wheel - a 16thC tool for diagnosing diseases based on the "color, smell, and taste of the patient’s urine" Heh/wow/huhCritter in a coffee cup. These are great. Also: how to really freak out your friends. Stoat jumps for joy, or is dropped from great height? You like time-lapse videos of the night sky, right? Course you do. Every part of this insect looks like it contains another terrifying/adorable insect Wonderful time-lapse film of Space Shuttle Endeavour's final journey. Love the road signs! "There is no telling where I may apply, if you turn me down." This is the most useful list in the world Heh. Mitt Romney’s tax plan. This seemingly small explosion on the sun is 100,000 miles tall XKCD on lightning strikes (Don't stare directly into the bolt) Until 1996, no Democrat incumbent w/o combat experience had beaten someone whose first name was worth more in Scrabble. XKCD on silly election claims. Oh dear, Jasmin H, aged 14, I have some interesting things to tell you about ducks Ah, the Onion. "Obama Excited To Participate In First Debate" This is what happens when the cladists win. (No explanation for the spider though) Oh, just a Space Shuttle, going for a donut Not a good thing to include on proof copies of books. A science blog called "Lies From the Pit of Hell." "The Sound of Cylons" Internet/journalism/society Possibly a huge conflict of interest re: Nobel Literature prize Sergei Udaltsov, Russian Dissident, Live Tweets His Detention Google's Ngram Viewer just got an upgrade. Here's @bgzimmer on what's new "What is the difference between a columnist and a blogger?" My take: only one of them STILL gets sh*t from curmudgeonly journalists. This is a pretty gorgeous (and RAM-sucking) way of presenting a feature. Newsweek ends its print run, goes entirely digital. Maybe that “Heaven is real” cover was a desperate plea? And the Telegraph screws up the story. Twitter blocks neo-Nazi account in Germany. And only Germany. Becca Rosen discusses implications. The Assange extradition conspiracy explained. Chilling when you lay it all out… Man quadruples productivity by hiring a woman to slap him every time he checks Facebook. "Bum beef" not what I thought. List of prison slang. Excellent point-by-point dissection of an op/ed about “pro-life lefties”, and another good comment piece on the topic by Naomi McAuliffe Wow, the Internet really is a series of tubes. Painted in Google colours. A look inside Google's data centres

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