The Sciences

I've got your missing links right here (24 November 2012)

Not Exactly Rocket ScienceBy Ed YongNov 24, 2012 11:00 PM


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Top picks One woman's craving for sleep led to the discovery of a mystery sleep-inducing chemical. This is an amazing piece. Virginia Hughes is science writing royalty. Attack of the mutant pupfish: a spectacularly written feature by Hillary Rosner on a bold approach to conservation—hybridising species to save them Excellent longread on a 50-year quest to find cases of "laughing death" (kuru), which led to the discovery of prions Animal vision evolved 700 million years ago. This is a *beautifully* written post by Lucas Brouwers. Highly recommend "Where is your mind?" Tom Stafford on the fine line between cultural & neural networks Don't miss Charles Seife’s investigation into how drug company money is influencing scientists. Nature takes a hard look at its own sexism & commits to do better. Massive kudos to them for this If you're 27 or younger, you’ve never experienced a month when the global temperature was colder than the 20thC average Yet more evidence of Retraction Watch's continuing effect on scientific integrity. Congrats to Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus Check out Gaia Vince’s radio series on the anthropocene. NatGeo GIFs: it's like wonder on a loop. Feather by feather, scientists reconstruct primitive wing of Archaeopterx, a prehistoric bird. By Carolyn Johnson The story of the portable beetle, with handles that termites can hold, as told by Matthew Cobb the style of Kipling. And then, a follow-up story on a handled wasp! Hunt for life under Antarctic ice heats up. This is a marvellous quote: “This is the very pinnacle of the science I’ve been doing since the turn of the millennium. Now guess if I’m excited.” Mankind isn't a gender-neutral term. Let's use humanity instead, argues Annaleen Newitz. Lovely piece on etymology Vaccines: because it’s great when babies don’t sh*t themselves to death. A hard-hitting chart. Mind-blowing Jennifer Frazer post: Zombified bacteria are a thing. Troubled bonobo facility reinstates controversial researcher, Sue Savage-Rumbaugh. Great coverage from Kate Wong. Science/news/writing Coming soon: Africa, a new 6-part Attenborough series. British physicist jailed for smuggling 2kg of cocaine into Argentina, says he was duped by bikini model It's the final stretch for Ethan Perlstein’s attempt to crowdfund his research on meth addiction. And here’s more cool crowd-funded science, on beetles that dupe super-organismsDNA has been around for billions of yrs — but that doesn't mean scientists can't make it better. Where did it go? Scientists ‘undiscover’ Pacific islandBats adjust squeaks to focus sonar! Ancient tree-wombat behaved like a koala "Counting white animals against a white backdrop from a helicopter, over 100,000s of sq.kms, is actually pretty tricky" It is frankly amazing that the guy behind the "Things I Learned as a Field Biologist" blog is even alive. Self-filling water bottle that condenses water from the air, modelled on namib desert beetle Here's a campaign to stop animal rights groups who are targeting firms that transport animals for medical research Carin Bondar launches a new web series on animal sex'Lonesome George has relatives' Bora Zivkovic on expertise. I love the point about the difference between a good writer and a seductive writer. Oliver Morton on the Martian organic molecules scientists have already found and studied In case you need to sort gorilla sperm from human sperm… Jennifer Ouellette on telling one sperm from another Physicist Paul Davies is back with his ideas about cancer. Except they’re hogwash. See these rebuttals from Genotripe ("...article offers no new insight & crucially, no actual evidence.") and PZ Myers. Google engineer turns vacuum cleaner into dirt-cheap book scanner Nutrition recession: Families struggle to eat healthily amid rising food bills and shrinking budgets Gamers prove equal to surgeons in operating robotic surgery tools. But they keep dragon-punching my spleen. Excellent post by Melanie Tannenbaum on the psychology of the Petraeus affair – much better than the usual tripe in this vein. Why being able to hold your booze might not be a good thing, but could lead to targeted interventions Man CT scans and 3D prints own skull, makes art of forensic facial reconstruction To horn or to sneak? It's all about balls. Tom Houslay on beetle sex lives. Winter to be cold, say Met Office to press, with tremendous weariness The science of the moustacheGorillas & humans last shared a common ancestor 10m yrs ago— how do we know that? Nice explainer "It is quite usual that an amputated penis is tossed out of an open window, where it may be captured by a duck." The cost of basic lab equipment is absurd. Can 3D-printing help? First randomised controlled trial to show spinal cord regeneration in dogsNice campaign from Parkinson’s UK - fund research by sponsoring a C. elegans worm for £5/mth Great website on the incredible Burgess Shale by the Royal Ontario Museum JNK Nature paper has 3 corrections and counting… Very rich comment thread BBC makes absurd decision to axe the great popular science radio show, Naked Scientists On this story on apes and midlife crises, virtually *every* outside comment I’ve seen about this ape-midlife-crisis story has been skeptical & critical Breast Checking mitt loses fight to prove credibility 'Super-Jupiter' Dwarfs Solar System's Largest Planet. Jupitest? How birds are used to monitor pollution. They’re like canaries in the coa… wait. Science isn’t necessarily hard, nor scientists necessarily clever, and both tropes are unhelpful. Which Bond villain schemes might actually have made economic sense? Fascinating paper: how the Mian of Papua New Guinea use rivers to represent space & time how education is changing it This is a thing? DESTROY ALL TICKS. Evidence mounting that tick bites cause unusual allergy to meatRelocating rattlesnakes as conservation tool for homeowners? A teacher’s perspective on the study on neuromyths held by teachersSkeleton might be Richard III; DNA results delayed from December to January. So... winter of discontent? Heh/wow/huhPicture taken at London’s Natural History Museum. “We are evolving.” Charles approves. XKCD on heatmaps In which Dean Burnett single-handedly fixes the British economy "They have pictures on the boxes that mean science." Humans buying any sh*t with ‘immune system’ written on it Beautiful Chinese leopard wins wildlife camera-trap photo prize "Using your brains to think of an idea? That's the old model." The Onion on social media "gurus" WTFs from textbooks. Excited frog is excited. Robot spider seeks missing legs Spiders from Mars! (made of dry ice) "Irrational hatred of fruit" and other hidden motivations of video game characters Second cutest book ever! ZooBorns has new book of dangerously adorable baby animals. Gaze in wonder at Professor Walter Lewins' best chalk lines. No fair, I wanna ride a capybara. Mechanical Arthropods and Insects Made from Watch Parts and Light Bulbs Oh HAI, baby mantis! Public shaming.Internet/journalism/societyOn dead pigeon’s leg, an unbreakable code Writer/journalist and scientist are among kids’ dream jobs, proving again that kids are morons ;-) Della Thomas has an interesting post and survey on self-promotion via Twitter. Here’s my simple guide Are Japan's ninjas heading for extinction? Or are they just hiding? The John McAfee story is unbelizeable The next generation of touchscreen tech or the emperor's cumbersome new clothes? Freelancers, find a home for your science story, by reading what editors want What does war sound like now? How many times should the government rebuild at-risk areas? The "retreat" quote is chilling. Here are 10 golden rules of Twitter A Q&A about MATTER, the new long-form science publishing initiative Portraits of politicians made from collages of bits of pornography. Lord McAlpine plans to Sue 10k Twitter Users Dystopic, awful read on a possible future for Twitter This is a shocking example of men who hate strong women. Also: terribly written. Skip to the letter at end

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