I've got your missing links right here (3 November 2012)

Not Exactly Rocket Science
By Ed Yong
Nov 3, 2012 4:00 PMMay 21, 2019 6:02 PM


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Top picks

Astronomers read all the light ever from all the stars ever. Amazing Megan Garber piece. Also: "blazars" are a thing.

How global warming helped transform Sandy from a hurricane into a Frankenstorm, by Chris Mims. And from Becca Rosen: will Sandy change how we talk about climate change?

What happens when you leave a box of tablet computers in an illiterate village w/o instructions? This.

If you can't beat 'em, subvert 'em: countering misinformation on the viral web. Superb Alexis Madrigal piece on countering misinformation on the web.

13 horrific ways for an insect to die, by Alex Wild. Happy Halloween.

For people wondering why Italy’s courts have such an awful scientific record, Nature News has an analysis

Self-healing concrete feature bacteria that are activated by water

Virtual autopsy – Maryn McKenna on the increasingly common practice of scanning the dead

"Putting windows into animals is an important development." For cancer research...

Breast screening: the verdict. It saves lives, but causes harm. What next? Good summary of *massively* complicated issue by Henry Scowcroft. And here’s my awesome ex-boss talking about the pros and cons. An NEJM op/ed argues that cancer screening campaigns need to get past uninformative persuasion.

The Curiosity Rover’s Ultimate Self-Portrait. So wonderful.

Luke Jostins has a new paper out on genetic variants associated with irritable bowel syndrome, but takes an unusually honest look at the clinical value of genetic prediction

A popular theory about autism could actually be due to heads moving in a scanner.

A terrifying description of a nasty encounter with Lariam, the antimalarial drug that causes hallucinations and psychosis.

Here's something to lift your heart: a profile of David Attenborough

The best piece yet analysing the Jonah Lehrer affair and what it means for science writing. Recommended for any wannabe writers. And Carl Zimmer has a tremendous response about the "big old mess" that is science writing .

World's fastest number game wows spectators and scientists. I love the final pic

Whedon endorses Romney, and he wants you to know why. Also parkour.

Electric transformers are not giant robots. But they do sometimes explode. Maggie Koerth-Baker explains how they work and why they splode.

We can now sequence the genomes of single cells, and that changes a lot. Brian Owens on the single life for genomics.

NYU loses years of scientific research and thousands of mice to Hurricane Sandy. Ignore the line about no lives lost; the story is tragic. And Dan Engber has the best analysis for this event and what it means for other labs.

The ultimate writing challenge: explaining science to kids. Read Matt Shipman’s efforts. Well worth it.

David Funder discusses retaliation against scientists who run contradictory replication attempts. Important piece from a man in an important position.

What do autistic people want from scientific research? Guess what? Cure isn't on list. Great piece by Emily Willingham; journalists take note.


New dino named after Sauron. Also, the skull in the image is hilarious

Imported fungus is bringing ash die back

Neuroskeptic asks why a leading psychologist, deleted some controversial posts, and whether blogs are “transient and ephemeral”.

How do we fix the problems of scientific fraud?

Neurocritic savages a press release on Democratic v. Republican brains

David Biello explains why Sandy could have been much worse.

NY aquarium "closed indefinitely" due to Sandy flooding; animals may be distributed around the country

Every bird in a tree. With a beautiful diagram

Last week, a talking whale. Now an elephant that says "Hello" in Korean. Coming up, a rapping badger

Japan’s media have played a large part in exacerbating the effects of a stem cell fraud

Last life on Earth will be extreme microbes that perish in 2.8 billion years. Habitability has an expiration date

Cool 4D math shapes from 3D printer. The fourth dimension is confusion.

Fishermen discover Halloween lobster dressed as Two-Face - perfect half-and-half colouration

Redhead pigment boosts skin-cancer risk - even without UV rays, it’s possible that the pigment itself can increase the risk of cancer.

Some people already readily anthropomorphize animals, but with Ratvatar, it's even easier

Are we cooperative or competitive? Ask an anarchist Russian prince.

Even a superstorm is no excuse for journalists not to check Twitter trolling

Where's the world's largest wetland? Hint: it's covered by ice

That story about ferns named after Lady Gaga turns out to be rather sweet

Broca's area – a so-called language centre – has two functionally distinct networks & only one does language

Beautiful flying fish fossil

Email to me: "As a direct result of your recent journalism, we put together a website for replications in our own area." That’s nice.

New wiretap conversation about L'Aquila earthquake adds to controversy

Hurricanes can enter the geologic record. On paleotempestology

Collateral damage: What effect do retractions have on scientific funding?

It's only October and we're almost out of hurricane names

How big was Sandy? Check WSJ's mind-blowing satellite photo comparison w/split screen slider:

British Antarctic Survey saved as merger plan dropped

Old but superb post from Mark Changizi. "Evolution ain’t obvious! Evolution is perhaps the craziest true theory ever!"

Toronto’s glass skyscrapers kill 1-9m birds per year. Bird lovers are taking buildings to court

Amy Shira Teitel reacts to Felix Baumgartner’s NASA-bashing antics.

Targeted cancer drugs are not living up to expectations. What now?

Vaughan Bell fact-checks the Telegraph’s maternal-neglect brain story

Expecting a deluge? Sir David Attenborough picks 10 animals he would take on his ark


The Internet explained

Freelancer bingo! HAHAHAHAHA. Haha. A-heh. He. Mm. ...... <cries>

A solar system GIF. Oooooo!

The Onion’s 3rd TED talk parody is so so so good.

Dramatic hedgehog rescue

Tie retraction syndrome

Editor's note: Barack Obama is president of the United States.” Thanks editor!

Fans of bad movies, I give you: Sharknado

Into the uncanny valley, we have fallen. Yoda without the green.

A Tiny Hermit Crab Close-up


Animal Halloween cartoons, via Robert Krulwich. These are adorable.

Onion: Nation Suddenly Realizes This Just Going To Be A Thing That Happens From Now On

Best fact-check ever. Oh, you were in the *front seat* shooting guns and drinking!

Why did no one tell me about the disco polar bear?

The 2012 winners of the Nikon "Small World" photomicrography contest are gorgeous

Ha! There's a paper on arXiv that explains Call of Cthulhu with general relativity

Mind-Blowing Photorealistic Pencil Drawing

Dad and Baby Daughter Alien Power Loader Costume

HA! What would happen if we eventually cloned a dinosaur?


"He'll be like Sisyphus..." The most indebted man in the world owes $6.3 billion

"Bell's palsy is not a great thing to happen to a TV reporter," says TV reporter who won't let that stop him

How to tweet responsibly during a breaking news event. Good guidelines in general

Nate Silver faces hilarious attacks from idiotic pundits who don’t understand statistics. Mark Coddington rightly argues that “when journalistic objectivity is confronted w/ scientific objectivity, its circuits [fry]” And Silver makes a playful bet that leads to po-faced commentary from the NYT.

A storify of a session on the dark arts of narrative.

Maryn Mckenna has compiled a list of women on Twitter worth your attention

Here is the first book ever ordered through Amazon

The Open Notebook provides some invaluable tips about preparing in advance of reporting trips

ScienceSeeker’s big upgrade looks great & solves the big problem of science blogs being hard to search

Annalee Newitz reviews "Angel Killers," a new ebook by Deborah Blum about a child-killer

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