Sign up for The Ed’s Up—a weekly newsletter of my writing plus some of the best stuff from around the Internet.
This week, we put a robot on a comet. Randall Munroe of XKCD live-cartooned the whole thing (here’s a GIF). Matthew Francis and Megan Garber wrote great explanations. The comet has a song. Phil Plait talks about the lander’s (possibly) final moments. Monica Grady’s reactions to the comet landing were the absolute best thing. And Alice Bell, Jess Zimms and Dr24hours explained why people are rightly mad about that shirt.
Astonishing sequence of hunting dogs doing their thing, filmed from the air
“We may think of them as silent, but fish make many sounds that are rarely appreciated by the human ear.” Emily Anthes on the noisy world of fish.
A fantastic story about The Knowledge – the ridiculously hard test that London cabbies have to take. By Jody Rosen.
Mapping error puts national reserve in wrong place, endangers 1,400 chimps and a rare plant. Astonishing story by John Platt.
Frank Swain becomes the first person who can hear Wi-Fi, after hacking his hearing aids
In an era of big projects, a plea for more theory in neuroscience
“I am the marine biologist who put a shrimp on a treadmill—a burden I will forever carry.” By David Scholnick.
“9-year-old Aidan Robinson has designed [a prosthetic hand] that fits a Wii controller and screws on a Super Soaker.” By Victoria Chad.
There’s a gillfriends joke here somewhere: Worm defies tradition, stores gut bacteria in gills instead. By Elizabeth Preston.
“A plea to stop developing drugs for the cancer that killed my mom.” Personal, thoughtful piece by Elie Dolgin, about medical research in an era of dwindling resources.
“I spent ten years living as a prisoner inside of a North Korean political prison camp. Ask Me Anything.”
A new study unravels why some mammals kill children, vindicating a 40-yr-old idea. Carl Zimmer reports.
Scientists reach the bottom of the mysterious Siberian crater.
“I learned to type using only my thoughts”
Uranus might be full of surprises
This is a fascinating infographic comparing prevalence of depression w/ number of psychiatrists.
What a recent moratorium actually means for some virus researchers.
New app shows you what the constellations looked like at different points in the past.
“He had built an illusion machine.”
“The Unlucky Mummy has been blamed for everything from the sinking of the Titanic to the escalation of World War I”
“Personalized cocktails vanquish resistant cancers [IN A DISH].” Approach is probably right, though.
Click beetle larvae lure prey with glowing green heads.
This bee has no sting. It has evolved to bite, and hold on, until it dies.
The world’s smallest documentary film makers: E coli DNA hacked to store memories of cell environment.
Excellent, timely plea for more theory in neuroscience
“Ebola is a disease that eliminates families.” A report from Liberia.
Butterfly Eyespots Deflect Predation: Patterned coloration can distract predators from vital body parts.
More on that algal virus/brain function study
Strange comet behaviour puzzles researchers. No, not that comet.
Gene turns mosquito into vampire
Nature has a special report on depression
Sleep deprived bees do weirder waggle dances.
What’s in an aroma? Languages with odour vocabularies
Centuries ago, eight children were taken from a village in Borneo – by “dragons“. Nadia Drake considers the culprits.
This piece about free will in rats is also kinda about the neuroscience of impatience.
Our early universe may have bumped into others. Explains why our insurance premiums are so high
VERY cool example of parasitic manipulation: stopping hosts from reacting to alarm chemicals so they gets eaten.
Mistaken Octopus Sex Identity Leads to Multi-Armed Wrestling Match [Video]
Congrats to Mark Miodownik for winning the Royal Society Winton Book prize for Stuff Matters.
“The cost borne by victims of our worst sci achievements cannot be repaid but it should be remembered.”
Found: The Ideal Fatness for Elephant Seals
How Old Is a Star in Newspaper Years? Really cool way of conveying interstellar distances.
“What males in this cricket species are doing is offering females the equivalent of a gummy bear“. On illusions and trickery in nature.
“Public-health officials split on use of control groups in tests of experimental Ebola treatments.”
Lindsey Fitzharris talks about the Black Death & iconic plague masks.
“Billing itself as the only establishment in the world entirely devoted to parasites…”
Biological fungus drone can melt into a puddle of goop
Hermit Crabs Line Themselves Up From Biggest To Smallest To Swap Shells
Being Mortal: Atul Gawande’s Thoughts for How to End Our Lives
Giant otters have a rich vocal repertoire. Also, they look like a cross between a weasel, a frog, and a demon.
Whoa. Newly-named fossil croc cousin Garjainia madiba had a scary big skull
“The ability of a dragonfly nymph to successfully snatch and grab food is directly related to its anus.”
The scary, synthetic, and all-too-secret ingredients of dietary supplements.
Gut–brain link grabs neuroscientists
“The carnivorous animals showed virtually no interest in wood smeared w/ a substance that smells like bananas.”
If you want to instantly lose your appetite, this great piece on gunge food will do it.
Age extension trial for breast cancer screening comes under ethical fire.
Ravens break competing pairs.
If I snark about reproducibility in social psych research, then this social psych study says you’ll believe me
Meet the complicated world that lives in a sponge
“For him, the surface of the earth seemed pleasingly ephemeral. Within a few years, his house would be gone, too.”
In which I learn that the Nazis were working on hallucinogenic bullets
The trees and shrubs are plugged in and chatting via the fungal internet.
The study of prehistoric life has a brilliant future
John Timmer on the latest ancient DNA from a 37,000-yr-old human found near the Black Sea.
Meet the man who plays father to orphaned gorillas
Why Thousands Of People Are Willing To Die On Mars
This is why you proofread papers.
A Wikipedia list of deleted Wikipedia articles with freaky titles
The poppy flood at the Tower of London is beautiful.
A young elephant up against a pack of lions
Wait, “Paris regional Wolfcatcher Society“, WHAT?
Stopping rain with a laser
An orphaned baby sea otter learns to float
A nice corrective to all those slightly narcissistic articles about introverts.
Not so seemples
Astronomers Discover Planet Identical To Earth With Orbital Space Mirror
Dubstep fin whale.
The Onion weighs in on the assisted dying debate.
Getting some serious Ozymandias vibes from this sculpture of a giant hand rising out of the Atacama Desert
Industrial robot Katana fight.
New Zealand is apparently far too inconvenient for maps
The Happy Accidents of Archaeological Drone Photography
Wonderful remembrance photo
In need of schadenfreude? Here’s what happened when Dr Oz asked people to tweet their biggest health Qs at him.
‘This is serious-ass scholarship.’ A brief bibliography of ‘-ass’ as a colloquial intensifier
“Who doesn’t see working with a documented, repeated, publisher-burning lie-box as fantastically appealing?”