The best of the best
Scienceline presents our top 10 staff picks of the year
Given that all these staff picks are our favorite science-related stories for each week, finding our favorites from this year was a difficult task. But here are our top 10:
From Rose Eveleth:
The biology geek in me wants nothing more than to build a mobile out of these anatomically inspired origami animals and hang it over my bed.
From Sabrina Richards:
Quick quiz: what looks like an instrument, lives down under and sounds like a chainsaw? Why, a lyrebird, of course! NPR’s Robert Krulwich blogs about an uncanny effect of human encroachment on the territory of these extraordinary mimics—the birds’ ability to recreate the sound of chainsaws, agents of habitat destruction.
From Francie Diep:
How long do animals live? This rendering is so pretty, you can’t help but linger and find such gems like that pearl oysters live longer than elephants and that earthworms live longer than squirrels, foxes, hares and mice. Can you believe this was made from woodcuts?
From Kelly Slivka:
Swedish researchers have successfully convinced people that their bodies are in fact Barbie dolls. Nuff said.
From Lena Groeger:
“What the frack is going on?!” Investigative reporting has never sounded so good. A music-video explainer on hydraulic fracturing, created by NYU Studio 20 students. It’ll be stuck in your head all day!
From Madeleine Johnson:
Breaking up is hard to do! Scientists have found that getting poked with a hot poker and fixating on a photo of your recent ex activate some of the same regions of the brain. Although it appears psychology researchers are always striving to add insult to injury, this blog from The Body Odd does a nice job explaining the bigger motivation for the study.
From Rachel Nuwer (and one of our personal favorites):
Blogger Ed Yong on indiscriminate squids: “Better to ejaculate on everybody and ask questions later.”
From Amber Williams
Penguins can fly! Or rather, hover. AirPenguins, a product of Festo, are autonomous flying machines that use ultrasound to navigate space. Festo also makes AquaJelly and SmartBird, which are equally mesmerizing.
From Ritchie King:
Are they orphans? Are they rogues? Are they just testing their orbital boundaries? Ten planets have been discovered in the Milky Way that appear to be untethered to stars — or at the very least, they’re on pretty long leashes. It might even be the case that such planets outnumber the stars themselves. Adrift, lonely, adventurous, homeless, wandering…it’s hard not to get wrapped up in the metaphorical richness of the thing. Google News comes up with over 400 hits for the story, but my favorite is Mike Lemonick’s, written for Time.