I thought I’d kick off the new year with a new installment of Small Wonders. In this edition: “olfactory white,” the end of mine-hunting dolphins, and what science owes the Twinkie.
* Crafty spiders build decoy spiders to fool predators.
* A Mars rover made of gingerbread.
* A brilliant Twitter bot mimics Tourettes–and seems strangely intelligent.
* The strange science of “olfactory white.”
* How guns became gadgets (“Guns, unlike almost every other technology, are unique in that the more they improve, the less safe they become.”)
* The NIH lab chimps retire, decamp for a sanctuary.
* Relatedly, the U.S. Navy’s mine-hunting dolphins are also set to retire.
* The story behind the greatest hoodie ever made.
* Paging Dr. Doolittle: animal communication and language.
* We’ve left a shameful amount of trash on the Moon.
* The best charts of 2012.
* Twinkies have played a starring role in many classroom science experiments.
* A chilling verdict for a French psychiatrist.
* The trouble with genopolitics.
* One health writer posts his annual round-up of “PR crap” he’s received in the past year.
* The world of toothbrush innovation: 138 (!) patents related to toothbrushes were issued this year.
* An island in Japan is overrun with cats.
* “We are all mosaics.”