First Picks of the year! And I’m already looking forward to reading some great pieces throughout 2013 as well as discovering new science writers. All aboard!


Jordan Gaines continues what’s proving to be a must-read series about how retail stores manipulate our senses so that we buy more, unconsciously. In this blog post at Psychology Today, Jordan reveals how stores manipulate our sense of sight.

How Stores Trick Our Senses to Make Us Buy More: Sight

The weekend before Christmas, I was sucked into a giant, enticing vortex of craving and desire, stuck for hours with the inability to leave—my only limitation being my wallet. In other words, I went to Target. And—again, in other words—I was like a bull in a China shop. Back in 2009, Target introduced new gigantic, plastic, Playskool-esque shopping carts. Maneuvering the aisles is like passing a car on a one-lane country road in a Hummer.

Ben Guarino forays into the obscure world of flower scents and comes up with a blog post full of nifty facts and pretty pictures. At Scienceline.

Making scents: The aromatic world of flowers

From putrid corpse lilies to perfumed petunias, flowers expel a diverse range of scent molecules into the air. But flowering plants don’t release these odors for the benefit of human noses. Flowers use their scents to attract pollinators, communicate with other plants and for some carnivorous species, lure in food.

I, for one, voraciously voiced my New Year’s resolutions on Twitter for all to see. The encouragement and lauding I received was gratifying, no doubt. Turns out, that’s not a good thing says Hannah Waters in her Scientific American blog, Culturing Science.

Don’t Talk About Your New Year’s Resolutions

As I read the funny pages this morning in the paper, I noticed a running joke: no one keeps their New Year’s resolutions. There are a million different personal and psychological reasons for this–but you can use SCIENCE to better understand why you fail, and how to get better at achieving your goals.

And some more:

BONUS (not exactly science-related but written by science writers):

The Tolkien’s Nerd Guide to The Hobbit by Rachel Nuwer and Rose Eveleth for