amanda crowley

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Why H is the most contentious letter in the alphabet

The alphabet is something not to be argued with: there are 26 letters in as fixed a sequence as the numbers 1-26; once learned in order and for the "sounds they make", you have the key to reading and the key to the way the world is classified. Or perhaps not.<p>Actually, in the course of writing my …

Could Beached Oarfish Be a Bad Omen for California?

It has long been known that erratic animal behaviour often occurs before earthquakes. Could the dead oarfish found recently on California’s beaches …

Fish

Milky Way may host billions of Earth-size planets

There's no place like home, but scientists now say that Earth-size planets orbiting sun-like stars in a so-called habitable zone are so common that there could be as many as 11 billion in the Milky Way alone.<p>Using a clever method to detect Earth-sizeexoplanets they may have missed, astronomers …

Universe

Why?: Answers to Everyday Scientific Questions by Joel Levy | Book Review

If you're a parent or teacher, you probably are asked "why questions" by young people several dozen times each day. Why can't we hear dog whistles? Why does the wind blow? Why is there no life on Mars? Why does E=mc2? Why? Why? <i>Why?</i><p>If you are dealing with such questions daily, then you'll be pleased …

Galaxy Quest: Just How Many Earth-Like Planets Are Out There?

A team of planet hunters estimates that about 22 percent of the sun-like stars in our galaxy may have planets about the size of Earth that are bathed in similar amounts of sunlight — and potentially habitable.<p>That's the conclusion of a new analysis of observations taken by NASA's Kepler Space …

The dark side of psychology in abuse and interrogation

This week the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) and the Open Society Foundations (OSF) have published the most comprehensive study on the role of psychologists in the War on Terror. At 269 pages, the full report is as detailed as it is grim, concluding that American psychologists …

Environment: News & features

Two billion planets in our galaxy may be suitable for life

Our galaxy probably contains at least two billion planets that, like Earth, have liquid water on their surfaces and orbit around their parent stars in the "habitable zone" for life. The nearest, according to astronomers, could be a mere 12 light years away.<p>A new study, published on Monday in the …

This Giant Balloon Will Carry You to (Near) Space

Want to take your time at the edge of the world? Climb aboard for a World View balloon ride to 98,000 feet.<p><b>Tucson-based startup World View</b> has announced the latest tech to join the commercial space race: a football-field-size helium balloon designed to take paying customers 18 miles (98,000 feet) …

Why The Moon Should Be An International Park

We could learn a lot about Earth from the moon, and the risks of it being damaged are only increasing.<p>The thought of a robot laying tracks over Neil Armstrong’s and Buzz Aldrin’s footprints just seems wrong. And the risk is greater than you might think. Private spaceflight is flourishing, and even …

Trespassing

Best space images of the month

Here are some of the most stunning pictures captured during a memorable month in space – from bold new ventures to a galaxy far, far away.

Space

Kids who grow up with less may catch more colds as adults

Children and teens from families with lower socioeconomic status may grow up to be more susceptible to the common cold.<p>Researchers say there’s an …

Why India's Mars Mission Is So Much Cheaper Than NASA's

Former NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin pioneered a "faster, better, cheaper" approach to America's space program, but he would have been hard-pressed to deliver a Mars mission for the bargain-basement price of India's first probe to the red planet, which blasted off Tuesday.<p>"India's Mars mission, …