Sonny Hall

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These Are Some of the Most Amazing Views of Earth You'll Ever See

I have looked at a lot of different views of Earth from space – taken by astronauts, satellites and other spacecraft – so I was not expecting to be …

How The World Will End, According To 1939

You will burn. You will freeze. And the moon will explode. Four gruesome apocalypse scenarios from the September 1939 issue of Popular Science.<p>Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice. The scientists of 1939 would like to add "moon explosion" and "giant meteor" to that list—and they …

Starfish are dying in huge numbers from a gruesome wasting disease

Starfish are dying off in startling numbers along the West Coast of the United States and Canada. And they're doing it in a rather gnarly manner: the sea creatures are coming down with a syndrome that sees them disintegrate into piles of white goop.<p>Marine scientists are warning that instances of …

Carnivorous giant platypus with sharp teeth once roamed Australia

Extinct species identified in north-west Queensland reveals an entirely unknown branch of the monotreme's evolution<p>A giant, carnivorous platypus with fearsome teeth once roamed the waterways of Australia, researchers have discovered.<br>The newly identified species, dubbed <i>Obdurodon tharalkooschild</i>, …

How Racist Is Online Dating?

A new study says OkCupid users are often willing to respond to messages from potential lovers outside their own race, and once they do, they're more likely to initiate interracial contact going forward.<p>How racist are Americans when it comes to selecting a mate? Though the rate of interracial …

Why H is the most contentious letter in the alphabet

While writing my book, Alphabetical, about the history of the letters we use, I discovered that debates about power and class surround every letter – and none more so than the letter H<p>The alphabet is something not to be argued with: there are 26 letters in as fixed a sequence as the numbers 1-26; …

Giant Toothed Platypus Once Roamed Australia

Scientists have discovered the fossil of a large toothed platypus species that lived 5 to 15 million years ago. The fossil was discovered in the …

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 …

Environment: News & features

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 …

Two billion planets in our galaxy may be suitable for life

Data from Kepler space observatory suggests planets capable of supporting life are far more common than previously thought<p>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 …

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 …