Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 3:49 pm
By Barbara J. King
Some of the people who will read this blog post are female, some are male, some are both and some are neither. To all, greetings of the season!
Of the many things I want to celebrate during this annual round of holiday joy, the beauty of human diversity and the pleasure we may take in recognizing it sit near the top of my list.
Yet here's something I've noticed: While the array of gorgeous human skin colors and ethnicities and sexualities is increasingly embraced as a matter of human rights, we are slower to celebrate multiple genders.
The shooting in Newtown, Conn., last December has left families of the 26 victims, most of them children, struggling to heal in different ways.
Jeremy Richman and Jennifer Hensel are one such family. They lost their only child, 6-year-old Avielle, in the shooting. In the year since, they've responded as any parents would: Asking why such a tragedy could have happened.
Scientists think there are vast reserves of fresh groundwater buried under the oceans — a potentially valuable resource for coastal cities that need freshwater.
A recent report in Nature estimates the amount of fresh groundwater around the world at about 120,000 cubic miles — that's 100 times more than all the groundwater that has been pumped up from wells since the 1900s. The reserves are scattered across coastal regions around the world.
If drug companies follow guidance issued Wednesday by the Food and Drug Administration, within three years it will be illegal to use medically important antibiotics to make farm animals grow faster or use feed more efficiently.
The FDA's announcement wasn't a big surprise; a draft version of the strategy was released more than a year ago.
Giant batteries are coming to a power grid near you. In fact, they're already starting to appear on the grid in California.
That's because California is planning to rely increasingly on power supplies that aren't necessarily available every minute of every day. The state plans to get one-third of its electricity from wind and solar energy by 2020.
Utilities in the state are trying to figure out how they can cope with that uncertain power supply. Batteries aren't a panacea, but they could help.
The European Space Agency's Rosetta probe, launched in March 2004, will be awakened from a deep sleep next month in preparation for a rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which will culminate late next year with the first-ever soft landing on such a body.
The 6,600-pound spacecraft, which has spent nearly a decade making repeated flybys of Earth and Mars to gain enough speed to catch the comet, was put in hibernation in July 2011, after its last major gravity-assist maneuver.
Rosetta's wake up call is set for Jan. 20, 2014 at precisely 1000 GMT (5 a.m. EST).