.
July 25th, 2012
11:30 PM ET

Armed in the USA


Picture a group of 100 people. Now imagine 89 of them have a gun. That's the average ratio of firearms to people in the U.S. according to 2007 figures from the monitoring group Small Arms Survey.

Now consider this: the country with the second-highest rate of gun ownership is Yemen. And it has an average of 55 guns per 100 individuals.

The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is commonly quoted as "the right to bear arms," though its meaning is frequently debated. The recent massacre in the state of Colorado has put new attention on gun control laws.

But skeptics doubt anything will change... and point to past tragedies as proof. The Columbine school shooting of 1999 happened in Littleton, Colorado. That's just 18 miles (30 km) from Aurora.

Post by: ,
Filed under: Great graphics
July 25th, 2012
07:30 AM ET

Sally Ride: Trailblazer

NASA

The first American woman in space has passed away at the age of 61. Sally Ride broke barriers and inspired people to reach for the stars.

And in death, Ride may have become a role model for another reason. The obituary posted on her organization's website noted Ride's partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy. It's believed to be the first public acknowledgment of their same-sex relationship.

A 2009 article on the same site described Ride and O'Shaughnessy as "good friends" and "co-authors." But it also reveals some of their romantic story. They met at age 12 through tennis. O'Shaughnessy went on to play professionally. And through the years, they stayed in touch.

Ride's sister, Bear, tells the website Buzzfeed that the relationship was never hidden. She says most people also did not know about Sally Ride's pancreatic cancer because she was a "very private person."

Some will argue that Ride's orientation is unimportant, that she should be remembered solely for her scientific and educational accomplishments. To that I say, name one openly gay astronaut.

Sally Ride was a trailblazer for women into the final frontier. Let's not limit her now.

Post by: ,
Filed under: Personal musings • Space