-Sally Ride the first American woman in space, died yesterday at the age of 61 after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Ride made history in 1983 when she traveled aboard the space shuttle Challenger. She was also one of the first six women to be named to NASA’s astronaut corps. A Stanford graduate, she held three degrees in physics, including a Ph.D. and a Bachelor’s in English. She was also the founder of Sally Ride Science, an organization in San Diego that creates science programs for tweens, especially young girls, and Girl Scouts’ Camp CEO, a group that brings minority girls and professional women together.
Separately but related, pancreatic cancer has a very high mortality rate; 75 percent of patients die within a year and 94 percent within five years. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has more information about this deadly disease.
-Warner Brothers, the studio behind The Dark Knight Rises, will donate a “substantial” though undisclosed amount of money to the victims of the Friday morning mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, CO. Though the studio has canceled premiere events and made changes with regards to its other film Gangster Squad, the backlash against Hollywood has been limited. “Many agree that you simply can’t hold the art form itself responsible in the shooting that left 12 people dead and 58 others injured,” the AP writes.
-The alleged gunman in that mass shooting, James Holmes, appeared in court yesterday looking dazed and confused. At times seeming to doze off briefly, Holmes didn’t say a word during the appearance in which Judge William Sylvester ordered the suspect to be held without bond. Colorado law enforcement says Holmes isn’t cooperating with the investigation. He’s being held in solitary confinement.
-The recession is wreaking havoc on school districts across the country. According to The New York Times, foreclosures and other economic problems are driving parents and their kids out of places like Detroit, Cleveland, and San Bernadino, CA. There’s also greater competition from charter schools, which have seen their enrollment numbers go through the roof. Funding for schools is based on the number of students attending. The decline in the student population has led to school closures, layoffs and has put educational programs in jeopardy.
-Good news? Mariah Carey is going to be a judge on American Idol. She’s getting an eye-popping $18 million for the one-year contract. In return, the show hopes that her star power will revive ratings.