World AIDS Day
December 1: Activists will gear up for a day of education and awareness, but many will no doubt be following the case of a 42-year-old American patient in Germany who, after a bone-marrow transplant from an HIV-immune donor, shows no signs of the virus returning. Nobel Prize--winning physician David Baltimore called it "a very good sign," but researchers may still be a long way from a cure. Across the world, an estimated 33.2 million people live with HIV, the precursor virus to deadly AIDS.
Show that never ends
December 2: Barack Obama might be the president elect, but the longest election cycle in American politics still has legs. By virtue of winning just a plurality, Sen. Saxby Chambliss will have to win a run-off against Democratic challenger Jim Martin if the Georgia Republican wishes to retain his Senate seat. On Election Day, Chambliss got 49.8 percent of the vote compared to 46.8 percent for Martin. Libertarian candidate Allen Buckley garnered 3.4 percent of the vote, playing spoiler and forcing the top two candidates to face off again for the majority required under Georgia law.
Fly the (eco) friendly skies
December 3: Air New Zealand will test biofuels on a Boeing jumbo jet to see whether fuel made from jatropha trees can displace costly jet fuel. One engine on the flight departing from Aukland will run on a mixture of half jet fuel and half jatropha oil. But the eco-friendly experiment is earning criticism from an unlikely source: "The amount of jatropha that would be needed to power the world's entire aviation sector cannot be produced in anything like a sustainable way," said Robin Oakley of Greenpeace.
December 5: Director Ron Howard tells the back story of the famous series of interviews of former President Richard Nixon by British television broadcaster David Frost. The film, which debuts on Dec. 5, tells the story of how a lightly regarded broadcaster roped a disgraced former president into a series of interviews that ended with a soft admission of guilt from Nixon for his part in the Watergate scandal.
Nobel Peace Prize
December 10: Martti Ahtisaari, the Finnish diplomat who helped broker a peace deal in Kosovo, will officially pick up his Nobel Diploma and Nobel Medal for winning the Nobel Peace Prize for 2008. The prize committee named Ahtisaari the winner in October, citing his "important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts."
December 12: George W. Bush will give the commencement address at Texas A&M, where students aren't likely to care that their speaker is a lame duck-he's still the president of the United States. In one of his final speeches as president, Bush will deliver commencement thoughts to Aggie winter graduates.