Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., who has served in the Senate and in Congress longer than any other woman, says she will not seek a sixth term in 2016.

Mikulski, 78, announced her decision Monday in Baltimore.

" 'Do I spend my time raising money, or do I spend my time raising hell?' " she said she asked herself, according to The Associated Press.

Fasten your seat belts, true believers. If you haven't flipped through a comic book in a while, you might be in for quite a surprise come May. The entire Marvel multiverse is collapsing.

Forget about seeing the Wolverine we knew any time soon. And the current Ghost Rider? Before long, his current story line will be gone like, well, a ghost. In the new Marvel universe, coming in May, characters and continuities will be reimagined.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Here's my favorite one. Eighty-four percent of Frenchmen rate themselves as above average lovers. Ninety-three percent of young drivers in another survey said they were above average. And, 68% of the faculty at the University of Nebraska place themselves in the top 25%.

All of those numbers reflect misplaced confidence. It seems to be genetically wired into us in certain ways.

Alex / Creative Commons

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was designed to close the wage gap between men and women. More than 50 years later, however, discrimination against female workers continues to persist.

This hour, we take a closer look at wage inequality in our state. We ask our panel of experts why unequal pay is still so common in the workplace, and what’s being done eliminate it. 

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration recommended a change in the discriminatory and unscientific policy that effectively prohibited men who have sex with men from donating blood for life. Those guidelines kept any man who had sex with another man — even just once — since 1977 from donating blood forever.

While gay discrimination has been reduced in so many other areas of life, up until now, there hasn't been enough medical or political will to intervene on the blood ban. That policy perpetuated stigma without improving safety.

What happens in a small, semi-rural community in a southern state when an "out" transgender student decides to speak up for his civil rights?

Here in Gloucester County, Virginia, where I live — not far from the Historic Triangle of Yorktown-Williamsburg-Jamestown — the answer is that all hell breaks loose.

Sons of Anarchy is probably the most macho drama on television, featuring a gang of gun-running, porn-making bikers.

But the biggest moment of the final season has featured a woman: Gemma Teller (played by Katey Sagal), mother to biker club president Jax Teller. Gemma admitted killing Jax's wife, Tara, and lying about it, which started a gang war.

When Gemma finally came clean, Jax insisted she pay the ultimate price.

The Food and Drug Administration is considering revising a ban on blood donations from men who have had sex with other men.

An FDA advisory committee Tuesday mulled the issues raised by changing the policy, which has been in effect since the early 1980s.

Trane Devore / Creative Commons

While the rest of us struggle to balance our post-Black Friday checkbooks, America’s top college mathematicians are preparing for one of the most advanced and prestigious math events in the world. Yes, it’s time again for the annual William Lowell Putnam Competition.

Phil Whitehouse / Creative Commons

Women’s position in the workplace in Connecticut has improved significantly over the last 15 years, according to a new report. But the study, commissioned by the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, says too many disparities still remain, particularly for women of color. 

Tim Cook, the head of the world's most iconic technology company, has come out today in an op-ed on Bloomberg Businessweek, saying he's never denied his sexual orientation but "I haven't publicly acknowledged it either, until now.

"Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day," Cook writes.

As the ongoing, harassment-fueled controversy known as Gamergate rages into its second month with no sign of dying down, the Pew Research Center is out with new numbers on online harassment.

Nia Tyler / WNPR

Former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords made a stop in West Hartford Thursday as part of her "Protect All Women" tour.

The tour was launched as a way to raise awareness about gun violence against women, and to empower women to help shape public policy on the issue. 

Updated at 11:00 a.m. ET

As we reported earlier, a synod of Catholic bishops meeting at the Vatican has released an interim document that signals the likelihood of a dramatic overhaul in the church's stance on gays and lesbians, as well as its view on divorced members.

Javie Delgado, Flickr Creative Commons

It's hard to improve on the poet, Rilke, who wrote, "Love consists of this, that two solitudes meet, protect, and greet each other." But did Rilke have to deal with Angry Birds and Snap Chat?

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's comments on women asking for raises triggered an instant backlash, but they also raise more questions about the tech industry's male-dominated culture and spotlight the challenges women in tech face.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Why do opposing political candidates so often wind up disliking each other? I get that there are forces in motion against one another, but does that have to turn into animus? Wouldn't we all like to think that we could keep things on a certain humanistic level if we were running? Say things like "Ralph is a great guy, even if he's dead wrong about everything. I really enjoyed getting to know  him during this campaign, and I admire his commitment to his vision, even though I think the rest of you would be nuts to embrace it."

Probably the three biggest recent stories involving women in sports have been Mo'ne Davis, Michele Roberts and Becky Hammon.

Technically, the Supreme Court Monday did not establish a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry. It merely declined an opportunity to rule definitely one way or the other on the question.

But in the not-too-long run, the consequences may well be the same. Because the situation the court created — or acknowledged — will almost surely continue trending in favor of same-sex couples who want to marry.

Conversely, the legal ground is eroding for states that want to stop such marriages or deny them legal recognition.

On Monday, the Supreme Court surprised many when it refused to enter the contentious debate over gay marriage.

The court left intact decisions by three federal appeals courts that had struck down bans on gay marriage in parts of the South, West and Midwest. Attorneys general in five states asked the court to review those decisions and overrule them. But the court instead stepped back, leaving the lower court rulings intact.

For the past several weeks, the video game industry has been embroiled in a heated, sometimes ugly, debate, under the hashtag #Gamergate.

It's a debate about a lot of things and it involves a lot of people, but at its heart, #Gamergate is about two key things: ethics in video game journalism, and the role and treatment of women in the video game industry — an industry that has long been dominated by men.

Huntstock / Thinkstock

Historically, doctors recommended genetic screenings in certain women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer. This month, Mary-Claire King, an influential the geneticist who discovered links between a gene called BRCA1 and breast cancer, said doctors need to offer genetic tests to all women 30 and older.

I saw Shonda Rhimes at a panel presentation at the Television Critics Association press tour this summer where she helped introduce How to Get Away with Murder, the new ABC drama she helps produce but did not create. I found her pleasantly (and a little amusingly) transparent in not loving some of the questions she was asked (including one about whether she was worried that #HTGAWM, which was printed on the promotional cookies ABC handed out, was an unwieldy hashtag), and I thought, "She is an interview for which you would want to be on your toes."

Gentlemen, Preschool Is Calling

Sep 4, 2014

Glenn Peters knew he would be in the minority when he started training to teach preschool as part of New York City's rollout of universal pre-K, the largest such initiative in the country. But he didn't realize just how rare men are in the profession until he attended a resume-building workshop for aspiring pre-K teachers.

"They couldn't find the bathroom code for the men's bathroom, so I actually had to go to the women's room while someone stood guard outside the bathroom," Peters says. "I knew at that moment that I was a bit of a unicorn."

Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley has implemented a formal policy regarding the admission of transgender students. 

During the college's annual Convocation address on Tuesday, President Lynn Pasquerella announced that the all-women's  institution  now welcomes applications from transgender students who identify as female. 

Meds to Alleviate Stress May Help Women Smokers Quit

Sep 2, 2014
Javier Ignacio Acuna Ditzel / Creative Commons

For the last 50 years, men have consistently had an easier time quitting smoking than women. More men go cold turkey. More men stop on nicotine blockers like gum and patches. More men succeed on medications. Sherry McKee, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, thinks she may know why.

A federal judge on Wednesday finalized a ruling that strikes down part of Utah's ban on polygamy.

The case is high profile partly because the suit was brought forth by the Brown family, the stars of the TLC show Sister Wives. It's also important because as it works its way through the appeals process, it has the potential to become a landmark.

Huntstock / Thinkstock

Researchers in New York are taking a closer look at endometriosis. It's a disease that's not often talked about, but it affects one in ten women in the U.S., and 176 million women worldwide.

Four mathematicians were today awarded the Fields Medal, including Iranian Maryam Mirzakhani, the first female mathematician to be given the honor that's often called math's equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

Mirzakhani, 37, is a professor at Stanford University and was honored in Seoul, South Korea, for her "striking and highly original contributions to geometry and dynamical systems."

Here's more from Stanford:

From the aerospace sector to Silicon Valley, engineering has a retention problem: Close to 40 percent of women with engineering degrees either leave the profession or never enter the field.

Conventional wisdom says that women in engineering face obstacles such as the glass ceiling, a lack of self-confidence and a lack of mentors. But psychologists who delved deeper into the issue with a new study found that the biggest pushbacks female engineers receive come from the environments they work in.