If the early winter gloom is becoming a bit unbearable, take comfort in knowing that days are about to get longer.
The winter solstice came late last night [10:30 p.m.], marking the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. We're at that point in the year when the Earth's axis, as seen from the north, points as directly away from the sun as it will all year.
Here in Idaho, we'll get approximately eight hours and 25 minutes of daylight today. Atlanta and Los Angeles will get almost 10 hours (being closer to the equator). Everything north of the Arctic Circle will experience 24 hours of complete darkness.
By the way, if you buy into the theory that the Mayan Long Count Calendar fortells the apocalypse, we're now in the one-year countdown to Dec. 21, 2012—the date that some believe will mark the end of the world.