- Today's comic by Jen Sorensen is If we policed the U.S. the way we do Afghanistan:
- Some memorably idiotic tweets from 2012:
Consider this your invitation to post your own favorites for the year.
- Rep. Ralph Hall of Texas who started his career in Congress in 1980 as a Democrat and switched to the Republicans in 2004, is now, at 89 the oldest representative ever to serve in the House.
- The year as seen by Weather Underground:
8) The Non-Winter of 2011-2012
"Flowers are sprouting in January in New Hampshire, the Sierra Mountains in California are nearly snow-free, and lakes in much of Michigan still have not frozen. It's 2012, and the new year is ringing in another ridiculously wacky winter for the U.S. In Fargo, North Dakota yesterday, the mercury soared to 55°F, breaking a 1908 record for warmest January day in recorded history. More than 99% of North Dakota had no snow on the ground this morning, and over 95% of the country that normally has snow at this time of year had below-average snow cover." That was the opening of my January 6, 2012 blog post, called "Remarkably dry and warm winter due to record extreme jet stream configuration." The contiguous U.S. saw its 3rd lowest snow cover on record during both winter and spring, and the winter of 2011 - 2012 was the 4th warmest and 24th driest winter in U.S. history, going back to 1895. A primary cause of this warm and snowless winter was the most extreme configuration of the jet stream ever recorded, as measured by the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).
- Ready to return the stuff you got and hated? A list of return policies from Consumer World may be helpful.
- Mark Zuckererg's sister bellyaches about Facebook photo being reposted to Twitter: Uncool, she says.
- Definitely not uncool space photos of 2012:
A giant of a moon appears before a giant of a planet undergoing seasonal changes in this
natural color view of Titan and Saturn from NASA's Cassini spacecraft.
- Gun and ammo sales up: According to the FBI's website, there were 16.8 million background checks for gun ownership through the end of November this year. A deluge of requests for background checks came in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School killings, which were done with a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle based on the AR-15 "plaform," the civilian version of the military M-16:
Brownells, which describes itself as the world's largest firearm accessories supplier, said it had sold more than 3.5 years' worth of magazines in a 72-hour span. Its president, Pete Brownell, wrote an apology to customers on gun-owner forum AR15.com after complaints arose over a delay in orders placed on the company's website.
- 2012 as seen by Dr. Ruth's tweets:
- Holiday sales growth weakest since 2008:
A report that tracks spending on popular holiday goods, the MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, said Tuesday that sales in the two months before Christmasincreased 0.7 percent, compared with last year. Many analysts had expected holiday sales to grow 3 to 4 percent.
In 2008, sales declined by between 2 percent and 4 percent as the financial crisis that crested that fall dragged the economy into recession. Last year, by contrast, retail sales in November and December rose between 4 percent and 5 percent, according to ShopperTrak, a separate market research firm. A 4 percent increase is considered a healthy season.
- Guns and gun ownership by country