1. Cartoon of the day: Winter wildlife
    CAMERON CARDOW © 2013 Cagle Cartoons

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    (Source: theweek.com)

     

  2. 2012 was a record-melting sizzler, the hottest year on record in the continental United States:

    55.3 — Average temperature, in degrees Fahrenheit, across the continental U.S. in 2012. That’s a full degree Fahrenheit higher than the previous record set in 1998, and is 3.3 degrees above the 20th century average.  

    34,008 — Daily high records set at weather stations across the country in 2012

    100 — Percent of the 10 warmest years on record that have occurred over the last 15 years 

    7 — Percentage of the U.S. that experienced an all-time hottest day ever last year

    61 — Percentage of the nation plagued by drought in 2012, which obliterated corn and soybean crops and sent prices sky high

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    (Source: theweek.com)

     

  3. It looks like the sun is smiling on the economy. The green winter is propping up many businesses in various ways, and that “means more green in your wallet,” says Marilyn Geewax atNational Public Radio. Here, six ways the warm weather is helping the economy:

    1. Fewer layoffs: In a typical January, about 424,000 workers are laid off for weather-related reasons. This January, only 206,000 people were let go.
    2. Lower gas costs: The average consumer spent $643 this winter on natural gas, compared with $888 in the winter of 2008-2009.
    3. More cash leads to more spending: With extra cash on hand, consumers spend more — which in turn boosts economic growth

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    (Source: theweek.com)