A warm January
Despite the snow and cold in much of the eastern and southern U.S., January 2014 was 1.17 degrees warmer than the 20th-century average for the planet as a whole. In fact, it was the fourth warmest January on record, dating back to 1880.
The cost of solitary confinement
An estimated 80,000 U.S. prisoners are held in solitary confinement, with each one costing taxpayers an average of $60,000 a year. Many of these prisoners descend into severe mental illness and/or suicidal despair, and most are later released back into society.
Divorce rates rise
The number of Americans getting divorced rose to 2.4 million in 2012—the third consecutive year of an increase, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data. Economists said the upswing in divorce filings—which fell to a 40-year low during the Great Recession—indicates that the economy is rebounding, making it possible for unhappy couples to go out on their own.
Naming babies after guns
A record number of American babies are being named after guns. In 2012, 955 babies were named Colt, 666 were called Remington, and 118 were named Ruger, after the gun-maker Sturm, Ruger & Co.
American women and firearms deaths
American women account for 84 percent of all women killed with firearms in the developed world, even though they make up only one third of the developed world’s female population.