"If Global Warming is Real, Then Why Is It So Cold?" asks Pierce Nahigyan. Short answer: because weather and climate aren't the same thing. Only slightly longer answer: average temperatures are going up (just as extreme weather events are increasing in frequency), but that doesn't mean it's supposed to be 72 degrees in New England in January, any more than accepting evolution requires us to accept that somewhere a monkey is turning into a human as we speak. Another way of putting it: what's in front of your face is not the whole world.
Justice Department files civil lawsuit against ex-Halliburton subsidiary and two other corporations for some of the, ah, work they did for our Army in Iraq. Said "work" included using a refrigerated trailer as a morgue freezer and as a potable ice freezer without cleaning in between. Enjoy that cola, brave soldiers! One question: why not have the Army freeze its own ice, rather than use a private contractor?
Julia Angwin helps you stop at least some data brokers from collecting all your personal information and selling it to other corporations. You know, so grieving parents don't get emails the week after their child dies, because that kind of stuff happens -- or just so that private corporations (not to mention identity thieves!) don't know every damn thing about you. It's not paranoia, it's privacy.
Good news, everyone! Shell Oil Co. is abandoning plans to drill in the Arctic for 2014. About this time last year, they were abandoning plans to drill in 2013, at least in part because they had some, er, troubles drilling in the cold; this year they're facing some financial reversals and, of course, the Ninth Circuit's ruling that our government had improperly sold drilling leases in the Arctic (during Tha Bush Mobb's rule, what a big surprise). But I'm sure the adverse PR coming from good folks like us had something to do with it, too.
Finally, more good news: Newark, NJ passes a paid sick leave law, mandating that businesses with more than 10 employees grant five paid days off a year. Newark becomes the second New Jersey municipality (after Jersey City), and seventh nationwide, to pass a paid sick leave law. But am I the only one wondering if a Mayor Cory Booker would've vetoed it? (He praised the law after it passed, but he's a Senator now, in a Congress that's won't get that bill done.)