3. The contiguous United States set a temperature record in 2012, a year of scorching heat waves and drought. But, mostly because of the unusual chill in the East, 2014 was only the 34th warmest year on record for the lower 48 states.
4. In an effort to protect China's role in the global economy as a manufacturing hub, the central bank devalued the currency in August, in the biggest drop in decades. Later in the year, after the International Monetary Fund added the renminbi to its group of global reserve currencies, the value of the currency fell further, possibly reflecting capital outflows.
5. That's part of the logic, anyway, behind the unlikely candidacy of Ethan Sonneborn, a 13-year-old running for governor of Vermont, one of just two states with no minimum age requirement for the office.