It's been quite a week. The Eastern seaboard is slowly recovering from Hurricane Sandy while anticipating a nor'easter, and the results of the 2012 presidential election are in, with Barack Obama successful in securing a second term. While those stories will probably dominate the headlines for the next few days, there are a few interesting ones that are flying under the radar. Here's what we're reading this week:
1. Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana. What the what? You heard right! In what is probably the biggest victory ever for the pro-legalize crowd, the two states passed ballot initiatives that allow the buying and selling of up to one ounce of marijuana for those 21 and older. But remember: Federal law supercedes state law, so don't light up in front of a courthouse, in say, Wyoming, just yet.
2. Hurricane Sandy wasn't enough to keep people away from the voting booths. In makeshift booths (some little more than tents with flashlights and generators) all over the East Coast, displaced residents returned to their homes to vote in the 2012 presidential election. If that doesn't restore your faith in humanity this week, I got nothing for you.
3. A positive pregnancy test led to testicular cancer. A man who jokingly took a pregnancy test left behind in his apartment by his ex-girlfriend was shocked when it came back positive. He visited the doctor, who determined he was not pregnant but did have testicular cancer. It turns out, testicular cancer can produce the same hormone, hCG, in men that pregnancy does in women.
4. Exercise is even more powerful than we thought. While it's long been known that a high-fat diet is bad for the brain, new research suggests that regular exercise might protect your noggin against the effects of a diet high in fat. This is not an excuse to pile on the butter as the holidays approach, but it is nice to know that working out can improve your memory and concentration, even if you slip and reach for seconds (or thirds) at this year's Thanksgiving feast.
5. You may soon have to wave goodbye to Chanel No. 5. One of the key ingredients in the famous perfume is tree moss, which has caught the attention of European scientists who believe it causes allergies. While it is unlikely to be banned entirely, the International Fragrance Association is taking the claims very seriously and conducting further research into the matter.