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A chilly lunch links

Hope everyone’s enjoying their lunch on Day 2 of the polar vortex.

In Chicago, it was so cold that they brought the polar bears in the zoo inside. You know it’s bad when it’s too much for the polar bears.

Polar bear in 2008 at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. (Source: AP photograph on Chicago's ABC 7)

Polar bear in 2008 at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. (Source: AP photograph on Chicago’s ABC 7)

Are you like me and can’t get enough of the pictures of the cold? Check out this gallery of editor’s picks from National Geographic, where they know a thing or two about great photography.

Moving away from the weather, those who have been unemployed for long periods of time got some good news when the U.S. Senate unexpectedly passed a measure to extend benefits for three months. It still faces a hurdle in the House, and passage would be especially welcome news in North Carolina where upwards of 170,000 people have been without the benefits since July, when the state legislature passed a law making the state ineligible for the federal funds.

If you’ve followed me and my writings much here at N.C. Policy Watch, you know I’ve got a particular interest in public records issues. Check out this “oops” that landed in a reporter’s lap when a Navy spokesman inadvertently sent him a plan of how to avoid answering the reporter’s Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA)for documents related to last year’s Navy Yard shooting. Oops, indeed.

I’ll end with a bit of inspiration for those of us out there pledging to be healthier, happier versions of ourselves in 2014. A 61-year-old woman in India ran her first-ever race, wearing a sari and barefoot, and  not only finished the 3K run, but beat out younger and more experienced competitors.

I officially have no excuses.

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