Scientists announced the identification of the first new mammalian carnivore in the Americas in more than a generation: the Andean-dwelling "olinguito," which we're pretty sure translates to "OMFG, Adorable!"
A follower of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in the Czech Republic won the legal right to be photographed for his driver's license as a true Pastafarian – with a spaghetti strainer on his head.
Obama Administration: Marijuana Legalization Can Proceed
Marking a dramatic reversal in the war on drugs, the Department of Justice revealed that it would not block well-regulated marijuana cultivation, distribution or sales in states that have legalized it for either recreational or medicinal purposes – giving a qualified green light to state experiments in ending prohibition. (Read Rolling Stone's coverage of the announcement here.)
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveiled a fanciful design for an alternative to high-speed rail called Hyperloop – which would rocket passenger capsules through depressurized tubes on a cushion of air. Travelers from San Francisco could hypothetically hyperloop to Los Angeles in just 30 minutes.
Supreme Court Justice Officiates Gay Wedding
In a first for a Supreme Court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg presided at the wedding of two men at the Kennedy Center. Ginsberg said her participation was "one more statement that people who love each other and want to live together should be able to enjoy the blessings and the strife in the marriage relationship."
DOJ Pushes to Reform Mandatory Minimum Sentences
Attorney General Eric Holder pushed federal prosecutors to avoid drug charges that carry mandatory minimum sentences. Said Holder, "Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law enforcement reason."
Federal Benefits Extended to Gay Married Couples
Following the demise of DOMA, both the Social Security Administration and the Pentagon extended full marriage benefits to lawfully-wed same-sex couples.
New Mexico Counties Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses
Gay marriage came to the Southwest after eight New Mexico counties began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. The state's laws on marriage don't mention gender, leaving the legality of the new marriages ambiguous. A lawsuit seeking to validate gay unions is now pending before the state Supreme Court.
Illinois Embraces Medical Marijuana
And then there were 20.