Well, 2009 is just about over now, so I guess the fashionable thing to do is look back at everything that happened this year. Or, better yet, everything that happened over the last 10 years.
Actually, now that I’ve written that, it sounds kind of amazing. 10 years. 10 YEARS. Wow. The first decade of the 21st century is over. (Well, sort of… the whole “2001 was the first year of the new millennium, not 2000” thing, but whatever.) We’re now moving into the 2nd decade of living IN THE FUTURE.
So, what do we have to show for it?
To start with, we survived the roll over into Y2K without any disasters, so that’s a good start.
But then some not-so-good things happened:
- What is arguably the defining event of this decade: September 11, 2001, when a bunch of crazy people crashed some planes into some skyscrapers.
- 8 years of George Bush.
- The space shuttle Columbia disaster.
- Rapid erosion of civil liberties around the world.
- The Department of Homeland Security (to me, “Homeland” sounds too much like “Fatherland” and I don’t like the connotations that go with that word).
- Massive problems with electronic voting machines & potential fraud (which may or may not have already happened, who knows for sure)
- More SPAM than ever before (to the point where some people have given up completely on email)
- Bird Flu
- Swine Flu
- Massive abuse of draconian & unbalanced copyright laws by copyright holders
- Massive Tsunamis
- REAL ID
- Shrinking polar ice cap
- Melting glaciers
But there were good things, too!
- The first new jumbo jet in almost 40 years, the Airbus A380.
- Netbooks! (I love my netbook!)
- The first non-white president of the United States (way to go!)
- Firefox explodes with awesomeness (and forces Microsoft to finally update their browser as well)
- Space probes arrive at SATURN, the most beautiful planet (after Earth, IMHO)
- Pluckly little robot rovers last way, way longer than they were ever meant to way over on Mars
- The iPhone arrives, changing smartphones (and, arguably, the notion of portable computing itself) forever
- Wikipedia continues to become more and more awesome
- The Internet continues to defy attempts to block/censor it (mostly) and remains a powerful force for connecting people, exposing corruption, and spreading news
- No more planes have been blown up or crashed into buildings by crazy people (no thanks to the TSA or 3 oz. bottles of liquid or taking off our shoes, I might add)
In many ways, I’m sort of disappointed in the last decade. It seems like we were off to a good start, but then we got sidetracked very early on, and things just went all wonky as everyone panicked and all sorts of stupid, reactionary stuff happened.
However, now that the decade is over, perhaps we can put all these bad things behind us, and start moving towards the future in earnest again, instead of taking steps backwards into the past.
Normally, I’d end this post with something like “Well, we can hope,” but really, that’s not all we can do. In fact, nothing will change unless we (that’s me and you, dear readers) get up and do something about it. So, if you need a resolution for the new year, how’s this for one: get out there and change the world, even if it’s just a little bit. There’s no time like the present, after all.
So, that’s it – Happy New Year everyone, and best wishes for a better 2nd decade of the 21st century! Now, get out there and make it happen!!