2012 was an incredible year—in technology, politics, weather, and so much more. In our Year in Review, the Corvallis Advocate’s writers share with you the news stories that impacted them most significantly, through tragedy, triumph, and global progress.
Extreme Weather Events
For me, the most affecting news stories addressed the climatic extremes our nation experienced this year, starting with Corvallis flooding in January: http://www.gazettetimes.com/news/local/the-flood-of/article_96c74746-4339-11e1-be3a-0019bb2963f4.html
Then the drought of this summer: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/drought
And finally, the disaster that was Hurricane Sandy: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/10/28/nyregion/hurricane-sandy.html.
Because of these events, I’ve been taking steps to lessen my environmental impact and have become more politically active.
New Monkey Species and Sasquatch DNA
Scientists and explorers rejoice, 2012 has yielded some incredible discoveries. For only the second time in the last 28 years biologists working in Africa have found a new species of monkey, Cercopithecus lomamiensis. Additionally, Dr. Melba S. Ketchum is eagerly anticipating the publication of her genetic analysis of sasquatch DNA. SPOILER ALERT: Bigfoot’s mama may have been human.
World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm
This year has generally been an exciting year for alternative energy with efforts to tap into the thermal energy of an Oregon volcano, the discovery of a way to convert CO2 to alcohol fuels, and the production of the largest offshore wind farm yet, slated to produce power for more than 470,000 homes in the UK. You can read more about this latter development at: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2012/10/largest-offshore-wind-farm-generates-first-power-in-u-k
A Year of Excess
The dazzling excesses of the Olympics, the United States presidential campaign, and celebrity devotion collided with the spectacle of violence in our country and beyond. There isn’t just one story that speaks to this. But the excess of violence and mindless pomp mashed together leaves me a bit numb. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/11/29/166155431/trayvon-martin-update-zimmermans-defense-fund-is-offering-his-autograph
Ah, space. The final frontier (not counting the Earth’s oceans, of course). Following a decades-long spate of epic failures (remember the Mars Climate Orbiter that burned up in Mars’ atmosphere after Lockheed Martin engineers mixed up English and metric units?) and some intermittent highly successful small rover landings, humanity finally, victoriously, landed the Curiosity rover on the Red Planet. One small roll for car-sized Curiosity, one huge leap for mankind. http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/06/tech/mars-rover-curiosity/index.html
Bing’s Top 2012 Search: The iPhone5… Really?
Many horrible tragedies and a crazy election cycle aside, there is but one piece of news that was so riveting that it topped Bing’s search records for the entire year: the iPhone 5 release. I and many others came together in 2012 to confirm what is truly important to the human race. http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/21/tech/mobile/iphone-5-release/index.html
The Year of Maximum Enthusiasm
The year 2012 was semi-rad. Infuriating and horrific events were ever-present in major news stories. Instead of letting these negative images rule my day, I focused on awesome—following the advice of blogger Brendan Leonard. He said, “Make 2012 the Year of Maximum Enthusiasm,” and I did. I haven’t regretted an enthusiastic day! http://semi-rad.com/2011/12/make-2012-the-year-of-maximum-enthusiasm
Global Warming and Hurricane Sandy
Most indications point towards yes; we’ve known for decades that a rapidly changing climate would bring about unusual and devastating weather events exactly like “super-storm” Sandy. Justin Gillis at NYTimes “Green” blog hosted and expanded the interesting and all-too critical conversation. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/30/did-global-warming-contribute-to-hurricane-sandys-devastation/
Sandy Hook Tragedy
The simple knowledge that someone can walk into an elementary school and murder 20 children and 6 adults has changed the nation. Hopefully it will result in real change: stricter gun control laws, better treatment for the mentally ill, or some revelation about how to treat this country’s sick culture of violence. We can’t let this happen again. http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/15/world/asia/china-us-school-attack/index.html
The ability to transmit information over large distances via quantum teleportation represents a technological breakthrough akin to the discovery of fire. It is resistant to hacking and will push the boundaries of telecommunication beyond the planet. At present it takes 21 minutes for a digital signal to be transmitted from Earth to Mars; with a quantum receiver and transmitter that time would be reduced to milliseconds (1/1,000 of a second), enabling even more robust scientific experimentation on the Red Planet. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2012/08/09/quantum-teleportation-achieved-over-record-distances/