Rewind: 2013

R.I.P. Madiba

Ah, 2013! What a strange year it’s been.

Much happened. On a personal level, there was a crushing degree of uncertainty before the largest project of the year could take off: we moved house. This brought with it a new town, “a new job”, new people, new projects, and a different view of the horizon ahead.

In preparation for the move, we got rid of a lot of deadweight by way of outdated media, documents and obsolete hardware. As they get hauled off to the “Elektroschrott Wertstoffhof”, memories of certain items are being kept alive via digital eulogies, which, surprisingly, have visitors from primarily Arabic countries, India/Pakistan, Poland, but mostly Russia/Ukraine coming by to pay their final respects. Ironically, the vacuum left behind soon got filled by other electronica literally falling from the sky such that I now have more old laptops than I know what to do with. So I nuked one of them.

What also fell from the sky in February and was spectacularly documented by Russian dashcams was the meteorite over Chelyabinsk. Other disasters of the year include supertyphoon Haiyan which wreaked havoc across the Philippines, floods which caused untold damage in southern Germany and Austria, and the Rana Plaza building’s collapse in Bangladesh that killed over 1,100 factory workers. Oklahoma got hit by another tornado.

Events, faces, and nipples of 2013

The surviving five Monty Python members announced a reunion show to take place next year. Tickets were sold out within 43.5 seconds!

India sent a probe to Mars, and China put a rover on the Moon.

Commander Chris Hadfield won over our space-loving hearts with his stunning photos and fascinating tweets from the International Space Station. But — scientific research and essential space station repairs aside — his finest work as he orbited Earth at 17,500 miles an hour was without a doubt his rendition of David Bowie’s 1969 track “Space Oddity.” It was the capstone on his mission that brought millions of Earth-bound space lovers seemingly into orbit with him, believed to be the first music video ever filmed in space. [from TIME’s Top 10 Everything of 2013]

Oxford Dictionaries declared the “selfie” the word of the year.

Yahoo bought tumblr. Nokia is still alive and released the Lumia 1020, a 41 Megapixel cameraphone before getting snapped up by Microsoft.

In 2013, the game DOOM turned 20. The audio cassette turned 50.
Ray Dolby (as in Dolby Noise Reduction) died shortly afterwards.

We also bid farewell to special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen, film critic Roger Ebert, Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher, internet activist Aaron Swartz, doomsday preacher Harold Camping, musicians Lou Reed, J.J. Cale and Ray Manzarek, Mikhail Kalashnikov, and “Great Train Robber” Ronnie Biggs. On Valentine’s Day, Oscar “Blade Runner” Pistorius allegedly mistook girlfriend/model Reeva Steenkamp for a burglar and “retired” her.

On the topic of South Africa, the AK-47, and death: Nelson Mandela passed away in December at the age of 95.

The world’s dignitaries turned up for an epic memorial held at Soweto’s FNB Stadium, punctuated by an insane sign language interpreter. David Cameron and Barack Obama used the opportunity to pose for a selfie with the Danish PM, Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

The best part about the latter is that she won’t even need to send it to them because, as we learnt from whistleblower Edward Snowden in the middle of the year, the NSA and GCHQ had been covertly monitoring our phone calls’ and other metadata for the last few years already — all in the name of counter terrorism, of course.

These revelations elevated Mr. Snowden to the status of a hero in the eyes of most while those in power consider him a traitor to the so-called land of the free. Russia, with its own patchy human rights record, is the country which eventually grants him asylum.
Telecoms operators and internet companies scramble to deny any active involvement.

Meanwhile, Germans staged a safari (“Spaziergang”) past the Dagger Complex (LTA6910) in Darmstadt to observe NSA spies in their natural habitat.

Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev made bombs out of pressure cookers and set them off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. While the police hunted the two Chechen suspects, the online community went vigilante and DDoS’d several Czechoslovakian sites because, like… you know, ‘muricans and geography!

The cronut is trademarked. Miley Cyrus twerked.

Anne Hathaway’s nipples won the award for standout performance at an Academy Awards ceremony while the award for the “Most Stupid Tweet of the Year” goes to Justine Sacco, the (now former) senior director of corporate communications for IAC.

The most stupid tweet of the year

There’s a new Pope in town. The Middle East is having a white Christmas.

And as is traditional around this time of the year, most visitors to this blog arrive via searches for pictures of “Christmas Babes” or similar. In that case, here’s a nice one:

Christmas Babe 2013

Season’s Greetings and all the rest of it. We’ll see each other again in 2014, right? Right!

We’ve lots planned, including much more scanning and blogging — even if Jason Kottke declares that the blog died this year.

Image credits: Time, Huffington Post, AFP/Getty, Twitter, the Guardian, and elsewhere

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