It’s Christmas. 2017 is almost history, and what a busy year it’s been!
I quit an unsatisfying job and took a minor sabbatical. A lot of old stuff was deleted, sold, thrown out, or upgraded. December’s me is certainly not the same as the one in January. On a personal level, 2017 was the most exciting year in a long time. This is great.
It started off with 49 people getting shot by a terrorist in a Turkish nightclub on New Year’s Eve. Also in 2017, a truck bomb in Mogadishu, Somalia killed at least 512 people. A bombing attack in Manchester, England killed 22 people and injured over 100 as they left an Ariana Grande concert. Three islamists ploughed a van into pedestrians on London Bridge, then ran around stabbing random others with kitchen knives. Eight people died; the perpetrators were shot dead on the spot by police within minutes. This is good.
Crashing cars and trucks into crowds of people or buildings seems to have become the new vehicle for expressing public dissatisfaction, many of the acts written off as “terrorism” (Barcelona, Charlottesville, London, Manchester, Melbourne, New York, Stockholm).
Refugees have taken to knifing random civilians across Europe. This is not good.
In Las Vegas, 58 people were killed and 546 injured when Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers, surpassing last year’s Orlando nightclub shooting as the deadliest mass shooting perpetrated by a lone gunman in US history. While there were certainly other mass-shootings, I just can’t be bothered to list them any more. Gun deaths in the USA have become as passé as the Christmas holiday season road death toll in South Africa or as mundane as suicide bombings at Middle Eastern markets. This is getting tedious.
The USA dropped the Mother Of All Bombs on an ISIL base in Afghanistan.
North Korea successfully tests nuclear ICBMs. This is disconcerting.
2017 was the year in which humanity manoeuvred itself into a situation where our lives depend on the wisdom of Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump.
The United States announced it would pull out of the 2015 Paris climate accord.
In response, Hurricane Harvey caused catastrophic damage to the Houston metropolitan area due to record-breaking floods. Some 90 deaths aside, total damage reaches $198.6 billion, making Harvey the costliest natural disaster in US history. A few weeks later the Caribbean and United States were struck by Hurricane Irma, causing at least 134 deaths and at least $63 billion in damage. Hurricanes Jose, Katia and Maria followed in short succession to destroy Puerto Rico. Donald “covfefe” Trump handed out paper towels.
About 360 people died after Mexico City was struck by an earthquake. London’s Grenfell Tower burns down, killing some 80 residents.
An iceberg twice the size of Luxembourg broke free from the Antarctic Peninsula. Catalonia attempted to break free by declaring independence from Spain.
93 year old Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe finally resigned after 37 years of rule. 39 year old Emmanuel Macron becomes the youngest ever French president and promised to “Make Our Planet Great Again“. The discovery of new exoplanets in habitable zones apparently makes some of us re-evaluate the pale blue dot we’re on right now.
Süddeutsche Zeitung published “the Paradise Papers”, consisting of 13.4 million documents leaked from offshore law firm Appleby along with business registries in 19 tax jurisdictions that reveal offshore financial activities on behalf of politicians, celebrities, corporate giants and business leaders. Bill Cosby was cleared of charges of sexual assault.
The “WannaCry” ransomware attack hits over 400 thousand computers worldwide, targeting computers of the United Kingdom’s National Health Services and Telefónica computers. Known users affected by data breaches during the year amount to billions. This is going to get much, much worse.
Critics continue to voice concerns about online privacy while consumers invite tracking and monitoring devices (Google Home, Amazon Echo, iRobot Roombas, “My Friend Cayla” dolls, Vodafone Xone, IoT) into their very bedrooms.
Microsoft gave up on their Windows Phone platform.
In April, Android became the top OS as far as internet usage is concerned.
The FCC repealed a law that guaranteed net neutrality (in the USA).
The iPhone turned 10. The infamous “2 Girls 1 Cup” meme video turned 10. It was twenty years ago that the term “big data” was first used. Other anniversaries this year include Leisure Suit Larry turning 30, and the first Star Wars movie came out 40 years ago. Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released 50 years ago.
I ordered my first two records from the Discogs Marketplace. They were (older) bootlegs. Some months later the sale of all “unofficial releases” was prohibited there.
The worldwide sale of new music on vinyl continues to rise, as does that of cassettes.
The mp3 was “declared dead” in April after its licensing program ended; still, I ripped most of my “secondary CD collection” to either MP3, FLAC and/or WAV and got rid of many CDRs, some dating back to 1998.
The Leonardo da Vinci painting Salvator Mundi sells for US$450 million at Christie’s in New York, a new record price for any work of art.
Wildfires continue to ravage California. One destroyed the collected archives of William Hewlett and David Packard, the founders of the Hewlett-Packard Co. in 1938, in a garage that’s “the Birthplace of Silicon Valley,” according to its Historic Landmark designation. The “irreplaceable” papers, which included photos, correspondence, and speeches were appraised as being “of the highest possible historical value” in the history of technology and business. Another fire destroyed ace producer Trevor Horn’s Sarm West studio.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft was burned up in Saturn’s atmosphere after 20 years of service.
Several legends passed away in 2017: Jerry Lewis (91), Hugh Hefner (91), Chuck Berry (90), Fats Domino (89), Mary Tyler Moore (80), and Al Jarreau (76).
We also bid farewell to actors Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Bill Paxton (coincidentally, all three had appeared in Alien movies), Roger Moore and Martin Landau as well as horror movie directors George A. Romero and Tobe Hooper. We lost musicians Johnny Hallyday (the French Elvis), Chris Cornell, Tom Petty, Ray Phiri, and dream trance producer Robert Miles. Both creators of the Swamp Thing comics, Berni Wrightson and Len Wein, passed away within months of each other. Charles Manson died in prison at the age of 83.
According to the #MeToo hashtag that began trending in October, almost every woman (and a few men too) working in showbiz had been sexually harassed, if not raped, by someone of influence. Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein tops the list of predators.
La La Land was not the Best Picture winner at the Academy Awards.
A Google engineer got fired for expressing that women are wired differently to men.
Just don’t tell them; they’ll take to the street in droves. This is getting absurd.
Here’s to 2018! Let sanity prevail, and may the Force be with us all.
(All images by hmvh DOT net unless specified otherwise.)