2015: Vitae Lampada Tradunt
The Year 2015 in Review
I couldn’t possibly record in a blog all the events that happened this year around the world, with my feelings on them. There were highlights which stick out, that I display for you below… But the single most important thing, in my universe anyway, was the birth of my son, Asher.
While the rest of the world was carrying on with its triumphs and defeats, comedies and tragedies, my family and I spent much of our time preparing for our second child. And so that is the context in which I look back at 2015: A software engineer frantically scrambling to be a double father while trying to pay a modicum attention to the things outside his chaotic, little bubble.
Turmoil erupted in European markets as the Eurasian Economic Union was established, and the Swiss National Bank abandoned the cap on the the value of the franc relative to the euro. Many Americans were surprised to learn that Europe is not actually a country. The year 2014 was officially declared as the hottest year on record (don’t get too cocky, 2014; we all know how this ends.) Elsewhere in the solar system, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft began its final approach to Ceres.
World leaders reached a cease-fire agreement with regards to the Ukrainian conflict. As they flew home on their private jets sipping champagne and patting themselves on the back, the warring factions immediately began shooting at each other again, and US media immediately began ignoring the conflict. The FCC took a mild stance on adopting Net Neutrality, if only to “shut those nerds up.” Though the notion of Net Neutrality was certainly not new to its supporters, the notion of The Internet was apparently new to the majority of Congress, whose members began frantically faxing their aides for information on this sorcery and how they might profit off it.
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, whatever) destroyed ancient city sites in northern Iraq. The Dawn probe entered orbit around Ceres, becoming the first craft to visit a Dwarf planet. Many Americans were surprised to learn that Dwarf planets are not named for populations of Dwarves living in the mines beneath the surface. Scientists captured the first image of light behaving as both a particle and a wave. Evidence for a vast, ancient ocean in the northern hemisphere of Mars was reported by NASA. A total solar eclipse occurred, visible over much of Europe. Woolly mammoth DNA is spliced into that of an elephant and shown to be functional for the first time. Experiments involving Woolly Bully DNA still not fruitful.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Americas to be rubella-free. A total lunar eclipse occurred. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) resumed operations after a two-year technology upgrade. We received our first color images of Pluto and its moon Charon from the rapidly approaching New Horizons spacecraft. Though blurry and pinkish, the images marked the beginning of a feverish obsession with the Dwarf planet.
Ireland became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. Daimler revealed the world’s first autonomous truck, which has been granted a license for road use in the state of Nevada. Texas was flooded, but remained in an extreme drought condition, because nothing is allowed to make sense in Texas. In fact, NOAA reported that May 2015 was the wettest month on record in the contiguous United States.
The president of FIFA announced his resignation amidst an FBI-led corruption investigation, and we Americans were able to get back to not caring about soccer. Cuba (yes, THAT Cuba) became the first country in the world (yes, THAT world) to eradicate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphillis. The European Space Agency’s Philae lander woke up from its slumber on Comet 67P and communicated briefly with Earth.
The United States Supreme Court ruled that state-level bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, making same-sex marriage legal nation-wide.
Greece became the first advanced economy to miss a payment to the International Monetary Fund in the 71-year history of the IMF. US media had a field day with euro/gyro puns, making following the story nearly unbearable. The Public Health Agency of Canada developed a 100% effective ebola vaccine. The United States and Cuba re-established diplomatic relations after 54 years. Turkey officially jumped into the ISIS conflict with a series of airstrikes. According to NOAA, July 2015 was the hottest month on Earth since records began in 1880. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft performed a close flyby of Pluto, becoming the first spacecraft in history to visit the distant world.
We were astonished with the brilliant pink ball, with a heart-shaped region.
We also got images of Pluto’s moons.
Debris which washed ashore on Reunion Island earlier is confirmed to be from Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, missing since March 2014. Coheed and Cambria release their 9th album, The Color Before the Sun.
The world found out Volkswagen had been cheating diesel emissions tests. A huge stampede during the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca killed at least 2,200 people, injured more than 900 others.
NASA announced the discovery of liquid water on Mars.
Russia crashes the ISIS party, starting their campaign by bombing anti-government rebel groups in Syria. It is reported that many oil companies possessed data indicating that burning oil and gas could cause global warming since the 1970s yet funded deniers for years. Researched achieved quantum teleportation over 100 kilometers of optical fiber, besting the previous record four times over. The world witnessed a total lunar eclipse dubbed a ‘supermoon,’ the last such event until October 2033.
The last hurdle to making silicon quantum computers — a quantum logic gate — is finally built. Hurricane Patricia became the most intense tropical cyclone ever observed in the Western Hemisphere. The WHO issued a controversial report indicating that eating processed meat or read meat is linked to some cancers. My family went with a Frozen theme for our Halloween costumes: I was Kristoff, Kristen was Olaf, and Kaia was Anna.
Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet, the first case of a NATO member destroying a Russian aircraft since the 1950s. Asher is born. Probably other stuff was happening around the world, but, I have no recollection. I even tried looking stuff up online; it’s slim pickings for November news stories.
SpaceX landed their Falcon 9 rocket, the first reusable rocket to successfully enter orbital space and return.
A global climate change pact is agreed upon by world leaders at the COP 21 summit, committing all countries to reduce carbon emissions for the first time. Donald Trump maintains a commanding lead in the run-up to the GOP presidential nomination, thanks to the bigotry and profoundly lacking education prevalent among American voters. As for the Democrats, the leading contenders are Hillary Clinton, followed by Bernie Sanders. Regardless of what temperatures this day officially brings, 2015 is the new hottest year on record.
As always, I pray the coming year brings us nothing but good things, amazing things. I pray we all find adventure, and love and laugh together. I pray we all learn to treat each other with more respect and tolerance and understanding. I pray we take better care of Earth, and that we start doing more for others than for ourselves.
Best wishes for 2016!