Reflections and predictions on 2014-15
By Chitwan Khosla, Features Editor
Twitter and Facebook rate events and bring us news according to interest and clicks. Twitter trends and newsfeeds spread more information than TV news anchors, so it’s definitely more interesting to start to see the year through the eyes of the Internet. Now I bring to you some of the exciting news reports, fascinating scientific breakthroughs, and biggest newsmakers that brought fear, smiles, and amusement into our homes, as well as what to expect in 2015.
In 2014, the FIFA World Cup in Brazil drove more Facebook conversation than any other event in the website’s history.
The legendary ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos became a global sensation, raising about $100-million in donations for the ALS Association, while bringing up some controversies on water conservation.
Many celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst, and Kate Upton came face-to-face with dirty publicity when their nude photographs got leaked on the Internet; this brought privacy issues into direct conflict with technology.
The Interview, a controversial movie based on the fictional assassination of the North Korean dictator, garnered as much publicity and tweets for its release issues as it did about about the movie itself.
Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus drove Apple lovers crazy around the world. The Samsung Galaxy S5, Apple iPad Mini 3, Google Chromecast, Sony Playstation 4, LG G3, Smart watches, and many more technological advancements arrested the attention of gadget freaks.
The Ebola virus not only shook the World Health Organization (WHO) and the countries affected by it but the very trust of humans in their long-term existence.
The US remained in the news for many different reasons. On January 1, Colorado became the first US state to legalize the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. A few others such as Washington, Alaska, and Oregon joined later in the year.
Same-sex marriages made large developments legally and socially, as well: by the end of the year, 35 US states legalized gay marriage, and even Pope Francis took a powerful stance on homosexuality with his now-famous statement, “Who am I to judge?”
The Twitter trend #BlackLivesMatter was consistently in the news, in response to police brutality against black people.
US army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was released by the Taliban after keeping him captive for five years, in return for five high-ranking Taliban prisoners.
India, the largest democracy in the world, held its largest election in history, and for the first time brought a government with a sweeping majority into the power.
Shootings at Parliament Hill in Ottawa on October 22 drew international attention, and brought discussions of terrorism and racial profiling to the fore in Canada.
The Ukraine saw major changes in its political landscape after Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.
The kidnapping of 276 school girls from a school in a Nigerian village by the militants of Islamist movement Boko Haram caused international outrage, but the girls are still missing.
Since the peace talks mediated by the US collapsed in April, the Israeli-Palestinian violence saw bloodshed of thousands, leaving the world in utter shock. The UN reports astounding numbers of sufferance in Syria and Iraq, with thousands injured, killed, and registered as refugees since the radical Sunni Islamic group ISIS rose to power in these countries in 2014.
Terror resurfaced in Pakistan leaving 137 school children fatally shot by the Taliban in Peshawar in December.
Airlines experienced some significant turbulence. Malaysian Airline Flight MH370 with over 239 passengers on board went missing in March, and in July Malaysian Airline Flight MH17 with 283 passengers on board was shot over the Ukraine-Russian border. AirAsia flight QZ8501 crashed in the Java Sea in December, and remains are still being searched for.
Landing of the spacecraft “Philae” by European Space Agency on a comet 300-million miles away and NASA’s discovery of Kepler-186f, an Earth-like planet, were some of the major space exploration breakthroughs of the year.
Scientists pursued a genome study of 45 bird species representing every bird group alive.
A Swedish woman gave birth to the first baby born via a transplanted uterus, giving hope to other women who have undergone the procedure and worried they might not have children.
What’s to come?
In 2015, we will probably see many of the repercussions of 2014. Major legal reforms are expected in the US on police authority and accountability, gun laws, and immigration policies.
The UN also has much on its agenda for this year. Some of the noticeable ones include resolving the political disturbance in the Israel-Palestine region as Palestine will soon be charging Israel in International Criminal Court for war crimes; settling the refugees of war from Syria; research on vaccines and treatment for Ebola by WHO, controlling Ebola from ground zero; and reaching the displaced people in Ukraine with humanitarian aid.
Cloud Computing will be a major trend in 2015, and is predicted to generate almost 14-million jobs worldwide. The development of 3D printing is expected to grow in use by 98 per cent by the end of the year. European Data Relay Satellite is being constructed at the cost of $562-million, and will allow faster transmission of data through laser technology. Wireless charging, asteroid mining, and rise of drone technologies will further develop and surprise the world.
Compare these predictions with those of our Opinions Editor, Elliot Chan, in his article ‘New Year, Old News’!