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Thursday, December 29, 2011

"A Biased Review" | 2011 Year-in-Review
Part 1 of 2

December 29, 2011 
Written by - Meat Park 
Twitter - @meatpark 
Photo Source: Billings Gazette

Welcome all, to my 2011 year-in-review.  This is part 1 of 2, rating different categories of events on how much they ruled or, in most cases, didn’t rule.  Let’s get right to it.

A Biased Review 2011 Year-in-Review

Politics - 0/5
I needed to get the most terrible thing I could think of out of the way first.  I’ve never thought of myself as overly political; in fact, most of my life I’ve avoided them because I think it’s a broken system.  Over the past few months, I found myself following stories online about the way things are running over in D.C.  In an effort to retain readers (all 7 of you), I certainly don’t want to use this blog as a podium for my political opinions.  As I said above, I think that politics are broken, and 2011 made no effort to hide that fact. Congress has totally lost their collective minds at this point.  The people currently running our country are the same people who cut our funding for NASA while declaring that pizza is a vegetable, the same group who refuses to make large corporations and banks accountable for their unethical actions against citizens while over half of the U.S. is considered poor or low income. These are our elected officials.

They are currently passing a law allowing the unethical detaining of any person they deem a “terrorist threat” when the US is in a “time of war” (Google search NDAA, and cry yourself to sleep tonight).  At the same time, they are also passing a bill (SOPA) that will eliminate free speech, small business growth and the freedom of expression online buy “cracking down” on illegal use of copyrighted material online.  Basically – if you put a cover of yourself playing your Melissa Etheridge song, the company who owns rights to that song can shut down any site that link to your cover song.  In other words, it’s like shutting down every branch of a bank because one location had one stolen piece of property in a lock box, or cancelling cable service for a city because one person had an illegal black box.   The scariest part of all this? They aren’t consulting professionals, but rather listening to lobbyist and other elected officials with little to know education on this bill.  Having politicians pass laws while using no subject matter experts on the Internet censorship bill is the equivalent of 20 marketing professionals voting on which surgery to perform in the operating room.  I’d rather hit myself in the foot with a sledgehammer 5 times a day than think about politics. 

Science – 5/5
Now that we have the most horrible thing in the world out of the way, let’s get into something that didn’t suck at all this year.  Namely; science.  In a time of infinite information sharing, knowledge at everyone’s fingertips and huge discoveries every day, it never ceases to amaze me how many people are obsessed with the inane garbage that is put on the major three TV networks every night from 8pm – 10pm for 6 nights a week.  We’ve come further with our scientific discoveries in the last few years than anyone could’ve imagined, yet people are still focused on teaching creationism in schools, and how legalizing gay marriage is ruining our country.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I really enjoy seeing people beat the ever-living life out of each other based on the most inconsequential things on reality TV.  I love to hear about Justin Beiber’s possible love child, or not being able to turn on a television without hearing about what “shenanigans” the cast of the Jersey Shore had gotten into this week.  However, at times these things just aren’t enough to quench my need for knowledge.

Here are some of the most unreal things that happened this year in science:
  • They’ve developed a new technology for skin grafts, basically eliminating the dangerous recovery time and chance of complications from burns - http://tinyurl.com/6x433ox
  • Scientists have discovered a planet 600 million light years (3,527,175,204,005,760 miles) away that could possibly be earth-like enough to sustain human life, as we know it - http://tinyurl.com/837dm2h
  • While working with the Large Hadron Collider, physicists may have taken a step closer to discovering the Higgs Boson particle, which would give great insight into how the universe was created - http://tinyurl.com/6pbzdzd

Entertainment – 3/5
When I talk about entertainment, I like to think of it as a collection of music, movies and videogames.  With as many terrible albums that were released (see previous post), there was also a lot of quality music that came out.  For every Black Eyed Peas and Katy Perry song that hit number one, there were albums released by Wiz Khalifa and Bon Iver to offset the horror. 

Movies were the same way to me.  For every single person with no taste in story or character development that went to see the new Twilight or Fast 5 movie, there were pretty good movies like Bridesmaids and X-Men First Class that were released.  As an FYI, if you happen to like the Twilight series, you’re an idiot.  There are literally MILLIONS of books in circulation that are better than that garbage.

"Skyrim" came out.  That’s all I’ll say about video games, as I believe that game alone will warrant its own “Biased Review”.

Deaths – 3/5
I’m going to have to score this one right in the middle.  For every major contributor to society we lost, there was also an offsetting death of a horrible person.  Some major deaths that come to mind are Dennis Ritchie, Steve Jobs and Christopher Hitchens.  Both Jobs and Ritchie were amazing contributors to our technological advancements, and Hitchens was an author and linguist with strong ties to rationality, skepticism, and atheism.  His writings drove people to question everything and challenged what we accept as the “norm” all while pissing off a lot of religious nut-jobs.  Two thumbs up in my book.

Like I said above though, for every loss we experienced that hurt us as a society, people like Bin Laden, Gadafi and Kim Jong Ill passed, really cutting down on the amount of jagoff dictators we have running around.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Part 2 of 2 | "A Biased Review" | 2011 Year-in-Review 

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JW said...

Dan, some religious nut-jobs actually really respect Christopher Hitchens.

JJ said...

Didn't we break the speed of light as well?