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elise_sketch

Reflections on 2011 - Outbound

(See the Inbound companion to this post when it's posted for the relections on 2011 relating to me and my life)

2011 was an interesting year for the world. Sorry, no links. If you want to read up on something, google it. This is significantly from memory. Hopefully I neither missed anything really important nor included some things from the tail-end of 2010.

  • Mahgreb, Arabia, and Iran
    • Tunisia's Ben Ali retires to where many dictators flee when deposed: Saudi Arabia
    • Egypt's Mubarak resigns
    • Libya's Qadaffi deposed, killed after bloody civil war, traditionally privileged communities dispersed
    • Arabian countries suffer unrest that is not as destabilising
    • Qatar's prominence increases
    • Arab League shows it is neither useless nor powerful, NATO proves theoretically willing to intervene in atrocities
    • Syria civil war ongoing, Syrians flee to Turkey, Lebanon (in one of history's great ironies)
    • The United States withdraws from Iraq. Shortly afterwards, an arrest warrant is issued for the vice-president, accusing him of orchestrating assassinations of Shia; Sunni-Shia conflicts continue to be a major theme in Iraq
  • Africa
    • Sudan splits in two
    • Somalia and Kenya begin an attack on al-Shahaab, a militant group in southern Somalia that's been a serious regional threat to peace
    • Israel continues to expand settlements in Palestinian lands, including East Yerushalaim, to the criticism of the west. At the same time, it trades over a thousand militants for one of its kidnapped soldiers. Both merit a WTF
  • Europe
    • Financial failures in lesser members of the EU, such as Greece, Italy, and Portugal
    • Continued market difficulties in many European nations. Economically responsible nations like Germany are reluctant to prop up their less responsible neighbours, eventually offer a tepid response but look to restructure the EU
    • Berlusconi has a negotiated end to power, replaced by technocrat
    • Continued issues with multiculturalism, some states assert commitment to other forms of liberalism than the multiculturalist one, notably France and England
    • Mladic found, arrested in Serbia
    • Basque militants in Spain claim to lay down arms and pursue political solutions
    • Belgium's parliament manages to form a government after over a year of wrangling
    • Russian election botched in a more visible way than has ever been visible before
    • A number of European countries to abandon nuclear power, at least partly in response to nuclear power disasters in East Eurasia
    • Continued questions over freedom of expression versus dignity for religious communities
  • Eastern Eurasia
    • Korean border conflicts
    • Still more floods in Pakistan
    • OBL killed by American forces near the Pakistani capital
    • American visits to a number of relatively closed societies in Eastern Eurasia, possible signs that these societies will reform
    • Kim Jong-Il dies
    • Nuclear disasters in Japan tied to tsunamis
  • Central/South America
    • Falkland Islands
    • Raul Castro continues to reform Cuba's economy
  • North America
    • Political gridlock in the United States. Notably recognised by Standard and Poor's credit agency as being responsible for their first downgrade of the United States government in history
    • Quebecois separatists sliding towards being a non-force in Canadian politics
    • NPR loses government funds
    • Adbusters inspires Occupy movement
    • Campaign season begins
    • Republicans lose their grip on the political mood, particularly in a year-end failed attempt to block a tax cut, leaving both parties politically estranged from the mainstream
    • Zeta violence continues to destabilise the Mexican government
    • Slowly growing state-level acceptance of gay marriage in the United States
    • USPS faces failure as an independent US government agency due to a combination of a shrinking market and retirement regulations
  • Worldwide
    • Wikileaks may be significantly over, but it proved to be a strong quiet influence
    • Anonymous has had a number of its members arrested for their ongoing activities, notably those relating to Bradley Manning and Julian Assange
  • Technology
    • Dennis Richie, involved in the development of UNIX and C, dies
    • A NASA mission to Mars, the Mars Science Laboratory, launches. It is due to arrive on Mars in mid-2012
    • A NASA mission has a probe, the Messenger, orbiting mercury.
    • IPv6 is starting to see some popular rollouts, including on mobile networks
    • Telescopes find more planets in other solar systems that may be earthlike
    • A universal flu vaccine is developed
    • US use of unmanned drones increases, development of bird-sized military aircraft demonstrated
    • Efforts towards systems providing effective optical and auditory invisibility show great strides
    • Impressive improvements in solar technologies, carbon nanotube applications, other areas of materials science
    • Technologies for delivering medicines past the blood-brain barrier are developed
    • Nonconclusive but encouraging research towards detecting the Higgs Boson
    • Various modest improvements in quantum computation, more strange quantum effects demonstrated
    • Improvements in storage of antimatter at CERN
    • Continued progress towards HIV treatment, various new treatments and vaccines under development/testing
    • Ways to manipulate pluripotency in cells radically improved
    • Continued research in reversing the effects of human aging
    • Biomimicry is increasingly used as inspiration for research
    • New elements discovered
    • Effects of global warming become more visible, but manufactured political scandals prevent recognition of this in regressive countries (like the US)
    • Research becomes increasingly diverse, eroding American and European leads in the sciences
    • Very light and very heavy black holes observed, both well outside the ranges of what's been seen before
    • Electronic reading devices (tablets, electronic ink) continue to destroy the paper book market
    • Watson, a hardware-software system from IBM able to productively make use of multiple data sources to reply to questions with various answers with reasonable confidence bounds, wins at Jeopardy (a trivia-centric game show)
    • ICANN opens TLD registration. Sigh.

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