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Quotes of the Year

Babies are wearing $40 sneakers while their mothers are feeding them Oodles of Noodles."

Bill Cosby

 

"tdc's Froggy"
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Notable Passings

John Updike - January 2009
Michael Jackson - June 2009
Walter Cronkite - July 2009
Edward (Ted) Kennedy - August 2009


 

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Right  From The Pond

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USA Politics

 

Early morning on Christmas Eve, the US Senate finally passes a new Health Bill which will provide health care to an additional 30 million Americans... and stop the insurance companies from not providing health insurance to persons with preexisting health issues.

Early in December Obama says that he will send 30.000 additional troops into Afghanistan and in doing so he now is defining the war against Osama Bin Laden as his own.  He also says that he will begin to withdraw troops in 18 months time and expect that the President of Afghanistan to fight corruption within his own government.

Early November the US House of Representatives passed their new health bill which puts a public option on the table for persons with preexisting conditions and those with no health care insurance.  It is now time for the US Senate to consider their new health care act. Is it the beginning of the slow death of health insurance companies in the US or will they be able to compete with the public option?

Mid September and the insurance companies are fighting the public option of a Health care insurance policy for United States. Obama promises the American people they will have a new policy by the end of 2009 as the Americans are told by the insurance companies that the public option will be a wasteful use of fund and be inefficient simply because it is government run.  The rest of the world looks on and wonders what all the fuss is about since most of the world does have health care that is paid for by public funds. 

Mid April, Obama orders the release of memos from Bush's White House personnel who agreed to policy for dangerous torture procedures for prisoners who were kept at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Human rights activists are elated and past administration personnel say that the release of this type of information is putting the US at risk of terrorist attacks. But by mid September roadblocks force Obama to change his decision to close Guantanamo until sometime in 2010.

Mid January and the US ramps up to officially electing Barrack Obama to be their President. Obama's message to the American people - This is America's moment of hope and change and Obama knows that he has only 100 days to present to the American people the changes he has promised.
 

 Science
In November , the Nobel Prize committee named Dr Charles Kao an engineer, to receive the award for Physics for his work in invention of fibre optics.  It was the first time that applied science had received the award.

Late August it is reported that a single molecule, one million times smaller than a grain of sand has been pictured for first time

Did you know that scientists do not know definitively why we get hangovers or how alcohol may be causing cancer or why hot water freezes faster than cold water ~ no wonder they don't know what a black hole or dark energy and dark matter really is ...

Powered only by natural sunlight, an array of nanotubes is able to convert a mixture of carbon dioxide and water vapour into natural gas at unprecedented rates.

 
Economics  

Time Magazine names Ben Bernanke head of the US Federal Reserve - Person of the Year preventing the collapse of the US economic system.

Early December, governments report that the recession is ending but fails to explain why the unemployment figures continue to grow in both Canada and United States.

Early November, Gold traded within 0.5 percent of a record ($1,087 an ounce) after India’s central bank bought 200 metric tons of the metal from the International Monetary Fund.

The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 10.2 per cent in October from 9.8 per cent, as non-farm payroll employment declined by 190,000

The US economy grew in the third quarter for the first time in a year as consumer spending and investment in new home-building rebounded, data showed on Thursday, unofficially ending the worst recession in 70 years

The US Federal Reserve's policy of printing money to buy Treasury debt threatens to set off a serious decline of the dollar and compel China to redesign its foreign reserve policy, according to a top member of the Communist hierarchy.

For the first time, more than 34 million Americans received food stamps, which help poor people buy groceries, government figures. This is a sign of the longest and one of the deepest recessions since the Great Depression in the USA.

The first 12 months of the U.S. recession saw the economy shrink more than twice as much as previously estimated, reflecting even bigger declines in consumer spending and housing, revised figures showed.

U.S. federal regulators made permanent an emergency rule aimed at reducing abusive short-selling

During the first days of July it was announced that the US unemployment rate had risen to 9.6.

June and the start of the month bought GM to the court to file for bankruptcy protection which if it works out will restructure a smaller GM.

End of April.  Remember the Pontiac... yes the Pontiac car made by GM... it will be toast as GM cuts lines to save the company.

The start of April and the G-20 nations are meeting in London to discuss the present economic crisis.  Three are emerging: those governments supporting massive financial support for failing institutions, more control over the financial institutions like banks and a combination of both. Rioters in the streets are saying that the financial institutions stole their money. It comes down to the US wanting to spend their way out of the recession and have China pay for the stimulus. In the end the leaders of the world's wealthy nations agreed to inject $1 trillion into the global economy in an effort to pull it out of the spreading recession.  Wall street is balking at setting limits to financial incentives paid to top ranking officials and threatens to set up special companies who will accept government bailouts who will in turn funnel the money to large financial companies.

Mid March - a U.N. panel will next week recommend that the world ditch the dollar as its reserve currency in favor of a shared basket of currencies - that sure is a kick in the face of the US the backbone of the world currencies for the past 40 years. The Obama administration unveiled a sweeping overhaul of the financial system designed to impose greater regulation on major players like hedge funds. Seems like they are preparing to plug up the dam if they can get this one passed the Senate and House of Representatives.

End of February, it is clear that with banks and automotive stocks at record lows that the US government plans to bail or buy out the largest of these companies that have large economic impact on the US creating what was thought to be impossible just 12 months previously and that was a socialist society.  Billions of dollars are poured into the financial insurance giant AIG with fears that the US dollar will soon be worthless.
And as the February calendar was changed to March it was noted by the press that the Dow had dropped 25% since Barrack Obama became President of the USA. 

Mid February, key lawmakers in the US and the White House reached for final agreement on a $789 billion economic stimulus measure designed to create millions of jobs in a nation reeling from recession.  It also is clear that the US is moving towards the nationalization of their banking system.  The stock market has lost about 30 % of the value from mid 2008 and is predicted that it will cost trillions of US dollars to support the banks.

In January US employers slashed another 598,000 jobs and in Canada 129,000 lost their jobs.

Many U.S. banks have made it harder for borrowers to obtain all kinds of loans over the last three months despite a $700-billion (U.S.) federal bailout program and a flurry of other bold moves to stem the worst financial crisis to hit the country since the 1930s.

End of January the US passes a bill to try to improve their unemployment numbers by injecting over $819 billion in a stimulus spending and tax reduction bill.  Outside the US, countries now worry about US economic isolationism while inside the US the right wing factions worry about spreading socialism.

A record plunge in gasoline prices pushed overall U.S. consumer prices down for the third straight month in December, closing out 2008 in which the change in inflation was the smallest in more than a half-century.

But despite low interest rates to banks, the banks have raised their consumer lending rates stating that because of the number of defaults in repayment of loans they have to raise their consumer lending rates. Seems like a lot of cross logic.

Energy

 

Australia allocates $15 billion to solar and green energy and the Province of Quebec introduces the cap and trade bill the first in North America.

It is now known that approximately half of the greenhouse gas emission are created by coal fired energy production and the other half is by automobiles.  The challenge will be to reduce as quickly as possible the production of energy using present coal fired generators and replace this with wind, solar, nuclear and hydroelectric sources.

 

Space

 

NASA has announced that it found a "significant amount" of water on the moon as a result of the LCROSS impact in October

The amino acid glycine, a fundamental building block of proteins, has been found in a comet for the first time, bolstering the theory that raw ingredients of life arrived on Earth from outer space

A University of Colorado at Boulder research team has discovered the first definitive evidence of shorelines on Mars, an indication of a deep, ancient lake there and a finding with implications for the discovery of past life on the Red Planet.

May and they repaired and updated the Hubble telescope - it is good to go for the next 10 years with much more capability than the last one.

In February a Russian and American satellite accidentally collides in space and early in March they blasted off a rocket carrying a satellite that will search for 3 years for earth like planets. - Maybe they can find one that does not have the economic problems that are facing our earth this year!
 

Health

 

Canadian scientists have discovered a quick method to test for toxic pesticides in food which, in the future, could be adapted to detect potentially deadly bacteria such as E. coli, listeria or salmonella.

Reported in late October that human eggs and sperm have been grown from stem cells in the laboratory in research which could change the face of parenthood.

Harvard scientists have found that long-term exposure to lead appears to increase a person's risk of dying from heart disease. In a recent study, researchers measured the levels of lead in the blood and bones of more than 800 men in the Boston area. They found that men who had the highest concentrations of lead in their bones had a six-times greater chance of dying from heart disease than men with the lowest concentrations of lead.

Japanese researchers say they've found a protein that may help explain why obesity leads to diabetes and heart disease. The protein--called angiopoietin-like protein 2, or Angptl2--appears to start an "inflammation cascade" that causes blood vessels to remodel, among other things

In the USA, the largest group of AMA doctors began their annual meeting as a potential obstacle to President Obama's health care overhaul. After a big pep talk from Obama himself, they ended it by signaling they won't close the door on one of his key proposals, a public health insurance plan to compete with private insurers.

Mid June the World Health Organization announces that global swine flu is a pandemic as the flu bug quickly spreads all over the globe.

End of April. Oh my, there is a big swine flu outbreak starting in Mexico and spreading quickly across the globe. Now there are 160 people dead in Mexico and the rest of the world freaking out over this problem.
By early May, there are over 400 schools closed in the United States and the flu has spread throughout North America and parts of Europe.  Most of the flu cases outside of Mexico have been mild, with only one person dying in USA.  The Centre of Disease Control has deemed this outbreak close to a pandemic because the type of virus has never been seen before and there is fear that it might mutate into another strain that is more easily transmittable.

British scientists have developed the world’s first stem cell therapy to cure the most common cause of blindness- age-related macular degeneration (AMD),

Experts say that next year, 6 million Americans will travel abroad for medical treatment in order to cut costs. The trend of "medical tourism" is skyrocketing globally, though people often have different reasons for the trip, experts say. Many patients in countries with national healthcare systems, such as Canada or Great Britain, are tired of waiting for treatment, while others are looking for high-tech treatments that may not be available locally. For Americans, the reason is most-often the affordability, particularly for patients who are uninsured

Thanks a lot - According to scientists, our mental abilities begin to decline from the age of 27 after reaching a peak at 22.

A common chemical found in food and cosmetics has been shown to protect monkeys against HIV infection, raising hopes that a similar treatment can be developed for humans.

 

Environment  

Early in December the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change opens in hope of establishing new targets to replace those promised at Kyoto there is much discussion among the 45,000 delegates as to what will be done to cut emissions of greenhouse gases and lots of demonstrations from people who are protesting the slow speed in which governments are acting. Prior to the big meeting, there was an announcement that some climate scientists had created false information that favored the fact that climate change was manmade.

The World Meteorological Organization said  that the ozone hole is expected to be smaller in 2009 than a year ago.

The scientists are back from the Arctic and they say that thick Arctic ice surprised their scientific expedition - Among their findings: Rather than finding newly formed ice to be two metres thick, "we measured ice thickness up to four metres," stated a spokesperson for the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research of the Helmholtz Association, Germany's largest scientific organization.

Right in the middle of the deep freeze of North America in January they announce that last year was the eighth warmest year on record, according to the National Climatic Data Center and so the controversy  continues as whether or not climate changes is real, man induced or a natural phenomena that will naturally reverse itself.

 

Peace

 

Early in October in a surprise move the Nobel Committee announced that President Barrack Obama won the Nobel Prize for Peace despite the fact the US was still fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The Nobel committee said that it was Obama's courage to announce methodology to solve the problems that won him the nomination.

Reported - Global military spending rose 4% in 2008 to a record $1,464bn (£914bn) - up 45% since 1999, according to the Stockholm-based peace institute Sipri

June - Obama say that rather than imposing its values on other countries, the US should act as a role model.

May 25 ... North Korea explodes a nuclear device, which is its second underground test in three years.

Mid April and the world watches as pirates from Somali engage an international flotilla of ships, including ones from the United States and the European Union who have been trying to fight piracy in the Gulf of Aden, a vital short cut between Europe and Asia that is one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

So far Somali pirates have attacked over 80 boats this year, and still hold 15 cargo ships and over 280 crew members hostage.

End of February, it is Obama's time to announce a plan to withdraw more than 90,000 troops and end the U.S. combat mission in Iraq on Aug. 31, 2010.

At the end of January, Russia has shelved plans to install missiles on central Europe's doorstep after detecting a cooling by the Obama administration towards a controversial US shield project.

Mid January and Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip continue to rocket each other as the world looks on trying to find a solution to a peaceful existence even after nearly 1000 people are killed and the Israeli army and air force rain rockets, bullets and bombs onto Gaza.

 

Religion
 

The Pope says that use of condoms in Africa enhances the spread of HIV AIDS.

Internet  

In the US .... The Harris Interactive poll, released in late December, found that 80 percent of U.S. adults go online, whether at home, work, or elsewhere. Those who surf the Net spend an average of 13 hours per week online, but that figure varies widely. Twenty percent are online for two hours or less a week, while 14 percent are there for 24 hours or more.

During 2009, the use of social networking seems to have climbed to amazing heights with sites such as Twitter and Facebook leading the way.

The number of Internet users in China is now greater than the entire population of the United States, after rising to 338 million by the end of June.

At the start of July it was announced that Michael Jackson had passed away. They held a memorial service in :Los Angeles on July 7th and the internet reported that there was a 19 % increase in traffic during the time of the memorial service.  The internet as a information provider seems to have come of age.

In Mid June after the Iranian election, the election results are challenged by the Iranian public and the Iranian government takes away all foreign press visas - the only news coming out of that country is the social networks led by Twitter.

In Britain all UK homes should have access to broadband and faster download speeds by 2012
20 hours of video are now uploaded to YouTube every minute, up from six hours in mid-2007.

And a tax on phone lines could be introduced in an effort to try and extend the reach of super-fast broadband into the countryside.

A £6 a year tax on every phone line in the country is part of the plan outlined in the Digital Britain White Paper to stimulate the development future fibre optic services.

115,000 voters in Honolulu's neighborhood council election were able to pick winners entirely online or via telephone. The voting, which started May 6, ended May 22.

Communications

 

The cost of ScanDisk memory cards plummets as 8 GB of memory can be purchased for less than $15.00 US

Living

 

China in late December unveiled what it billed as the fastest rail link in the world -- a train connecting the modern cities of Guangzhou and Wuhan at an average speed of 350 kilometres (217 miles) an hour which is a wee bit faster than France's bullet rain which flies at 277 kilometer'hour.

Did you know that "Barbie" as in Barbie Doll celebrated her 50th birthday in March?

Agriculture

 

The world record for growing pumpkins is now 1,725 pounds set in Ohio on Oct. 12, 2009
 

Entertainment


Tiger Woods is named by AP as the top athlete of the decade as he faces divorce proceedings from his wife. He  says that he will not play again for an in definitive time.  What will golf do now that the  greatest golf player of the decade will not play.  Will a lot of arm chair golfers not turn on their TV sets to watch golf ?

Oprah Winfrey announces that she will end her talk show in September 2011.  After that what will her followers do after that time ... maybe prepare dinner?

Early November and the Motion Picture Academy is going to do something about pirating movies.  Hopefully this might get some funds to makes some good ones again.

Mid April and a British TV show "Britain's Got Talent" and YouTube make 47 year old Susan Boyle and instant hit as an ordinary unabashed unemployed Scottish woman sings "I Dreamed a Dream" .  A few days later there are 18 + million hits on YouTube and she is heading for stardom.  It was announced in December that she now holds the record for the largest number of hits on YouTube... 

Biggest Disappointments
of the Year

 

The failure of governments attending the Copenhagen Climate Conference in December to come to any useful agreement pertaining to reducing greenhouse gases

The failure of governments of the world to recognize that over population is the main cause of problems such as poverty, crime, and climate change.

That the tremendous amount of money that was  used to fight the world going into a depression and has still not solved the greed and ego problems.

The fact that some entrepreneur has not developed a smoke detector that will only sound an alarm if there is a real emergency.

It seems that order to survive today we need to have:
clean air, clean water, organically grown food, shelter, clothing, communications,
financial planners, entertainment, education, security, insurance
- what next?

Ask people living in 3rd world countries if they have any of these things
and why they keep smiling 

Your Comments?

Have a Happy 2010 Folks !

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