Do you understand everything? If so, congratulations. You understand everything.
If you do not understand everything, are you willing to admit it? If so, congratulations. You are willing to admit that you do not understand everything.
If you do not understand everything and are not willing to admit it, are you willing to read something that may change your mind about at least one thing that you believe you understand? If so, congratulations. You are willing to read something that may change your mind about at least one thing that you believe you understand.
For the rest of you, you should probably go away, because our awards for things that happened in 2014 are intended to change your mind about at least one thing that you believe you understand. If they do not change your mind about at least one thing that you believe you understand, we will provide a full refund.
Note: 2014 is already over, but 2015 has just begun. If you would like to nominate a person, place, or thing for a 2015 GoobNet award, please send that person, place, or thing, along with a self addressed stamped envelope large enough for that person, place, or thing, to GoobNet Enterprises, Inc. That’s right. Just address it “GoobNet Enterprises, Inc”. It will get to us. We promise.
Philae landing, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
Gaby says: Although the harpoon failed to latch Philae to the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Philae still collected plenty of valuable data about the comet, including the presence of organic molecules in its thin atmosphere. Finding organic molecules in space, naturally, is more or less guaranteed to win you this award. Honourable mention to the Mars orbit insertion of India’s Mars Orbiter Mission and to the treatment that unparalysed Darek Fidyka.
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, United States
Reg says: Neil deGrasse Tyson, the first Scientist Laureate, presented this groundbreaking series for American television. Where the original Cosmos brought science back into the public discussion, this version went beyond, highlighting lesser known figures in scientific history, like Joseph von Fraunhofer, Cecilia Payne, and CC Patterson. Patterson’s work showing how humans poured lead into the environment, in particular, is highlighted as an example of the way science can shape and improve the world.
Loss of flight MH17, Ukraine
Gaby says: There were three major Asian airline tragedies in 2014, but this one, in which a Boeing 777 aircraft with nearly 300 on board was shot down over eastern Ukraine in an apparent case of mistaken identity, was undoubtedly the worst. Dishonourable mention to flights MH370 and QZ8501, the kidnapping of nearly 300 female students in Chibok, Nigeria, and the sinking of the MV Sewol ferry off the coast of Korea Rep.
Alan EUSTACE’s space dive, United States
Amber Lynn says: You may recall that we gave Felix Baumgartner’s space dive this same award two years ago. But Eustace’s dive was even sillier: he is a Google vice president who was not previously known for skydiving, he funded the project himself, and he did not publicise the event or broadcast it live. Granted, those last two things are things that are perfectly reasonable and normal things to do, but in today’s environment of constant PR and sponsor logos everywhere, it was refreshingly silly.
Group D, 2014 Men’s World Cup
Edvard says: The world’s attention, of course, was heaped upon the three teams in this group that had previously won the Men’s World Cup: Uruguay, Italy, and England. But Costa Rica shocked everyone by storming to the top of the group and from there into the quarterfinals, led by the brilliance of goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
NFC South, NFL
Edvard says: Congratulations to the Carolina Panthers, who managed to qualify for the NFC playoffs with a record of seven wins, one tie, and eight losses. But they defeated Arizona on Saturday, quite handily, so perhaps it is time to rethink this award.
Eastern Conference, MLS
Edvard says: That’s right, Eastern Conference. You won’t have Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo to prop you up next year. You won’t even have Frank Lampard. You’ll be stuck with Jermaine Jones, Kaká, and Bradley Wright-Phillips, who – I’m calling it right now – will score no more than nine goals in 2015.
FIFA’s handling of the Garcia report, Switzerland
Edvard says: At the conclusion of a two year investigation, former US attorney Michael Garcia submitted a report to FIFA on the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 Men’s World Cups. FIFA then refused to release it, citing confidentiality concerns. Two months later, however, German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert submitted a summary of the report to FIFA, which then released it immediately. The summary made reference to whistleblowers who made information available to the investigation, thereby violating the very same confidentiality concerns. The summary also included a judgement that the bidding process was fair and should not be reopened, the very same type of judgement that Eckert had previously stated that he would not include in his summary. All told, this was an immense embarrassment to FIFA, which now looks like nothing more than an international organisation trying to cover up its crimes long enough that the public will forget about them. So... good luck with that. Dishonourable mention to Donald Sterling for telling V Stiviano not to bring black people to Clippers games.
Price of crude oil, Earth
Reg says: Global demand for oil is decreasing. Is this good, because we’re finally moving on to more environmentally nondestructive alternatives? Or will investment in renewable energy tank because oil is more cost effective again?
Crossover television programmes, United States
Reg says: The Simpsons performed two crossovers this year. The family made a guest appearance on Family Guy, and the Futurama crew made a guest appearance on The Simpsons. Both were mildly entertaining, but probably not worth the hype.
The Theory of Everything, United Kingdom
Gaby says: It is very difficult for an actor to portray a real person. It is exceedingly difficult to portray a real person who is alive. It is astonishingly difficult to portray a real person who is alive and has a disability. If you then ask that actor to portray that real person at many different stages of the development of that disability, the appropriate word is no longer difficult, but hopeless. But Eddie Redmayne did it to devastating effect in his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Honourable mention to The Imitation Game, Rosewater, and Interstellar.
Guardians of the Galaxy, United States
Amber Lynn says: So a bunch of random Marvel characters that nobody had ever heard of get a film, but there has still been no film featuring Wonder Woman.
Stephen COLBERT, United States
Amber Lynn says: Colbert, of course, taught us that our pursuit of the truth should never be impeded by the facts. He also raised awareness for such issues as campaign finance reform, the use of torture, and media coverage of politics, before his final swan song. But of course, the most important lesson we learned from him was something that we didn’t learn from him: Alex Trebek’s remark that “all of life’s important answers must be in the form of a question”.
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