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WEEKLY WHINE

The fight continues

2018 is very nearly complete. Depending upon where you are or when you are reading this, it may in fact be fully complete.

It was, to be sure, a disappointing year. Violence continues apace, political leaders continue to act in favour of their campaign contributors or their own whims and not the greater good, and money continues to talk louder and louder.

If you are a human and not money, you may be feeling frustrated about your ability to bring about change. There is a reason for that: humans who are not money are rapidly losing their ability to bring about change. Even humans who possess money without actually being money are rapidly losing their ability to bring about change. Our review of the events of 2018 demonstrates this: even the greatest achievements listed below were only possible due to the presence of money.

Note: Ordinarily, we have a review committee. But this year, no one else was able to participate, so you were stuck with me. Apparently they’re all busy reviewing Futurama dialogue, or something.

Humans of the Year

Never Again MSD

In the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on WED 14 FEB 2018, students who survived the event established Never Again MSD, an organisation devoted to gun control reform in the United States. Upwards of one million attended various March for Our Lives events, including the flagship event in Washington, DC, USA, at which Emma González’s silence spoke volumes. Her parting words were an impassioned plea: “Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job”.

Capt Chesley A ‘Sully’ Sullenberger Award for the Most Awesome Achievement

Tham Luang Nang Non cave rescue, Thailand

Twelve young footballers and their coach were rescued from the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in July, after they spent eighteen days trapped inside by rising flood waters. Over one hundred divers, two thousand soldiers, and volunteers from around the world contributed to the rescue effort.

Best Event

Launch of Falcon Heavy, United States

The Falcon Heavy’s first mission was a success in February, and furthermore, the two side boosters were recovered successfully. It launched a Tesla electric car, loaded with David Bowie songs and novels like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, into heliocentric orbit. The Falcon Heavy’s launch capability to low Earth orbit, upwards of 50,000 kg, is higher than any other currently active launch vehicle. Honourable mention to the Insight lander’s arrival on Mars and Jodie Whittaker’s début as the Doctor.

Worst Event

Murder of Jamal KHASHOGGI, Saudi Arabia

Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in October at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and shortly afterward, it was revealed that US intelligence agencies were aware of a plot against Khashoggi ordered by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. The US, however, has failed to act in any way against Saudi Arabia, which in fact is wholly consistent with US president Donald Trump’s anti-journalism and anti-fact stance. Dishonourable mention to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Silliest Event

World Chess Championship

Title holder Magnus Carlsen met challenger Fabiano Caruana in London in November, and they played to a draw after twelve games. In fact, it was the first time under the current format that every game of the regulation twelve ended in a draw. Carlsen won the rapid tiebreak handily, with three successive victories.

Natural Disaster of the Year

Tsunamis, Indonesia

Tsunamis in Indonesia in September and December killed nearly 4,000 people in total. Dishonourable mention to the Ebola outbreak in Congo DR and wildfires in Greece and the United States.

Artificial Disaster of the Year

Mass shootings, United States

According to Mother Jones, there were twelve mass shootings [at least three people killed] in the United States in 2018, totalling 80 people killed and 67 injured. Dishonourable mention to sexual assaults, bombings, the US’s withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council, and just about anything that happened in Syria.

Jumping Off a Cliff Award for Succumbing to Peer Pressure

Pleas to deactivate ad blockers

In 2018, an alarming number of websites began begging their visitors to disable their ad blockers. Their tactics included irritating popups, floating banners, and even inserts right in the middle of news articles. This once again demonstrates how far out of touch large businesses are: instead of recognising the displeasure of their customers and addressing the issue that they are actually concerned about, they have instead chosen to simulate the Age of Overadvertising experience for everyone.

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