Monday, December 30, 2013

The ten most important stories of 2013

By Carl

Some of these will not hit the radar as big stories of the year. For instance, I completely ignore the Edward Snowden saga as basically a footnote to history: he uncovered nothing, merely put it in the shop window, and you’ll notice it’s had all the lift of a lead balloon.

No, these are stories that will affect the news in 2014 and well beyond:

1) Pope Francis – what can you say about a man who upends an entire monolithic bureaucracy as big as the Catholic Church, while inviting dialogue from Islamic tyrants? He’s made the Vatican relevant again, from Twitter to the long-disgruntled American Catholic church.

2) Eight banks hold 90% of the US GDP.

3) A robot who is not a robot. Or is it a human who is not a human? Either way, the Turing Test is in trouble.

4) The same sex marriage battle will open the doors to many unexpected loosenings of other restrictions of the law. I expect marijuana will be legalized by the end of the decade.

5) Africa. The cold war between China and the US will heat up in the coming years. The internal conflicts in Africa are merely the opening salvos.

6) Bill de Blasio. Arguably, the first real liberal since John Lindsay to serve in “the second toughest job in America”. He campaigned on a progressive platform, and his appointments thus far point to maintaining that stance. His biggest obstacle? He has to push reforms through the state legislature, not exactly a hotbed of progressivism. He has Andrew Cuomo’s ear, however, but keep in mind, Cuomo is looking at a 2016 Presidential run.

7) Turkey. The bridge between the Muslim Middle East and the EU got swing-y this year. Keep an eye on this.

8) Likewise, the Ukraine. It’s not a coincidence, I think, that the loosely connected Russian Federation is seeing an uptick in violence ahead of the Olympics in February.

9) Worldwide satellite broadband? It could happen.

10) Cloned or printed, growing organs for transplant is in our immediate future.

(Cross-posted to Simply Left Behind.)

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