Saturday, January 31, 2009

History of 2008, Part 1

I really remember my first week at secondary school very well. Every first lesson we had was basically a very high-level discussion on what that particular subject was really all about. I rememeber discussing "What is Geography?" in my first Geography class, and we had very long discussion in History about what was the difference between History and News, because both essentially perform the same task of documenting "what was in the past".

Now that I am a bit older, and looking back on that discussion,what distinguishes "History" from "News" for me (apart from scope of coverage) is the context that History provides. So to provide a very crude example

News: Neville Chamberlain has managed to negotiate peace with Hitler.

History: Oh No He Hasn't!

Neville Chamberlain: Oh Yes I Have!

Adolf Hitler: I will go down in history as the greatest German leader

History: Erm.....

Which is why I still don't want to say too much about 2008 yet, even though I truly believe this was a year that will truly go down in history for so many reasons. What I can say though was that it was the year of one important first: the first black President of the USA.

Let's have a look at some other years and important firsts.

1783: First hot air balloon

1865: Slavery illegal in US

1903: First powered flight

1928: UK women achieve equal voting rights

1962: First man in space
1963: First woman in space
1969: First man on the moon
1979: First UK woman Prime Minister

2008: First black elected US President

Do you notice something about that list above (apart from the fact it's terribly formatted and therefore totally dull and uninspiring? zzzzz) Do you see how over the past 100 or so years human achievement seems to be accelerating at an ever greater and dizzier rate? If this increased acceleration continues unabated then what great achievements are awaiting us around the corner and within our lifetimes?

2016: First woman US President

2020: First Chinese man on the moon
2021: First black woman (with learning difficulties) on the moon
2030: First woman US President to score a hole-in-one on Mars

2050: World peace and a cure for all illnesses
2051: China and Taiwan top leaders agree to meet each other

Don't all rush off to Corals at once.....

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