End of the year post, 2013

Well, here we are again, at the end of another calendar year, near the end of our Christmas/ New Years holiday vacation, in the middle of our school year. For many people this is both a festive time, and a time for reflection, especially as they get older. This was my second Christmas without my father, the first Christmas for my just born nephew, the twentieth Christmas with the woman who became my wife. My oldest son turned fourteen during this vacation, and will start high school next year, joining the ranks of students my colleagues and I are responsible for; the future belongs to them, and it is an exciting (revolutionary) time we are all living through.

As the final hours of this year tick away (I have been trying to write this all week, in one form or another, and now it is almost 4 pm on New Year’s Eve) I would like to share with you some of my favorite stories, ideas, speeches and other links from the past year. Obviously, there will be some duplication on this list from earlier posts, but wherever possible, I will try to provide either an update or a new link to the same story. This list is NOT a top ten of anything, or a list of the most important stories. As you’ll quickly see I make no mention of the Boston Marathon bombings and the aftermath or Obama care the website and its rollout or any other number of stories. I hope you find something interesting.

Oldest North American Rock Art: Archeology continues to amaze in unearthing clues to our past. The story of the first inhabitants of the Americas is continually rewritten as more evidence is found that there were people here earlier and earlier than we originally thought. What’s more, (and should have been expected, given human nature and history) it seems that there were waves of migrations during different periods.

map of human migrations
map of human migrations

Humans of New York: If I’m not mistaken, I was first told about this site by our video and tech guru, Mr. Brandon. I didn’t have a chance to explore it until this vacation, and it is fascinating and a time thief. It is the kind of web site that shows you what one person with a camera and a vision can do.

The MOOC is dead! Long live the MOOC!: Everything has undergone radical change over the last few generations, so the thinking goes, education and how we do schooling should likewise undergo such transformation. The only problem is that people get in the way of making these changes, because they’re well, people. Sebatian Thrun (genius and founder of Udacity, the largest MOOC provider) hasn’t given up on the MOOC, but is starting to rethink about how it should be done.

All the nuclear explosions ever: If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a short time lapse film may be worth a million pictures. According to the information with this seven minute clip, “Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto has created a beautiful, undeniably scary time-lapse map of the 2053 nuclear explosions which have taken place between 1945 and 1998, beginning with the Manhattan Project’s “Trinity” test near Los Alamos and concluding with Pakistan’s nuclear tests in May of 1998”.

Voyager I reaches interstellar space: The “little satellite that could”, continues to amaze nearly four decades after it was launched in 1977. Sometime during this past year, Voyager I officially left the “bubble around the sun” known as the heliosphere and entered interstellar space … the space between stars. Most news outlets either didn’t report it as a story at all or erroneously said that the satellite had left the solar system. (Technically, it hasn’t, and won’t for another 30,000 years!)

Either way, Voyager I is further away from Earth now than anything we’ve ever made and has a few things to teach us about ourselves and our place in the universe. Maybe it is because I was still a child at the end of the space race, that I long for more space exploration, and that I cheer these stories.

New Type of Boredom Discovered: I thought that boredom was something I was immune from. I mean, I have lazy days, of course, and there are times I’d rather be someplace else, but I never thought of those things as straight up boredom. But it turns out, they might be two of the five types of boredom that exist. According to the article linked to the title, this newly discovered type of boredom is both rampant and the most boring kind of boredom. (Yawn).

Bonus: Short animated clip about New Year’s Resolutions. What would an end of the year post be without at least one reference to making a change in the New Year?

Well, 2014 approaches, and I really should get myself a glass to toast in the New Year. Salud to everyone, and may you all get home safely.

Thank you for stopping by, and see you in the next year.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2013. All rights reserved.