Monday, May 22, 2017

History: The Year is 2008

I've uploaded year 2008 to the TSP Wiki...

As always, Alex Shrugged's opinions are his own. Other people's work are their own. I include them here for the sake of completeness and to provide a second method of access to the material for the TSP history segment.

* The Large Hadron Collider Does NOT Destroy the World -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged

* Kosovo declares independence -- Contributed by Southpaw Ben

* The Subprime Mortgage Crisis Timeline -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged

* Notable Births -- See below.

* This Year in Film -- See below.

* This Year in Music -- See below.

* In Other News -- See below.


The Large Hadron Collider Does NOT Destroy the World

Contributed by Alex Shrugged
Many years ago a project just south of Dallas, Texas would have created the world's largest underground particle collider, but after costs quadrupled, the project was abandoned. What remains is a big hole in Texas. A more modest project was begun in Europe: the Large Hadron Collider. It's purpose is scientific research. Strong magnetic fields force elementary particles, such as protons, into high speed collisions. Detectors at the collision point can track the proton breaking apart and "see" the resulting fundamental building blocks of the Universe. The question to be answered is, "Why does our Universe exist at all?" Our current physics indicate that nothing should be here, yet, here we are. Some extra matter must be hidden, a particle as yet undiscovered that holds the Universe together. They call it "The God Particle", probably to ease the minds of those who fear that the Universe might come apart if we mess with it. (The book and TV series Flashforward explores this idea as well as Dan Brown's Angels and Demons.) Some fear that a high energy collision could create a miniature black hole, a substance so dense that it could swallow the entire Earth. (Think of Star Trek, the movie reboot.) The first few tests go well, but then a coolant leak releases 6 tons of liquid helium, and dismounts several 10-ton magnets. The collider is shut down, but we are from the future. We know they will get it running again, and find the hidden "God Particle", the Higgs Boson, and we are still here. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Asking whether we might blow up the world is a perfectly reasonable question, but it is unsettling when we get the answer, "It is very unlikely." We want certainty, but sadly as we learn more about the Universe we become certain that we know very little at all. That is not simple rhetoric. What we thought we knew FOR SURE only 20 years ago is already out the window, and even if we stopped now, it would not change the fundamental uncertainty. As I understand physics, there is a vanishingly small chance that by simply sitting in my armchair I could be transported to Mars... totally at random. Frankly, it is much more likely that I will win the lottery every single day for the rest of my life, yet the possibility remains. So, when a physicist tells me that an event is very unlikely I know what he means. It's a strange Universe, and I've seen it change several times. It's enough to make one believe in God... or at least in His particle. (FYI, I believe in God, and when I study the Universe I am studying His mind, but calling the Higgs Boson the God Particle is just dramatic fluff. No more.) [12] [13]

Kosovo declares independence

Contributed by Southpaw Ben

"We, the democratically elected leaders of our people, hereby declare Kosovo to be an independent and sovereign state. This declaration reflects the will of our people and it is in full accordance with the recommendations of UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari and his Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement. We declare Kosovo to be a democratic, secular and multi-ethnic republic, guided by the principles of non-discrimination and equal protection under the law."
-excerpt from Kosovo's declaration of independence.[14]

This declaration was made on February 17th by the Assembly of Kosovo. They unanimously voted to declare Kosovo independent from Serbia. Well, mostly unanimously, as only 109 of the 120 members were in attendance. The other 11 were representing the Serb minority in Kosovo, and they boycotted the proceedings. Serbia felt that the declaration was illegal and appealed to the International Court of Justice, wanting the declaration to be ruled illegal. However, the ICJ determined that the assembly violated no international laws. As there are many states and regions across the globe vying for independence, there is an unresolved question of whether precedent has been set for declaring independence, or if Kosovo is a special case due to its years of strife that was a result of Yugoslavia’s non-consensual break up, as the declaration claims. [15]
My Take by Southpaw Ben
Reading through the legal jargon, official opinions and stances, and varying degrees of recognition by other countries and the UN's ambiguous stance on Kosovo's would make any American student happy that their country's Declaration of Independence came at a much simpler time in regards to international affairs. It is also interesting to note that there is nothing in international law that prohibits legally declaring a region independent. However, that doesn't necessarily mean it will be accepted by enough other nations for it to actually function as a country in regards to international relations. This can lead to interesting results. It also leaves open the question of if a virtual nation were to declare independence how the ICJ would rule on the legality of such a declaration, and if said nation would receive any recognition by other nations.

The Subprime Mortgage Crisis Timeline

Contributed by Alex Shrugged
When Americans think of The Great Recession, they usually think of 2008. Those who had a sense that something terrible was coming are already out of the stock market. Everyone else is hosed. The current subprime mortgage market is $1.3 trillion. (In simple terms, that is more than the total value of actual US dollars and coins everywhere.) In the closing days of last year, as companies tried desperately to save themselves, it became obvious that the US government would intervene. 2008 is the beginning of that intervention. The list is brief. I cannot possible cover everything, not even everything that is important. Here we go. [16]
  • (January 11) Bank of America buys out Countrywide Financial which owns 20% of US mortgages: (They were MY mortgage company.--alexshrugged)
  • (March) Bear-Sterns is sold off to JP Morgan Chase at fire sale prices: That is $10 a share vs. $133 a year ago. Bear-Sterns was leveraged 35.6 to 1 when it all came apart. [17]
  • (July 11) IndyMac Bank fails with 32 billion in assets: They were in the hole for $10 billion when there was a run on the bank. Bye-bye. [18]
  • (July 19) The Dow Jones closes above 14,000: The highest close in history. [19]
  • (August 10) The Federal Reserve injects $43 billion into the US economy: Other countries follow suit.
  • (August 31) President Bush announces a limited bailout for homeowners: In reality it is a bailout for the banks, so that they won't have to make a deal with the homeowners. [20]
  • (September 7) The US Government takes over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: These are the two largest mortgage financing institutions in the US, and cash cows for political appointees on their board of trustees. [21] [22][23]
  • (September 15) After 158 years, Lehman Brothers fails: Investors believed it was "too big to fail" until it did. [24] [22]
  • (September 16) AIG is bailed out by the US government: They are holding the bag for $57.8 billion. The government won't let them fail. [25]
  • (September 28) Mad Money host Jim Cramer advises getting out of the stock market NOW: . [26]
  • (September 29) The Dow Jones drops 777 points: [22]
  • (October 3) President Bush creates a $700 billion fund to save the banks: As I understand it, the banks are required to take the money whether they think they need it or not to prevent a run on the banks that actually need it. [27] [22][28][29][30]
  • (December) The Dow Jones drops another 680 points upon news that The Great Recession has begun: President Bush will get the blame, but in fact there is plenty of blame to go around, particularly to Congressman Barney Frank, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. [22]

Notable Births

None that I can find.--alexshrugged

Notable Deaths

  • Heath Ledger (age 28, accidental overdose of prescription drugs): The Joker in the Batman movie The Dark Knight. [31] [32]
  • George Carlin (age 71, heart failure): Comedian and social commentator. He had entered rehab 2 years prior for alcohol and Vicodin addiction. [31]
  • Don LaFontaine (age 68, collapsed lung): "The Voice of God" in GEICO commercials, and every movie trailer beginning with the words, "In a world where...." [31] [33]
  • And.... Michael Crichton (age 66, cancer), Tony Snow (age 53, cancer), and William F. Buckley Jr. (age 81, heart attack). [31]

This Year in Film

  • The Dark Knight: The sequel to Batman Begins. [34]
  • Kung Fu Panda: (Hilarious--alexshrugged). [34]
  • And...: Hancock, Iron Man, and Mamma Mia! old people singing Abba favorites. [34]

This Year in TV

  • 80th Academy Awards... lowest ratings EVER: Hosted by Jon Stewart. (I don't watch, but apparently the show was loaded up with film clips thus diminishing Jon Stewart's role.--alexshrugged) [35]
  • Superbowl 42... highest ratings EVER: The Giants overturn the 12 point favorite Patriots. [35]
  • HBO's John Adams: An excellent miniseries of one of our Founding Fathers. (John and Abigail Adams kept their letters to each other. It is a beautiful love story, but remember that they knew we would be reading those letters.--alexshrugged) [35]
  • Fringe: (Weird. Just weird.--alexshrugged) [35]

This Year in Music

  • Rehab: Amy Winehouse. (Amy is going to die because she knows better than the folks at rehab.--alexshrugged) [36]

This Year in Video Games

  • The Nintendo Wii is outselling all other consoles: Games for the Wii are also top sellers such as Mario Kart Wii. [37]
  • Grand Theft Auto 4 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3: . [37]
  • Game developer Joseph Batten murders his wife Melissa, and then blows his brains out: She was in Beta Testing, so you know it would not end well. (But wait... she had a court order. Apparently, paper does not deflect bullets.--alexshrugged) [37] [38]

In Other News

  • The FDA declares that cloned cattle, swine, and goats, are safe to eat: (I feel better already.--alexshrugged) [39] [22]
  • A 7.9 magnitude quake strikes China, killing over 87,000 people: The shaking lasted 2 minutes. It is the length of shake time and construction standards that are critical. [43] [22][44]
  • Microsoft CEO Bill Gates retires: He will push for COMMON CORE using the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. [45] [46] [22][47]
  • An LA Metrolink train hits a freight train head on, killing 25: (My cousin had both knees replaced.--alexshrugged). [48] [22][49]
  • Hamas terrorists fire rockets from Gaza into Israel. Israel invades: (I guess the Jewish "Disengagement" didn't work.--alexshrugged) [50] [51][52] [22][53]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 2008, Wikipedia.

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