Looking Back – A Retrospect of 2014


2014 has been a year of events around the world that brought laughter and sadness, technological innovations, and not to forget numerous internet cat memes. But the New Year is soon approaching and what better way to welcome a new beginning than with a reminiscence on the highlights of the past year.

To start the countdown we have this year’s WOTY, also known as Word of the Year.

 

10. Oxford Dictionaries’ WOTY

Sorry to disappoint, but as often as the words “selfie, OMG, YOLO and twerk” have been thoughtlessly tossed around this year they did not make the cut. Instead we have the Oxford Dictionaries to thank, for adding the word “vape” to our mental vocabulary.

vape [veɪp]

vape (verb): ‘to inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device’

9. The Facebook and WhatsApp Merger

First Instagram and now WhatsApp. Facebook is taking over the world. After acquiring the free photo-sharing service Mark Zuckerberg decided to invest in the (currently) free online messaging app. This merger was noted as “the biggest acquisition for a social media company”, as a total of $ 19 billion were spent for the venture. Zuckerberg explains his reasoning with the statement “It’s the only widely used app we’ve ever seen that has a higher rate of engagement than Facebook itself.” Is it a harmless investment from a business point of view or just another way for Facebook’s CEO to pry into our personal lives? You be the judge.

 

8. New HIV Test created by 15 year old girl

There are several HIV tests out there, many of which are still in development. But one that has the probability of giving a reliable results was invented by 15 year old Nicole Ticea. The former 10th grader spent hours in the lab working on a test that has the potential to spot out if someone is infected by the virus. Similar to a pregnancy test the procedure involves placing a drop of blood on a strip that detects whether someone is a carrier or not. And all of this was done whilst still maintaining her extra-curricular activities.

 

7. We’re #2 !

Vienna: The city with countless traditional cafés and beautiful historical buildings and

landmarks. No wonder the country’s capital was voted Nr. 2 on The Economist’s “Best Cities to live in” chart. Based on livability factors such as educational resources, health care and safety Vienna ranked second place preceding Melbourne, Australia.

6. Boyhood

 

A coming of age movie about a young Texas boy like no other. American director Richard Linklater took time-lapsing to the next stage by filming his characters in real time over a twelve year period.
By witnessing the lead character grow and age Linklater creates a more realistic sensation of movie watching like never before, without the use of CG or make-up artists.

 

5. In environmental news

Not only is Austria one of the best places to reside in, the country also follows at placing Nr. 8 on the most environmental friendly countries in the world. In celebration of Earth Day 2014 a list was conducted that determined as the “greenest” country. With its many recycling programs and eco-friendly housings Austria has to offer, it is to no surprise it was placed amongst the top 10.

 

4. The challenge that swept the world

Amongst news such as the death(s) of actors like Paul Walker and unusual celebrity baby names the most notorious one of the year would have to be the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It started out as a fun idea to encourage others to donate to the ALS association (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) . But being the people of the internet, the majority of “activists” simply followed the hype of throwing a bucket of cold ice over themselves without contributing to the cause. Despite those who did not support them financially the ALS foundation was able to raise worldwide awareness and donations from many advocates.

3. The last rhinoceros

Technically there are five more Northern White Rhinos left in the world. But the poaching of this endangered species has led them to near extinction. Attempts to mate the now deceased male Angalifu with his female counterpart Nola failed, and the San Diego zoo’s only hope for reproduction is an in vitro fertilization. With one rhino in the Czech Republic and three in a preserve in Kenya, Nola is the only Northern White Rhinoceros in the US.

 

2. 3-D printing – Now available in space

As if the fact that people can now print guns wasn’t jaw-dropping enough, NASA has now enabled 3-D printing in space. ISS Commander Barry Wilmore was in need of a wrench, and so a team based in California responded to the Commander’s request and mailed the custom designed tool to the International Space Station. To see the fascinating process in detail click here.

 

1. Touching hearts and changing minds – Malala Youfsafzai

If a nearly fatal assassination attempt did not stop Malala from fighting for what she believes in then nothing will. At the age of only 17 child education activist Malala Youfsafzai is the youngest to ever receive a Nobel Peace Prize. Along with Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi the Pakistani born teenager accepted the joined award for their humanitarian activism and dedication to bettering the world for the innocent children of their countries. The young girl currently lives in Birmingham, UK where she is continuing her studies.

The TEDxVienna Blogger-Team wishes you all a joyful start into the New Year!

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