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Top News Stories of 2005

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"tdc's Froggy"
             tdc's Animated Frog   Be patient, I'm coming!

Notable Passings

Terri Schiavo dies - Mar 31, 2005, 
Pope John Paul dies - April 2, 2005
Peter Jennings dies - August 8, 2005

Froggy's  Comments 
Right  From The Pond

I May Be all Wet but I know what I'm taken' about..."
Politics Maybe a Christmas gift for the American people in a sort of a way or was he needing to jack up his standings in the polls. But ...  In mid December, President Bush accepted responsibility for going to war in Iraq based on faulty intelligence. " It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As president I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq," the president said.  He also admitted to spying on the American people without asking the courts to issue warrants to do so.

George Bush's White House in late October faced charges of political manipulation for the purposes of justification of the war in Iraq.  A political assistant to Vice President Cheney has been charged with perjury before a grand jury and other similar counts.  All of this was happening as Bush's popular rating dived to new lows.

George Bush's August holidays brought him more grief than rest. Camped outside his home in Crawford Texas was Cindy Sheehan, a woman whose son was killed in Iraq.  She pleaded with George to meet with him for an hour so that he could explain to her why her son had died.  He refused to meet with her and her efforts rekindled the peace movement in America and Britain as the doves became focused on her lament for her son's death and George's rationale for going to war in Iraq. The peace movement in the United States was reborn and US citizens wanted to know when the troops were coming home.

In July, there was an attack on London's public transportation system by four British suicide bomber citizens of Muslin origin. Over 50 people were killed. Tony Blair blamed it on terrorism while the public blamed it on the fact that Britain had supported the Americans on their war with Iraq and Afghanistan.

Two weeks later almost to the hour, four more attacks on the transportation system in London occurred. This time the bombers were not so lucky as their bombs failed to go off and there was only one person hurt.  This was fortunate for Scotland Yard as examination of undetonated bombs and the use of public cameras led to the arrest of people involved in the bombings.

The spring of 2005 was not really an exciting time for world politics except that at the end of May.  France who were masterminds behind the European Union voted not to adopt the constitution for the European Union.  This was quickly followed by Holland who decisively voted NO sending European stocks in a tailspin. 


Science In July, The Walt Disney Company has announced the closure of its DisneyToon Studios Australia in Sydney, the company's last studio producing hand-drawn animated features - digital animation had finally sent hand-drawn animation to the land of the dinosaurs.

In June, archeologists say more than 150 large temples, constructed between 4800 BCE and 4600 BCE, have been unearthed in fields and cities in Germany, Austria and Slovakia, predating the pyramids in Egypt by about 2000 years.  We keep pushing back the time of early civilization.

In April it was announced that at about 4.4 billion years old, a tiny, barely visible speck of zircon crystal is believed to be the oldest known piece of Earth indicating that the earth was a lot cooler than was previously theorized at that time.



China is now the fifth biggest economy behind the leader US and Chinese consumption for energy products has exceeded 20 percent of the world's total oil production.  They are now out hunting down long term stable sources for oil products from anywhere on the globe.

Did you notice in grocery stores in North America that during 2005 more and more instant dinners were being offered.  Must be something about the Gen X'ers saying that they do not  have time to prepare quality food and want good stuff "now".  People were dinning out more often and prices in restaurants are rising.

The world is not a bad place to live especially if you live in China where they are beginning to swing their economic might. In November, China purchased 60 bullet trains from Japan and a whole bunch of big airplanes from Boeing just when General Motors was threatened with bankruptcy and the big European airplane was being tested for compliance.  At the same time Google's stock kept going up, up, up as investors began to believe that this is where the Internet was going.

American consumers hit new high for credit card delinquency; rises in interest rates and fuel prices get the blame

The number of Britons declaring themselves bankrupt each year is set to hit 100,000 for the first time as official data reveals the highest quarterly figure for at least 40 years ~~ borrow now, try to pay later - then declare bankruptcy - does it really work or is it the reason prices are so high in Britain?

In July, Kodak big-time photography heavyweight announced that its digital sales in June exceeded traditional revenue for the first time ever and that they would be laying off and additional 10,000 employees

China continued to grow their GDP in excess of 9 percent while the US congratulated itself with a 3.4 percent growth while Alan Greenspan threatened an increase of the prime interest rate.

In the summer, when prices for gasoline are expected to start to go down - it did not happen and rose to new record highs in the USA averaging above $2.70 per gallon.

In the summer of 2005, oil prices  Brent crude exceeded $70.00 US per barrel giving economists worries about growing inflation and the slowing of the economy. Economists said that this was caused by the increasing demand for oil from China and India as their economies grew, storms in the Caribbean, oil refineries breaking down and whatever other excuses they could find to send energy stocks and profits soaring. 


Space Early in November, scientists announced that they were pretty sure that at the centre of the Milky Way there was a gigantic black hole... Which if true would mean that eventually our solar system would be drawn into it at some future time.

On July 4 a 400-kilogram NASA probe successfully smashed into a comet 80 million miles from earth, as scientists hope will help them learn more about the origins of the solar system

In July - NASA finally  launched their space shuttle Discovery despite a fuel gauge intermittent failure.  Examination of images recorded during the launch told NASA that there were still piece of the shuttle that had fallen off during the launch.  NASA immediately grounded the remaining shuttles until a solution could be found to launching without pieces breaking off. Discovery returned safely to earth.  They decided not to launch another shuttle until March 2006.

Also in July, astronomers have found a new world orbiting the Sun. The giant lump of rock and ice is larger than the planet Pluto, is now the farthest known object in the solar system and is called Xena



It seems that modern medicine has no cures just preventative or sustainable medicine.  During 2005, it seemed apparent that the focus of the drug companies was to either prevent a disease or give you pills that kept you alive but did not cure a disease. It was a much more profitable way to carry out business.  Besides, if one cures a disease or lets one die, then why do it because there is no profit in it.

In October, the medical profession cranked up the fear of an upcoming global flu pandemic that could be the result of a mutation of a bird flu that is killing birds in Asia and starting to appear in Europe. They were preaching that it will be as cruel as the flu pandemic that killed millions in 1918.

It slowly became a generally know fact with the number of lawsuits against traditional medicine that there was a growth of non-traditional medicines around that were making bags of money.  In particular, traditional medicine was faced by the fact that North Americans were grossly overweight and that nothing was being done that was inexpensive - come on the non-traditionalists who had all kinds of fluids that one could take to reduce most anything... from fat to the pain of arthritis.  And most of them worked and there were little or no lawsuits against these treatments that promised sustainable health of you took their medicines forever because they said that all these medicines were produced from "natural" products.

It is fast becoming a chore to whom one should believe... Traditional medicine (founded in the last century) or the so called non-traditional treatments that have been here for a long, long time. 

In August, a jury in Angleton, Texas, has awarded the widow of Robert Ernst more than $250 million US in damages related to the medical drug Vioxx.  The world of medicine was shaken as more and more people worried about the credibility of the medical profession for their survival are hurt.



Current levels of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere are higher now than at any time in the last 650,000 years.

The number of hurricanes this year exceeded any in recorded history in the Western Hemisphere pounding the Caribbean, Central America and Southern United States.

Meteorologists when  asked if this was caused by global warming were split upon the answer.  One side said it was a long term cycle and the other side definitely blamed global warming.

In October, 7.5 earthquakes shook the Aftgan / Pakistan border killing 38,000 people as winter was beginning to set in among the people who live in the Himalayan mountain ranges.  There was a lot of difficult reaching people living in the area as roads were blocked and bridges torn apart. The only way in and out was by helicopter which were not enough to send in needed medical, food and shelter supplies.

Late in August hurricane Katrina slammed into the southern coast of United States forcing the evacuation of  the residents of New Orleans, killing 1,053+ persons and devastating an area nearly as large as Britain. Two levees in New Orleans were breached sending water to flood 80 percent of the city and predicate the announcement that this city of nearly 1/2 million persons  would be temporarily abandoned because of the flood and hurricane damage. In early October, the Mayor laid off 3000 municipal workers because there was no money to pay them.

The crazy weather during 2005 baffled meteorologists.  There were droughts, hot humid weather, rain and floods in areas where these conditions were not normal. Hurricanes came earlier than expected to North America .

In March, a  report card has arrived from the largest ever scientific Earth analysis, and many of the planet's ecosystems are simply not making the grade.

The UN-backed Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis Report found that nearly two-thirds of Earth's life-supporting ecosystems, including clean water, pure air, and stable climate, are being degraded by unsustainable use. 

Humans have caused much of this damage during the past half century. Soaring demand for food, fresh water, timber, fiber, and fuel have led to dramatic environmental changes, from deforestation to chemical pollution, the report says.

The already grim situation may worsen dramatically during the first half of the 21st century, the report's authors warn.



October brought a vote in Iraq to ratify a new constitution which was passed. This  lead to a general election to in December to elect new officials for their government and hopefully peace in Iraq.  A stable Iraq government is Bush's hope prior to the removal of US troops in Iraq.

In late September, it was reported that the Irish Republican Army has completely disposed of the weapons it used during its armed campaign against British Rule in Northern Ireland.  Many like Ian Paisley, thought that i was not done.... but a Canadian General John de Chastelain who was sent by the U.N. to coordinate the effort says that it was accomplished.

Technology may alter how wars are fought, but it will never change the fact that wars are conducted by human beings for political ends.

August - The Israelis pull out of Gaza after 37 years leaving this disputed land to the Palestinians despite opposition by right wing Jewish factions.

In July, the Irish Republican Army has announced it's giving up its armed struggle and will only use political means to fight British rule in Northern Ireland

What peace? Especially in Iraq when nearly every day Iraqi and Americans died from attacks from either side. It was estimated that nearly 40,000 - 100,000 people have now died since Bush declared war on Iraq,  As more and more Americans were killed (over 2000) and their loved ones questioned the fact that no weapons of mass destruction were found Bush and Blair kept up their rationale for the fight in Iraq as one against terrorism.

2005 marked the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. Many celebrations were held around the world with veterans brought to locations where they fought.  I was pointed out time and time again that many of the veterans who came might not be there for the 70th anniversary.  Even though millions of people died fighting for peace -even after 60 years total peace on the planet has evaded the humans who are living here.



In 2005, it is estimated that the Internet now has 1 billion users.

Adage, the advertising business most vocal magazine reported in October that: about 35 million workers -- one in four people in the labor force -- visit blogs and on average spend 3.5 hours, or 9%, of the work week engaged with them, according to Advertising Age’s analysis. Time spent in the office on non-work blogs this year will take up the equivalent of 2.3 million jobs. Forget lunch breaks -- bloggers essentially take a daily 40-minute blog break.

In September the New York Times Co. said it would cut about 500 jobs, or about 4 percent of its work force, as part of an ongoing effort to reduce costs. The reductions come atop another 200 jobs that were cut earlier this year.  Evidence of the power of the Internet to provide communications or is it just the inefficiency of producing paper newspapers?

Why pay for expensive production studios for television and radio and satellite transfer when podcasting became popular this year. 

"Somebody takes off the big headset ... and instead uses their cellphone and the little hands-free to record a podcast to their cellphone. There's a lot of advantages because then they can walk out and actually go to exotic places and give a description."

Because the podcasting concept can be applied as to video files as easily as it can to audio, trend watchers have an eye out for the emergence of home-grown TV.

More and more news internet sites tried to have their viewers pay-for-view.  Unfortunately, they did not realize the there were lots and lots of free news services still on the net.

Late in June, the Canadian high court rules that downloading of illegal music from the net is not the responsibility of internet service providers.

Spam was quite evident mid - year as consumers were convinced that spam was a bad thing.  However anti-spam companies continued to make lots of money as evidenced by Symantec who is going to buy Brightmail, one of the leading anti-spam vendors, for $370m in cash ~~~ who said there was no money in spam?

Virus attacks continued during 2005 when in August all the major News networks in the USA were hit by a worm that shut down their computers for a few hours.  What happened was amazing as the workers when their computers shut down simply went to the cafeteria and drank coffee while their IT people tried to solve the problem.  It seems that no one any more can work without internet connections and a computer.

Some of the most shocking or memorable photos from the Iraq war were almost certainly taken by soldiers or government contractors - and zipped around the world with an ease that never existed in the days of film.


Communications The average person spends about nine hours per day using some type of media, which is arguably in excess of anything we would have envisaged 10 years ago

During 2005, all the major news networks tried to redefine themselves by tying themselves in some way with the Internet.  It did not work.



The film and TV makers in California suffered from making movies with big budgets and declining theatre and TV  audiences. Blame was shouldered by the video rental, sale of DVD's, pay movies available on satellite and cable and the public's declining interest in going out to the movies. But the major blame should laid with the producers not recognizing that people wanted entertainment quality at a reasonable price ~~~ selling advertising that is played prior to the main movie show won't cut it.


Biggest Disappointments of the Year

The continued failure on George W Bush's part to humble himself to admit that his war with  Iraq was not necessary and to send his troops home.   His lack of leadership to save thousands of people trapped after hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans and the southern coast of United States. 

New Orleans had a population of 440,000 now it's population is about 60,000 and many are not coming back.

 The rest of the  world was asking - how could the world's richest nation let so many die and be abandoned from their homes?

And if al-Qaida is the terrorist target for the United States, where was a  sound plan to eliminate them?

It seems that order to survive today we need to have:
air, food, shelter, clothing, communications, entertainment, education, security, insurance
- what next?

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Have a Happy 2006 Folks !

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