5 Gigantic Solar Flare
A huge “X-Class” solar flare hit the earth in March of 2012! But as nothing really happened, most people paid no attention. The feared damage to GPS systems, power grids, satellites, and on and on failed to materialize, but we disregard this event at our own peril: scientists have predicted that there will be many more solar storms in the near future, and it is difficult to predict exactly when a truly massive solar flare will occur, one that could do much damage to our fragile infrastructure.
4 Many Notable Deaths
Dick Clark, Ravi Shankar, Norman Schwarzkopf, and a whole lot more famous people died last year. You probably remember that Whitney Houston kicked the bucket, but what about prolific author Ray Bradbury? Perhaps you recall that Andy Griffith is no longer with us, but what about Ernest Borgnine, who was just five years shy of the century mark? Plural famous deaths came and went, reported only for a matter of days thanks to that damn election.
3 U.S. Treasury Profits on A.I.G. Shares
The United States Treasury Department sold its last shares of insurance giant A.I.G. (American International Group) for a profit in December of 2012! Overall, the Treasury Dept. had “sunk” over 180 billion dollars into this troubled behemoth, and it seemed the taxpayers were going to be left holding the heavy-as-hell bag. But thanks to the recovery after the Housing Bubble-fueled recession, a resurgent A.I.G. is again on its own two feet, and the U.S. government divested the last of its holdings and made itself some scratch.
2 Number of U.S. Soldiers Killed by Service in Afghanistan Passed 2,000.
With the war in Iraq ostensibly over and the engagement in Afghanistan slowly winding down and major operations scheduled to end next year, we at home can almost forget that many tens of thousands of our uniformed men and women are not at home. And many of them are still being wounded and killed. This grisly milestone was passed in August.
1 Scientists May Have Found a Vaccine for HIV
This news would have been headline topping, party in the streets, pure world-uniting joy a decade and a half ago, but in 2012 it just kind of dribbled out, totally missed by most people. Perhaps because HIV/AIDS has become rather manageable thanks to antiretroviral drugs (for those with access and cash, that is) this news seems less amazing than it really is, but the fact is that doctors are basically now able to prevent the spread of this once “perfect virus.”