29 New Things We Learned from the News in 2013 ...

There were some shocking and interesting things we learned from the news in 2013. Every year the media keeps us up to date by the minute with what is going on in the world, and as well as the usual headlines of economic gloom, civil wars and conflicts, high school shootings and celebrity scandals, there were some good and great things too. In case you missed the bulletins, here’s some of the things we learned from the news in 2013.

1. Google Burger

One of the things we learned from the news is that the owner of Google is going to save the world. He has created a burger made out of meat that does not involve the death of an animal. This piece of news is the biggest in over a century and people still are unaware of its true impact, yet it will literally save the world. If the technology used was advanced and streamlined, then forests need not be cut down for grazing, methane from cows would not cause global warming, farming of beef could end and stop a lot of suffering, and the CO2 footprint of the burger industry alone would drop so much that we could fill our skies with planes and still be better off global warming wise. What many also realize is that one day we will need to grow organs in order to save lives. There have been very few advances in this area. There was an advance with transplants, an advance with skin cloning and now one of the biggest advances in the history of the world is this advance made by Google burger in order to grow beef meat. This is the first ever step that says we may one day be able to grow human organ replacements instead of people suffering and dying whilst waiting for a donor. You were alive for this occasion that historians in the future are going to liken to the day Archimedes shouted eureka, or the day that Marie Curie discovered a medical use for radiation.

2. Fast & Furious Star Paul Walker Killed in a Car Crash in California

That is right, when irony sets in then it sets in. The unsinkable Titanic sank, the princess called Lady Di ended up dying and a guy who drives fast and dangerous in a movie ends up dying in real life in a car crash. The final irony was the fact that he was in a Porsche and was not the driver. Irony aside, it was truly sad and his fans will mourn his loss. Life’s such a bitch sometimes.

3. Men Should Fidget

Fidgety men were found to be able to maintain their concentration, whereas women seemed to become more distracted. No doubt this study will soon be discredited, but it may explain why men are better fighter pilots. A pilot’s body is put under stresses that encourage fidgeting when the forces are removed.

4. Cubans Successfully Used Sniffer Rabbits

Unsafe housing ended up collapsing on civilians and for the first time in recorded history the use of sniffer rabbits occurred. Oddly enough, if sniffer rabbits became a regular thing then the more expensive sniffer dog may be replaced by rabbits.

5. Angelina Jolie Impresses the World Yet Again

The humanitarian and beauty known as Angelina Jolie stunned the world yet again when she had both of her breasts removed. As a female idol to millions, it was a bold stroke for feminism when she took it upon herself to have a preventative double mastectomy. Her stroke for feminism didn’t come with the act itself, but with her openness about it and her push to develop breast cancer awareness. In a world where a pair of breasts can make you famous (look up Katie Price or Pamela Anderson), she made quite an impression when she made no attempt to hide her double mastectomy and then tried to show women that their health matters more than social pressure.

6. Literally Was Literally Used Wrong the First Time in 1769

Spot the cute little joke in that title? This is one of those things we learned from the news when it becomes obvious that scholars have too much time on their hands to the point where they are frantically searching for the first “misuse” of a word.

7. Attempts to Stop Forced Marriages

It is a harsh world, and even in the west there are women being smuggled into Middle Eastern countries to become forced wives and sex slaves. In an attempt to stop this, the Americans suggest that women put a spoon into their vagina (though they phrased it as “hidden in your knickers”). Not only would it set off metal detectors in airports, forcing the women to be taken to private rooms alone, it also acts as an indicator to officials that these women are flying against their will and are then put into protective custody. Officials around America were told that a spoon in the knickers was a distress signal. There are times that make you think there is hope for the world with gestures such as this.

8. Playstation 4 and Xbox One Were Released

What was known as the console wars began, yet there was a very clear absence of Nintendo. Both consoles were released within a week of each other and the Black Friday sales turned into semi-riots. The anticipation of all of this spawned a four-episode run about it with the TV program South Park.

9. The House of Lords Has a Rifle Range

This is one of the things we learned from the news relating to my homeland. If the British ever try to make fun of the fact that Americans didn’t even vote for George Bush Jr, you can remind us that half of our parliament is made up of people who are born lords. The people born to certain rich families are the ones who decide how the country is run, which is no different to 100 years or even 1000 years ago. One half of the parliament has laws ratified by people who are so posh that their parliament has a rifle range.

10. Croatia is Part of the EU

This may not seem like a big deal, but on the 28th of July Croatia became a part of the European Union. The more people that join, the more financially secure the entire region becomes, added to which the chances of European war reduce further and further.

11. Meteorites Injured over 1,000 People

Central Russia had a meteor storm of biblical proportions. After it had finished, over 1000 people were injured. The probability of such a storm in a populated area such as this is millions of times that of every injured person winning the lottery. It even sparked rumors that a certain bigger meteorite was on its way, and that the small storm was just a preamble.

12. Deep Husky Voices Turn Women on

This is not a surprise to most women. There have long been reports of women becoming sexually aroused when hearing Barry White on the right type of speakers. In 2013, yet another study was released (that will probably be discredited soon) that said women are turned on by deep and husky voices.

13. The UN Arms Treaty Was Signed

A long standing problem is that American-made guns are used to shoot at Allied Forces and UN Sanctioned forces by the people in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the selling of guns to them by the Chinese has also caused problems. The UN treaty aims to better regulate how guns are sold and sold onwards. With so many weapons traded on the black market, is the UN fighting a losing battle?

14. Candy Crush Saga

This was the game that was the new Angry Birds for the year 2013. It is the most popular Facebook game of the year and even beat FarmVille 2. Candy Crush Saga is still the most played game around the world at the moment.

15. Tears Cannot Fall in Space

Apparently they just well up in the eyes. This is one of the things we learned from the news because of a movie. The movie Gravity sparked questions about tears in space, which were answered by the news--apparently you cannot cry in space.

16. The Skyscraper That Melted Cars

London built a building called the Walkie-Talkie with a curved glass outer. The trouble is that it conducts the light to a pinpoint on a road around 400 yards away. During the hottest June for decades, the sun’s concentrated beam was so powerful that it melted the plastic components of a Mercedes car that was parked outside of a shop. The man returned to see his wing mirrors drooping like melting chocolate. Imagine if the naughty little boy with his magnifying glass had been able to use that sunbeam. Forget burning the wings off flies, he’d have been able to castrate cats!

17. Genetics Keeps Moving Forwards

Genetics is a massive subject that is still decades away from being fully understood. This year we were informed that scientists had discovered that the pigment gene SLC45A2 is what causes some tigers to have white stripes instead of orange.

18. Hugo Chavez Died of Cancer

The ruler of Venezuela for 14 years died of cancer at the age of 58. The country mourned and people queued up for hours to see his body.

19. Renting Costs Went up Twice in the UK Market

This may not mean anything to most, but it is the first signal that the housing market stagnation is coming in the future, so watch out if moving to the UK.

20. The First 3D Printers Hit the Commercial Market

This is one of the more exciting things we learned from the news because if you think about technology curves and how quickly this technology is likely to advance, then the next few years in the world of printing are going to get very exciting.

21. The First British Female Prime Minister Died

Let’s not forget that the British parliament was standing long before the White House, Coliseum or Taj Mahal. This makes the first British female Prime Minister quite a big deal. Margaret Thatcher died in 2013 at 87-years-old after suffering a stroke. In Britain you either loved her or hated her, but whatever, she will remain one of the most influential figures in British politics for evermore.

22. Nelson Mandela Dies

The world lost a third great statesperson of political import in 2013. Nelson Mandela had been ill for some time and finally succumbed at the end of the year. The world united to express its condolences.

23. The Movie Pacific Rim Came out

Though it seems to have passed in and out of consciousness pretty quickly, this movie is actually a groundbreaking one. It is the first truly original movie in nearly seven years. It created an unprecedented story with a unique arc and character dynamics. Movies such as Blade Runner and the first ever released version of Star Wars became cult classics after their supposed run times. Future generations in media studies class will look back on this movie with awe.

24. Women Should Hide at 3:30pm Every Wednesday

A study has affirmed there is a time when women look their oldest. The study undertaken by the tanning products brand St. Tropez showed that 3:30pm on a Wednesday is when a woman will look her oldest. This is when all the effects of plummeting energy levels, work stress and the ravages of late nights at the weekend come together to do their worst for your appearance. The study showed that 12% of the subjects declare Wednesday to be the most stressful day of the week (interestingly, not Monday).

25. Math is Hard

Okay, so this isn’t one of the new things the news taught us but what I am referring to is the interesting study performed by a school in Luton, England. Do you struggle with multiplication in your head? A study at Caddington Village School showed that the calculation found most difficult in 232 children was 6x8 – more than 63% got it wrong. The calculation that took the longest was 9x12. (I can concur with that one – I never have to think about multiples of 12 until I get to 9x12. How interesting!)

26. French Kissing

2013 saw some interesting new words enter the Oxford English Dictionary for the first time, such as umbrellar – an adjective to describe something umbrella-like – and words we’re so used to, such as pixie cut and geek chic. What is more newsworthy however is that until 2013, the French had no “official” word for French kissing. The verb galocher was finally added to the Robert French Dictionary.

27. Only 2 Escalators in Wyoming

I was really shocked when I read this. According to a report in The Atlantic, there are indeed only 2 escalators in the state of Wyoming, and both are in Casper. Technically, as they are dual flight, you could say there are 4 but they are classed as 2. Both are located within banks.

28. No Camo in Barbados

I now know how to respond to our readers who write how much they hate camouflage when it is included in our fashion articles – move to Barbados. Camouflage print clothing is banned in Barbados. This came out of a report by the BBC News Magazine, which identified some of the strange laws British tourists had fallen foul of around the world. Camo is banned in Barbados because it used to be worn by gangs carrying out illegal activities.

29. In Brazil, Having a Barbecue is a Form of Public Protest

New trends pop up all the time, and this is a trend that has come about in Brazil. To have a barbecue in Brazil is a form of public protest. To a Brazilian, it must look as if Australia is on the verge of a public revolt.

This is my pick of the many, many new things we learned from the news in 2013. It’s important to keep up with what’s going on and I make a habit of watching at least one news bulletin every day. Do you keep up with the news? What was the most important news item from 2013 for you?