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Eureka: Explaining 2016
by Jay Gutman
2016-12-31 12:17:28
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What’s the best way to understand 2016? It was hard for me not to go on endless ramblings that would be boring to read, so I summed the whole year to 10 facts you should know about 2016.

1. Low interest rates

The last 10 years or so, large corporations made a lot of money. New products and technology that demand large investments flooded the market and still flood the market. So large corporations made low-interest loans and have revolutionized the way we live and connect. Some of that money was blown away, and only the brightest innovators struck it rich.

eur01_400_032. The technological revolution

My grandmother makes quite a lot of interesting remarks on how much better off our lives are. The other day she noticed that our freezer does not have frosting, that our fridge beeps if we forget to close it, that television offers a wide range of entertainment that she can enjoy, that it’s a lot easier to find a taxi and to travel long-distance, and that pretty much everyone has gas heaters and boilers. Plus she can just say the name of the person she wants to call and the phone number will appear immediately.

3. The kitchen revolution

Pans are easier to wash, wider range of fruits, vegetables, grains and now they sell bread everywhere.

4. At work, machines are lot more complicated to use  

 Complex machinery is one of the things that defined 2016. Whether it’s accounting, textile, heavy machinery or autocad, illustrator and photoshop, the average worker today deals with more complexity than a rocket scientist or Rabbi 10 years ago. Not to mention bosses thinking complexity should be a skill that’s taken for granted. In my humble opinion, it’s not.

5. Complex government and corporate structures

5 years ago you still had the CEO, the vice president and more or less vertical chains of command. Now the chain of command is a criss-cross of horizontal, vertical and everywhere in between, and finding out what the chain of command is feels like undoing that ball of wire. Organizations have become unnecessarily complex.

6. Whatever happened to leaving notice

Things are changing at a fast pace, and the traditional 6 months’ notice is long-gone. Last-minute meetings are the new norm, and fast paced decisions have become the norm.

7. Conferences on the environment

COPs used to be a joke, and used have leaders kind of like uncle Joe who promises to his wife he’ll quit smoking than blows three packs of fags to smoke the very next day. I have the feeling leaders are now more serious about the environment. Kind of like uncle Joe’s doctor telling him that he has to choose between quitting or spending the rest of his life at the hospital.

8. Sex, drugs and electronic music

Sex, drugs and electronic music and lots of booze. That’s what college is all about. In my time it was books and the occasional spliff  (which I did away with) but this year I had to quit teaching because half my students would show up high and binging on cookies in class. I’m surprised there’s no talk about that in the press.

9. Terrorism

It’s hard to name a country that was not hit by terrorist attacks. The weird thing was bisexual, hypersexual Prozac addicts who decide to make youtube videos pledging allegiance to terror organizations, with the terror organizations not sure the guy even works for them.

10. Syria and refugees

Not that Syria was ever an awesome place. I remember a famous Christian Syrian athlete complaining no one cared about her achievements back in the 1990s, and that the story would be different if the athlete was Sunni. With all the refugees, there has to be an intervention. But the coalition leading the intervention is as complex as most organizations, as I mentioned above.

Sweet sixteen was kind of wild sixteen, now let’s hope seventeen will be wiser. To 2017! Cheers.


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Emanuel Paparella2016-12-31 13:46:14
The necessary other side of the coin:

Here is the same expression of the passage of time encapsulated in one sentence and expressed poetically and rendering the full picture:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…”

That of course is Charles Dickens.


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