30 year scale

Posted: June 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

When looking over photos of the anniversary of the eruption of Mt St Helens a little while ago, two things occurred to me: 1) that was a shocking 30 years ago, and 2) not a lot seems to have happened culturally in the US since then. I then thought about the US another 30 years back and realized, putting those 30 year spans side-by-side, we had practically ground to a halt. Scientifically we’ve made astounding strides, but as a culture we have, essentially, stagnated. The bullet points below are shoddily pieced together and lead to no real conclusions, but at least offer a glimpse of what passed through my head, and might perhaps encourage your own consideration.

2010

World population: 6.83 billion
– Avatar, highest grossing moving in history, in theaters
– The Fame by Lady GaGa, Iron Man 2 soundtrack by AC/DC top the album charts; “TiK ToK” by Ke$ha is a Billboard #1 single
– Roger Ebert argues that “video games can never be art”, creating an uproar in the gaming community
– First synthetic organism is created; 1.75 billion people, nearly 40% of the world’s population, are connected to the internet, allowing near-instantaneous sharing of global information
– War in Afghanistan becomes the longest in US history, Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland erupts

1980

World population: 4.43 billion
– The Empire Strikes Back in theaters, CNN is launched
– Back In Black by AC/DC, Sandinista! by The Clash top the album charts; “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen is a Billboard #1 single
– National Endowment for the Arts is threatened under the new Reagan administration, which tries to abolish it a year later
– Microsoft begins selling its first operating system, called Xenix; Pac-Man is released
– CIA trains Afghani troops to fight the Soviet invaders, Mt. St Helens in Washington erupts

1950

World population: 2.52 billion
– Harvey in theaters, Peanuts comic strip created
– Porgy and Bess soundtrack, Christmas Greetings by Bing Crosby are released; “Mona Lisa” by Nat King Cole is a Billboard #1 single
– Abstract expressionist movement begins to surface, driven in large part by Jackson Pollock
– Development begins in the US on the hydrogen bomb; TV remote control invented
– Korean war begins, Mauna Loa in Hawaii erupts

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