Congratulations, universe! 2012 is nearly over, and despite numerous longstanding predictions, the world is still present and accounted for. But, even though an apocalypse never transpired, it doesn’t mean that the 13th year of the new millenium wasn’t an interesting one. From scheduled events — like the presidential election and the Olympics — to sweeping surprises — like Hurricane Sandy and “Gangnam Style” — here are 12 news stories that made 2012 an unforgettable year.
The presidential election
After months of campaigning, seemingly never-ending hours of news coverage, and debates about everything from A to Z — abortion to George Zimmerman — , former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney beat out a myriad of other Republicans, including Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann, and Herman Cain to win his party’s nomination. Then, the news continued, with attacks ads, infamous political “gaffes”, and fiery debates between Romney and President Barack Obama. On Nov. 6, America spoke — or rather, filled out ballots — and re-elected Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for a second term. Now, the biggest question left is: who will Obama select to replace his Cabinet members, many of whom — including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — plan to soon step down?
The shooting of Trayvon Martin
On Feb. 26, volunteer neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman fatally shot unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., garnering international attention and debates about gun laws, race relations, media biases, Florida’s “stand your ground” law, and several other controversial issues — even the wearing of hooded sweatshirts. Zimmerman was released from Seminole County Correctional Facility on July 6 on a $1 million bond, and is currently awaiting trial. He claims the shooting was in self-defense and is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder.
The Aurora theater massacre
On July 20, a gunman walked into a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in an Aurora, Colorado theater, set off tear gas grenades and shot into the audience with multiple firearms. 12 people were killed and 58 other moviegoers were injured, the most of any mass shooting in US history. The sole suspect, 24-year-old James Eagen Holmes, was released from the hospital in mid-November, following an alleged suicide attempt in his jail cell. He’s scheduled to appear in a pre-trial hearing before the end of the year.
Another year of hurricanes
Comedians, late night hosts, and millions of people with a twitter account made jokes about Hurricane Sandy sharing its name with a certain “Grease” character. But, the storm was no laughing matter. It swept past Florida to cause an estimated $65.5 billion in damages, mostly across the Caribbean and Northeast US — making it the second costliest Atlantic storm in recorded history, after Katrina. Earlier this hurricane season, which has produced 19 tropical storms so far, Hurricane Isaac shut down most South Florida schools, including NSU.
The London Summer Olympics
Audiences all around the world turned their eyes towards the London Eye this summer, as London hosted the 30th modern-day summer Olympics, July 12 thru Aug. 12. Of the 204 competing nations, Team USA took home the most gold medals, with 46, and the most total medals, with 104. Notable achievements included swimmer Michael Phelps becoming the most-decorated Olympian of all-time, Gabby Douglas becoming the first woman of color to win the individual all-around gold medal in gymnastics, and South American sprinter Oscar Pistrorius being the first double-leg amputee to compete in any Olympic sport.
Celebrity relationship news
This year was full of wedding bells, engagement rings, and divorce papers. NSYNC fans all over the world cried “bye, bye, bye” to their own chances of becoming Mrs. Timberlake, when Justin married actress Jessica Biel; Fans of both Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie cheered as each actress accepted an engagement proposal; and “Tomkat” went kaput, when Katie Holmes divorced Tom Cruise.
A year to catch catchy tunes
Hey, 2012 is almost over. And, this is crazy. But, it had catchy songs. Like “Call Me Maybe.” You probably even read those previous four sentences in Carly Rae Jepsen’s voice, the 27-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter whose pop tune topped international music charts for weeks, and spurned numerous parody videos. Or perhaps, you’ll remember this year for its certain style: “Gangnam style” — another song that dominated YouTube, with South Korean performer PSY’s oh-so-fashionable dance moves.
A big year for big movies
This year was a golden one for the silver screen, as “The Avengers” earned $1.51 million worldwide, becoming the third highest-grossing film of all time — just behind “Avatar” and “Titanic.” “The Dark Knight Rises” also passed the $1 billion mark, and currently holds the seventh highest-grossing spot. Of the top 10 highest-grossing films of the year, nine were highly-anticipated sequels and/or adaptions of beloved novels or comic books, including “Ice Age: Continental Drift”, “Skyfall”, “The Amazing Spider-Man”, “Madagascar 3”, “The Hunger Games”, “Men in Black 3” and “The Twilight Saga – Breaking Dawn Part 2.”
The death of beloved stars
When the world rings in 2013, “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” — an America television staple since 1972 — will be sadly different without its longtime host Dick Clark, who died on April 18 following a heart attack. Other deaths that earned particularly wide news coverage this year included singer-songwriter Whitney Houston, “Where the Wild Things Are” author Maurice Sendak, romantic comedy writer and director Nora Ephron, “first man on the moon” Neil Armstrong, “The Green Mile” actor Michael Clarke Duncan, astronaut and physicist Sally Ride, “Dallas” and “I Dream of Jeannie” actor Larry Hagman, singer-songwriter Donna Summer, and “Fahrenheit 451” author Ray Bradbury.
Speakers address NSU
This year, NSU welcomed a wide variety of distinguished guests. Author Jamaica Kincaid talked about her novel “Annie John” as the keynote speaker at undergraduate convocation; Jamaican sprinter Sanya Richards Ross spoke about winning five career Olympic medals; and Senator Bill Nelson faced off against Representative Connie Mack in Florida’s only Senatorial Debate of the year. Other guest speakers included journalist and filmmaker Maziar Bahari, string theorist Brian Greene; chef, author, and TV personality Anthony Bourdain; neuroscientist David Eagleman, humanitarian Terry Waite, and psychologist Elizabeth Loftus.
The Sharks open coral reef center
On Sept. 27, NSU opened the Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Research — the nation’s largest coral reef research center — at NSU’s Oceanographic Center at John U. Lloyd Beach State Park in Hollywood, Fla. The $50 million, 86,000-square-foot facility houses laboratories, feature research collaboration, training, fieldwork staging, a marine science library, and an 85-seat auditorium. The grand opening attracted noted keynote speakers, including U.S. Vice President Al Gore and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.
NSU goes tobacco-free
NSU attempted to clear away the smoke this year, by instituting a “tobacco-free” policy across all of its campuses, effective July 1. Under the policy, all NSU staff, students, faculty, and visitors are prohibited from using tobacco products on any university-owned property. Talks of NSU becoming a tobacco-free environment started in 2007, with the health of all community individuals being the primary concern.