To say the year 2018 has, so far, been exciting, perplexing, and bizarre is an understatement. We’ve received good news that lifted us to the heavens before being battered with bad news that dropped us to the depths of despair. I prefer to focus on the good. And, there’s been some good news to keep us all thinking that we might not yet be doomed as a species.
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia was in the news early in the year; this time for a better reason. Saudi women, for the first time in history, were licensed to drive on the streets and roads of the kingdom! Until then, women had to rely on male relatives or chauffeurs. No more.
In May, Ireland’s Taoiseach (Prime Minister) said that “A quiet revolution has taken place, a great act of democracy). His remark followed the referendum that overwhelmingly overturned the constitutional ban on abortion. Irish women, who have historically had to travel abroad, or use illegal drugs to terminate pregnancies will no be able to access safe procedures at home.
September saw the Indian Supreme Court strike down a colonial-era law criminalizing homosexual behavior. The decision, met with nation-wide celebrations, was a unanimous one. One of the judges wrote that “History owes an apology to members of the community for the delay in ensuring their rights.”
The mid-term elections here in the States produced some exciting results. In Kansas (Yes, Kansas!) Sharice Davids defeated the sitting Republican to become the first Native American woman elected to Congress. Wait, wait! She is also the first openly gay Native American woman to be elected to Congress. As if that weren’t exciting enough, Michigan’s 13th District elected Rashida Tlaib, the first Muslim woman to Congress. Women all across the nation became “firsts” in many different categories. This bodes well for our future.
And finally, in Brazil, a baby was born to a woman who had received a transplanted uterus from a deceased donor. Now, a number of babies have been born to patients who received uteri from living relatives. This, however, was the first from a deceased donor. It’s exciting news for childless women everywhere!
To what can we look forward in 2019? I’ve given up on the flying cars, but I am pretty excited about 3D printing. There’s talk of 3D bioprinting in Medicine, and Xerox is planning a home 3D printer. Regenerative medicine is just one scientific area where 3D printing may be coming soon. Bioprinted tissues such as bone, cartilage, and skin are only the beginning. Dental, vasculature, and complex organs may be in our 3D printed future! Oh yes, I’m excited!
We have two important anniversaries coming up in 2019. On 26th February the Grand Canyon will have been designated a national park for 100 years. The national park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The most spectacular gorge in the world allows us to view horizontal strata tracing our history back two billion years.
In June, we will see many celebrations of the 75th anniversary of D Day. During the Second World War the allies were desperate for an action to change the deadly advances of the Nazis. On 6th June, after months of planning, Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy to invade northern France. As a result of the D Day landing, the Nazi stronghold in France was broken, leading to the eventual surrender of the Germans.
Back on this side of the pond, the new Statue of Liberty Museum is slated to open in May. It will consist of three galleries showcasing the history of the statue. One of the artifacts on display will be the original torch. I’m ready for a return trip to visit Lady Liberty!
And finally, April 2019 marks the beginning of the end. Game of Thrones will come back, at last, for a six-episode final season. What’s in store for this much-awaited season? Lord only knows, but you can believe this man will be watching!