Writing about hope today is not always the easiest of all tasks. In general, people seem to be very pessimistic about the future of the country they are living in, and often rightfully so; they are unhappy with the government they are living under, frustrated with the way the prior government worked and angry about the way their tax money is being spent. Phrases such as “Things used to be so much better” are being passed around and the world does not seem like such a bright or colourful place to be.
But, it is February and you are struggling to keep all of your great New Year’s resolutions. So now is the perfect time to truly start over and really get excited for 2018. This article is for all you grouching, naggering and grumbling folks, it is about inspiring projects and about how 2018 and our future will be a better time.
So, here are my top 2018 hopeful headlines.
A Space Oddity
This is some of the most exciting news I have heard so far this year, and it combines Tesla with SpaceX, bringing us one step closer to human settlements on Mars and becoming a multiplanetary society. It is the perfect follow-up to my last article on SpaceX and the Big F***ing Rocket. The BFR has now finally been launched with a very peculiar payload: The sportscar of Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. The car is complete with a dummy called Starman, who is listening to “Space Oddity” by David Bowie.
“I took a [road]trip on a gemini spacecraft and […] I passed through the shadow of Jupiter” includes some fantastic views, great destinations, David Bowie Music, and a really, really nice car that is flying at a speed of 3.5 km/sec (Check out the video here).
This car not only serves the purpose of getting people interested in space again, it is also the starting point of a long overdue discussion on space pollution.
Macedonia Times Two?
This is quite a confusing thing I found out about recently, when I went on a trip to Skopje, the capital city of what I thought to be Macedonia. However, Macedonia is a department in Northern Greece that shares a border with FYROM—the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the country I went to. Quite a mouthful and very confusing, right?
The name has been a topic of much dispute between the country and the Greek department. The ancient Kingdom of Macedonia, before splitting up, had included both of these parties. Today, millions of Greek people identify as Macedonian and have little in common with their Northern Slavik counterpart. It has been a long conflict about who has the right to name themselves Macedonia, but more importantly it is about who can claim Macedonian cultural heritage to be theirs.
Well, things regarding the name are finally looking up! FYROM’s new prime minister is seen as a very open and calm person, just the thing that is needed. Talks between FYROM and Greece over a new name have just started and most people are rather positive that this time the dispute will finally be settled.
The Canadian Anthem turns Gender Neutral
On 31 January, just in time for the Winter Olympics, the Canadian Senate passed a bill to change the second line of the Canadian anthem from “true patriot love, in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command”. The athletes are said to be practising the revised anthem, that can now be representative of their countries development in gender neutrality. Canada now joins Austria, who also tweaked its anthem to include “sons and daughters”. This movement is truly inspiring and leaves room to wonder which countries will follow suit!
Zuma on the Run
Another country that has some reason to celebrate is South Africa. Especially now, when the country is facing major challenges, such as running out of water to supply the region of Cape Town, the news regarding their controversial head of the state is very much appreciated by some of its citizens.
Jacob Zuma, the now former president, has resigned to give way to Cyril Ramaphosa, who has been waiting since December to finally take over Zuma’s position as President of South Africa and as party leader of the ANC- the African National Congress.
In the eyes of many South Africans, the ANC has lost its reputation and has become a static party, where dynamic discussions of issues and changes have become a feature of a long ago past. The hope is that through their new leader, the party can leave behind scandals and corruption to come out strong in the next elections in 2019. Hope is also prominent among the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) that they will be able to replace the ANC in 2019.
The Winter Olympics
North and South Korea will compete under a unification flag in this Winter Olympics, and for the first time ever (in Women’s Ice Hockey) they will form a team together.
And now to the really good news: This Winter Olympics for the first time in history, a team from the African continent is competing in bobsledding.
Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga are three U.S.-based Nigerian athletes, and they will make history in 2018. They practiced with a handcrafted wooden sleigh first, and started this project from scratch through a crowdfunding campaign, showing that literally, anything can be possible in 2018…
By Julia Glatthaar
1. By Official SpaceX Photos, Falcon Heavy Demo Mission, CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)
2. By beaumontpete, Canada Day cupcake, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)
3. By GovernmentZA, President Jacob Zuma attends United States of America vs Bafana Bafana soccer match, 17 Nov 2010, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)
4. All rights reserved, Merle Emrich