Welcome back to So…That Happened: Your Weekly News Round Up where, like the long-overdue copy of Sweet Valley High you never took the time to read, we catch you up on the best and brightest from the past week. Grab a bottle of bathtub gin and be thankful Prohibition ended because this week is some rough shit.
Nelson Mandela, anti-apartheid hero and all-around awesome guy, died last night at the age of 95 following several months of illness. Despite spending 27 years in prison for fighting the white minority rule in South Africa, Mandela was elected president, serving from 1994-1999. He is credited with helping to end South African apartheid and preventing a civil war. Do yourself a solid and read about him; he’s probably one of the greatest human beings to have lived.
In other notable deaths, Paul Walker died Saturday in a car accident. Not only is his death horribly depressing, but Fast & Furious 7 (you know, the one with the Vin Diesel and The Rock and Jason Statham) has been put on hold indefinitely. Walker’s death prompted an outpouring of sadness from his family, fans, and fellow actors, including Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, and Tyrese Gibson. I am so upset guys. So upset.
While we’re on the subject of depressing high speed accidents, a commuter train carrying 150 people derailed in the Bronx on Sunday, killing four and seriously injuring 11 others. The train was going over 80mph when it rounded a curve, sending seven cars off the track. The driver of the train initially said the brakes failed, but has now admitted he dazed off and failed to brake in time.
Meanwhile, no one continues to give a damn that the National Security Agency is tracking our every move. According to documents leaked from the Edward Snowden collection, “the NSA is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world,” showing not just where we go (Michaels four times in two days), but who we meet with and what we do (buying all the Christmas decorations). Apparently, this is legal and doesn’t target American citizens, though if an American’s cellphone happens to get caught in the shuffle, TFB. We’ve heard this same story so many times now, it’s not even headline news anymore. I kind of feel like this:
In case you needed a reminder, you’ll be up to your ears in debt until the day you die! According to a new report from Project Student Debt, 7 out of 10 graduates had an average of $29,400 in debt. Debt varies by state with Delaware, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania having the highest average debt and New Mexico, California, Arizona having the lowest. Furthermore, a study by the Harvard Institute of Politics found that 57% of young people think student debt is a major problem (with good reason) while 70% said debt played a major role in their decision to attend college.
One other major story came out of this study: Millennials are losing their love for President Obama. Among the 18-29 year olds surveyed, only 41% approve of the President’s job performance, down 11% from last year. A primarily area of concern was the Affordable Care Act, with 57% saying they disapprove (what’s with Harvard’s IOP and 57%?) of the policy. Other issues include the NSA spying program, college loans (see above), the economy, and the budget deficit. In good news for the President, however, the Obamacare website seems to be working these days.
Last and least, let’s talk about the fall of the English language. You may have read a few weeks ago that “selfie” was Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year. Whatever OED…we used to be friends. In what I’m assuming is as an act of war, rival dictionary giant Merriam-Webster announced this week that “science” is their 2013 word of the year. Oh, the drama! Merriam-Webster said it used search statistics to pick the word, rather than Oxford’s editorial approach. Somewhere, Bill Nye rejoices.
See you guys next week!