I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions, but I do love a ripping good yarn. To start off 2009, here are the three news stories that I found most interesting from 2008 (excluding all of the coverage and excitement for Obama of course). Each nomination is followed by a brief excerpt to further entice you.
Although they possess the world’s largest weather modification program, the Chinese point to the Russians as being the most advanced. In 1986, Russian scientists deployed cloud-seeding measures to prevent radioactive rain from Chernobyl from reaching Moscow, and in 2000 they cleared clouds before an anniversary ceremony commemorating the end of World War II; China’s then president, Jiang Zemin, witnessed the results firsthand and pushed to adopt the same approach back home.
2) The Story of the Wax Cartel (and the $900 million fine) (also notable for the best supervillain name of 2008: Tibor Toth)
Most cartels operate in secrecy, destroying documents, encrypting e-mail messages or using prepaid phone cards to erase communication traces. But the paraffin cartel was rare in that some members kept minutes, and attendance lists. Cartel members e-mailed invitations and sought R.S.V.P.’s. They booked each other’s rooms and played host to open bars.
When asked why the pirates needed $20 million to protect themselves from hunger, Mr. Sugule laughed and said, “Because we have a lot of men.”
I can’t wait to see what great stories will come out of 2009, hopefully some news a little more positive than the last.