17 Defining Moments Of 2017 That Will Resonate Into 2018

17 Defining Moments Of 2017 That Will Resonate Into 2018

Here are 17 things about 2017 you should look back on in 2018 and remember. And maybe cry.
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2017 has been a crazy year. We all had our ups and downs and twist and turns. Some events were good, some events were bad. However, as this year comes to a close, let's take some time and reflect back on what happened this year.

1. Rise And Fall Of Fidget Spinners

Fidget spinners (which is very similar to a portable top) became popular in April 2017. This “toy” was supposed to help those who have a nervous need (such as ADHD and Autism). This toy comes in many shapes and sizes. However, as of May 2017, there is no scientific evidence that fidget spinners are a treatment for those with ADHD and Autism. It has come from a “stress relieving” toy to distraction in various classrooms, resulting in schools banning them.

However, other schools incorporate them into their learnings. The result from school districts banning fidget spinners is their popularity decreased. Now, fidget spinners are integrated into everything from cakes to games to places dedicated to it.

2. '90s Continue To Make A Return

Did you live through the '90s and wanted to relive it? Well, this was the year for you! Numerous shows and movies were making a return, such as “Beauty and the Beast,” “Hey Arnold,” “Mickey Mouse” and “Duck Tales.” Today’s modern popular R&B/ Hip-Hop music can be traced back to this decade, if not earlier. From toys to hairstyles, the 90s is being brought back and modernized.

3. Living Like A “Royal Family”

Kensington Palace has confirmed that Prince Harry and his fiancé Meghan Markle will get married take in May 2018 at Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel. During this Historical wedding, Prince William will follow his Uncle Edward (who got married to Sophie in the same chapel as Prince Harry will).

Speaking of children, Prince William and his wife, Kate, are expecting a new child. This royal couple already is blessed with a son and a daughter.

4. RIP: Club Penguin, AOL, Vine

Remember Living in the 90s when you had AOL and Club Penguin to enjoy after school (that is after you do your homework of course). Well, March 29 marks the date when Club Penguin officially “died.” The reasoning was because Disney (who bought Club Penguin in 2007) is gearing all their games towards online gameplay (c’mon Disney).

In 1997, the popular AIM instant messenger was launched. 20 years later, on December 15, 2017, AIM is gone. The perfect after school chatting site (or aka the first social media) now gone. AIM helped popularize the use of friend requests, internet slang (such as LOL, BRB, OMG, etc.) and emoticons (or now known as emojis). To mourn its loss, we got Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and these other platforms. Because of these other social media platforms rising in popularity, AIM has not been getting many users like it had been, resulting in its demise.

With the rise of Vine, brought a lot of Vine Stars such as Thomas Sanders, and Lisa Koshy. However, on January 17, Vine officially shut down. The stars are not dead though; they are still popular. In fact, they are better than ever! Vine says that they shut down the app so they can move on to a new era of Vine with Vine Camera. #RIPVine

Sources are also saying that vine may come back, due to a tease Dom Hoffman posted on Twitter. All Vine lovers unite!

5. The Death Of Brexit

The UK has voted on June 23, 2016, to leave the European Union, which will take effect on March 29, 2019. There have been numerous reasons why the British voted for the Brexit. Some ideas could include globalization, immigration, low wages, de-industrialization etc. However, we don’t know yet. With every cause comes an effect, and the impact of the Brexit is substantial. Regarding their economy, UK has been growing comically. In the end, this looks like a good deal on United Kingdom’s end.

6. Total Solar Eclipse

This event was as popular as the Super Bowl, if not more. On the historic date of August 21, 2017, the total Solar Eclipse was visible from the United States and some other parts of the world. This happens only when the sun covers the moon. The only way to properly view it is with the solar eclipse glasses (not the fake ones that were going around). In the end, it’s a good time to get together for a couple of hours, then head back to our everyday lives.

7. From Cuisines To Cookies, These Foods Definitely Define 2017

You think 2017 got crazy, wait 'till you hear about the foods that made everyone go crazy. From cuisines to cookies, these foods are over the top. Some of the crazy trending foods may include coffee art, unicorn themed foods, Zucchini Pasta, Cauliflower Pizza Crust, Gold Flakes etc. 2017 was the year of experimenting new types of food.

8. United Airlines: Passenger Removal

On April 9, 2017, United airline asked David Dao to give up his seat, but he refused. So, four officers came on board and brutally forced David off the plane. The reason for the removal was so they can make room for four airline employees on the plane to travel to the destination. David wasn’t the only passenger forced off his seat; three other passengers were forced off the plane as well, involuntarily. This incident put a huge disloyalty in United Airlines and other airlines that had similar situations.

9. Repeal Of Net Neutrality?

Net Neutrality affects pretty much everyone who uses the internet. For those who don’t know, net neutrality is a set of rules that were put in place to give us free and open internet. However, since the newly appointed chairman Ajit Pai (who formally worked for version) he wants to demolish net neutrality. If this vote passes, it will give internet services providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon the ability to speed up, slow down and block any content or websites. Basically, the companies control how the internet works. If this vote does go through, it gives internet service providers more power to slow down certain websites they don't want, forcing the user to pay to the provider to make access the site faster. Not only that, it also violates Americans' First Amendment. The FCC Voted on Pai's Proposal on December 14 and as of this article, the FCC voted to get rid of net neutrality with a 3-2 vote. However, this does not mean Net Neutrality is dead. The vote still has to fight it out in court. Don't panic, and don't stop fighting!

10. #metoo Movement

In October 2017, various users on social media used this hashtag to protest against sexual assault and harassment. This happened in result of the sexual allegations against Film Executive Harvey Weinstein. This movement was made popular by Alyssa Milano to show that other people had the same kind of sexual experiences while being anonymous. This term has become viral and used over one million times on social media, from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram to even YouTube!

11. National Kneeling Anthem

Since 2016, various athletes in the professional field has been kneeling for the National Anthem. This created controversy. One side thinks it’s considered respectful because it supports our fallen troops and our police force. The other side thinks its disrespectful way to gain attention to social issues and disrespect to the police and military. Some athletes mentioned they kneel to protest because it calls attention to the inequality that keeps occurring in the U.S. But in the end, this resulted in President Trump calling for all players who were protesting to be “fired” because the protest is “a total disrespect of our heritage.”

12. Deport Them All And Build The wall!

In 2016, President Trump kept campaigning about building a wall to bring “immigration control and security” to the U.S. He wants to prevent terrorism from happening in the U.S. like it did on 9/11. First, he put a travel ban on certain countries to prevent from people coming into and out of the US. However, the supreme court denied it twice, before accepting the third version in early December. This travel ban now puts restrictions on eight nations (six of them predominantly Muslim). This allows the Trump Administration to continue with the building of the wall along the southern US border without having to spend any our money.

13. Further Advances In Technology

2017 was full of advances in technology, with some of them breaking through. This year we have seen a lot of automation, from smart home technology to a rise in machine learning robots. Not only that, but new smartphones (like the iPhone X, and the Galaxy Note 8) have started implementing more AR and VR functionality and “Digital Wallets” into their operating systems, which both are becoming more popular. The VR has risen in popularity, especially in the gaming industry (i.e. PS 4). Finally, Nintendo released a brand new console, called the “Nintendo Switch” that redefines portable and home gaming. Not only that console, but some of the popular games such as "Zelda: Breath of the Wild" and "Super Mario Odyssey" were released for the Switch.

14. Protests That Went From Peaceful To Prominent

2017 consisted of a lot of protests, from the women’s march to the protest against Donald Trump. But there was one protest that clearly defined 2017. On August 11- 12, 2017, the Charlottesville rally (or known as the “Unite the right” rally) was to oppose the removal of the confederate statues from a park. However, events have turned real quick. This rally went from a peaceful protest to a taunting, brawling protest. Not only that, after the rally disappeared, James Fields, who drove a car barring an Ohio license plate, plowed into a crowd near the city’s downtown mall. He killed a 32-year old woman and injured 19 others.

15. Mother Nature Takes A Toll

Mother Nature defiantly took a toll in 2017 physically, emotionally and financially. Most of it probably had to do with how President Trump withdrew from the 2015 Paris Climate agreement on June 1, 2017. His reasoning was that it will affect the U.S. Economy in a negative way and also to put “America First.” The Paris Climate Agreement, which 195 nations signed in December 2015, set a global goal to prevent global warming from happening.

However, this led to other natural disasters that happened in the U.S. This lead to some massive and destructive hurricanes such as Harvey and Maria being the deadliest in 2017.

Not only that, a lot of fires took place in California. From Fresno to LA to San Diego, fires have been happening since April 2017 and still going on. Over 65 wildfires took place this year in California alone, Los Angeles being the most noted as it had quite a few fires over the year. As Smoky The Bear says, “Only you can prevent wildfires.”

16. A Lot Of Tragic Shootings

Throughout history, there has been a huge increase in the number of mass shootings that occur. This year, in 2017, that was the case. We had mass shootings left and right, seamlessly non-stop. This year in the U.S. alone, there have been over 300 mass shootings. On October 1, 2017, over 58 people died and over 515 people got wounded. from a 64-year-old man in Las Vegas while at a music festival. Not only that, but on November 5, 2017, 26 people were killed, and 20 got injured at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. These two incidents were considered the deadliest shootings in history.

17. TRUMP: The Face Of 2017

President Donald J. Trump. Where do I begin? Oh yeah, on January 20, 2017, President Trump officially got inaugurated into office, which brought America to a downward spiral. He is one of the mainstream reasons why America is having a hard time right now. From appointing the wrong people (i.e., Betty Devos and Ajit Pai) who are making decisions alongside Trump results in putting America into panic mode. One remarkable thing that Trump did was that he coined the term “Fake news” into the world (although, it's technically been around since the dawn of news). However, he achieved some good in 2017, such as the tax cuts and his donations to Harvey relief. Love him or hate him, President Trump is our leader. Hopefully going forward in 2018, he can “Make America Great Again!”

Let’s Reflect On What Happened

This year many things came, and they went. Some of them were good, some of them were bad. However, in the end, 2017 wasn't the best! Facebook and Twitter's year in review proved this. If I were to sum up 2017 in one word, I would say chaotic just because of how crazy (good and bad) this year has gone. As we close out this year, let's raise a toast and ring in 2018 hoping to make it better (maybe the best year ever)!

Cover Image Credit: 123rf

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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Sociolinguistics Series: Part 41

Language is a powerful tool.

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After our lunch at the market, the sun began to go down. When the sun sets on Jerusalem on Friday nights, the city essentially goes to sleep. The people don't, but the city as an institution rests; it's the observance of Shabbat, or the day of rest. For Christians, the day of rest is Sunday. For Muslims, it's Friday.

A cool linguistic tangent about Arabic--the days of the week in Arabic recognize the label of "Shabbat" for Saturday. In Arabic, Saturday is called "يوم السبت" or "yom al-sabt" in transliteration. "Yom" means "day," and "al-sabt" is the label for Saturday. "Sabt" sounds like "Shabbat," and it is the name for Saturday as a reference to the Jewish community that observes Shabbat on Saturdays.

The rest of the days of the week in Arabic are also very interesting. The first day of the week is Sunday, and its name is "yom al-'aHad," which refers to the word for "one": "waaHid." Monday's name, "yom al-ithnayn," is in reference to the number two: "ithnayn." This pattern continues with the words for Tuesday (three), Wednesday (four), and Thursday (five). However, Friday is different. The word for Friday is "yom al-jumea," or "يوم الجمعة."

As mentioned previously, Friday is the day of rest and gathering for Muslims. At a mosque that we went to in Haifa, we learned that when Muslims pray, they always gather as a group to pray; the movements of prayer are in-sync with each other and beautiful, as if it seemed to be the motions of the waves on the ocean.

In Arabic, nouns are made from roots that consist of three letters. Every noun that shares the same three roots have meanings that trace back to a central theme; for example, the nouns that derive from ك-ت-ب, or k-t-b, have meanings that go along the lines of "writing." "Kitaab" means "book," while "muktaba" means library; "muktab" means office, which is a place where people write, and "kaatib" means writer.

The word for Friday, "يوم الجمعة," has the three root letters "ج-م-ع" or "jiim-miim-ayn." Other words that are derived from this root pattern are "mosque" ("جامع" or "jaami3a"), "university" ("جامعة" or "jaamie3at"), "all" ("جميع" or "jamee3a") and "to collect" ("جمع" or "jam3a"), to name a few. All of these have to do with gathering--students gather at a university, observers gather at a mosque, and a collection of things are gathered.

The reason the word for Friday also uses this root is because Friday is one of the most important days for Muslims to gather and pray together (of course, all days are important for prayer for those who follow religion). Arabs congregate for family visits on Friday as well, and thus, Friday is named accordingly.

I hope you found that tangent as fascinating as I did! We are back to Shabbat in Jerusalem, where observant Jews are not allowed to do work. What does "not doing work" mean? A circuit cannot be completed. For example, elevator buttons cannot be pressed, because when the button is pressed, an electrical circuit is completed.

At our hotel, there was an elevator that became a "Shabbat elevator" on Friday night. This meant that no buttons were able to be pressed; instead, the elevator automatically stopped at every floor. It was a slow process to ride that elevator, but it did follow the rules of Shabbat.

On Friday morning at the hotel breakfast, there was a coffee machine where guests could choose for a latte, espresso, cappuccino, or Americano to be made. On Saturday morning, the coffee machine was turned off and covered by a blanket. For those coffee addicts, though, there was a pot of Americano.

At first, I was very confused by how this coffee was made without doing "work." I learned that the hot water used to make the coffee was actually boiled the day before, on Friday before the sun had set. The boiled water would be kept in a thermos-like container (much like the kind my family uses in China to make tea at a minute's notice) overnight, and it would be used to make coffee with pre-ground beans for Saturday morning hotel guests.

One person in our group of students argued that even moving a chair across the carpet is completing a circuit, if we're speaking in terms of physics--we laughed this off as a joke and informally established that they probably meant ~electrical~ circuits cannot be completed on Shabbat. Most observant Jews will not use their phone or drive on Shabbat, and all the public transportation in Jerusalem is not in use either.


Since Tel Aviv is a more secular (and less religiously observant) city than Jerusalem, Shabbat there is very different than Shabbat in Jerusalem. But we'll get there later.

In Jerusalem, restaurants and stores close at sundown on Friday and don't reopen until after sundown on Saturday. When we were at the market for lunch on Friday, we noticed that Jews were frantically gathering groceries--stocking up for the next day, but more importantly, stocking up for Shabbat dinner.

By 2 or 3pm, the energy surround the markets and stores had died down; since the sun sets between 4 and 5pm, people were already getting ready for their 25-26 hours of rest.

Every Friday night in Jerusalem, families gather for Shabbat dinner, which is an important occasion that happens every week. There is something beautiful and ritualistic about the way Shabbat dinner is carried out.

We were fortunate enough to be invited to a Shabbat dinner at the house of our guide's friend; we arrived at the Amit family house by walking that night, as our bus driver had gone home to observe Shabbat--and we couldn't use the bus on Shabbat!

We started dinner by reciting prayer--the blessing over wine, which is called Kiddush. It was presented, almost as if singing a hymn, in Hebrew. After it was finished, we washed our hands in the traditional manner and then broke bread with each other at the table.

We were then served some delicious, homemade Israeli food, including couscous, hummus, and chicken. No one used their phones a single time--both out of respect for not using technology and for being fully present at dinner instead of distracted by social media.

At dinner, we went around and introduced ourselves to the host family--and vice versa. The family had many sons, but only one daughter. The mom of the family was originally South America, but she and her husband--the dad of the Amit family--made Aliyah to Israel to raise their children. Their daughter, Leya, was sitting at dinner with us; she had previously studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and gotten her first degree there.

Some of her brothers were in the IDF at the time, and the others had already served their time (all Israeli citizens, no matter what gender, are required to serve in the IDF--girls for at least two years, boys for at least three--upon turning 18 and graduating high school, though there are other options (like community service) to accommodate for people with disabilities/other conditions, or who choose to not join the army in some day). Leya had chosen community service. She plans on going to medical school in the future, and she was currently studying for the MCAT.

Once we learned about our host family, it was our turn to talk. At this point, our group had not really gotten to know each other very well yet, so this introduction helped us just as much as it helped the host family. Keep in mind that we've only been there for a little over 24 hours, though it's already felt like forever.

We were asked "who are you?" by our host family, and each student spoke individually about themselves for a few minutes. It really allowed our group to break the ice with each other, as I learned something new about every person.

Even for a place as diverse as Berkeley, our group was special--it was a slice of the pie that was more diverse than I had ever seen before. We came from all different walks of life. One Caucasian girl had been born in Indonesia and raised their for the first part of her life, which is something I never could have known just by looking at her.

One guy was half Indian and half Jewish-German and had spent years of his life living in India. Another girl, who was Indian as well, had actually been brought to India to live and study there by her parents--as a surprise! She didn't know she was there to stay until she had gotten there already, which was hard at first but ultimately shaped the way she is today.

That was just a few examples of the amazing stories I heard that night, and thanks to this introduction around the dinner table, I began to really start knowing the genuine, curious, and strong people who were with me--for which I am incredibly grateful.

The next morning, while the Jewish sector of Jerusalem was at rest, we explored the Christian and Muslim Quarters of the Old City. Stay tuned, as we will cover that in the next section!

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