The year 2000 was the first year of the 2000s decade. Popular culture holds the year 2000 as the first year of the 21st century and 3rd millennium, due to a tendency to group the years according to decimal values, as if year zero were counted. According to the Gregorian calendar, this distinction falls to the year 2001, because the 1st century was retroactively said to start with year AD 1. Since the calendar has no year zero, its first millennium spans from years 1 to 1000, inclusively, its second millennium from years 1001 to 2000 and its third from 2001 to 3000.
The Pyrenean Ibex goes extinct
One of two subspecies of Spanish Ibex, the Pyrenean Ibex once ranged across the Pyrenees in France and Spain and the surrounding area, including the Basque Country, Navarre, north Aragon and north Catalonia. A few hundred years ago they were numerous, but by 1900 their numbers had fallen to less than 100. After 1910, their numbers never rose above 40.
The last natural Pyrenean Ibex, a female named Celia, was found dead on 6th January 2000, next to a fallen tree. Although her cause of death is known, the reason for the extinction of the subspecies as a whole is a mystery. Hypotheses include the inability to compete with other species for food, infections and diseases, and poaching.
In January 2009, the Pyrenean Ibex became the first taxon ever to become "un-extinct", for roughly seven minutes, when a cloned female was born alive, before dying from lung defects.*
dot-com bubble bursts
bubble was a speculative bubble covering roughly 1998–2000,
during which stock markets in industrialised nations saw their equity
value rise sharply from growth in the more recent Internet sector and
related technology fields.
of rapidly increasing stock prices, market confidence that the companies
would turn future profits, individual speculation in stocks, and widely
available venture capital created an environment in which many investors
were willing to overlook traditional metrics in favor of confidence
in technological advancements.
on 10th March 2000, with the NASDAQ peaking at 5132. This was followed
by a spectacular crash, with huge numbers of startups going bust. Between
2000 and 2002, more than $5 trillion was wiped off the market value
of technology companies.
Putin is elected president of Russia
Putin rose to the presidency after the unexpected resignation of Boris
Yeltsin. He continued through with many of his same policies. Putin
began his presidency with an aggressive legal reform of the Russian
government. Among his first actions was to group the 89 federal subjects
(states of the Russian Federation) into seven federal districts, each
directly reporting to his office in order to facilitate his administration.
Putin worked to reorganise the government in a stricter and more vertically
structured manner. From this, he began to focus on domestic change,
beginning with the refinement of criminal, tax, and land law. He addressed
some of the more serious demographic trends in Russia - including its
high death rate, cyclical poverty and housing issues. During his two
terms, Russia made huge gains in purchasing power, saw GDP increase
six-fold and experienced rapid increases in industry and investment,
by 76% and 125% respectively. Poverty dropped by 16%, and a flat tax
rate was introduced.
2000 and 2008, oil and natural gas more than doubled their share of
GDP. Despite these economic gains, inflation remained a problem, while
the gap between rich and poor continued to widen.
Russia hosted the G8 Summit for the first time since it joined the forum
in 1997. Throughout his presidency, Putin maintained a cool relationship
with the West, though often criticised foreign countries and their affairs,
notably the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
was criticised for suppression of the media and his borderline fascist
policies. After his reelection, accusations were made that he suppressed
other political factions and reduced pluralism in Russian society. Many
in the West saw him as anti-democratic.
2000 is hosted by Belgium and the Netherlands
of 31 matches played between 16 teams, this was the first UEFA European
football championship to be hosted by two countries. France defeated
Italy 2-1 in the final, becoming the tournament's eleventh victor.
is a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project.
Launched on the 15th January 2001, it went on to become the largest
and by far the most popular general reference work on the Internet.
By 2011, more than 18 million articles (3.7 million in English) had
been written by volunteers from around the world.
Bush is sworn in as the 43rd President of the United States
a controversial election result, Bush was sworn in as president on 20th
January 2001. Though he originally outlined an ambitious domestic agenda,
his priorities were significantly altered following the terrorist attacks
of the same year. Wars were waged in Afghanistan and later Iraq while
significant debates regarding immigration, healthcare, Social Security,
economic policy, and treatment of terrorist detainees took place within
eight year period, Bush's once-high approval ratings steadily declined
throughout his Presidency, while his disapproval numbers increased significantly
over the same time frame. During 2007, the United States entered into
its longest post-World War II recession and the administration responded
by enacting multiple stimulus packages.
station Mir is deorbited
to the International Space Station, the Russian-controlled Mir had been
in orbit since 1986. In that time, it had hosted astronauts and cosmonauts
from twelve different countries. The last crew left in 1999 and, despite
attempts by private companies to purchase it, the aging space station
was deemed unsalvageable. It was ditched in the Pacific Ocean near Fiji,
with a few large pieces later retrieved.
world's first space tourist
engineer and multimillionaire Dennis Tito became the world's first space
tourist in 2001. He spent nearly eight days on the International Space
Station, Soyuz TM-32 and Soyuz TM-31, orbiting Earth a total of 128
several scientific experiments that he said would be useful for his
company and business. Tito paid a reported $20 million for his trip,
through an arrangement with space tourism company Space Adventures Ltd.
devastating terrorist attack leaves 3,000 dead in America
11th, 2001, a series of coordinated suicide attacks took place in the
United States. On that morning, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four
commercial airliners. The hijackers intentionally crashed two of the
airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York,
killing everyone on board, along with many others working in the buildings.
- two of the tallest in the world at the time - collapsed within two
hours, destroying nearby buildings and heavily damaging others. The
hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon, just outside Washington,
D.C. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville in rural
Pennsylvania, after some of its passengers and crew attempted to retake
control of the plane, which the hijackers had redirected toward Washington,
D.C. There were no survivors from any of the flights.
and the 19 hijackers died as a result of the attacks. The overwhelming
majority of casualties were civilians, including nationals of over 90
countries. In addition, the death of at least one person from lung disease
was ruled by a medical examiner to be a result of exposure to dust from
the World Trade Center's collapse.
stock exchanges stayed closed for the rest of the week following the
attack, and posted enormous losses upon reopening, especially in the
airline and insurance industries. The destruction of billions of dollars'
worth of office space caused serious damage to the economy of Lower
States responded to the attacks by launching a "War on Terrorism"
- invading Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, who had harbored al-Qaeda
terrorists, and enacting the USA PATRIOT Act. Many other countries also
strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation and greatly expanded law
launches the iPod
a new line of portable media players designed and marketed by Apple.
The first generation was launched on 10th November 2001. With its user-friendly
interface and gigabytes of storage capacity, the iPod went on to become
phenomenally successful. The introduction of the iTunes store, with
millions of songs available to download, substantially boosted Apple's
euro was established by the provisions in the Maastricht Treaty of 1992.
To participate in the currency, Member States were required to meet
strict criteria, such as a budget deficit of less than 3% of GDP, a
debt ratio of less than 60% of GDP, low inflation, and interest rates
close to the EU average.
was introduced to world financial markets as an accounting currency
on 1 January 1999, with Euro coins and banknotes entering circulation
on 1 January 2002. The euro became the second largest reserve currency
and the second most traded currency in the world after the U.S. dollar.
is the sole currency of 17 EU Member States: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus,
Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,
Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. These
countries comprise the "eurozone"; some 326 million people
introduces the iMac G4
iMac G4 was produced by Apple from the beginning of 2002 to mid 2004.
It replaced the aging iMac G3.
featured a radical new design, with a 15-inch LCD screen mounted on
an adjustable arm above a hemisphere containing a full-size, tray-loading
optical drive. CPU speeds ranged from 700 Mhz to 1.25 Ghz.
world's first cyborg
2002, cybernetics professor Kevin Warwick at the University of Reading,
UK, achieved a major breakthrough in the field of brain-computer interfaces.
The landmark project consisted of two experiments, both carried out
by Professor Warwick himself.
involved an array of around one hundred electrodes, implanted into his
arm. These were able to connect directly with his central nervous system
and propagate an electrical signal outside of his body. Using this method,
Professor Warwick successfully manipulated a robotic hand, using nothing
but nerve impulses. Further experiments included long distance control
via the Internet, as well as the control of a powered wheelchair.
stage of the project was direct, artificial connectivity between two
humans. This too was successfully demonstrated. Using the Internet as
the go-between, signals were sent between him and his wife. Although
the effects were minimal, it was the first time that nerve signals had
been sent artificially between two humans.*
experiment, it was proven that the implanted interfaces left minimal
damage to tissue.
is a binary, trans-Neptunian object and dwarf planet. It was discovered
on 4th June 2002 by astronomers at the California Institute of Technology.
It orbits at 43 astronomical units (6.4×109 km; 4.0×109 mi) from the Sun, with an orbital period of 286 years. It has a single
tiny moon called Weywot.
deadliest act of terrorism in the history of Indonesia
2002 Bali bombings occurred on 12 October 2002 in the tourist district
of Kuta on the Indonesian island of Bali. The attack was the deadliest
act of terrorism in the history of Indonesia, killing 202 people, 152
of whom were foreign nationals (including 88 Australians), and 38 Indonesian
citizens. A further 240 people were injured.
The attack involved
the detonation of three bombs: a backpack-mounted device carried by
a suicide bomber; a large car bomb, both of which were detonated in
or near popular nightclubs in Kuta; and a third much smaller device
detonated outside the United States consulate in Denpasar, causing only
of Jemaah Islamiyah, a violent Islamist group, were convicted in relation
to the bombings, including three individuals who were sentenced to death.
Shuttle Columbia disaster
the conclusion of the STS-107 mission, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during reentry over Texas, killing all 7 astronauts onboard.
of Columbia was a result of damage sustained during launch,
when a piece of foam insulation the size of a small briefcase broke
off the Space Shuttle external tank (the main propellant tank) under
the aerodynamic forces of launch. The debris struck the leading edge
of the left wing, damaging the Shuttle's thermal protection system,
which was unable to protect it from heat generated by the atmospheric
invasion of Iraq
invasion of Iraq was led by the United States, alongside the United
Kingdom and smaller contingents from other countries. The initial invasion
phase lasted from 20th March to 1st May and involved troops from the
US (248,000), UK (45,000), Australia (2,000) and Poland (194). 36 other
countries were involved in its aftermath.
to then President of the United States, George W. Bush and then Prime
Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, the reasons for the invasion
were "to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), to end
Saddam Hussein's support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people."
According to Blair, the trigger was Iraq's failure to take a "final
opportunity" to disarm itself of nuclear, chemical, and biological
weapons that US and British officials called an immediate and intolerable
threat to world peace.
some remnants of pre-1991 production were found after the end of the
war, US government spokespeople confirmed that these were not the weapons
for which the US went to war. In 2005, the Central Intelligence Agency
released a report saying that no weapons of mass destruction had been
found in Iraq.
2007, the Iraqi government reported that there were 5 million orphans
in Iraq - nearly half of the country's children. According to the UN,
Iraq's health had deteriorated to a level not seen since the 1950s.
Malnutrition rates had risen from 19% before the US-led invasion to
a national average of 28% four years later. Some 60-70% of Iraqi children
were suffering from psychological problems. 68% of Iraqis had no access
to safe drinking water. A cholera outbreak in northern Iraq was thought
to be the result of poor water quality. As many as half of Iraqi doctors
left the country between 2003 and 2007.
the lowest credible estimate of civilian casualties in both Iraq and
Afghanistan was around 850,000 - about 283 times as many than were killed
in the attacks of 9/11. Put another way: over 121 times as many people
had been killed in these wars and occupations than in all terrorist
attacks in the world from 1993-2004, according to data compiled by the
US State Department.
the entire Iraq War and occupation there were countless human rights
cost of the war had been more than $845 billion to the US, with the
total cost to the US economy estimated at $3 trillion.
Human Genome Project is completed
Human Genome Project was an international scientific research project
with a primary goal to determine the sequence of chemical base pairs
which make up DNA and to map the 25,000 genes of the human genome from
both a physical and functional standpoint.
in 1990. Halfway through the project, critics pointed out that given
the speed at which the genome could then be scanned, it would take thousands
of years to finish.
a working draft of the genome was released in 2000 and a complete one
in 2003. This was made possible thanks to exponential progress - like
many areas of science, information on the base pairs was actually doubling
every year and required only a few more doublings to reach 100%.
brings enormous long term benefits to the world of science and medicine.
Knowledge of the effects of variation of DNA among individuals can revolutionise
the ways to diagnose, treat and prevent a number of diseases that affect
human beings, in addition to providing clues to the understanding of
biology as a whole.
heatwaves kill tens of thousands in Europe
2003 European heat wave was one of the hottest summers ever recorded
in Europe. It led to a health crisis in several countries and combined
with drought to create a crop shortfall. Seven days with temperatures
of more than 40°C (104 °F) were recorded in France. More than
37,000 died as a result, mostly the elderly.
of this kind will become an annual occurence by 2080.
Above: 2003 heatwave temperature variations in comparison
to normal temperatures in Europe.
was launched in this year and quickly became one of the most popular
social networking sites on the web. In 2006, the 100 millionth account
was created. However, it was overtaken by its main competitor - Facebook
- during April 2008, based on monthly unique visitors.
launches its first manned space mission
15th October 2003, China successfully placed its manned "Shenzhou
5" spacecraft into orbit. This followed four previous missions,
of which three were unmanned and one carried animals. The capsule carried
a single astronaut, Yang Liwei. It was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite
Launch Center in the Gobi Desert, using a Long March 2F rocket booster.
5 was made up of three components: a service module, orbital module
and re-entry module. The orbital module spent 21 hours above the Earth,
reaching a maximum height of 336 km (209 mi). It contained various experimental
equipment and was left in space, along with the service module. The
re-entry component returned to Earth after orbiting the planet 14 times.
mission, China became only the third country in the world to have independently
put humans into space. Following the program's success, two more manned
missions were launched - Shenzhou 6 in 2005, and Shenzhou 7 in 2008.
However, China still received some criticism for its expensive space
program, with some saying the money could have been better spent elsewhere.
emergence of Web 2.0
year onwards saw the emergence of Web 2.0 - the next incarnation of
the Internet. Up until recently, it had been primarily a tool used to
publish material for public consumption. This could be defined as Web
1.0 and was simply a one-way street.
however, is far more powerful and versatile. It marks a transition from
pure consumption by users to active participation. A host of new features
and services are flourishing at this time. These include a focus on
user-orientated design, information sharing and collaboration. The Internet
is becoming a method of peer review - as well as a new template for
content is becoming widespread during this time, with the average person
finding it much easier to participate in what is becoming a true world
wide web. Some hallmarks of Web 2.0 include the emergence of blogs,
wikis, video sharing, hosted services, web applications and social networking.
Indeed, the changes occurring in cyberspace at this time are setting
the stage for what could be called the first collective intelligence.
Broadband is also becoming cheaper and more widely available during
this time, surpassing the number of dialup connections in some countries.
Credit: Markus Angermeier/Luca Cremonini
first recorded hurricane in the South Atlantic
hurricane, known as Cyclone Catarina, formed off the coast of Brazil
in mid-March and began to move toward the coast. Despite being a relatively
low-level category one hurricane, the people in this region had never
experienced such a storm in all of recorded history.
landfall, Catarina damaged or destroyed over 40,000 homes and dealt
huge damage to the rice and banana crops in the area. Three people were
confirmed dead. The overall damage amounted to some $350 million.
debated over the cause of such a rare formation, many attributing it
to climate change. Although the hurricane was never officially declared
a result of global warming, the consensus stated that it was the product
of highly unusual warm currents in the South Atlantic - an ominous sign.
W. Bush is re-elected
US presidential election of 2004 was the United States' 55th quadrennial
presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Republican
Party candidate and incumbent President George W. Bush defeated Democratic
Party candidate John Kerry, the then-junior U.S. Senator from Massachusetts.
Foreign policy was the dominant theme throughout the election campaign,
particularly Bush's conduct of the War on Terrorism and the 2003 invasion
As in the 2000 presidential election, voting controversies and concerns of irregularities emerged during and after the vote. The winner was not determined until the following day, when Kerry decided not to dispute Bush's win in the state of Ohio. The state held enough electoral votes to determine the winner of the presidency. Both Kerry and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean have stated their opinion that voting in Ohio did not proceed fairly and that, had it done so, the Democratic ticket might have won that state and therefore the election. However, there was far less controversy about this election than in 2000.
Only three states changed allegiance. New Mexico and Iowa voted Democratic in 2000, but voted Republican in 2004. New Hampshire voted Republican in 2000 but voted Democratic in 2004. In the Electoral College, Bush received 286 votes, and Kerry 251.
hosts the Olympic Games
was the first time since 1896 that the Olympics were held in Greece.
The 2004 Madrid train bombings were a series of coordinated bombings against the Cercanías (commuter train) system of Madrid, on the morning of 11 March 2004 (three days before Spain's general elections), killing 191 people and wounding 1,800.
The official investigation by the Spanish Judiciary determined that the attacks were directed by a Muslim al-Qaeda-inspired terrorist cell, although no direct al-Qaeda participation (only "inspiration") was established.
demonstrations and protests followed the attacks. Some analysts claim
that the Aznar administration lost the general elections as a result
of the handling and representation of the terrorist attacks, rather
than the bombings per se.
Ultra Deep Field
Hubble Ultra Deep Field was an image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope,
with an exposure time of 1 million seconds. It was the deepest image
of the universe ever taken by humans - looking back more than 13 billion
years to just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang.
image was taken in a section of sky with a low density of bright stars
in the near-field, allowing much better viewing of dimmer, more distant
objects. It revealed an estimated 10,000 galaxies. Located southwest
of Orion in the southern hemisphere constellation Fornax, the image
covers 11.0 square arcminutes. This is just one-tenth the diameter of
the full moon as viewed from Earth, or smaller than a 1 mm by 1 mm square
of paper held 1 meter away, and equal to roughly one thirteen-millionth
of the total area of the sky.
Mars Exploration Rover Mission (MER) was a NASA mission involving two
rovers - Spirit and Opportunity - exploring the surface of Mars.
Their primary scientific
objective was to search for and characterise a wide range of rocks and
soils holding clues to past water activity on Mars. The mission was
part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program which included three previous
successful landers: the two Viking landers in 1976 and Mars Pathfinder
cost of building, launching, landing and operating the rovers for the
initial 90-Martian-day primary mission was US$820 million. However,
the rovers continued to function substantially beyond their intended
lifespan and remained operational into the following decade.
first privately-funded human spaceflight
15P of SpaceShipOne became the first privately-funded human spaceflight,
taking place in June 2004. It was the fourth powered test flight of
the Tier One program, the previous three test flights having reached
much lower altitudes. The flight carried only its pilot, Mike Melvill,
who thus became the first non-governmental astronaut.
in 2004, Facebook later became the most popular social networking site
on the web – overtaking its main competitor, MySpace, in April
2008. It also became the most popular site for uploading photos, with
14 million uploaded daily. By 2010, it had over 350 million members
– or about one-fifth of all users on the Internet.
has met with some controversy. It has been blocked intermittently in
several countries including Syria, China, Vietnam and Iran. It has also
been banned at many places of work to discourage employees from wasting
time using the service. Privacy has also been an issue, and has been
compromised on a number of occasions.
first 1 gigabyte SD card
2004, SanDisk released the
first SD (Secure Digital) card with a capacity of 1 gigabyte. Costing
around $500, this was enough to store 300 MP3 music files, or 2,000
images taken at 1,600 x 1,200-pixel resolution, or around nine hours
of MPEG4 video. SD card
capacities continued to increase exponentially – doubling each
year whilst declining rapidly in cost. By 2011, they were available at 128GB.
skyline gets a new landmark
St Mary Axe – also known as the "Gherkin" and the Swiss
Re Building – was constructed between 2001 and 2003. It officially
opened in April 2004.
Standing 180m (590
ft) tall, it became the 2nd tallest skyscraper in the City of London.
Designed by architects Norman Foster and Ken Shuttleworth, it radically
altered the skyline of London and symbolised the start of a high-rise
construction boom in the city.
has strong environmental credentials. Natural light reaches the very
core of the building – thanks to cutaway "lightwells"
behind the façade, angled progressively on each floor. Occupants
have 360º views of the outside world, preventing "sick building
syndrome", which can be a major cause of discomfort to office workers.
Light and movement sensors control artificial lighting when needed.
Meanwhile, the building’s
aerodynamic form encourages wind to flow around its face, minimising
wind loads on the structure and cladding, enabling the use of a more
efficient structure. Wind is not deflected to ground level – as
with rectilinear buildings – helping to maintain pedestrian comfort
and safety at the base of the building.
air movement around the building generates substantial pressure differences
across its face, which can be used to facilitate natural ventilation
within the building. In other words, the building can actually "breathe"
by drawing in fresh air from outside, through the space formed between
its double-skin glass cladding and circulating throughout its 40 storeys,
once again saving huge amounts of energy consumption.
As a final
touch, the building lacks parking spaces, except for disabled access.
This encourages the use of public transport and bicycles, rather than
2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea megathrust earthquake that
occurred on 26th December 2004, with an epicentre off the west coast
of Sumatra, Indonesia.
Caused by subduction,
it triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along coasts bordering
the Indian Ocean, inundating towns and cities with waves up to 30 meters
(100 feet) high. Nearly 230,000 people in fourteen countries were killed
and 1.7 million displaced. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters
in recorded history. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand were the
With a magnitude
of 9.3, it was the second largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph.
This earthquake had the longest duration of faulting ever observed,
between 8.3 and 10 minutes. It caused the entire planet to vibrate as
much as 1 cm (0.4 inches) and triggered other earthquakes as far away
of the many affected people and countries prompted a widespread humanitarian
response. In all, the worldwide community donated more than $7 billion
(2004 U.S. dollars) in aid.
probe reveals images of Titan's surface
Huygens probe, supplied by the European Space Agency (ESA) and named
after the Dutch 17th century astronomer Christiaan Huygens, was an atmospheric
entry probe carried to Saturn's moon Titan as part of the Cassini-Huygens
mission. The combined Cassini-Huygens spacecraft was launched from Earth
separated from the Cassini orbiter on 25th December 2004, and landed
on Titan on 14th January 2005, near the Xanadu region. It touched down
on land, although the possibility that it would touch down in an ocean
was also taken into account during its design.
continued to send data for about 90 minutes after reaching the surface.
video-sharing website, YouTube, was launched in February 2005. It grew
rapidly, reaching 100m views per day within a year of being launched.
By 2007, the site consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet
in 2000 - and in March 2008, its bandwidth costs were estimated at approximately
$1 million a day. By 2009, the site had reached over a billion views
daily, becoming the 4th most popular website after Google, Yahoo! and
social impact was considerable. Before its launch in 2005, there were
few easy methods available for computer users wanting to post videos
online. With its simple interface, YouTube made it possible for anyone
with an Internet connection to post a video that a worldwide audience
could watch within minutes. The wide range of topics covered by YouTube
turned video sharing into one of the most important parts of Internet
popularised many trends outside the Internet, created a number of Internet
celebrities, and promoted democracy and debate around the globe. It
even played a role in the 2008 US presidential election.
the site proved controversial in some nations, with governments blocking
access. It also received criticism for failing to ensure copyright protection.
The Deep Impact probe collides its impactor device with comet 9P/Tempel
Impact was a NASA-operated probe designed to study the interior
composition of comets. It was made up of two sections. The larger was
a flyby component, equipped with various imaging devices, an infrared
spectrometer, and high and medium resolution cameras. The impactor was
the second piece, weighing in at around 370 kilograms. It contained
only a targeting sensor, the rest being mostly copper alloy.
was to launch the impactor from the flyby module and position it to
collide with the comet 9P/Tempel. The flyby module would then study
the composition of the ejected material, as well as the internal structure
of the comet, visible through the resultant crater. This plan proved
successful, with the impactor striking the comet with the force of 4.7
tons of TNT.
regarding these celestial bodies were answered as a result of the mission.
The entire project from launch to collision gained considerable media
attention which, combined with the wealth of useful data gained by it,
led NASA to consider Deep Impact one of its greatest modern
successes. The flyby module was later put on an extended mission to
study other comets of the inner solar system.
flash drives replace floppy disks
the middle of this decade, flash drives featuring the Universal Serial
Bus (USB) interface had superseded the previously standard floppy disks.
The latter had been in use since the mid-1970s, but now, along with
CD-ROMs, were experiencing massive drops in commercial use - essentially
were smaller and faster, had vastly more data memory and a much wider
range of connectivity. Later in the decade, they would act as the standard
flash drive for most computers and game consoles.
bombers in London kill 56 people, injure 700 others
7 July 2005 London bombings, also known as 7/7, were a series of coordinated
suicide attacks on London's public transport system during the morning
rush hour. The bombings were carried out by four British Muslim men,
three of Pakistani and one of Jamaican descent.
three bombs exploded within fifty seconds of each other on three London
Underground trains, a fourth exploding an hour later at 09:47 on a double-decker
bus in Tavistock Square. The explosions appear to have been caused by
home-made organic peroxide-based devices, packed into rucksacks and
detonated by the bombers themselves. Fifty-six people were killed, including
the bombers, and around 700 were injured.
Katrina floods New Orleans
Katrina, of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, was the costliest hurricane
- as well as one of the five deadliest, in the history of the United
States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was sixth strongest overall.
formed over the Bahamas on August 23, 2005 and crossed southern Florida
as a moderate Category 1 hurricane, causing some deaths and flooding
there before strengthening rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm
weakened before making its second landfall as a Category 3 storm on
the morning of Monday, August 29 in southeast Louisiana. It caused severe
destruction along the Gulf coast from central Florida to Texas, much
of it due to the storm surge.
The most severe
loss of life and property damage occurred in New Orleans, Louisiana,
which flooded as the levee system catastrophically failed, in many cases
hours after the storm had moved inland. Eventually, 80% of the city
and large tracts of neighboring parishes became flooded, with the floodwaters
lingering for weeks.
At least 1,836 people
lost their lives in the actual hurricane and in the subsequent floods,
while preliminary damage estimates were in excess of $100 billion -
eclipsing many times the damage wrought by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
failures prompted investigations into their design and construction.
There was also an investigation of the responses from federal, state
and local governments. Years later, thousands of displaced residents
in Mississippi and Louisiana were still living in trailers.
Merkel becomes the first female Chancellor of Germany
Merkel, leader of the Christian Democrats (CDU), became Germany's first
woman chancellor. Mrs Merkel, a conservative, headed a coalition with
the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), who ruled before. Two years
later, she became President of the European Council and only the second
woman to chair the G8 after Margaret Thatcher.
a central role in the negotiation of the Treaty of Lisbon and the Berlin
Declaration. In domestic policy, health care reform and problems concerning
future energy development would become major issues of her tenure.
oil production has reached a bumpy plateau
crude oil production was reported by the International Energy Agency
(a notoriously optimistic group) to have finally peaked this year. However,
this was only announced some four years later, with the release of its World Energy Outlook 2010.*
confirmed what many had suspected and feared - that the principal driver
of humanity's development, for over 150 years, was now finally being
exhausted.* There were major issues
the report failed to address, such as where the crude oil for the next
25 years was expected to be found (to even maintain a plateau), as well
energy return on energy invested, the quality of energy from newly developed
fields, the inevitable recession from higher prices, the political sensitivity
of remaining reserves, and much more.*
A new peak
for conventional crude was reported by a different agency in 2011; this
occurred alongside a revolutionary uprising in the Middle East, adding
further uncertainty over future supplies.* The volatility of oil prices and supplies is becoming a serious threat
to economic and geopolitical stability.
Global oil production as reported by the International Energy Agency
was founded in 2006. This new method of social networking and micro-blogging
grew rapidly in popularity. Within a few years, it was comparable with
Facebook in terms of prominence. Numerous celebrities were using it
to keep in touch with fans, while news outlets and businesses used it
to supply updates to their followers. By 2011, Twitter had over 200
million users, was generating 190 million "tweets" a day and
handling 1.6 billion search queries.
is demoted to "dwarf planet" status
its discovery in 1930 until 2006, Pluto was considered the Solar System's
ninth planet. In the late 1970s, following the discovery of minor planet
2060 Chiron and the recognition of Pluto's very low mass, its status
as a major planet began to be questioned. Later, in the early 21st century,
many objects similar to Pluto were discovered in the outer Solar System,
notably the scattered disc object Eris, which is 27% more massive than
August 2006 the International Astronomical Union defined the term "planet"
for the first time. This definition excluded Pluto, instead adding it
as a member of a new category - "dwarf planet" - together
with Eris and Ceres. After the reclassification, Pluto was added to
the list of minor planets and given the number 134340. A number of scientists
continued to hold that Pluto should be classified as a planet.
Korea conducts its first nuclear test
Korea announced its intention to conduct a test on 3rd October, six
days prior, and in doing so became the first nation to give warning
of its first nuclear test. The blast was estimated to have an explosive
force of less than one kiloton, and some radioactive output was detected.
official at the North Korean Embassy in Beijing told a South Korean
newspaper that the explosive output was smaller than expected. Because
of the secretive nature of North Korea and the small yield of the test,
there were questions as to whether it was an unusually small successful
test, or simply a dud.
case, international condemnation of the tests was nearly unanimous,
including from North Korea's close ally, the People's Republic of China.
On 14th October 2006, the UN Security Council unanimously approved military
and economic sanctions.
West African black rhino is declared extinct
the start of the 21st century, there were four subspecies of black rhino.
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) announced in 2006 that one of the
four subspecies, the West African Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis
longipes), had been tentatively declared extinct. Despite an exhaustive
survey across Africa, none could be found, and there were none being
held in captivity anywhere. The remaining three subspecies remained
Hussein is executed
execution of Saddam Hussein took place on 30th December, 2006. He was
sentenced to death by hanging, after being found guilty of crimes against
humanity by the Iraqi Special Tribunal for the murder of 148 Iraqi Shi'ites
in the town of Dujail in 1982, in retaliation for an assassination attempt
Hussein was President of Iraq from 1979 until 2003, when he was deposed
during the invasion of Iraq by a U.S.-led Allied Coalition. After his
capture in ad-Dawr, near his hometown of Tikrit, he was incarcerated
at Camp Cropper. On 5th November 2006, he was sentenced to death by
December, he was taken to the prison to be executed. The Iraqi government
released an official videotape of the execution, showing him being led
to the gallows, and ending after his head was in the hangman's noose.
International public controversy arose when an unauthorized cellphone
recording showed him falling through the trapdoor of the gallows. The
audio - which was not in the official video - revealed taunts between
Saddam and his executioners, many of whom were strong supporters of
Muqtada Al-Sadr. The unprofessional and undignified atmosphere of the
execution drew criticism from nations around the world.
December 2006, Saddam Hussein's body was returned to his birthplace
of Al-Awja, near Tikrit, and was buried near the graves of other family
this period, the world experiences the biggest financial crisis since
the Great Depression. Former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan,
calls it a "once-in-a-century type of event".
financial meltdown is caused by a number of factors.
it is a result of the Wild West casino mentality which has characterised
investment banking over the last two decades, combined with a lack of
regulation. Merchant bankers - keen to make a fast buck - had realised
there were vast numbers of poor Americans who had been refused loans
because they wouldn't be able to pay them back. Motivated by short term
gains, they employed predatory mortgage lenders to offer these people
the chance to own their first home. Inevitably, this led to millions
of poor Americans with homes they couldn't afford. Bankers
then bundled these mortgages together with other more secure loans,
before selling them on to other banks, who sold them onto other financial
institutions, and so on. The bankers then received enormous bonuses
for the commission and fees they generated.
prime" market was a time bomb waiting to go off. As interest rates
rose, millions of Americans began defaulting on repayments. The loans
which had originated from them were suddenly shown to be worthless -
but it was already too late, as trillions of dollars' worth had spread
throughout the system. With banks afraid to lend to each other - and
not knowing the extent of each others' exposure - the outcome was collapse
on an unprecedented scale, with a liquidity crisis almost unparalleled
in history. Some of the largest banks in the world, including Lehman
Brothers and Bear Sterns, went into administration. Mortgage giants
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were nationalised. Even the likes of AIG
and Citigroup had to be rescued.
major factor which led to all this, was simply the greed of consumers
and their desire for instant gratification. In addition to buying homes
they couldn't afford, credit cards and loans were used to purchase endless
luxury items and other products they didn't particularly need. Personal
debt levels soared, leading to
a massive rise in bankruptcies and foreclosures, triggering a worldwide
Sarkozy is elected President of the French Republic
succeeded Jacques Chirac as French president and promised to usher in
a new era of change. Among his aims was the revitalisation of the French
economy. He pledged to revive the work ethic and promote new initiatives,
as well as fighting intolerance. In foreign affairs, he promised a strengthening
of the entente cordiale with the United Kingdom and closer
cooperation with the United States. He married former model Carla Bruni
Brown succeeds Tony Blair as Prime Minister of Great Britain
during the first four months of his premiership, Brown enjoyed a good
lead in the polls. His popularity amongst the public was due in part
to his handling of several serious events during his first weeks as
end of 2008, his popularity had fallen significantly, with eight Labour
MPs calling for a leadership contest. However, this threat receded due
to his perceived strong handling of the global financial crisis.
hit an all time low during the expenses scandal of May 2009, which Brown
was seen to deal with indecisively. To make matters worse, Brown's cabinet
began to rebel, with several key resignations in the run up to local
and European elections in June 2009.
debuts the iPhone
in June 2007, the iPhone is a multimedia-enabled smartphone designed
and marketed by Apple. It functions as a camera phone (also including
text messaging and visual voicemail), a portable media player (equivalent
to a video iPod), and Internet client (with e-mail, web browsing, and
Wi-Fi connectivity), using a multi-touch screen to provide a virtual
keyboard in lieu of a physical keyboard. Time magazine named
it the Invention of the Year.
advanced model, the iPhone 3G, was released in 2008. This supported
faster 3G data speeds and assisted GPS. Apple released version 3.0 of
the iPhone OS for the iPhone (and iPod Touch) in 2009. The iPhone 3GS
had improved performance, a camera with higher resolution and video
capability, along with voice control.
over 42 million units had been sold, with tens of thousands of downloadable
apps now available.
suicide bombings kill 796 people in Kahtaniya, northern Iraq
Yazidi communities bombings occurred at around 8pm local time on 14th
August 2007, when four co-ordinated suicide bomb attacks detonated in
the Yazidi villages of Kahtaniya and Jazeera, near Mosul. Entire neighbourhoods
were flattened by the blasts.
Crescent's estimates stated that 796 were killed and 1,562 wounded,
making it the Iraq War's most deadly car bomb attack during the period
of American combat operations. It was also the second deadliest act
of terrorism in the world - following only behind the 9/11 attacks on
the United States which killed 3,000 people.
claimed responsibility for the attack, though Al-Qaeda were the prime
sea ice hits a record low
sea ice hit a record low of 4.14 million km² during the summer
of 2007. This shattered the previous record, with an area of additional
melting the size of five United Kingdoms. For the first time in recorded
history, the fabled Northwest Passage became open to ships without the
need for icebreakers.
Kindle is a software and hardware platform developed by Amazon subsidiary
Lab126, for rendering and displaying e-books and other digital media.
The device uses an electronic paper display and is able to download
books and other digital content from Amazon, without a computer and
without any monthly fee.
Street View is launched
Street View is a technology featured in Google Maps and Google Earth
that provides panoramic views from various positions along many streets
in the world. It was originally launched only in several US cities,
but gradually expanded to include many more cities and rural areas worldwide.
Bhutto is assassinated in Pakistan
was assassinated on 27th December 2007, after departing a PPP rally
in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi - two weeks before the scheduled
Pakistani general election of 2008, where she was a leading opposition
candidate. The following year, she was named one of seven winners of
the UN Prize in the Field of Human Rights.
Medvedev is elected president of Russia
took office during the 2008 financial crisis. He immediately set about
shifting federal funds to the market sector to stabilise the situation,
and also created new legislation concerning the government's control
over economic activities. Medvedev's vision of the economy was one focused
on technology and innovation. He set about reducing the economy's dependence
on oil and gas revenues.
of his key policies was the fight against corruption, which he worked
towards with new laws concerning governmental self-awareness. One of
Medvedev's first moves in office was to appoint former president Vladimir
Putin as Prime Minister. Putin's extreme influence and high popularity
caused some to speculate about a "tandem rule," with Medvedev
and Putin in a duel-headed executive position.
to a poll conducted in September 2009 by the Levada Center, in which
1,600 people from across Russia took part, 13% believed Medvedev held
the most power, 32% Putin, and 48% both (7% failed to answer). However,
Medvedev affirmed his position of strength, stating, "I am the
leader of this state, I am the head of this state, and the division
of power is based on this."
was a strong tropical cyclone that caused the worst natural disaster
in the history of Burma. After forming in the North Indian Ocean, it
moved quickly towards the coast. Upon making landfall, it caused massive
destruction, with peak wind speeds of 135 mph (215 km/h), making it
a category 4 on the Saffir–Simpson Scale. It continued inland
for over a day before dissipating.
international aid was immediately offered, the unstable political conditions
made relief efforts difficult. The Burmese military regime initially
resisted foreign intervention, and afterwards continued to hamper efforts
to import food and medical supplies.
done was estimated to be around $10 billion. The official death toll
was set at 138,366, but the actual number of deaths could have been
much higher, the government likely having minimised it to reduce political
fallout. Whatever the actual number, Cyclone Nargis remains one of the
deadliest natural disasters of all time.
prices hit a record high of $147/barrel
July 2008, oil prices rose to a record high of $147 a barrel following
concern over recent Iranian missile tests. However, prices declined
to just $33 a barrel in December, less than a quarter of the peak price
reached four months earlier. A strong contributor to this decline was
the drop in demand for oil in the USA, as well as the global equities
net continues to boom
the ongoing financial crisis, the Internet continued to grow at a phenomenal
pace. By 2008, Google had processed over 1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion)
unique URLs, whilst the number of individual web pages was growing by
several billion per day and the number of individual users
had reached nearly 1.5 billion.
could now be accessed virtually anywhere, by numerous means. Mobile
phones, smartphones, datacards, laptops, handheld games consoles and
cellular routers allowed users to connect to the Internet from anywhere
that had a cellular network supporting that device's technology. Broadband
was becoming ubiquitous.
trends included the rise of social networking sites (such as Facebook),
social bookmarking (such as Digg) and a huge increase in blogging,
micro-blogging, wiki sites, music downloads, video sharing and podcasts.
gaming was now becoming immensely popular. It was no longer a niche
market, but very much part of mainstream entertainment - with some games
generating more revenue than blockbuster movies. Users could participate
in highly realistic battle simulations (such as the Call of Duty series), racing games, or MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role
Playing Games) such as World of Warcraft; or they could explore
and interact with entire virtual worlds (such as Second Life)
and engage in the trading of virtual goods and services.
high street retailers - especially those dealing in purely digital products
such as games, DVDs or music CDs - were now finding themselves increasingly
outmoded by online retailers who offered greater speed, convenience
and cost savings.
extract images directly from the brain
a major scientific breakthrough, a Japanese company developed a way
of analysing electrical signals sent from the visual cortex and converting
them to digital images on screen.
of the experiments, test subjects were shown the six letters in the
word "neuron". The computer successfully reconstructed the
word on screen by measuring their brain activity.*
purely artificial components, Japanese scientists at the University
of Toyama created unusually stable, double-stranded structures resembling
natural DNA. This breakthrough could lead to improvements in gene therapy,
nano-sized computers and other high-tech advances.*
in wireless energy transfer
Corporation demonstrates wireless electricity sent to a lightbulb at
75% efficiency.* This technology still
faces a number of problems,* but will
eventually see large-scale adoption. One of the main benefits will be
reduced clutter in homes and offices, since the need for power cords
will be eliminated.
advances in CGI
modelling technology, pioneered by California-based company Image Metrics,
now enables the most minute details of a facial expression to be captured
and recreated. This means a long-standing barrier known as the 'uncanny
valley' - the perception that animation looks less realistic as
it approaches human likeness - may soon be crossed. An example of this
new technology can be seen in the video below, which shows an entirely
computer-generated woman called "Emily". Researches believe
the line between what appears real and what is merely rendered may be
blurred completely by 2020.*
adverts on London's tube
adverts - including web content displayed in real time - are appearing
on the London Underground.* They are
limited to the busiest stations initially, but will soon spread to the
entire network. Various other cities are beginning to adopt this technology
hosts the Olympic Games
Summer Olympics were held in Beijing and featured a spectacular opening
ceremony. However, the choice of China as a host country was the subject
of criticism by some politicians and non-governmental organizations
concerned about China's human rights record. China and others, meanwhile,
warned against politicising the Olympics. At the closing ceremony, IOC
president Jacques Rogge declared the event a "truly exceptional
Games", after earlier asserting that the IOC had "absolutely
no regrets" in choosing Beijing to host the 2008 Games.
Obama is sworn in as 44th president of the USA
Obama was elected the forty-fourth president of the United States in
January of this year, becoming the first African American to do so.
His immediate actions were focused on the financial problems plaguing
the country. He subsequently introduced several economic stimulus packages.
Billions upon billions of dollars were spent in an effort to reinvigorate
the financial system and free up credit. A country-wide cleanup of the
banking system, with the aim of removing any toxic bank assets or loans,
was soon begun.
issue which became a prime focus of Obama's presidency was the failing
auto industry. The government issued financial aid to automotive giants
General Motors and Chrysler, with GM becoming partly controlled by the
federal government. During this time, the U.S. was going though a period
of high unemployment. Obama quickly began to put resources toward job
creation. Unemployment rates peaked in late 2009 and then slowly began
to trend downwards. Moderate rates of GDP growth and economic expansion
were experienced in the first years of Obama's term.
began several rigorous reforms to the social infrastructure of the U.S.
The most prominent of these was the trillion dollar health reforms.
These changes were made to stem the unending growth in healthcare spending
and to address certain issues with health insurance and access to care.
These reforms garnered considerable criticism. Many viewed them as a
sign of government over-spending, while others questioned how much the
healthcare system would actually benefit from the bills.
to pull troops out of Iraq between 2009 and 2010, while transitioning
those who remained from combat roles to counter-terrorism and the training
of Iraqi security forces. However, Obama continued to bolster American
military presence in Afghanistan. During the first years of his presidency,
Obama saw his approval ratings steadily decline, though he remained
popular in foreign countries. His approval ratings increased slightly
in May 2011 when he authorised a raid in Pakistan, conducted by US Navy
SEALs, which led to the death of Osama bin Laden.
breakthrough in cancer research
a major scientific landmark was achieved, as the complete genetic codes
for both skin and lung cancer were identified.* Every mutation turning healthy cells cancerous was now fully catalogued
- paving the way for drug targets that could lead to possible cures
in the not-too-distant future. Blood tests to spot tumours would also
be possible at far earlier stages.
code for other types of cancer will soon be catalogued too: the USA
is looking at cancers of the brain, ovary and pancreas; the UK is looking
at breast cancer; Japan is studying the liver; China the stomach; and
India the mouth.
engineer new plastics without the use of fossil fuels
in Korea have developed a one-step production process for creating everyday
plastics through the use of bioengineering, rather than fossil-fuel
enormous implications for the future of manufacturing. Until now, almost
all plastics have been heavily reliant on oil, an increasingly limited
these new plastics are environmentally friendly, biodegradable and low
mouse genome is fully sequenced
10-year effort, scientists have finished mapping the entire mouse genome.* Given the prevalence of mice in laboratory experiments - and the similarities
with our own genetic code - this could greatly aid our understanding
and treatment of diseases.
Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) was the first American
mission to the Moon in over a decade. It was designed to relay data
from the impact and debris plume resulting from the vehicle's upper
stage, Centaur, hitting a large crater near the Moon's south pole.
impacted successfully, with a velocity of about 10,000 km/h (6,200 mph).
The plume of debris thrown up by the craft revealed significant amounts
of water ice - perhaps enough to supply drinking water to future colonists
as well as hydrogen for rocket fuel.*
is 98% mapped
MESSENGER probe completed a third and final flyby of the planet in 2009.
This helped to map 98% of its surface - including the previously unseen
far side. It also revealed higher than expected amounts of heavy metals
such as iron and titanium, forcing scientists to rethink how the small
planet evolved. Data also revealed changing seasons on the planet, in
the form of varying chemical compositions in Mercury's thin atmosphere.*
shift towards portable (and ultra-portable) PCs
is moving toward portable PCs even faster than expected. By 2009, the
laptop share of PCs bought worldwide has overtaken desktops for the
first time.* In addition, a new generation
of "ultra portables" is emerging. These are significantly
cheaper and more compact than traditional laptops, but offer many of
the same features including wireless Internet access.
as a whole are seeing phenomenal sales growth, with almost 300 million
units shipped this year alone. The emergence of India as a major IT
centre is having a big influence here.
cards with capacities exceeding 2TB will soon be available for digital
devices - enough to store more than 4,000 RAW images, 100 HD movies,
or 60 hours of HD recording.
Above: The netbook form-factor provides ultra-portability
control headsets for video gaming
In 2009, a company called Emotiv released a headset
allowing gamers to control games from brain waves
alone.* This was achieved in a completely non-intrusive manner: no crude implants
or direct physical contact were needed. Sensors on the headset could
detect the neuroelectrical patterns in the wearer's head, and these
were converted into actions on screen. The implications
of this technology are huge. Future mainstream versions will
radically alter how people interact with computers, the Internet, and each
tallest man-made structure in history is completed
floors, rising to a height of 818m (2,684ft), the Burj
Dubai is by far the tallest structure ever built by man, shattering
all previous records and setting a new benchmark for skyscrapers.
to build the tower was based on the UAE government's aim to diversify
from a trade-based economy to one that is service- and tourism-orientated.
According to officials, it is necessary for projects like this to be
built in the city to garner more international recognition, and hence
of the tower and other projects is seen as controversial by some - with
most of the site workers being low-paid immigrants, in some cases earning
less than US$5 per day. A host of other residential complexes, hotels,
office towers and luxury resorts are being built all over Dubai, making
it one of the fastest growing cities in the world. In addition to the
Burj Dubai, there are various other "mega projects" including
Islands, a series of enormous artificial islands on which major
commercial and residential infrastructure is being built.
Kepler searches for Earth-like planets
The Kepler space probe is launched by NASA. It will be the first
instrument capable of finding Earth-sized and smaller extrasolar planets,
using Ball Aerospace's Kepler Space Observatory satellite. It will observe
the brightness of about 100,000 stars over four years to detect periodical
transits of a star by its planets.*
scanning enters the consumer market
of technology has been available for a while now - mainly for use in
design visualization, CAD/prototyping, architecture, engineering, film
production, healthcare, etc.
have included reconstructing fossils in paleontology, replicating ancient
and priceless artifacts in archaeology, reconstructing bones and body
parts in forensic pathology, and reconstructing heavily damaged evidence
acquired from crime scene investigations.
though, a significant barrier to 3D scanning has been the expense, bulkiness,
and inconvenience of traditional equipment. This has made it difficult
- if not impossible - for small businesses and hobbyists to have access
to such technology.
onwards, a number of companies are beginning to produce smaller, cheaper,
more portable devices.
company is David Vision Systems, which has brought out a pocket-sized
3D laser scanner.* This can be used
in combination with a simple webcam and background setup, to capture
an endless variety of 3D objects (including the user's own face), for
use in home videos, animations, computer games and other virtual environments.
next decade, 3D printing will
reach the home market, allowing scanned objects to be physically reproduced.
population has doubled in the last 27 years. It will double again by
the 2050s. The main reason for this explosive growth has been the lack
of access to contraception and family planning centres.
of the first exoplanet that could contain liquid water
2009, astronomers discovered the exoplanet GJ 1214 b - a "super-Earth"
orbiting a red dwarf star approximately 40 light years away. This
was the first planet outside our own Solar System with the possibility
of holding liquid water. Although direct confirmation was lacking,
the planet was strongly theorised to have a thick, hydrogen-rich atmosphere,
likely composed of water-vapor. Some scientists proposed that it could
in fact be covered in oceans, comparable to a heated-up Europa, only
on a scale much larger than Earth. This discovery increases the probability
of alien life elsewhere in the universe.*
Size comparison of Earth (left), GJ 1214 b (centre)
and Neptune (right). Credit: Aldaron