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A montage from the 1980s. From left to right, top to bottom, the launch of the first space shuttle, Columbia, 12 April 1981, crewed by astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen;
Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev sign the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in the White House, 8 December 1987; Iranian soldier wearing a gas mask during the Iran-Iraq War, March 1985; fall of the Berlin Wall, November 1989; Chernobyl reactor #4 building as of 2006, including the later-built sarcophagus and elements of the maximum-security perimeter; Live Aid at JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, 13 July 1985; IBM PC 5150 with keyboard and green monochrome monitor, running MS-DOS 5.0, the PC started during this decade - Wikimedia
Modern or contemporary History, covering the last 50 to 60 years, is marked by the rise of globalization, the development of new technologies and communication systems, and the growth of the global economy. This period saw the end of colonialism, the rise of the modern environmental movement, and the growth of the internet and digital technologies.
Including significant events such as (if we include the last hundred years) World War II, the Cold War, then in the last 50 years the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the rise of the digital age. This period also saw major political, social, and cultural movements of the 20th and 21st centuries, such as the Civil Rights Movement, the feminist movement, and the LGBTQ rights movement.
That the entire Information Revolution and the modern global social and economic order can fit in such a brief timespan. one percent of world history as a whole, can be used to argue that technological and social change are accelerating and heading to some sort of singularity.
- 1973 - The Oil Crisis. The first oil crisis occurred in October 1973 when Arab countries embargoed exports to countries that supported Israel in the Yom Kippur War. The result was a sharp increase in the price of oil, a recession and inflation.
- 1989 - The Fall of the Berlin Wall. The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 marked the end of the Cold War and the beginning of the reunification of East and West Germany.
- 1991 - The Collapse of the Soviet Union. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 marked the end of the communist era and the beginning of a new era of Russian politics.
- 1998 - The Launch of Google. In September 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin launched Google, which quickly became the dominant search engine on the Internet.
- 2001 - The September 11 Attacks. On September 11, 2001, terrorists affiliated with Al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial airplanes and carried out suicide attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.
- 2003 - The Iraq War. In March 2003, the United States and its allies launched a war in Iraq with the stated goal of overthrowing the regime of Saddam Hussein and preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
- 2008 - The Global Financial Crisis. The global financial crisis of 2008 was a major economic downturn that affected the world economy and led to a wave of bank failures, job losses and foreclosures.
- 2009 - The Launch of the iPhone. In June 2009, Apple launched the iPhone 3GS, which quickly became the most popular smartphone in the world.
- 2011 - The Arab Spring. The Arab Spring was a series of protests, uprisings and revolutions that swept across the Arab world in 2011, toppling long-standing regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen and sparking civil wars in Syria and Iraq.
- 2015 - The Paris Agreement. In December 2015, representatives from 196 countries reached a landmark agreement to limit the global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius and pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees.
A tragic result of human overpopulation is the decline of the natural world, which is being squeezed out by human land use. Nothing shows this better than this chart of changing mammalian biomass:
Wild mammals make up only a few percent of the world’s mammals
Livestock make up 62% of the world’s mammal biomass; humans account for 34%; and wild mammals are just 4%; original page.
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Page by M Alan Kazlev, 2023