At the halfway point of 2011, I wrote an article "2011's Progress Report" detailing all the good things that had occurred this year. This is to counteract the constant doom and gloom on the right that only wants to report the bad things and predict even worse things every day.
Now that the full year has transpired, it behooves me to finish up the list I started in the previous article.
As a launching point, let's talk anime:
At the halfway point, I'd identified five good new series founded in 2011: Moshidora, Gosick, Ano Hana, Hanasaku Iroha, and Puella Magi Madoka Magica. At the end of the year, I can add five more: Idolm@ster, Usagi Drop, Steins;Gate, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, and Nichijou. Not only did 2011 contribute 10 of the top 110 anime series exclusively, it added sequels to 35 of the top 110 anime series, giving 2011 participation in 45/110 of all good anime. That's an unbelievable record of achievement. 2011 should be remembered as the 'year of good anime.'
The Kindle and ipad have taken off, just as predicted. The Kindle even has a low-price 80 dollar e-reader. This means that anyone with 80 dollars can read anything published from 1911 or before for free. It's a new gutenberg moment. Reading will become more popular and deeper, as people gain access to books that were largely out of print or impossibly expensive up until now.
The natural gas revolution continues, with domestic production of natural gas being 30% fracking now, making natural gas a new cheap, clean, renewable-energy cooperative 100 year long supply silver bullet.
Dynasty Warriors 7 got an expansion pack, Final Fantasy XIII-2 came out, Innistrad came out for Magic fans, the 3ds and PS Vita consoles were released, and some blockbuster titles sold record amounts: Call of Duty, Skyrim, etc. Though not released yet, WoW announced a new Panda expansion which should be a lot of fun. 2011 was also a good year for gaming.
Solar panel prices have halved since the beginning of 2011. They need to continue halving if they wish to someday surpass fossil fuels, but that seems certain to occur, because innovations that have been reducing costs while improving efficiencies seem to flow in every week.
Just as I predicted, Gaddhafi's terrorist regime really was overthrown and now Syria's Assad is in trouble. 2011 has certainly been a good year for Arabs yearning to be free.
Kepler has discovered more Earth-like planets in the habitable zone. There seem to be hundreds of them all around us. 2012 will confirm a lot of these sightings and give us a better sense of where we should go to populate next.
As predicted, the 2011 college football season really was awesome, as was the dizzying series of conference realignments.
In addition, the LHC is fairly confident they discovered the last particle in the standard model, the Higgs boson. That's pretty cool. I guess we'll know more in 2012.
The women's world cup, where Japan defeated the U.S.A. in a shootout to bring the cup back to their tsunami-ravaged country, was a better story than could have even been scripted. The entire tournament was a delight to behold, with far better sportsmanship and refereeing than the men's world cup of 2010.
Despite all the complaints about the economy, it did grow this year. Stock markets are up from the beginning of the year. Unemployment is a little murky, but it's probably lower than it was at the start of the year. Growth is proving difficult, but not impossible, post 2007.
For a 'skip year,' in-between Olympics, election cycles, and everything else, 2011 sure managed to do a lot. But looking forward, 2012 should be even better. We will have more discoveries from the Kepler and the LHC, commercial rockets servicing the ISS for the first time, faster computers and cheaper solar power, a further boom in shale-oil and gas, the London Olympics, a football season with all sorts of new conference schedules, and tons of good new anime. And with any luck, our affirmative action president will be shown the door.