In the words of IFE Fellows, here is what 2010 was all about:
Dog killer or MVP? Michael Vick, in his second season after serving 23 months in jail for dogfighting, lit up the NFL with his MVP-type performances. Vick's comeback is fascinating because it makes sports fans ask questions that make them very uncomfortable. Can I root for a dog killer? What is more important to me: my love for my team or my love for dogs? Does jail really rehabilitate a person, and since he paid his debt to society, should I forgive Vick? Fans of the Philadelphia Eagles, Vick's current team, seem to be split into three groups. The first will root for him because he is on their team, and that is all that matters. The second will never root for him or the Eagles, as long as he is on their roster, because killing dogs is inexcusable. I believe the third group is the most interesting: those who love dogs recognize that what Vick did was horrific, and yet they cannot give up on their team. So, this group tries to justify their rooting for a dog killer. They say that he paid his debt to society, and that he should be given a second chance. They point to his work with the Humane Society and the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals as signs of the change in his character. As the Eagles continue their quest for a Super Bowl (and they are certainly a contender), it will be fascinating to watch this third group and how they struggle with their conundrum.
- IFE Fellow Wojtek P. Wilczynski
Well, NASA, I hope you've learned your lesson. In 2011, we'd better not be seeing any more deliberately (or otherwise) misleading press releases, especially not ones implying that extraterrestrial life has been found. To be fair, blogger speculation did fuel the fire, but anyone who was expecting life in the rings of Saturn was sorely disappointed to discover that the researchers did not get further from Earth than Mono Lake, California. Because of all the intense media coverage, the paper got more than its fair share of peer review, and ignited a spirited discussion about the best place to discuss and debate the results of science research. This scientific food fight erupted over some bacteria that may or may not be able to substitute arsenic for phosphorus in their DNA. No matter what future research shows, whether Felisa Wolfe-Simon's initial findings are sanctified or torn to pieces, we probably won't hear about it. After all, what's sexier: real science or controversy? Sadly it's the latter, and that doesn't change no matter what the calendar says.
- IFE Fellow George Zaidan
2010 was the year of the Apple. Most people would probably point to the iPad as the Holy Grail of tech innovation, but to me it's just an overgrown iPhone. Anything that's big enough to type on is just a dumbed-down laptop. But that brings me to Apple's real game changer: the MacBook Air. Barely heavier than an iPad but without all the compromises, the Air is some serious engineering. Sure, the processor could be faster, but the solid-state hard drive more than makes up for it, especially when booting up or loading apps. That same drive renders a fan mostly unnecessary, a dramatic change from my last computer, which (between the fan and 100,000X DVD drive) felt like a baby F-16 in my lap. Thank you Apple, for finally forcing me to make the switch.
- IFE Fellow George Zaidan