The top story of 2013, according to readers of CNN online, was the election of Pope Francis. Second on the list was the Boston Marathon bombing. Third was the death of Nelson Mandela. Fourth was Edward Snowden leaking NSA’s surveillance of civilians, followed by the 15-day government shutdown and the debacle of Obamacare on the Internet. The Philippine typhoon was seventh and Syria’s civil war was eighth. Ninth was Ariel Castro kidnapping 3 women for more than a decade and tenth was the Supreme Court’s rejection of parts of the Defense of Marriage Act. Yes, 2013 was a “storied” year.
In 2013 the U.S. population grew at its slowest rate in 70 years. According to the Census Bureau, the population of the U.S. reached 316,128,839 - an increase of only .72%. California was the first state to top 38 million by adding 332,643 people. Texas added 387,397 and Florida added 232,111. Despite a much smaller rate of growth – adding only 75,002 people – New York still edged out Florida as the third largest state. North Dakota, with its oil boom, had the biggest population increase - 3.14%. However, Maine and West Virginia decreased in population – a sad “state of affairs”.
For the past 39 years Michigan’s Lake Superior State University has created a “List of Words to be Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness”. Nominations on the 2013 list included “twerk/twerking”, “hashtag”, “Twittersphere” and “Mister Mom”. However, the top nominee was “selfie”. In 2011 the top word for banishment was “viral”, in 2010 it was “bromance”, in 2008 it was “perfect storm” and in 2007 it was “awesome”. The word for 2000 was “e’anything”. I have my own word I want banished and the word is “unbelievable”. In its place I suggest the word “hard-to-believable”.
In 2007 President George W. Bush signed a law replacing standard incandescents with more efficient bulbs. It seems the standard bulbs were only 10% efficient – 90% of the electricity was lost as heat. Seventy-five and 100-watt bulbs were banned in 2013. The ban on 40 and 60-watt bulbs – the most popular – goes into effect January 1, 2014. Supposedly, there are 4 billion light bulb sockets in the U.S. and more than 3 billion still use old bulbs. Although halogen, compact fluorescent and LED bulbs will take over, 3-way standard incandescent bulbs will still be made and still “light up” our lives.