The Whole 9 Yards: Year in Review

We associate the number nine with extremes: highs (cloud nine), lows (the ninth Psalm, predicting the coming of the Antichrist), good luck and bad. Considering the spectrum of events we lived through in 2010-2011—from the greatest victories to the worst tragedies—the number nine seems a particularly apt symbol for the past twelve months’ happenings. On the plus side, DADT was repealed; on the minus side, a near-apocalyptic disaster devastated Japan. Last year, we opened our Annual Year in Review with the crisis in Haiti, which proves again that life is fragile.


In March, Japan suffered a 9.0-magnitude undersea megathrust earthquake followed by a killer tsunami that washed entire villages into the ocean. The one-two punch killed tens of thousands of people and reduced large areas of northern Japan to a sea of crushed debris and human remains. The quake also damaged nuclear power plants operating near the epicenter, causing life-threatening radiation leaks that authorities have been unable to stem despite frantic efforts. Radiation tests revealed contamination in milk, spinach and seawater, but the long-term effects of the threefold disaster are unknown.

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