While 2008 was a remarkable year for Mixx.com, 2009 was just as exceptional, if not more so. The site experienced some major growth during the year, with an increase of user interaction – as well as the release of new services and features that enabled Mixxers to integrate their social media experiences.
With the increased user interaction, also came a major increase in content submissions, as well as a strong diversification of the quality and quantity of the content. As in the previous year, during 2009, Mixx was also on hand for Mixxers to examine some of the bigger news stories of the year – as well as some general interest submissions that gained a lot of votes.
Like I decided to last year, I took a glimpse back at some of the top Mixx stories for 2009. Some are big news headlines of the year, some related to social media in general, and others are general interest posts.
Join me in a flashback on the year that was 2009 based upon the stories made most popular by Mixxers…
BBC resisting pressure over Gaza
136 Votes at time of writing
Posted by loup_dargent
The Archbishop of York has joined growing criticism of the BBC’s decision not to air a charity appeal for aid to Gaza.
As in previous years, the controversies surround the conflicts between Israel and Palestine continued to rise and fall, ebb and flow among all of the major international stories. In January, following some severe strikes on Gaza, the BBC refused to air a charity appeal to aid Gaza. The decision drew some sharp opposition and major criticism from many individuals representing a wide range of religious, entertainment, journalist, business, educational, and government organizations. Despite the boycotts, cancellations, and resistance, the BBC stood their ground amidst the controversial decision; and the charity appeal was eventually aired on ITV, Channel 4 and Five.
Fullscreen Gigapan Viewer – Inauguration Day
60 Votes at time of writing
Posted by Arianrhod
Zoom in to see individual faces, or zoom out for the full view. This photo is absolutely amazing.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, the biggest news on the USA side of the tracks was the inauguration of President Barack Obama. With his election win arguably being the biggest story during November 2008, the obvious follow-up was the historic inauguration. Arianrhod’s submission of the Gigapan viewer of the event was a phenomenal pictorial review of the occasion, but also an incredible reflection on how far and fast our technology has taken us – and how that development reflects in major news events throughout the world.
Kellogg dropping Phelps over pot photo
100 Votes at time of writing
Posted by McCaffertyHimself
Cereal and snack maker Kellogg Co. said it won’t renew its sponsorship contract with Olympic swimming star Michael Phelps because of a photo that showed him inhaling from a marijuana pipe. The Battle Creek, Mich.-based company said Thursday that…
2009 would quickly become known as the year of the celebrity gaffe. Before the revelation of Christian Bale’s tirade, Kanye’s stage-stealing moment, and Tiger’s adventurous little tigger, an image was leaked online of Michael Phelps, Olympic champion, indulging in taking a hit from a bong. Amidst the already growing debate surrounding decriminalization and legalization within the United States, the Phelps leak not only spurred the debate, but hurt Phelps career in the short term. Kellogg’s stepped back from Phelps announcing that they wouldn’t be renewing his sponsorship contract. 2009 would also further the web as the “news-breaker” that continually stomped on the “slow” mainstream media – despite the UK’s News of the World claiming they were the first the publish the image of Phelps, it was already circulating the web thanks to 4chan and Twitter before they published it.
Heath Ledger Wins the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor – for his role as The Joker
90 Votes at time of writing
Posted by cGt2099
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have just awarded Heath Ledger the award for Best Supporting Actor for his amazing performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight! Ledger’s family accepted the award on his behalf.
The passing of Heath Ledger in 2008 shocked many across the world, but in his final performance in a full film as a title character would be perhaps his most memorable. Ledger sunk into the role of The Joker in The Dark Knight, so convincingly that Ledger “disappeared” on-screen: and the Joker became a realistic life-like person. He nailed the role, and his performance helped propel the film to the level of success it achieved in 2008. In February 2009, as predicted by many, Heath Ledger was awarded the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor posthumously, and his family accepted the award on his behalf. A year on, Heath Ledger is still missed, but will be remembered in the efforts he put forth in his craft and his art for many, many years to come.
First liquid water may have been spotted on Mars
127 Votes at time of writing
Posted by neelkantha
NASA’s Phoenix lander may have captured the first images of liquid water on Mars – droplets that apparently splashed onto the spacecraft’s leg during landing, according to some members of the Phoenix team.
While we humans were panicking about the global financial crisis, on the next stone from the Sun, NASA’s Phoenix lander made the extraordinary discovery of the possibility of water on Mars. The initial images seem to indicate water drops, as highlighted by the detailed post from NewScientist.com. Later research published in the journal Science demonstrated that pure water ice was seen on new craters on Mars – found in a total of 5 locations. Additional research in the water content in the polar regions was continued through the year, and on top of that, according to Wikipedia, “Research described in December 2009, showed that liquid water could form in the daytime inside of snow on Mars”. It was clear 2009 was a big year for Mars research and exploration.
Putin threat to cut Ukraine gas supplies again
117 Votes at time of writing
Posted by loup_dargent
Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, said on Thursday that Russia could cut off gas supplies again to Ukraine if it did not receive payment by Saturday.
The gas disputes between Ukraine and Russia have gone on for several years, but Putin’s threat of cutting them off was the big international news for March 2009. The article itself signified a major turning point in the disputes, as several months later the International Monetary Fund agreed loans worth up to $1.7 billion would be made available to Ukraine in aiding the provision of stable gas supplies from Russia to Europe. Furthermore, in September, an agreement was made between Russian and Ukrainian authorities that would see no halt in the gas supplies.
Famous Last Tweets
98 Votes at time of writing
Posted by SilentJay74
Ever wonder what a dead celebs last tweet might be?
While Jay’s submission here was a link to a site based on some light-hearted humor, it was a reflection of the state of Twitter by this point in 2009. A year before, many of us in social media circles predicted that Twitter was going to hit it big – by April 2009, it surpassed this expectation, crushing through the mainstream, becoming a staple reference on news channels such as CNN, and also becoming a major source of breaking news and developing news for its userbase. The Famous Last Tweets parody was a testament to how big Twitter had become, and how significant an impact it was having, not only on the internet, but on pop culture in general.
Pirate Bay founders found guilty
90 Votes at time of writing
Posted by m4tt
The founders of Pirate Bay, the world’s most famous file-sharing site, are jailed by a Swedish court on copyright charges.
The ongoing “war” between those condemning file sharing (and seeking to profit from litigation) and those supporting it, continued with some major twists and turns in 2009. By far, the biggest news of 2009 was the conviction of the owners of The Pirate Bay, found guilty and to be jailed by a Swedish court based upon the argument they were violating copyright. They were fined approximately $US3.5 million, and they announced they would be appealing the verdict. Under Swedish law, the verdict is not lawful until all appeals have been processed, so the results of this particular battle still remain to be seen based upon this appeal, which is expected to be dealt with during the first half of 2010. Later in the year, The Pirate Bay made more headlines with the announcement that they would be “going legal” based upon their acquisition by Global Gaming Factory X… and while this news initially made many Internet users RAGE, it would later pan out that the acquisition deal would fall through.
18 Beautiful Rainbows from Around the World
122 Votes at time of writing
Posted by kingrut
Excellent rainbows. An island in the Maldives spanned by an almost semicircular rainbow.
Kingrut was only at Mixx for a short time, but a quick look at the short history of submissions can help one come to the conclusion that each subsequent post was being enjoyed by more Mixxers than the previous. This submission was a link from Environmental Graffiti, a photos post that had some of the most phenomenal imagery of rainbows ever captured on film. And what was better was that each was linked to the original sources, in larger hi-res versions. EG has a history of exceptional blog articles, and this photography post ranks up there with them.
Lawyer: RIAA must pay back all $100M it has collected
85 Votes at time of writing
Posted by Yoda
Harvard Law professor Charles Nesson has now gotten involved in two more file-sharing lawsuits, including the Jammie Thomas retrial in Minnesota. But it’s in the other, lesser-known case, that Nesson and a former student demand the RIAA pay back all $100M
Following the guilty verdict in The Pirate Bay trial, on US soil the RIAA continued its relentless (yet profitable) litigation against people they had identified as illegal file-sharers. Harvard Law professor Charles Nesson got involved in the cases, in a move that saw him boldly demand that the RIAA pay back the money they had received as a result of their legal witchhunts. He represented Joel Tenenbaum, who two months after the posting of this article, was found at fault in his court case and was ordered by jury to pay $675,000 to the RIAA (over a list of 31 songs). Nesson continues to represent Joel Tenenbaum, and they both plan to appeal the verdict.
Michael Jackson dead at 50
96 Votes at time of writing
Posted by aelusiveone
TMZ reports that Michael Jackson has died. The gossip site says that King of Pop Michael Jackson suffered a cardiac arrest early in the afternoon with EMTs working furiously to revive him.
Perhaps the most shocking news of the year was the death of Michael Jackson. The breaking news was unexpected – initially rumors began floating haphazardly via Twitter and 4chan, but was officially broken to the web first by the site TMZ which quickly infiltrated Twitter and spread quickly across the world. The resulting explosion of traffic from Twitter saw a flood of queries sent to Google News to verify the news reports. The surge of queries was so massive, that Google initially believed it to be a malware attack! Jackson’s life was one of accomplishment, but also controversy – yet his passing saw people paying tribute to him and his achievements during his lifelong career.
A troubled week in Iran
95 Votes at time of writing
Posted by MacBookForMe
In the ten days since Iran’s disputed presidential election, street demonstrations have taken place every day.
The international news that arguably had the biggest impact on internet users was the outcry and protests following the questionable election results in Iran. The results were disputed vocally, resulting in events where the public stood up and demonstrated – in the face of threats of arrest and physical harm. The protests were violently opposed by the Basij militia and Iranian police. Many people were injured, arrested, and killed. During the events, Iranian authorities began blocking access to the web, silencing certain protesters from exposing the government abuse to the world. Outraged, the internet responded. Anonymous, led by 4chan, began assisting by establishing proxies for Iranian protesters to access – and began exposing Iran government websites that were trying to claim bounties and rewards for identifying protesters. Twitter and Facebook followed the lead, at first also providing alternatives for Iranian people to get their message out to the world, and then later with users showing their supporting by turning their avatars green. The issues came to a head when young Neda Agha-Soltan (pictured above), who was not protesting, was murdered by a Basij sniper – the killing was caught on video and uploaded to the web. The protests, both locally and internationally, gathered momentum following her death – the protest movement finally had a face and a name to their cause. Sadly, the oppressive government continued stamping out local protests, and eventually things (appeared to) quieten down. Not so on the internet: movements against the regime continue their digital protest against both the election results AND the brutal tyranny of the Ahmadinejad presidency.
AT&T Block 4chan
71 Votes at time of writing
Posted by cGt2099
As if AT&T wasn’t already bad enough. In an act that is sure to spark internet rebellions everywhere, AT&T has apparently declared war on the extremely popular imageboard 4chan.org, blocking some of the site’s most popular message boards, including /b/
Already having the reputation of being the seedy underbelly of the internet, website 4chan (and its inhabitants, otherwise known as Anonymous and/or /b/tards) had a huge year in 2009. Firstly, the website saw significant growth – but secondly, and possibly just as significant, so did its power and influence on the web. Moot aka Christopher Poole, the creator of 4chan, was chosen as one of the most influential people of 2009 in an online poll for Time Magazine. While many would probably debate Moot’s actual influence, it was clearly an indication that Anonymous was probably just as influential, if not more so. Additionally, 4chan continued to be ground zero for the emergence of the world’s biggest internet memes, but also became an unusual source for breaking news (much like Twitter) during 2009. But as the influence and strength of 4chan grew during the year, so did its enemies. The web site suffered a record number of DDoS attacks during the year, including one that impacted AT&T. The result of the attack saw AT&T provocatively block 4chan.org – a move initially seen as censorship, and possibly the first shot fired in the war of Net Neutrality. At the end of the day, it was amusingly explained in this Anonymous image, how the 4chan DDoS attack was affecting both 4chan.org AND AT&T. The situation resolved and the cancer that is /b/ resumed.
TV pitchman Billy Mays found dead in Tampa home
54 Votes at time of writing
Posted by petsheep
Billy Mays, the TV pitchman whose trademark voice helped sell everything from cleaning supplies to baking soda, was found dead this morning by his wife at his Tampa home. No cause of death has been reported and no foul play is suspected.
The world had already been rocked by the losses of Michael Jackson, Ed McMahon, and Farrah Fawcett… and then American pop culture was shocked further with the death of infomercial king Billy Mays. While informercials were considered the cheesiest form of commercials, there was something endearing about Billy Mays – so much so, that his very personality spawned numerous memes online, all of which added to his appeal and popularity. When news surfaced of his passing, users of the internet were shocked, and it resulted in countless tributes to the man. The obvious tributes came in the form of videos, images, and blogs; the surprising ones came in the form of web comic appearances – but there were also unusual ones as well, such as pornographic cam-girls pasting Billy Mays’ head stickers over their nipples as their form of remembrance.
6 hours of sleep? It’s not enough
107 Votes at time of writing
Posted by justiuli
Scientists have good and bad news for hard-driving people who boast they need only six hours of sleep a night.
As the world presses forward and embraces all kinds of technological advancements, we still seem to take on more workloads and our daily lives seem to just get busier and busier. During the 1980′s and 1990′s, this evolution saw individuals spend less time with friends and family – in today’s era, it sees individuals spend less time sleeping. In August 2009, a study was released by scientists in San Francisco that revealed that there was a genetic mutation that causes people to require 6 (or less) hours of sleep per night; but that this anomaly is only present in 3% of humans. A subsequent article posted by USA Today was released, which examined the need for people to have adequate sleep, and how the modern lifestyle was affecting individuals from getting this slumber. It was a news report and analysis that Mixxers related very strongly to: the submission by Justiuli gathered 107 votes, and numerous comments. Clearly the battle between the needs of the human body and the needs for financial independence in this day and age was one that struck a chord with many people.
Bill would give president emergency control of Internet
83 Votes at time of writing
Posted by kat136
Critics question revised proposal from Sen. Jay Rockefeller to let the White House do what it deems necessary to respond to a ‘cybersecurity emergency.’
With The Great Firewall of China continuing block freedom of information, and Iran beginning oppressing digital protesters following the disputed elections, many believe that censorship of the Internet is something that happens only in oppressive societies. Yet with the news that Australia would be going forward with filtering the internet (against the advice of network experts and ISPs), and the revelation of harsh laws relating to internet use in the UK, many began examining the issue of internet control and censorship within the confines of the United States. While it made some news earlier in the year, Senator Rockefeller had introduced the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 S.773 on April 1 (not an April Fool’s Joke unfortunately). Much later, critics became alarmed when it became clear that the bill could give the president unprecedented and total control over the Internet. Sensing abuse, many people spoke out against S.773, but the outrage was silenced by the growing and overpowering coverage of Health Care Reform in the mainstream media. To date, S.773 was only introduced thus far. It has not been passed. But with other western nations, such as Australia and the United Kingdom, starting to take measures of censorship against their own people as far as the internet was concerned, the real question becomes a focus on whether the USA will follow in their footsteps and pass such a similar law… the answer remains unknown at present…
The Results Are In: Medical Marijuana Works
113 Votes at time of writing
Posted by alapoet
In a landmark article, published in the Journal of Opioid Management, University of Washington researcher Sunil Aggarwal and colleagues document 33 clinical trials – published over a 38-year period from 1971 to 2009 – confirming marijuana is safe medicine
As 2009 progressed, the case for the decriminalization or legalization of marijuana continued to get stronger and vocal support across the United States. The current laws regarding drug use have been argued by many to be outdated and ineffective, and there has been a strong Drug Law Reform movement among Mixxers through the year. With regards to recreational use of marijuana, the key argument against prohibition during the year was the financial benefits that would be gained during the current economic crisis. However, 2009 was a landmark year for medical marijuana: research published by the University of Washington documented numerous clinical trials taking place over almost 40 years, established that not only use of marijuana for medical purposes was safe, but that it also was an effective treatment that also avoided the withdrawal symptoms that accompany the use of opiate based treatments. It was a big victory for those supporting Drug Law Reform, and a step forward in the cause.
NY Times columnist William Safire dead at 79
107 Votes at time of writing
Posted by justiuli
William Safire, the former speechwriter for Richard Nixon who won a Pulitzer Prize for columns on politics and language for The New York Times, died on Sunday, the newspaper said. He was 79.
By September, it was becoming apparent that 2009 was becoming, sadly, a year of notable deaths. The month saw the passing of William Safire. Safire was most well known for his political contributions to articles and columns published in the New York Times – but was also known for his role as a speech writer for both Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew. In 2006, President George W Bush awarded Safire with the Presidential Medal Of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. He died from pancreatic cancer on September 27 at the age of 79.
Ex-Letterman Employee Blows Whistle On ‘Demeaning’ Late Night Gig
169 Votes at time of writing
Posted by McCaffertyHimself
Female writer on Dave’s old NBC show claims she quit over “hostile environment” and “sexual favoritism.” Letterman has former scorned employee Nell Scovell to thank for bringing the subject of his indiscretions back under the microscope…
While notable deaths dominated 2009, embarrassing celebrity moments also were quite prevalent. Following the Christian Bale outbursts and the Michael Phelps weed photos, and before the mainstream media became obsessed with Tiger Woods’ skirt chasing, one such embarrassing moment hit David Letterman, host of the Late Show. What makes Letterman’s story unique though was that it was him that broke the news on his own show before the gossip rags, tabloids, papparazzi and that scumbag Perez Hilton could. The situation boiled down to David Letterman being the victim of an extortion attempt by a former employee who was threatening to reveal information that Letterman had sexual relations with several female employees. He contacted the DA in Manhattan, and the alleged extortionist was eventually arrested and charged with attempted grand larceny. Following Letterman’s public confession, the gossip brigades jumped forth with trying to expose who the people were involved in the story. Eventually they discovered Tiger Woods and began focusing on aspects of his life that were also, none of their damn business.
Woman dies after making fake 911 call
152 Votes at time of writing
Posted by neelkantha
A US woman who made a bogus call to 911 was forced to phone an emergency operator again just six minutes later when she became trapped under a garage door, suffering fatal injuries.
One of the oddest news stories of the year also turned out to be a tragic one. The story goes that Melissa Farris, a former paramedic at the Canyon County ambulance station (fired for failing a drug test), staged a fake 911 call to sneak into her former place of employment. Once the paramedics had left, Farris attempted to enter the station but was became trapped under the garage door. In pain, Farris placed another 911 call – by the time emergency responders arrived, she was unable to be revived. To this day, nobody knows why Melissa Farris was trying to get into the building – though one local news network made a claim that she may have been trying to access prescription medication locked away in the station.
Coyotes kill woman on hike in Canadian park simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time!!!
152 Votes at time of writing
Posted by oldcarguyphil
Two coyotes attacked a promising young musician as she was hiking alone in a national park in eastern Canada, and authorities said she died Wednesday of her injuries.
Continuing October’s trend of odd, yet tragic news was the sad tale of Canadian folk singer Taylor Mitchell, who was attacked and killed by two coyotes while hiking in a national park. Fans and followers of Taylor’s music were saddened, and the news story made international headlines. The young woman had promising potential as a musician and songwriter. Mitchell had been nominated as Young Performer of the Year honors by the Canadian Folk Music Awards, and continues to have a strong online presence as her legacy. Following her passing, the Social Blend podcast paid tribute to her. She was 19 years old.
Windows 7 student ‘upgrade hell’ – not entirely ‘trouble-free’
69 Votes at time of writing
Posted by miklskon
College students who took advantage of a “deal too sweet to pass up” have run into a bit of trouble. The $29 electronic version of Windows 7 Home Edition sold for Microsoft (MSFT) through Digital River (DRIV) doesn’t seem to install properly…
2009 was a massive year for Microsoft, with the long awaited release of their new operating system: Windows 7. With Windows XP having a solid history of reliability, and Windows Vista being subject to countless criticisms, many awaited the release with skepticism. The result, however, was surprisingly positive. A great majority of reviews praised Microsoft’s new platform, with many claiming it to be the best Windows ever. The release was not, however, without its problems and issues… one was highlighted in a submission by Miklskon, where Microsoft had botched the $29 release of the OS that was made available to students with valid EDU email addresses. The initial download files did not perform as they were supposed to, causing it near impossible to create the upgrade CD needed to install Windows 7 on XP or Vista machines. The issue was eventually resolved by Microsoft, and despite the hiccup, continued to enjoy a very successful (perhaps the most successful ever) release of their Windows platform.
Hungry Amoebas Spawn Biggest Viruses Ever
239 Votes at time of writing
Posted by gbudavid
Made from a hodgepodge of genetic bits and pieces, the newly discovered Marseillevirus is the world’s largest virus.
Aside from the masses panicking about swine flu, 2009 was also a year of several accomplishments in the area of disease research. One virus, Marseillevirus, while not discovered this year, was discovered to have some unique aspects aside from being the largest virus known to humankind. One major discovery, for example, was that large viruses such as this one CAN actually become infected by OTHER viruses! Aside from the fascinating science behind the article, this submission to Mixx during December by gbudavid is also notable for another reason – it was among many popular stories during the month that had reached beyond the 200+ vote mark; a clear indication that Mixx is in a period of solid growth!
50% of Internet Users Want to Legalize File Sharing Through Monthly Fee, Survey Finds
218 Votes at time of writing
Posted by JessicaLaurie
There was a survey taken by more than 6.7 million people in Germany, mainly power users were targeted about the questions linked to file sharing. More than 50 percent of people that took the survey stated that it should be legalized…
The controversies surrounding file sharing and P2P technologies continued all the way through 2009. From the premature leak of X-Men Origins: Wolverine online, to the verdict in the Pirate Bay case, to the continuing legal battles surrounding the RIAA and downloaders, it still seems that the issues surrounding torrents and downloads will be ongoing for some time. What is clear at this point is that the 20th century business model for entertainment does not gel well in the 21st century. While some services, such as Last.fm, offer free legal alternatives to downloading music, there is still much that needs to be accomplished. One survey examined the possibility of legalizing P2P file sharing / torrent technology where users pay a monthly fee. Over half of the respondents claimed they would pay for such a service. The results gathered a lot of attention at Mixx, making it one of the biggest stories for December 2009 – and like gbudavid’s submission about viruses above, reached beyond the 200+ vote mark.