2012 (MMXII) is a “leap year” starting on Sunday in the Gregorian calendar, the 12th year of the 3rd millennium and of the 21st century. It is the current year.
So, what can we expect now?
Well, on Januari 31, the Asteroid 433 Eros is expected to pass Earth at a distance of 0.179 AU (26.8 million kilometers).
December 21 is marking the end of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, notably used by the pre-Columbian Maya civilization, which completes a “great cycle” of 5.125 years since the mythical creation date of the calendar’s current era.
But there are also some interesting activities to be discovered in between these two distinguishing milestones:
2012 is the year when The Future Park (Framtidsparken) in Stockholm, Sweden, will be inaugurated. Quoted from their web page:
“This will be your ticket into a future society. A meeting-place, an experience & adventure centre, a pleasure-ground and a world’s fair. All in one with one single focus: Man in the future. Why Sweden? Sweden is fantastic! We have a lot of knowledge and technical, as well as cultural, competence to show and share. We also use our technical heritage and modern competence to a greater extent than in many other countries, at the same time that we are willing to listen to, and learn from others. Together we can inspire others to follow us into the future. Sweden’s well-functioning, open and democratical system is well worth to show, and share.”
Now, how’s that for national pride? Personally, I’m more interested in what regions can offer prior to the old concept of the national state. According to OECD, regions are the economic engines of the world economy and are increasingly playing a driving role in the push for innovation and economic competitiveness.
“Sustainable growth at the regional level is now, more than ever, predicated on the capacity to innovate,” says Rolf Alter, director of the OECD’s Public Governance and Territorial Development Directorate. The richest 4% of regions accounted for one-third of all OECD growth over the 1995-2005 period.
This graph shows the top regions by country for business R&D intensity in 2007 accounted for one-third of all OECD growth over the 1995-2005 period:
What does this mean for us living in 2012? Well, our little staple in the graph says “south sweden” and the southernmost part of Sweden, forming the Øresund region and project together with Denmark and Copenhagen as its capital city, is actually pointed out by OECD to be a key cross-border initiative found in Europe today.
This YouTube video gives you a quick overview of the major projects taking place in Øresund right now:
The Øresund region consolidate a functional area of 3.5 million inhabitants, considerably bigger than the regions of Stockholm, Oslo or Helsinki. The region has a concentration of 12 universities having 150.000 students and more than 14.000 researchers combined. Public institutions together with private companies and academia are jointly developing Øresund into Europe’s hotspot for science & innovation offering world-class knowledge-based industries. Intenational investors looking for business opportunities in this region will find a well developed infrastructure forming a Scandinavian hub and gateway to the Baltic with a potential market of around 100 million people.
The innovation strategies and projects for Øresund fits nicely with United Nations General Assembly who has designated 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives, highlighting the contribution of cooperatives to socio-economic development, in particular recognizing their impact on poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration; it is also designated as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.
Technological innovation is intimately linked with social innovation. Just think of the 2011 Person of the Year (formerly Man of the Year) issued by the United States newsmagazine TIME: “The Protester”. Who will become the person of the year in 2012? Personally I vote for the children, our hope for the future. I promote this by sharing a song / video at the top of this article that I’ve composed together with my 5 year old daughter who spontaneously improvised some lyrics on the subject of summer in front of the microphone.
Finally, some more activities during 2012 which may affect the happy situation in various ways:
- Denmark takes over the presidency of the Council of the European Union.
- February 6: Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, marking the 60th anniversary of her accession to the thrones of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia & New Zealand, and the 60th anniversary of her becoming Head of the Commonwealth.
- 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China will be the next major Congress of the Communist Party of China.
- May 12 to August 12: The 2012 World Expo is to be held in Yeosu, South Korea.
- June 6: The second and last solar transit of Venus of the century. The next pair is predicted to occur in 2117 and 2125.
- July 27 to August 12: 2012 Summer Olympics held in London.
- August 6 to August 20: Mars Science Laboratory also known as the Curiosity rover is scheduled to land on Mars.
- November 6: The United States presidential election of 2012.
- December 31: The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends.
- Pleiades, a proposed supercomputer built by Intel and SGI for NASA’s Ames Research Center, will be completed, reaching a peak performance of 10 Petaflops (10 quadrillion floating point operations per second).
- It has also been designated Alan Turing Year, commemorating the mathematician, computer pioneer, and code-breaker on the centennial of Turing’s birth.
Have I missed something?
Cheers for 2012!