OK, I’m sorry, that’s the first punning headline of the New Year to use the letters “IT”* - however bear with me as it does lead nicely into this, our first blog post of 2017. It’s a year in which a lot will happen. Yes, there will be a lot of IT recruitment, but perhaps most importantly we’ll start to get a better picture of what Brexit will look like - assuming we’re not all totally scunnered with the zilllions of articles speculating about may happen between now and whenever the PM invokes Article 50 and begins the process of severing the (slightly fraying) ropes that join Britain to Europe. In the meantime though, here are some of the more (and least) noteworthy anniversaries (both IT-related and more historical ones) that will crop up this year…
Given the furore about Brexit, it’s a bit spooky that January is the 15th anniversary of the launch of the euro. Many people think that the concept of a European-wide common currency is not viable without full political and financial union, and certainly this relatively new currency faces some considerable economic and political challenges in 2017. Watch, as they say, this space (and the exchange rate).
January also sees the 75th anniversary of the birth of the physicist Stephen Hawking. You can’t really get more scientific or geeky than a Brief History of Time, but on a slightly lower level of technological brilliance, did you know that January 1st 2017 was the 80th anniversary of the change in the law that made speedometers and safety glass in windscreens compulsory in all vehicles in Britain? What with driverless cars and no end of safety gadgets, we’ve come a long way since then, but in their day they were major innovations.
In February, should you wish, you can celebrate the 20th anniversary of the cloning of Dolly the Sheep. Dolly, of course, has now gone on to the great pasture above (although her preserved remains are on display at the National Museum of Scotland, but as an example of how science can radically transform lives (what price cloned humans in the near future?), she is hard to beat. Incidentally, in case you didn’t know, Dolly was named after Dolly Parton.
March has a host of anniversaries to consider, including the centenary of the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, but not much in the way of technology-related ones. March also sees the general election in Holland, which might well have a bearing on how the rest of the year pans out in Europe, as will … April, when France goes to the polls. After the excitement of 2016, when the established political order seems to have been turned on its head, surely the French cannot (please not) elect a President from the extreme right? In contrast, April also offers the opportunity to raise a glass to one of the men who began our love affair with the big metal birds that take so many of us on our holidays. Yes, it’s the 150th anniversary of the birth of Wilbur Wright, who along with his brother Orville gave us the technological marvel that is the airplane, even if their first one was a bit ropey.
May 1967 was a significant month in Sweden, when the government implemented a move to switch from driving on the left to driving on the right. Believe it or not, there were only 157 minor accidents reported on the first day of the change, but although one of the reasons for making it was to reduce the number of accidents, within three years they were back to the same level as they had been when everyone drove on the right. Progress, eh?
June sees the third anniversary of when I joined Be-IT and (some may think more importantly!) it’s the 60th anniversary of the premium bond and ERNIE, the “Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment” that generated the numbers of the lucky winners. ERNIE was a serious bit of kit, based on Colossus, the world’s first digital computer and a good place to halt this first part of the blog. Part II will follow presently…
Michael Phair, Be-IT Resourcing
* (and IT probably won’t be the last)