Welcome to the teen years

Say so long to 2012, and hello to the 21st century’s teenage years. While we wait for 2013 to greet us back, let’s review the news, including some older items inadvertently skipped over this year:

•”Lost art of the turn signal”: A major aggravation while driving (and violation of an actual law), year in and year out.

Scientists: Humans had advanced tools 71,000 years ago”: It appears the tools were used to dismantle an early version of the first leaf blower. And an eons-old feud was born.

State resumes its tobacco quit line”: The state that successfully sued the tobacco companies, not to mention its extremely high cigarette taxes, became the only state in the country in 2011 to not have a tobacco quit line. Funds were shifted to the general budget. Restoring the quit line this year move the state a crucial notch down on the hypocrisy scale.

Intelligence effort named citizens, not terrorists”: “A multibillion-dollar information-sharing program created in the aftermath of 9/11 has improperly collected information about innocent Americans and produced little valuable intelligence on terrorism, a U.S. Senate report concludes. It portrays an effort that ballooned far beyond anyone’s ability to control,” AP reported.

Hmm. Billions spent spying on U.S. citizens, in an effort “far beyond anyone’s ability to control.” Does the U.S. ever remind anyone of the vast and intrusive yet bumbling Soviet Union bureaucracy that we used to fear and mock?

•”Man runs 2:46 marathon in flip flops”: No, it wasn’t former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, who flip-flopped on his marathon time. For his next trick, the runner, Keith Levasseur, definitely did not say he would run a marathon in a thong.

China tightening controls on Internet”: Wow. That’s saying something. Considering the country is already the industry leader in that area.

World’s longest high-speed rail line opens in China”: The trains travel at 186 miles per hour on 1,428 miles of line. The country’s rail system is troubled, however, with line collapses and train crashes. So what’s riskier for Chinese citizens? Riding a high-speed train or doing something online the government doesn’t like? Certainly never combine the two.

German scientists seek to clone perfect Xmas trees” and “Scientists aim to build a better Christmas tree”: We were going to poke fun at the Germans until the second article informed us that researchers here in Washington are using a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create a perfect tree that doesn’t irritatingly drop its needles. Because they don’t want people to buy fake trees. Sigh. Where’s a saggy but sincere Charlie Brown Christmas tree when you need one?

Retailers hope for strong post-holiday sales”: Perhaps if we just accept some truths, such as businesses will always want strong sales, business reporters could cover some other stuff.

Remember to use your blinker when entering the new year.