Portal:1980s
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Portal:1980s

The 1980s Portal

The 1980s (pronounced "nineteen-eighties", shortened to "the 80s") was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1980, and ended on December 31, 1989.

The decade saw major socioeconomic change due to advances in technology and a worldwide move away from planned economies and towards laissez-faire capitalism.

As economic deconstruction increased in the developed world, multiple multinational corporations associated with the manufacturing industry relocated into Thailand, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, and China. Japan and West Germany saw large economic growth during this decade. The AIDS epidemic became recognized in the 1980s and has since killed an estimated 39 million people . Global warming became well known to the scientific and political community in the 1980s.

The United Kingdom and the United States moved closer to supply-side economic policies beginning a trend towards global instability of international trade that would pick up more steam in the following decade as the fall of the USSR made right wing economic policy more powerful.

The final decade of the Cold War opened with the US-Soviet confrontation continuing largely without any interruption. Superpower tensions escalated rapidly as President Reagan scrapped the policy of détente and adopted a new, much more aggressive stance on the Soviet Union. The world came perilously close to nuclear war for the first time since the Cuban Missile Crisis 20 years earlier, but the second half of the decade saw a dramatic easing of superpower tensions and ultimately the total collapse of Soviet communism.

Developing countries across the world faced economic and social difficulties as they suffered from multiple debt crises in the 1980s, requiring many of these countries to apply for financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Ethiopia witnessed widespread famine in the mid-1980s during the corrupt rule of Mengistu Haile Mariam, resulting in the country having to depend on foreign aid to provide food to its population and worldwide efforts to address and raise money to help Ethiopians, such as the Live Aid concert in 1985.

Major civil discontent and violence occurred in the Middle East, including the Iran-Iraq War, the Soviet-Afghan War, the 1982 Lebanon War, the Nagorno-Karabakh War, the Bombing of Libya in 1986, and the First Intifada in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Islamism became a powerful political force in the 1980s and many terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda, started.

By 1986, nationalism was making a comeback in the Eastern Bloc and desire for democracy in communist-led socialist states combined with economic recession resulted in Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroika, which reduced Communist Party power, legalized dissent and sanctioned limited forms of capitalism such as joint ventures with Western firms. After newly heated tension for most of the decade, by 1988 relations between the West and East had improved significantly and the Soviet Union was increasingly unwilling to defend its governments in satellite states.

1989 brought the overthrow and attempted overthrow of a number of governments led by communist parties, such as in Hungary, the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 in China, the Czechoslovak "Velvet Revolution", Erich Honecker's East German regime, Poland's Soviet-backed government, and the violent overthrow of the Nicolae Ceau?escu regime in Romania. Destruction of the 155-km Berlin Wall, at the end of the decade, signalled a seismic geopolitical shift. The Cold War ended in the early 1990s with the successful Reunification of Germany and the USSR's demise after the August Coup of 1991.

The 1980s saw great advances in genetic and digital technology. After years of animal experimentation since 1985 the first genetic modification of 10 adult human beings took place in May 1989, a gene tagging experiment which led to the first true gene therapy implementation in September 1990. The first "designer babies", a pair of female twins were created in a laboratory in late 1989 and born in July 1990 after being sex-selected via the controversial assisted reproductive technology procedure preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Gestational surrogacy was first performed in 1985 with the first birth in 1986, making it possible for a woman to become a biological mother without experiencing pregnancy for the first time in history.

The 1980s was also an era of tremendous population growth around the world, surpassing even the 1970s and 1990s, thus arguably being the largest in human history. Population growth was particularly rapid in a number of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian countries during this decade, with rates of natural increase close to or exceeding 4% annually.

The 1980s saw the advent of the ongoing practice of sex-selective abortion in China and India as ultrasound technology permitted parents to selectively abort baby girls.

The global Internet took shape in academia by the second half of the 1980s as well as many other computer networks of both academic and commercial use such as USENET, Fidonet and the Bulletin Board System. By 1989 the Internet and the networks linked to it were a global system with extensive transoceanic satellite links and nodes in most rich countries. Based on earlier work from 1980 onwards Tim Berners Lee formalized the concept of the World Wide Web by 1989 and performed its earliest demonstrations in December 1990 and 1991. Television viewing became commonplace in the Third World, with the number of TV sets in China and India increasing by 15 and 10 times respectively.

The decade was great socioeconomic change due to advances in technology and a worldwide move away from planned economies and towards laissez-faire capitalism.

The 1980s was an era of tremendous population growth around the world, surpassing even the 1970s and 1990s, thus arguably being the largest in human history. Population growth was particularly rapid in a number of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian countries during this decade, with rates of natural increase close to or exceeding 4% annually.

The AIDS epidemic became recognized in the 1980s and has since killed an estimated 39 million people (as of 2013).[1]Global warming became well known to the scientific and political community in the 1980s.

The 1980s saw great advances in genetic and digital technology. After years of animal experimentation since 1985 the first genetic modification of 10 adult human beings took place in May 1989, a gene tagging experiment[2] which led to the first true gene therapy implementation in September 1990. The first "designer babies", a pair of female twins were created in a laboratory in late 1989 and born in July 1990 after being sex-selected via the controversial assisted reproductive technology procedure preimplantation genetic diagnosis.[3]Gestational surrogacy was first performed in 1985 with the first birth in 1986, making it possible for a woman to become a biological mother without experiencing pregnancy for the first time in history.[4]

The global Internet took shape in academia by the second half of the 1980s as well as many other computer networks of both academic and commercial use such as USENET, Fidonet and the Bulletin Board System. By 1989 the Internet and the networks linked to it were a global system with extensive transoceanic satellite links and nodes in most rich countries.[5] Based on earlier work from 1980 onwards Tim Berners Lee formalized the concept of the World Wide Web by 1989 and performed its earliest demonstrations in December 1990 and 1991. Television viewing became commonplace in the Third World, with the number of TV sets in China and India increasing by 15 and 10 times respectively.[6]

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Halley's Comet on 8 March 1986

Halley's Comet or Comet Halley, officially designated 1P/Halley, is a short-period comet visible from Earth every 75-76 years. Halley is the only known short-period comet that is regularly visible to the naked eye from Earth, and the only naked-eye comet that might appear twice in a human lifetime. Halley last appeared in the inner parts of the Solar System in 1986 and will next appear in mid-2061 to 2062.

Halley's returns to the inner Solar System have been observed and recorded by astronomers since at least 240 BC. Clear records of the comet's appearances were made by Chinese, Babylonian, and medieval European chroniclers, but, at those times, were not recognized as reappearances of the same object. The comet's periodicity was first determined in 1705 by English astronomer Edmond Halley, after whom it is now named. Read more...

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Milli Vanilli with Grammy president C. Michael Greene
Credit: Alan Light

Milli Vanilli with Grammy president C. Michael Greene.

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Navratilova at the Prague Open, in 2006

Martina Navratilova (Czech: Martina Navrátilová pronounced [mar'c?na nav'ra:c?lova:]; born Martina ?ubertová pronounced ['marc?na '?ub?rtova:]; October 18, 1956) is a Czechoslovak-born American former professional tennis player and coach. In 2005, Tennis magazine selected her as the greatest female tennis player for the years 1975 through 2005 and she is considered one of the best female tennis players of all time.

Navratilova was world No. 1 for a total of 332 weeks in singles, and a record 237 weeks in doubles, making her the only player in history to have held the top spot in both singles and doubles for over 200 weeks. She was year-end singles No. 1 seven times, including a record of five consecutive years, as well as year-end doubles No. 1 five times, including three consecutive years during which she held the ranking for the entire year. Read more...

Did you know...

...that the Princess Bride was not a major box-office success, but it became a cult classic after its release to the home video market?

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  1. ^ "Global HIV/AIDS Overview". aids.gov. Retrieved 2016.
  2. ^ "Recent advances in pediatrics-17". Jaypee Brothers Publishers. ISBN 978-81-8448-103-7. Retrieved 2016.
  3. ^ "Genetic Defect Screened Out; Healthy Twins Born". latimes. Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ "And Baby Makes Four: for the First Time a Surrogate Bears a Child Genetically Not Her Own". people.com. Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ Ian Brown (2013). Research Handbook on Governance of the Internet. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-84980-504-9.
  6. ^ Singhal, Arvind; Doshi, J.K.; Rogers, Everett M.; Rahman, S. Adnan. "The Diffusion of Television in India" (PDF). Media Asia. 15 (4): 222-229. Retrieved .

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