It's a stretch to call "Beth/Rest" the year's most divisive song, but it's hard to discuss Bon Iver's second album without weighing in on its '80s-style closer. Next to the lush, impeccably crafted grace that precedes it, "Beth/Rest" couldn't be more jarring: With its electric keyboards, saxophones and epic guitar solos, the track could double as the lost love theme to a misbegotten action movie in which Morgan Fairchild seduces a suave diamond thief played by Lou Diamond Phillips.
2011 has been a momentous year in the 30-year-old AIDS pandemic.
The big breakthrough was the discovery that antiviral drugs can prevent someone who's infected with HIV from passing the virus to others. It's nearly 100 percent effective. That led President Obama to declare earlier this month that the U.S. will expand HIV treatment in hard-hit countries by 50 percent.
In 2011, IBM's stock rose more than tech hotshots Google and Apple. IBM is 100 years old, but it has totally remade its business for the 21st century.
"There is no such thing as an IBM PC," declares IBM managing partner Adam Klaber. More than 83 percent of their business is now services and software. The NYPD hired IBM to track crime. Telecom Bharti Airtel wanted to build wireless coverage in 16 African countries, so they went to IBM.
Oh, and which supercomputer became Jeopardy champion in 2011? IBM's Watson.
Credit William Keener / Golden Gate Cetacean Research
A group of harbor porpoises in San Francisco Bay, photographed from the Golden Gate Bridge. Harbor porpoises haven't been seen in the bay since the 1930s. Researchers believe World War II activity may have contributed to their disappearance. The Navy strung a seven-mile underwater net across the mouth of the bay to keep out enemy submarines.
Something that has been missing from San Francisco Bay since World War II appears to be making a comeback: Harbor porpoises are showing up in growing numbers, and researchers are trying to understand why they're returning.
The walkway across the Golden Gate Bridge is almost always packed with people taking photos. But Bill Keener isn't here for snapshots of the stunning views. He's aiming his massive telephoto lens at a dark shape in the water 200 feet below.
Ah, we still do the town on New Year's Eve, but tearing the goal posts down is now verboten. Deemed too dangerous. In fact, as our new year approaches, it's a good time to look back on several other things in sport that have long since faded away.
Who remembers, for example, that at the end of each inning in the field, baseball players would just chuck their gloves onto the grass behind their position, leaving the field littered with mitts. All game long.
A company that provides identity protection services is sifting through the data released by hackers over the holiday weekend and and they're detailing what hackers were able to steal from Stratfor, a security think tank.
If you haven't heard, hackers who claim an affiliation with the group Anonymous broke into the servers of Stratfor, made public some data and used some of the stolen credit card numbers to, in some cases, make charitable donations.