2000 Roundup: Weird and wonderful

As you've kept up with our tech news over the last year you may have noticed that while much of it deserved serious intellectual reflection there were plenty of stories that were just... plain odd

The last year, as befits the first of a new millennium, has been eventful. ZDNet helps you look back over 2000, in all its wacky glory, from Turkish Internet God Mahir, through to live snail racing: Admittedly this was at the end of last year, but Mahir is so bizarre, we deemed him worthy of inclusion. The man who brought the catchphrase "I kiss you!" to an unsuspecting world visited San Francisco and was... er... very Mahir-like. In January, presumably because people felt they had been very naughty over Christmas and New Year, a confessional Web site was launched which enabled users to surf their sins away! It's a far cry from the cold, intimidating confessional boxes of tradition. On a rather less spiritual and more sinister level, in February eBay put a stop to the disturbing auction of human kidneys. "You can choose which one... I need the other one to live," said a post on the site, advertising a fully functioning organ. In March, things were turning Japanese, as the country announced they planned to produce a team of robots that can defeat the World Cup championship football team by 2050. (If they're talking about France, they're probably right as the players will all be in their 70s...) A couple of months passed in a very pedestrian manner, but then a new poll in June more than made up for it, revealing that people had bought fossilised woolly mammoth dung, moulds in the shape of private parts, and a Mongolian beard crimper, all online. Presumably, none of these items were purchased by Arthur, the Web-surfing parrot featured in July. The bird has his own screen and mouse and has not yet run up a huge bill(!) for his owners to pay. Also in July, and probably the strangest story of the entire year, was the news that a carnivorous robot had been invented. It looks like a train and runs on meat.... Perhaps its inventor could team up with John Prescott and solve Britain's transport woes! By far the most popular story of the summer was coverage of the weed via WAP phone scheme launched in Amsterdam in August. The scheme failed to take off in the end, as local dealers and coffee shop owners pointed out they were none too impressed by the idea of having 'high'-tech competition. If they were planning violence, local "businesses" wanting to put off weed startup iToke could have got the latest import from Thailand -- a lethal sentinel robot, unleashed in August. RoboCop eat your heart out! This robot can, terrifyingly, be programmed to shoot on sight. Bringing the year of weird to an early, and pleasant, conclusion, is the story run by ZDNet in September about online snail racing. Whether or not hardcore gamblers have adopted this new method of throwing their money away is a mystery, but it certainly makes a calming ten minutes of screen viewing! COMMENT: Not the new millennium
Once upon a time, starry-eyed futurologists predicted we'd be floating around on jetpacks in the year 2000. Money, illness and governments would be abolished, space stations would orbit the Earth and a new age of peace and contentment would be well under way. Well, Rupert Goodwins is here to put you in the picture as to what actually went on in the year 2000. 2001 -- the year ahead
Go with Ruperts Goodwins on a whirlwind tour of the year ahead. sit back and read Ruperts predictions for the 12 months ahead and prepare to chuckle! To have your say online click on the TalkBack button and go to the ZDNet News forum. Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom. And read what others have said.