Time Capsule: The 1990s; Red Sunset and Desert Flames, Prosperity and Scandal
The long Cold War ends as the Berlin Wall falls and communism collapses. Africa and Europe experience tribal wars, and President Bush acts against a dictator in the Middle East.
The people choose Clinton, and the United States prospers in a world beset by political and economic disasters – which Americans, rapt in the O. J. trial, the death of Princess Di, and the sex life of their president, hardly seem to notice.
New words: Scud, gene therapy, shock jock, DVD, browser, Y2K, dotcom
- A New York stand-up comic and his eccentric friends entertained viewers for nine seasons on “Seinfeld,” an award-winning sitcom “about nothing” that gave fans an offbeat and hilarious look at city life.
- On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait. After negotiations failed, Operation Desert Storm was launched on January 17, 1991. Multinational forces led by the U.S. liberated Kuwait within six weeks.
- Electronic art and computer-generated animation gained popularity. Artists, graphic designers, and moviemakers used software and powerful, more affordable computers to create everything from abstract paintings to cinematic special effects.
- Cloned dinosaurs terrorized visitors at an island theme park in the 1993 hit “Jurassic Park.” Noted for its stunning lifelike creatures, the Steven Spielberg-directed film won Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, and Best Sound Effects Editing.
- Employing computers and interface devices such as data gloves and head mounted displays, virtual reality created three dimensional “virtual” worlds used in video games and in applications ranging from architecture to surgery.
- In 1998, Special Olympics marked its 30th anniversary. The organization provides year-round sports training and competition for children and adults with mental retardation, giving them opportunities to develop physical fitness and demonstrate courage.
- In 1962, aboard the Mercury Friendship 7, John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth. His 1998 return to space at age 77, on the shuttle Discovery, heightened interest in the space program.
- The popularity of cellular phones skyrocketed as the phones became smaller and cheaper, sound quality improved, and service became more widely available. In 1999, more than 78 million Americans had cellular service.
- The World Wide Web brought the text-based Internet to life by adding pictures, sound, and video. Millions of people accessed the Internet with user-friendly browsers for business, entertainment, and educational purposes.
- Originally designed for off-road driving, sport utility vehicles became commonplace on city and suburban streets. Offering versatility, comfort, and a rugged image, SUVs were a popular choice for American families and commuters.