The Mortgage Crisis

The housing bubble finally burst, big time. Defaults on subprime mortgages — high and adjustable-interest rate home loans for people who don’t qualify for the lowest market rates — had been rising slowly for a couple of years and by this summer were up 93% from the year before. In April, New Century Financial, one of the largest subprime lenders in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy, the first of a slew of mortgage company failures.

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Virginia Tech Shooting

At around 7 a.m. on April 16, Cho Seung-Hui shot two students in a dorm at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. While police searched for a suspect, Cho went calmly to a post office and mailed his multimedia manifesto to NBC News. By 9:45 a.m., Cho was back on campus and had begun shooting his way through Norris Hall, a classroom building. In the end, 33 were dead: 27 students, five professors and the gunman.

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iPhone Mania 

Steve Jobs dramatically unveiled the iPhone on Jan. 9, along with the sad news that it wouldn’t be available for … Six. More. Months. By the time the combo phone-iPod-PDA- camera-computer hit Apple and AT&T stores on June 29, the frenzy had reached a fever pitch, and customers waited in line to snap up the 200,000 units made available.

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