One way to remember a year is through the vocabulary it left behind. Mitt Romney’s campaign redefined not just a beloved childhood toy, but also a now-infamous percentage of the electorate. A meningitis scandal shone a light on a once-obscure kind of pharmacy. A hurricane in New York hinted at ever more destructive storms.
compounding (n., adj.)
Until this year, few people outside the health care world had even heard of compounding pharmacies, which are supposed to make custom preparations of drugs for patients with special needs. That changed when a deadly national outbreak of fungal meningitis was traced to Framingham-based New England Compounding Center. The pharmacy and affiliate companies were shut down, amid questions about how the compounding industry had grown so large without attracting tighter scrutiny. The lack of state oversight felled top officials like dominoes, including the state pharmacy board director and the state public health commissioner, and likely hastened the departure of the state health and human services secretary. Lawsuits are underway, criminal prosecutions are likely for the company’s owners, and the Food and Drug Administration is being criticized on Capitol Hill for its own weak oversight. They became a textbook example of how lack of regulation compounds into tragedy. — DERRICK Z. JACKSON
The new 787 isn’t the largest plane in the air. Its advancements are more environmental — better fuel efficiency; more humidity in the cabin, making for less jet lag. So what to call a next-generation Boeing airliner that proudly pushes beyond the old “jumbo jet” and “wide body” designations? The Dreamliner.
The first one entered US service in Boston last spring. With an airport whose runway is too short for a fully loaded Airbus 380 or Boeing 747 bound for Asia, New Englanders had been forced to change planes when flying to Japan and beyond, adding hours and hassles. Businesses take such inconveniences seriously; Logan Airport’s constraints became those of the local economy. Fortunately, the Dreamliner doesn’t need to rumble halfway to Worcester before becoming airborne. Nonstop service to Tokyo began in April. Eight months later, Japan Airlines reports nearly full bookings.
The dream the 787 answered was Boston’s. — PETER S. CANELLOS
47 percent (n.)
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