It's been a long, slow recovery from the 2008 financial crisis, and the last time the Dow Jones industrial average hit the kind of heights it hit Wednesday was October 2007. To give you some perspective on the meaning of the market surge, here's a look at 10 ways the world has changed since the fall of 2007:
1. Justin Bieber wasn't famous yet.
2. Neither was Lady Gaga.
3. Sarah Palin was an Alaska governor with sky-high approval ratings.
4. BlackBerry (RIM) shares were trading at more than $100 each (price this week: $12.73).
5. The first iPhone had just been introduced in the U.S. three months earlier.
6. The first Twilight film had yet to be released.
7. Tiger Woods was still just a really great golfer.
8. The U.S. was winding down its surge -- in Iraq.
9. The world still had fewer than seven billion people.
10. Vladimir Putin was president of Russia. (Oh -- wait.)
-- Foreign Policy