1. Hubble parameter measurements are notoriously poor. If they were
measurements of something else than the whole universe, they would probably
not make it out of the observatory. Because humans are fascinated with 'the
universe', just about any measurements get reported, on the basis that any
data are better than none. For the past 50 years, measurements of the
Hubble parameter have been reported, and they varied over a wide range.
Since the reciprocal of Ho is the age of the universe, this 'age' has
changed over a wide range too. (This is one of the reasons that YECs have
used to bring modern astronomy into question).
2. The press has always sensationalized Hubble parameter measurements. I
suspect that the astronomers who do this work are more likely to become
known than those who do other equally difficult kinds of work on variable
stars, for instance.
3. Even if the expansion is found to be truly accelerating, what does that
imply regarding the ultimate fate of the universe? By itself, it implies
nothing. What if the expansion rate changes with time, or density, or
something else? We still have not learned what the equation of motion of
the universe is; we can only extrapolate and speculate.
I offer another alternative as the no. 1 discovery of 1998: quantum
teleportation. This is the first (claimed) application of quantum
nonlocality, which appears to violate relativity and may have a profound
impact on future physics.