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Welcome From The Chief Editor

Can 2020 PLEASE be over? Can we hurry up and find another planet to colonize? Not that we've taken all that good of care of this one ...

Aye-aye-aye! What a year 2020 has been, and not in a good way. I don't know about you, but this past year has seemed to be just one catastrophic event after another. The words "awful," "dreadful," and "terrible" just seem like too mild of words to use to describe 2020.

Let's take a look at all the bad things that happened in 2020.

Hong Kong uprising/unrest/riots/protests.

Australia bushfires.

Taal Volcano erupts in Luzon, Philippines.

The U.K. and Gibraltar formally withdraw from the E.U.

COVID-19 starts its global spread, and is eventually declared a pandemic by the WHO.

Oil prices reach a record low (which, to many, may not seem like a bad thing at all ... unless you're heavily invested in oil).

Panic buying by consumers here in the U.S. (and other locales, from what I hear) led to a severe shortage of disinfecting sprays, disinfecting wipes, rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, paper towels, and many food products as people bought up all they could should they be required to shelter-in-place for an extended period of time, due to the pandemic. For a period of time, much of the store shelves were empty, as demand far outpaced supply, at least until the supply chain caught up with the demand. Even now, some items are exceptionally difficult to find on store shelves, such as disinfecting sprays and wipes.

A Pakistan International Airlines passenger aircraft crashes in a residential area near Karachi, in Pakistan, killing 97 of the 99 total people on board and injuring dozens on the ground.

Racial protests and riots break out across the U.S. (many lasting most of the summer), and across the world, in response to George Floyd dying in police custody.

Russian President Vladimir Putin declares a state of emergency after 20,000 tons of oil leaked into the Ambarnaya River near the Siberian city of Norilsk within the Arctic Circle.

A 7.5-magnitude earthquake strikes the coast of Oaxaca, Mexico, and kills at least four people. It is felt more than 640 kilometers (400 mi) away in Mexico City.

Harvey Weinstein was convicted of rape and sexual assault in New York.

NBA legend Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash.

Radical left-wing members of Antifa take over a several square block area of downtown Seattle.

The 2020 Summer Olympics, which were supposed to take place in Tokyo, are postponed until 2021.

A Ukrainian flight crashes in Tehran, Iran, killing all 176 passengers on board.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announce they are stepping down from their duties as senior royals in Buckingham Palace.

The coronavirus pandemic triggered a global recession as numerous countries went into lockdown. The Dow Jones industrial average suffered its worst single-day point drop ever on March 9.

Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein's associate, arrested.

"Murder hornets" arrive in US.

West Coast wildfires. (These seem to be an annual event in California, but Oregon and Washington state got hit, as well.)

Many small businesses in the U.S. succumb to the economic hardships imposed by the coronavirus lockdowns.

The Supreme Court Justice and unrelenting trailblazer for gender equality, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, died Sept. 18 at the age of 87. She was the second-ever woman appointed to the high court.

The second wave of COVID-19 starts its sweep.

Canada makes a plan to evacuate its citizens from Hong Kong.

Death toll reaches 39 in the quake that hit Turkey.

Thailand is rocked by protests as the prime minister refuses to step down.

The third wave of COVID-19 gets started moving though the global population, prompting more lockdowns in many countries in an effort to contain transmission of the deadly virus.

Election irregularities and alleged fraud hold up certification of the U.S. Presidential election results.

OF COURSE, NOT EVERYTHING that happened was bad.

Because of increased mask wearing, social distancing, and lockdowns, the influenza wave that was initially expected to hit, pretty much petered out without having nearly the impact that was expected. The fall 2020 influenza cases are also off to a slow start, thanks in large part to the same factors that made the previous influenza case numbers much lower.

Because of COVID-19 lockdowns, air quality improved and air pollution decreased.

My hometown Kansas City Chiefs won their first Super Bowl in 50 years, led by phenom superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes. In fact, it was their first appearance in the Super Bowl in 50 years. The sad part of all of this: I remember their last Super Bowl win 50 years ago! I was just five months past my ninth birthday.

Many businesses switched to a work-from-home telecomputing work model that is expected to persist even after the coronavirus pandemic is behind us.

In the U.S., largely due to Operation Warp Speed, many new drugs and treatments for COVID-19 were fast tracked in an effort to find something that worked against the novel coronavirus. Some worked, some failed, but they all helped to foster hope in despairing times.

Again, largely due to Operation Warp Speed, multiple vaccines for the coronavirus were announced at year's end. Vaccinations are expected to start in the waning weeks of 2020, with healthcare professionals and the elderly among those slated to receive the vaccine(s) first.

Due to falling oil prices, gasoline prices across the U.S. fell to levels not seen in many years. Of course, with the pandemic raging on, there really wasn't anywhere for people to go, either.

I'm sure if you dig deep, hard and long enough, you can find many more bad and good things that 2020 brought your way. I just tried to "hit the highlights."

Here's To Hoping that 2021 is far, far better than the 2020 that we all have endured. It's going to take some time to see how much impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on society and many entrenched habits/trends that have existed for many, many years. But, any time something of this magnitude hits society, there's almost no way it can't have an impact. We'll never be able to go back to the old "normal." That old "normal" will be replaced with a new "normal" that will supplant it in ways we cannot yet begin to imagine.

Until next month, I bid you peace, happiness, serenity, prosperity, continued good health ... and the happiest of holidays!

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