Correspondent David Pogue reminds us of some of the often overshadowed bright spots of the past year.
2020 will not be remembered as a big year for good news. But science and technology have actually achieved some triumphs – starting with the software that made it possible to continue meetings, classes, relationships, and performances.
I’m referring, of course, to Zoom video calls such as those I had with my 92-year-old father, Cleveland attorney Dick Pogue.
“So, am I right that you never used Zoom until the lockdown began?”
“Absolutely not. I was amazed the first time I saw it.”
“Apple, Google and Microsoft all had their own similar video programs. Why do you think Zoom became the winner of the pandemic?” Asked David.
“I think it’s the ease of getting into the meeting.”
All of the Zoom meetings meantand all closed offices meant fewer motorists. It’s not the kind of economy anyone would want, of course, but it has led to more good news:
For the first time in a century, birds could be heard in the cities. you could;; and you could !
At one point, the greatest decline in human history.
This was also the year. We threw the equivalent of one truckload of plastic into the ocean every minute of every day.
China has joined more than 125 other countries that have banned or taxed single-use plastic or plastic bags.
But you don’t have to be a government to make a difference.
Ordinary citizen Sheila Morovati was fed up with the more than 40 billion plastic items that restaurants bring with them every year with take-away orders nobody used.
Pogue asked, “So if I take it out of the removable bag and throw it in the trash, isn’t it a single-use plastic?”
“This is Zero use Plastic! “she answered.
Moravati ran a one-woman campaign to convince delivery services like Uber Eats and Postmates to make these paraphernalia Optional. “Uber Eats and Postmates now have a check box that says,” If you want plastic cutlery, click here. “
2020 was an amazing year for space too.;; ;; and for the first time since the Space Shuttle withdrew in 2011, American astronauts continued to fly to the International Space Station – twice.
After all, 2020 ended on the best news science could offer us:.
Pogue asked, “It usually takes years to develop vaccines – I mean five, ten years. How was it possible that this vaccine was developed so quickly?”
“This really came out of an intense collaboration between science, industry and government,” said Pfizer’s director of vaccine development, Bill Gruber, “to make this essentially a top priority. A key element is that as opposed to typical work.” A lot of work was done in parallel one after the other. “
The vaccines promise that by this time next year, good news will be a lot easier to find. At least that’s what Pogue’s father thinks.
David asked, “Do you have any further thoughts on 2020?”
“I’ll be happy when 2020 is over,” replied Dick. “That was a bad year. But next year it has to be better, much better!”
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Story produced by Amol Mhatre. Editor: Emanuele Secci.