Writing all the crazy things that 2020 had brought us felt like creating a timeline for a binge-worthy series. One would re-think, “Wait. Did that happen? Are you sure?” The year flew by the entire world like a whirlwind. One thing for sure— it left us overwhelmed. Let’s chronologically go over all the crazy things that happened in 2020.
Literal Year of Fire (January-December)
The year started with a blaze. To be more precise, the Australian bushfire continued to burn from 2019 entering to 2020. As the new year enters, the skies turned red due to the ongoing fire, setting a mood perfect for an apocalyptic movie scene. However, this is the harsh reality, with real-life casualties. Of course, just the worst way to start the year. Furthermore, as if creating a domino chain of reaction, a wildfire started in California. After February’s first incident, wildfires ablaze different counties throughout 2020.
The Pandemic That Shook the World (January-December)
We’ve got to admit that the earliest cases of Covid-19 didn’t alarm us that much. Back to 2019, where we are all still oblivious as we enjoy our lives. The jokes on us as the virus caught us unprepared. Shocking? Not really. From the crazy ‘home remedies’ to fake news, the public’s misinformation exchange did not help. This pandemic instilled fear in our minds urging us to take action. Our year-long battle with the virus left us changing everything around us.
Massive Panic Buying (February)
The coronavirus outbreak caused the whole world to stockpile basic needs. 2020 is a year where the essential goods section gets wiped clean, while toilet paper becomes the hot new currency in some countries. People are in a crazy hoarding frenzy, eventually resulting in a Lysol shortage. Yep, anything to cope with fear.
World on Lockdown (February-December)
Our lives suddenly had a pause button after the worldwide lockdown. Different ways to spend all the free time suddenly became a trending topic. On another note, owners put their heads together to plan a pandemic proof business. Some even started a post-pandemic business like handmade facemask or potted plants.
Crashing Dow (March)
Diving is fun, but not if it’s about the stock market. The DJIA recorded the largest point plunge last March, closely following the world’s lockdown. Looking on the bright side, at least everyone’s safe inside?
Aliens Confirmed By the Government (April)
Remember that moment when the government released not one but three UFO videos? After the first leak of the videos, everyone was quick to claim it as a UFO. The Pentagon released videos of unexplained aerial phenomena. Admittedly, they wanted to clear up the ongoing debate whether the leak was real. We’ll take that as a confirmation for aliens, thank you.
Murder Hornets (May)
Murder hornets, almost like a title for a new action-packed thriller movie, debuted in the U.S. last May. Ever since its sighting, scientists embarked on a full hunt to eradicate the insects. Right, cause prevention is better than cure. Authorities sure did a great job as the ‘murder hornets’ kills up to 50 people per year in Japan. Good thing we avoided that lethal threat.
That Crazy Baby Name (May)
Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, just created the craziest baby name with his partner Grimes. Everyone tilted their heads as the couple announced their baby boy’s name as X Æ A-12. Our first thought, “Cute. How do I pronounce that?” Thankfully, Musk saved us from using our brain cells as he explains it as X Ash A-12. It’s crazy in the most inventive way. In the end, to each his own.
Parallel Universe Hoax (May)
The long debate of having a multiverse resurfaced to the public after hearing a parallel universe where time flows backward exists next to ours. This news sparked curious minds resulting in articles after articles armored with thought-provoking content. However, numerous experts debunked the claim by explaining facts. Right, just a cold splash of reality for our sci-fi filled minds.
Locust Invasion (June)
Another natural disaster that seems like a blockbuster movie, invaded India’s capital, coined as the worst in decades. India’s response team had a hard time containing the swarmageddon, affecting almost half-dozen states.
Wearing Mask Becomes a Political Issue (July)
Half into the year, everyone is tired of all the crazy things in the first half of 2020. Numerous public meltdown and adult tantrum videos appeared one by one, enough to create a compilation. These anti-mask individuals claim it is their right, claiming to have breathing problems. One customer even called a store’s employees “democratic pigs.” Only in 2020 where masks get dragged into a political debate. Classy.
Missing Star (July)
The bright crystal blue star that the astronomers have been studying for two decades pulled a disappearing act. As the star quietly makes its exit, experts were left delightedly scratching their heads. After all, stars always leave with a bang.
Mysterious Seed Package (July)
As if visited by a seed fairy, unsolicited seed packages appeared in mails across 30 states. However, the mysterious packs look like a part of a brushing scam.
Firenado in California (August)
By this time, we’re all aware of 2020’s crazy schemes, for August— it’s a burning hot surprise. A rare fire tornado was spotted near a fire in California. Most people must have scratched their heads as they watched the news. One thing we learned from this: fire tornados are real.
An Extraterrestrial Discovery? (September)
We’re all aware of that ongoing debate of life forms on Mars. It seems like Venus got jealous and wanted to be the highlight of our 2020 extraterrestrial discussion. Experts discovered a chemical, phosphine, hinting at something alive hiding in the thick clouds of Venus.
Venom Caterpillar (October)
We had murder hornets, locust invasion, and now venom caterpillars. A long-existing species of caterpillar invaded Virginia. A weird crawling insect with hair-like spines that squirts venomous pus? That’s 2020 for you.
The Touring Monolith (November)
The first metal-clad monolith weirdly appeared in Utah on November 18. As if inspired by the mysterious phenomena, numerous monoliths appeared across the world. Some say this crazy occurrence might be an alien invasion or a hoax. Others call it a marketing strategy.
Virus Level Up (December)
The year is almost over, but nothing is stopping 2020. With all the craziness that happened, we often thought, “what now?” Oh, nothing much, just a new strain of the virus discovered. We all wish for it to be over. Reality says no. Now we all face a new threat that is quick to spread.
‘Christmas Star’ Reappearing After 800 Years (December)
To wrap up all the craziness with a star on top. Let’s end on a positive note as the first Christmas star in 800 years gave stargazers a treat as it shines bright on the 21st of December. Who else missed this once in a lifetime event?
5 Deadly Outbreaks You Probably Never Heard Of
Some health practitioners and experts say one common thing: we were due to have a new flu virus.
In December 2019, a new virus strain, COVID-19, started to infect thousands in China. By early 2020, its infectious nature reached different countries like the United States, Italy, and Spain. At the time of writing, over 1,000,000 people are infected, and over 60,000 have died.
In this article, we examine viral outbreaks like coronavirus in the 20th and 21st centuries.
The 1918 H1N1 Influenza (Spanish flu, as many call it) is possibly one of the deadliest outbreaks in history.
Experts aren’t sure where the virus originated. It’s hypothesized to have started in Asia, while some do say it began in the Iberian Peninsula. That’s why some historians or researchers called it the Spanish flu. It’s also named as H1N1 because the virus came from an avian origin.
At the time, you had the Spanish flu if you exhibited these symptoms:
- Blue skin
- Fluid in lungs
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the first wave of the outbreak in the United States started in March 1918. The disease was so infectious that it spread to different continents in six months. By October 1918, over 195,000 Americans died because of H1N1 influenza. One of the most surprising findings of the 1918 influenza that it even killed healthy individuals between 20 to 40 years old.
Researchers and scientists only gave an estimate as to how many died from the virus. Estimated deaths were between 50 to 100 million, while there were over 500 million people infected globally. Taubenberger and Morens believe that the mortality rate was 2.5%. Besides, History suggests the death toll for the H1N1 virus claimed more lives than World War I.
The CDC reports that the new influenza strain was in Singapore first then spread to Hong Kong. Its other misnomer is Asian flu since the virus spread in the region. Britannica finds that similar to viral outbreaks like coronavirus in 2003 and 2019, it first appeared in China and spread in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Most of the infected are the elderly, children, and pregnant women.
Those who contracted H2N2 had these symptoms:
This virus strain claimed over 1 to 2 million lives globally. There’s no official case fatality rate (CFR) globally, but in a symposium paper by Dr. Payne, they estimate that it’s less than 1% in England. Meanwhile, CFR for the young and elderly range from 1 in 2000 to 1 in 6000.
Another virus strain in Asia manifested ten years later. Some called it the Hong Kong flu. Many researchers suggest that it was from the same virus strain as the Asian flu. It spread to the United States in September 1968, with over 100,000 deaths in the country.
Similar to H2N2, there were over 1 to 4 million deaths worldwide. Symptoms of the 1968 Influenza are:
- Muscle pain
It’s similar to the viral outbreaks like coronavirus in 2003 (SARS-CoV) and 2019. The CDC says that this strain of influenza continues to infect as Influenza A (or the seasonal virus).
Sino Biological states that the CFR for the Hong Kong flu is 0.5%.
Six years after the SARS-CoV outbreak, a new flu virus strain emerged.
According to Krista Duda in Very Well Health, the first case of the H1N1 virus was found in a 10-year old girl in California. They add that it’s a mix of swine, avian, and human genes. Based on the CDC timeline, WHO declared it a public health emergency on April 25 then raised the pandemic alert on April 27.
People at risk of contracting the 2009 H1N1 disease are the elderly, pregnant, immunocompromised, chronically ill patients, and children less than five years old. Those who had the 2009 H1N1 virus had some of these symptoms (alongside cough and body pain):
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Loss of appetite
The CDC estimates that 0.001 to 0.007% died from respiratory complications. Plus, they also estimate that the death toll was around 151,700 to 575,400 worldwide. It’s one of the viral outbreaks like coronavirus in 2019.
Aside from COVID-19, one of the most recent viral outbreaks in history is the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. Scientists first discovered the Ebola virus disease in 1976. There were no cases of Ebola in the ‘80s, but it reemerged in 1994 and has reemerged time and time again.
Those who contracted Ebola presented these symptoms:
- Body pains
- Muscle weakness
- Sore throat
Plus, according to the National Health Service, the symptoms can last up to 21 days. Other symptoms that could occur are diarrhea, rash, and internal bleeding.
The 2014 to 2016 outbreak is significant because of reported cases outside Africa. The reported incidences for this outbreak were 28,652, while the death toll was at 11,325. There were only 11 cases of Ebola in the United States during this time. Only two of them died. WHO reports that the CFR is 50%.
Otakon Welcomes Writers Roland Kelts And Frederik L. Schodt
Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica: How Japanese pop culture has invaded us, and writer, translator, and conference interpreter, Frederik L. Schodt have both joined as guests for Otakon 2017. Fans of the writers were thrilled for their appearance at the convention, as they share their most popular and influential works. Frederik writes exclusively on pop culture, technology, and history, while Roland is currently a 2017 Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard University, where he is currently working on a new book. Both Frederik and Roland are devoted writers, with similarities in expressing Japanese culture in their writings.
While living in Tokyo and New York City, Roland writes for a variety of well-known publications that includes, “The New Yorker, Time,” “The New York Times,” “Harper’s Magazine,” “The Christian Science Monitor,” “Newsweek Japan,” “The Los Angeles Times,” “The Yomiuri” and “The Japan Times,” and is an authority on modern Japanese culture and media. His writings are spread throughout, though his recognition is from Japanese fans especially. Likewise, he is a frequent commentator on CNN, NPR, NHK, and the BBC. With additional lectures for TED Talks in Tokyo and The World Economic Forum in Tianjin, Roland is looking for various opportunities to share his work, in order to spread awareness to the Japanese culture.
Otakon is an annual celebration of Japanese and East Asian popular culture, with the title of holding in one of the largest gatherings of fans in the United States. In the celebration of anime, manga, video games, and especially music from the Far East, Otakon attracts like-minded fans. Created from devoted fans for fans, the staff is directed by an all-volunteer, unpaid staff. The conventions are solely for the purpose of celebrating and sharing Japanese and East Asian cultures.
Frederik is best known for his many works on manga that includes, “Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics” (1983), “Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga” (1996), and “The Astro Boy Essays: Osamu Tezuka, Mighty Atom, and the Manga/Anime Revolution” (2007). He has won numerous awards for his talent in the past as a result. In 2009 especially, the emperor of Japan awarded him the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, for his success in introducing Japanese popular culture to North America. His most influential work gave recognition to both him and to what Japan has to offer.
As of recently in 2013, his book, “Professor Risley and the Imperial Japanese Troupe: How an American Acrobat Introduced Circus to Japan—And Japan to the West,” won the Circus Historical Society’s Stuart Thayer Prize. Doing so, for the last three years, he has served on the executive committee of the Japan International Manga Award. Additionally, he is an active translator and has worked on much well-known manga series, as well as novels including Yoshiyuki Tomino’s “Mobile Suit Gundam” trilogy.
Frederik has been involved in spreading Japanese culture and will continue as he attends Otakon 2017. The convention holds determined fans who wish to express their culture with other similar people. In Otakon 2017, writers Roland Kelts and Frederik L. Schodt are invited to continue the tradition. All while cementing their writings and work to Japanese culture, the awareness can now be shared in North America.
Otakon will be continuing their gatherings next year on August 10-12 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C.
Ultimate Gift Guide For Pet Owners
As an entrepreneur, you’re up to your neck in work. Your days are filled with constant thoughts about the status of your business, and we can’t blame you! Sometime during your journey, you may have picked up a furry friend or two along the way. The holidays are about appreciation, and when it comes to our pets, it should be no different. They love us unconditionally and they deserve to be pampered. We put together a list of gifts that we think your pets will love.
P.L.A.Y Santa’s Little Squeakers Plush Toys
Inspired by Christmas ornaments, Santa’s Little Squeakers Plush Toys are perfect for your pooch this holiday season. You can collect all five ornaments for your tree and as a gift for your best fur friend. My personal experience with dogs is that they like to destroy their toys as quickly as possible. The Santa’s Little Squeakers Plush Toys are high quality and made using durable construction. They are also safe for the environment! Each toy is stuffed with their in-house eco-friendly soft PlanetFill® poly fiber.
Arty Cat Scratcher
Cats love to sharpen their claws and will find any means necessary to do so. Instead of allowing your cat to scratch up the ends of your couch, check out the Arty Cat Scratcher. It has an innovative curved design, made to blend in well with your decor. The Arty Cat Scratcher can be separated into two pieces, allowing your feline friends to scratch or lounge until their hearts’ content. The curved area is perfect for hiding! You can use them together or place them in different areas of your home. What’s great about the Arty Cat Scratcher is the weight. It’s slightly heavier than most cat scratchers, so when it’s being used, you won’t have to worry about it slipping and sliding everywhere.
As a dog owner, you probably feel sad when leaving your dog at home alone. With the CleverPet Hub, you no longer have to worry! The technology used for CleverPet keeps your dog entertained while you’re away. The hub has three lights at the base, and when it is touched, treats will be distributed. The lights are lit in a sequence of colors, and treats are only distributed when the correct light is touched. It’s a game console for your dog! While you’re at work, you can turn it on remotely using their CleverPet app. The app also tracks their activity and gives you updates on their progress. As for the toy itself, it is highly durable and easy to disassemble. It stays in place while it’s being used and holds quite a bit of food. When introducing your furry friend to CleverPet, be patient and watch as they learn how to get rewarded with treats!
Kurgo Explorer Carrier
If you have an active lifestyle, the Kurgo Explorer Dog Carrier is for you. It features a sturdy base, perfect for a small pooch to rest in comfortably. The Explorer Dog Carrier is waterproof and easy to clean. When you’re traveling, you can attach it to a seat belt to prevent sliding. It’s a guaranteed seat for your furry best friend! You can choose to keep the carrier open or zipped according to your dog’s comfort. The Explorer Dog Carrier is also designed to fit under your seat when you fly, so you can take your pup with you no matter where you go.
iFetch Ball Launcher
Exercise is a MUST for dogs. iFetch innovated the way we play with dogs with their interactive ball launcher. It can be set to launch at 10, 20, or 30 feet and comes in different sizes to fit your dog. You or your dog can drop in the ball at the top and it will launch out of the machine for your dog to fetch. This can lead to hours of fun, keeping your pooch entertained. You’ll have time to work on your projects while your dog is preoccupied with iFetch.
Kurgo K9 Carrier
We all have to take our pups on car rides every now and then. The Kurgo K9 Courier is perfect for just that. It provides your dog with a booster seat so he will be right beside you, secure in his pouch. This way, dogs can look out the window safely during long drives. The K9 Courier can only fit dogs on the smaller side but is versatile for multiple situations. If you are staying at a hotel, it can also be used as a pull out travel bed. It comes with a long adjustable strap that you can use to take your dog from place to place with ease.
Wonderwoof Bowtie Activity Tracker
You have the FitBit, and now your dog can have the WonderWoof! It keeps track of your dog’s activity, so you know how to keep him happy and healthy. The bowtie activity tracker can easily be clipped onto a collar and is lightweight enough to be comfortable. Through their app, you can map your walks, set care reminders, add caretakers, and connect with dog lovers in your area. The app is customized by breed, so the activities are specially chosen for your special friend.
ViviPet Cat Bowls
Get your cats the modern dishware they deserve. ViviPet Elevated Feeder is perfect for your feline. The bowls are shaped like cats and they sit on a wood base. Cats prefer to eat at an elevated position, and the ViviPet Elevated Feeder is just that. It is tilted at 15 degrees to prevent food fallout. Made of pine wood and ceramic, your feline friend will be very happy with your choice.