AS we move to the second half of the Year of our Lord 2020, it is probably a proper time to look back at the first six months of the year. On second thought, “No, no, please, NO.”
In fact, we don’t even want to look forward to the next six months. That is like peering into a long cave wondering if there are zombies or vampires or both. Right now we would like to go to a real restaurant for a fresh crispy pata and not feel like we are putting the country at risk of getting sick or dying. Probably, like you, we would like to see a movie sitting in the dark next to a bunch of strangers.
Speaking of movies, in the future the only ones that we might be able to see will be replays on Netflix. Here is a current assessment of the industry in Hollywood, USA: “The entire movie industry has been wiped out. Filmmaking has come to a halt, as filming now requires a special Covid-19 team to oversee the movie and can shut it down at any moment. Insurance companies are refusing to write insurance to cover production. This will kill the industry by the end of 2020.”
No matter what might happen before the calendar turns to a New Year, 2020 is going down in the history books as the “Year of All Kinds of Weird Things.”
It seems like only yesterday, the headlines covered locust swarms of biblical proportions ravaging farmlands and wiping out crops. Actually, it was only yesterday. A few months ago, this referred to the Arabian Peninsula and Africa. Yesterday and today, it is South America.
This plague seems to have started in Paraguay and is now swarming through Argentina. This nation is the sixth largest wheat exporter in the world, making up over 6 percent of the total global exports. And a swarm of locusts can eat enough wheat in one day to feed 2,500 people. Not good.
Last week, southern Mexico was struck by a 7.4 magnitude earthquake, which, if it happened in a heavily populated area, could be a catastrophe. The Oaxaca region is sparsely populated and is known for its indigenous peoples and their cultures, the infamous Oaxaca drug cartel, and earthquakes. But this was a big one.
However, in the concurrent seven-day period, the US states of California and Nevada experienced 2,267 earthquakes. And California—particularly Los Angeles County—continues to report record daily numbers of Covid-19 cases. Earthquakes, Covid-19, and no movies—how can it get any worse?
But it is also the “unseen” that is strange. Last week, Earth’s quiet magnetic field was unexpectedly disturbed by a wave of magnetism that rippled around much of the globe. There was no solar storm or geomagnetic storm to cause the disturbance. Scientists say that it was probably nothing.
Maybe the strangest thing that has happened in 2020 occurred in us. Americans decided that the most important item for their apocalypse survival kits was toilet paper. Filipinos went on a buying spree in January and February 2020 that saw consumer spending more than double from 2019.
Globally, consumer buying was so different that the computer programs that track inventory, marketing, and credit card fraud detection could not figure things out. Artificial Intelligence could not understand why the phrase “go viral” suddenly created panic when someone posted a funny cat video. Hopefully this will all be over soon.