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16 things which happened in 2016 that were actually good

Don't go 2016, turns out you've been surprisingly great?

16 things which happened in 2016 that were actually good

Face it, 2016 has been wicked. When the future historians cast their beady eyes over time, their gaze will fall on this year and they will say “Ah! 2016! Categorically, the best year on record! If only we could roll back the days and find ourselves in the midst of a true golden age.”

“Eh?” You’re thinking. “But what about all those beloved figures who passed away? All those elections which went precisely the opposite way to the results I wanted? Those ongoing global conflicts which have looke less and less like abating, and more and more like intensifying to the point they might soon consume the planet?”

You should make a whole heap of all your doubts, read this article, then throw that heap in the bin, because 2016 has been brilliant and here are all the excellent things that happened:

1. Tigers are surviving

Despite looking almost certainly and completely fucked back in 2010, when there were only 3,200 of the deadly stripey cats left, the tiger has made a massive comeback this year, with the World Wife Fund tallying their population as increasing for the first time in 100 years to 3,890. That’s a 22 per cent rise, so fuck off, climate change.

2. Other animals are surviving

Green sea turtles, the Columbian white-tailed deer, humpback whales and giant pandas all got taken off the endangered species list. So fuck off, natural selection.

3. The Ice Bucket Challenge actually worked

Turns out everyone (i.e. me) who was cynical about the Ice Bucket Challenge’s ability to achieve anything – beyond harvesting likes on social media and making people wet – was actually dead wrong and contributed nothing to finding the gene linked to ALS. The ALS Association cites the money raised (more than $100 million in a 30-day period) through the campaign as being vital in the breakthrough, which could, and probably will, lead to a cure for the disease. So fuck off, me.

4. Actual Leicester City won the actual Premier League

A sporting feat so improbable, so far-fetched in its fairytale underdog nature that it actually makes David versus Goliath look like a fair fight. Leicester City topped a division that has been out of reach of any team without pedigree or a unfair bank balance for at least three decades, if not longer. And it wasn’t some nearly-run fluke, they lost three league games all season. It was so impressive that it’s pretty much ruined sporting films forever, because what’s the point in inventing new Roy of the Rovers-esque narratives when something better literally happened? There’ll be biopics, for sure, but – mark my words – this is the death of all sports fiction. And that’s great, because sports fiction is rubbish. The best bit? The Foxes have immediately gone back to being utterly pish again this season. A magic, once-in-a-lifetime, cliché-surpassing moment.

5. The Olympics were alright

Forgot these happened this year, didn’t you? GB collected a record haul of 27 gold medals, and regardless of whether these were mostly in sports where you ride a bike around in a circle or float a small boat down a river, we still showed those minnow nations which don’t have extensive investment in horse-riding that we can trounce them on the grandest stage of all.

6. The Paris Agreement was signed

194 UNFCCC countries have signed an historic treaty which aims to: “[Hold] the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.” It’s a big kick in the dick for climate change, however, greenhouse gasses do have a trump card in one Donald Trump, who has been intimating the US could pull out the agreement when he assumes presidency. This would be bad as – in very oversimplified terms – it would mean the United States would have such an unfair advantage in using limitless energy that it would almost certainly see a host of other nations pulling out, leading to the planet’s certain fiery doom. Until that happens though, (probably in shit 2017, which is far worse than this one) this is still a Good Thing.

7. Solar planes can fly around the world

Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg piloted their aircraft ‘Solar Impulse 2’, a vessel which runs on the kisses of the sun alone (or at least without using a drop of rocket fuel), all the way around the world. Basically, it irrefutably turns out we don’t need to bake the planet to death with greenhouse gasses to get anywhere, which is nice.

8. China also loves solar

A nation which has been so long seen as the international flag-bearer for decadent emissions has embraced renewable sources, installing 20GW of solar in the first half of the year – three times more than they did in 2015.

9. The UK also also loves solar

From April to September, more electricity was generated by solar power than it was by coal-fired power stations, something James Court (head of policy at the Renewable Energy Association) said would have “been largely unthinkable five years ago.” Think again 2011, you idiot, 2016 just showed what you know.

10. Damn Daniel

What’s that? It’s glib to say that, in a year full of untold suffering and sadness, a boy having his shoes pointed at by another boy and yelling “Daaaaamn Daniel! Back at it again with the White Vans!” is a highlight? Memes can’t mask misery? And this isn’t even that good a meme? You’re wrong. This is an objectively funny meme. I didn’t want to even like it, let alone love it, but it bypasses the part of my content-fatigued mind, and went straight to the guilded upper-echelons of ‘Fenton!’ and ‘Ah fuck, I can’t believe you’ve done this.’ Five popcorns.

11. There was a massive breakthrough in finding the cure for HIV

A HIV study earlier this year cleared a British man of the virus after initial treatment. Scientists said the virus was “completely undetectable” in the patient’s blood, and if the dormant cells are also cleared, medicine will have fully and completely cured this prolific bastard of a disease. So fuck off, HIV.

12. Meanwhile, Ebola’s comeback was rubbish

There are no (at least known) cases of Ebola left in West Africa after Liberia was officially cleared and declared free of the tropical virus by the World Health Organisation. Ebola had a brief resurgence in 2013, when an outbreak starting in Liberia and stretching to Guinea, but it’s hopefully been re-consigned to medical encyclopaedias of obsolete diseases once again.

13. Science woke a man up from a coma

Scientists at the UCLA beamed ultrasound waves and pulses into a patient’s brain, ‘exciting’ his tissue and leading to his waking up three days later. Being comatose but aware of being in a coma like this guy I once read about by am too perturbed to re-Google is one of my actual nightmares, so this is banging news. Excite me back to consciousness, science.

14. There is less war

After the cease-fire in Colombia, all of the war in the world has become limited to an arc stretching from Nigeria to Pakistan – which contains less than a sixth of the world’s population. This is, still, admittedly loads, but is also better than two sixths of the world’s population being in war. It might be too early to call it, but frankly, 2016 might have been the year were a decent amount of the world looked at war and thought ‘nah.’ This is after five previous years in which the Boston Globe said the world “lurched in the opposite direction” with regards to warmongering. This may only be a temporary decline, but it’s still reason to hope.

15. World hunger is lower than it has been for quarter of a century

Starvation has receded since 1980, and Ethiopia’s worst drought in three decades didn’t lead to an increase in the country’s mortality rate, due to the humanitarian relief provided by other nations. This New York Times article outlines how “peace, greater transparency and prudent planning” can mitigate the worst excesses of famine and starvation.

16. Loads of celebrities were born

Truly, it’s very sad that David Bowie, Prince, Victoria Wood, Leonard Cohen, Alan Rickman and a veritable Yellow Pages full of celebrities are no longer with us, but turn that frown upside down and that circle of life around. Like seeds falling from an orchard’s dying trees, loads of new famous faces that will surely spring from the days of 2016 and blossom into fully-fledged megastars in the years to come. Wikipedia’s already got cracking on its notable babies list.

So there you have it. Fuck off climate change. Fuck off world hunger. Fuck off Damn Daniel, naysayers. And fuck off 2017, we want to live in 2016 forever.