I thought the passing of Carrie Fisher was really the topper of the year, but no — her mother, Debbie Reynolds, passed the very next day.
Well before Carrie Fisher’s death, people were already saying what a horrible year 2016 had been for unexpected deaths of celebrities, unexpected political outcomes, depressed sales, and much more. My own year, however, seems to have been remarkably good. It was my first full year of writing full time. I’m still writing full time, so that’s one check mark on the plus side.
I thought, rather than usher out 2016 as quickly and quietly as possible, I would mark its passing with a summary of some of the good, happy and positive events that happened this year.
- January 8 – Joaquín Guzmán, widely regarded as the world’s most powerful drug trafficker, is recaptured following his escape from a maximum security prison.
- January 16 – The International Atomic Energy Agency announces that Iran has adequately dismantled its nuclear weapons program, allowing the United Nations to lift sanctions immediately.
- February 12 – Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill sign an Ecumenical Declaration in the first such meeting between leaders of the Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches since their split in 1054.
- March 14 – The ESA and Roscosmos launch the joint ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter on a mission to Mars.
- June 1 – The Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world’s longest and deepest railway tunnel, is opened following two decades of construction work.
- July 4 – NASA’s Juno spacecraft enters orbit around Jupiter and begins a 20-month survey of the planet.
- July 15 — An attempted coup in Turkey failed.
- July 26 – Solar Impulse 2 becomes the first solar-powered aircraft to circumnavigate the Earth.
- August 5–21 – The 2016 Summer Olympics are held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
- September 3 – The US and China, together responsible for 40% of the world’s carbon emissions, both ratify the Paris global climate agreement.
- September 8 – NASA launches OSIRIS-REx, its first asteroid sample return mission. The probe will visit Bennu and is expected to return with samples in 2023.
- September 30 – Two paintings by Vincent Van Gogh, Seascape at Scheveningen and Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen, stolen on December 7, 2002 from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam are recovered, with a combined value of $100 million.
- October 15 – 150 nations meeting at the UNEP summit in Rwanda agree to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), as an amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
- November 24 — Colombian President Juan Santos first won election back in 2010 while promising to continue Colombia’s 50-year-old fight against the Marxist guerilla group, the FARC. Santos, who was awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the agreement, hammered out a new deal. Unveiled on November 24, it toughened some of the provisions on FARC members. Colombians now hope the deal works; the conflict with the FARC has killed nearly a quarter million people.
- December 22 – A study finds the VSV-EBOV vaccine against the Ebola virus between 70-100% effective, and thus making it the first proven vaccine against the disease.
In 2016 the Nobel Prize was awarded to:
- Chemistry – Ben Feringa, Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Fraser Stoddart
- Economics – Oliver Hart, Bengt R. Holmström
- Literature – Bob Dylan
- Peace – Juan Manuel Santos (see above)
- Physics – John M. Kosterlitz, Duncan Haldane, David J. Thouless
- Physiology or Medicine – Yoshinori Ohsumi
The highest grossing films of 2016:
1 Captain America: Civil War $1,153,304,495
2 Finding Dory $1,027,771,569
3 Zootopia $1,023,784,195
4 The Jungle Book $966,550,600
5 The Secret Life of Pets $875,436,077
6 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice $873,260,194
7 Deadpool $783,112,979
8 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them $747,475,251
9 Suicide Squad $745,600,054
10 Doctor Strange $656,741,387
TV series that launched in 2016
(This is why you can never keep up!)
The Rap Game
Shock Trauma: Edge of Life
Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life
The Shannara Chronicles
Zoe Ever After
Criminals at Work
Angel from Hell
My Diet Is Better Than Yours
Shades of Blue
Live to Tell
Lego Nexo Knights
Greatest Party Story Ever
The Real Housewives of Potomac
The HALO Effect
Fit to Fat to Fit
Kocktails with Khloé
Legends of Tomorrow
Recipe for Deception
NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC
Stevie J & Joseline: Go Hollywood
You, Me and the Apocalypse
Jo Frost: Nanny On Tour
American Crime Story
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Not Safe with Nikki Glaser
Those Who Can’t
Ready Jet Go!
Hap and Leonard
Lab Rats: Elite Force
The Real O’Neals
Late Night Snack
Of Kings and Prophets
Little Big Shots
The Internet Ruined My Life
Netflix Presents: The Characters
Party Over Here
School of Rock
Life or Debt
Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders
Like a Boss
Quit Your Day Job
The Powerpuff Girls 2016
America’s Greatest Makers
Walk the Prank
The Girlfriend Experience
Game of Silence
The Dude Perfect Show
There Goes The Motherhood
Houdini & Doyle
The Loud House
Food Network Star: Comeback Kitchen
Maya & Marty
All In with Cam Newton
Feed the Beast
Still the King
Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge
Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons
Queen of the South
Dead of Summer
Elena of Avalor
Ozzy & Jack’s World Detour
The Get Down
Better Late Than Never
The 11th Hour
Jagger Eaton’s Mega Life
Rob & Chyna
Son of Zorn
The Robert Irvine Show
Polly and the Zhu Zhu Pets
Legends of Chamberlain Heights
The Good Place
Kevin Can Wait
Right Now Kapow
This Is Us
Crisis in Six Scenes
Milo Murphy’s Law
Kuu Kuu Harajuku
Vice News Tonight
Man with a Plan
Jon Glaser Loves Gear
The Great Indoors
Good Girls Revolt
Tracey Ullman’s Show
Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party
The Grand Tour
Splash and Bubbles
White Rabbit Project
Justice League Action
The New York Times Fiction Bestsellers for 2016
15th Affair, James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
A Great Reckoning, Louise Penny
Apprentice in Death, J.D. Robb
Bay of Sighs, Nora Roberts
Blue, Danielle Steel
Brotherhood In Death, J. D. Robb
Bullseye, James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
Cometh the hour, Jeffrey Archer
Cross the Line, James Patterson
End of Watch, Stephen King
Escape Clause, John Sandford
Extreme Prey, John Sandford
Fire Touched, Patricia Briggs
Fool me once, Harlan Coben
Insidious, Catherine Coulter
Island of Glass, Nora Roberts
Me Before You, Jojo Moyes
Morning Star, Pierce Brown
Night School, Lee Child
NYPD Red 4, James Patterson and Marshall Karp
One with you, Sylvia Day
Private Paris, James Patterson and Mark Sullivan
Rogue Lawyer, John Grisham
Scandalous Behavior, Stuart Woods
The Black Widow, Daniel Silva
The Games, James Patterson and Mark Sullivan
The Gangster, Clive Cussler and Justin Scott
The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins
The Last Mile, David Baldacci
The Obsession, Nora Roberts
The Whistler, John Grisham
The Wrong Side of Goodbye, Michael Connelly
Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty
Turbo Twenty-three, Janet Evanovich
Now…2016 wasn’t such a bad year, was it?
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