January 21, 2022

2021 Year In Review

A lot happened in 2021. Like, a lot. And while we’ve all likely had our fill of the serious news stories, which demanded so much of our attention in the past twelve months, there were plenty of uplifting things that happened, as well! So, take a moment to honor the good things in life, and reflect on these positive stories that happened in 2021!

The Olympic Games

After being delayed for nearly a year, the Summer Olympic games finally happened this year, starting on July 23. 206 nations competed in 339 events. The Tokyo Games saw several new inclusions to the Olympic sports roster, with the inaugural competitions in surfing, karate, sport (rock) climbing, skateboarding, and 3 on 3 basketball. After two weeks of competition, the United States brought home both the most Gold Medals (39, China 38, Japan 27) as well as the most overall Medals (113, China 88, Russian Olympic Committee 71).

SpaceX Launches Passenger Flights to Space

In September of 2021, SpaceX launched four passengers into space. This flight, whose proceeds went to help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, is a prototype for possible future commuter travel to space. However, with tickets currently going at over $50 Million dollars a person, most of us will likely have a bit longer to wait.

Squid Game: An International Phenomenon

In September, American audiences marveled at the South Korean Netflix series ‘Squid Game’. Focused around a life-or-death competition requiring competitors to play children’s games, Squid Game became the most watched Netflix show of all time, accumulating over 1.6 Billion total hours viewed.

NASA Lands a Rover on Mars

On February 18th, NASA’s Perseverance rover touched down on Mars. Unlike previous ventures to the red planet, Perseverance is on a mission to try and find life on Mars. The rover, which is just under 10 feet x 10 feet, is expected to traverse Mars’s surface for several years, before returning to Earth in roughly a decade.

Tom Brady & The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Win the Super Bowl.

I know, Tom Brady winning the Super Bowl does little to set 2021 apart from many other years. In fact, this year marked the 7th Super Bowl victory of his career. While Brady has his haters, among whose numbers your author counts himself, there is little to do at this point but sit back and enjoy the ride.

There have been champions in other sports who have matched Brady’s output; Bill Russell won 11 NBA titles with the Boston Celtics in the 1950’s and 60’s), but Brady’s still feels special. We’re used to astonishing feats of athleticism by athletes in their primes, the Olympics are a perfect display of such athleticism, but Brady continuing to win at age 44 is astonishing.

Drones Helped the Fight against Plastic Pollution

The worldwide battle against pollution is daunting. However, in 2021, drones were utilized to help find a problem. These drones, outfitted with cameras, are being used to map areas of the world which are suffering from plastic pollution. This information is then transmitted to computers, where solutions can be worked on. There is still quite a bit of work to do, but this is a positive step.

Good News for the Bee Population

Around the world, populations of honey bees have been shrinking for several years. This was trending toward an ecological crisis, as bees are key pollinators, which help plants to properly grow. This past year in the Netherlands, Bee Hotels were erected, which have given bees a safe place to live, away from pesticides and other threats to their existence.

2021 Word List

So many exciting things have happened in 2021! Now, you just need to find a way to keep them fresh in your mind, to help brighten your cloudy days. What better way than finding a way to integrate these positive news stories into your Words With Friends repertoire? Check out our list, below, for some ideas of words to play in your next game of Words With Friends! Then, when your friend asks how you managed to think of such clever plays, you can share the positive news stories with them!

  • Pollinate

    15 points

    v. convey pollen to or deposit pollen on (a stigma, ovule, flower, or plant) and so allow fertilization.

  • Explorer

    19 points

    n. a person who explores an unfamiliar area; an adventurer.

  • Champion

    20 points

    n. a person who has defeated or surpassed all rivals in a competition, especially in sports.

  • Mapping

    19 points

    n. an operation that associates each element of a given set (the domain) with one or more elements of a second set (the range).

  • Revolution

    17 points

    n. a forcible overthrow of a government or social order, in favor of a new system.

  • Oxygen

    18 points

    n. a colorless, odorless reactive gas, the chemical element of atomic number 8 and the life-supporting component of the air.

    Up word Words With Friends Game by learning more Words With X!

  • Solution

    11 points

    n. a means of solving a problem or dealing with a difficult situation.

  • Orchid

    12 points

    n. a plant with complex flowers that are often showy or bizarrely shaped, having a large specialized lip (labellum) and frequently a spur. Orchids occur worldwide, especially as epiphytes in tropical forests, and are valuable hothouse plants.

    Fun Fact: A type of orchid, which was thought to be extinct, was found alive on a rooftop in London!

  • Diverse

    12 points

    adj. showing a great deal of variety; very different.

    Fun Fact: The Oscars had their most diverse year ever in 2021, as Chloe Zhao became the first woman of color to win Best Director, and Yuh-jung Youn became the first Korean actor to win an Oscar.

  • Capybara

    19 points

    n. a South American mammal that resembles a giant long-legged guinea pig. It lives in groups near water and is the largest living rodent

    Fun Fact: Capybaras in Argentina began to reclaim their old habitat in 2021, eating crops planted on their old ground.

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