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Google’s recap proves 2015 was tough but filled with progress.

Our Internet searches say a lot about what happened this year.

Google’s recap proves 2015 was tough but filled with progress.

Fact: 2015 was kind of an amazing year.

I know, I know, a lot of terrible things went down. That's also a fact.

It's easy to want to crawl into a hole after thinking back through the past 12 months:


And as the year ends, yes, many of us are asking each other, "How did our world become such a mess? But don't let that question fool you into thinking everything is terrible.

Because even though 2015 was rough, it really was also ... sort of amazing.

No, seriously.

More diseases were eradicated. Global poverty continued to fall. In the U.S. — where millions more Americans gained access to health care — it was confirmed that marriage equality is a constitutional right.

Folks celebrating the Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage in New York City. Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images.

#BlackLivesMatter brought the fight against racial injustice and police brutality mainstream. The world rallied together to slash carbon emissions and combat climate change. We have more trees in America now than we've had in the past 100 years. And we finally figured out the color of that damn dress.

Still not convinced 2015 actually rocked? Look no further than Google's annual "Year in Search" video.

The tech giant — which just released its list of the year's top searches — recapped 2015 by taking a look at what people were most curious about in its annual "Year In Search" video.

Yes, the list certainly reflects our obsession with scandal and celebrity culture — Amy Schumer, Charlie Sheen, and Kylie Jenner all make appearances — but it also highlights our desire for social progress.

"In 2015, the questions we asked revealed who we are," Google notes. Questions, like these:

How can one person do their part to help Syrian refugees?

Here are a few ways how.

Why can't women be Army rangers?

By the way, now they can.

How can we trounce out racism?

We can start by acknowledging white privilege.

How can we rebuild a country devastated by an earthquake?

You can start by supporting organizations that are helping to fix the heartache.

How can we find world peace?

...Now that's the million-dollar question.

It's understandable to feel down thinking about all the awful things happening around us. But you shouldn't.

The world can be a scary place. But don't let the 24/7, "if it bleeds, it leads" news cycle beat you down.

There's more good out there than there is bad. 2015 is proof.

Check out Google's Year In Search 2015 below:

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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via Travis Akers / Twitter

A tweet thread by Travis Akers, a Navy Lieutenant with 17 years of service, is going viral because it shows just how sweet children can be and also points to an overlooked issue facing military families.

In the early morning of April 12, Akers tweeted a photo of himself and his seven-year-old son Tanner who he affectionately calls "Munchie." Akers was moved because his son set his alarm clock so he could get up early enough to hand him a pocket full of Legos before work.

Tanner wanted to be sure his father had something to play with at the Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida. "This was my daily morning trip to base, departing my house at six am for work," Akers told Upworthy.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less