The Crucial Blog
That was the year that was
2012 - where did it go? In the blink of an eye. For the UK, Washed away in a deluge of rain - many, many times.
Yes the summer was rubbish, yes the autumn brought even more flooding and yes, the economic gloom shows scant sign of brightening. But there were many things to celebrate. Here's our round-up of just some of the happier news stories of 2012.
Computer whizzkid Jay Williams was giving Bill Gates a run for his money by gaining a repuation as a master fix-it for computer connundrums - aged just eight. The Erdington, Birmingham, youngster built his first website aged just five. But then he was already a computer veteran by then, having first started using one since the tender age of two. At seven, he was one of the youngest people ever to complete a globally recognised IT qualification and he was busy helping neighbours surf the internet and fixing crashed computers at school.
Peter Skyllberg stunned Swedish doctors and survival experts after being dragged, emaciated and near speechless, from an icebound car, claiming he'd been trapped there for two months. Snowmobile drivers discovered his vehicle at the end of a forest track. Upon brushing off 2ft of snow they were staggered to see the 44 year-old wrapped in a sleeping bag inside. Police, who believed Skyllberg's story, said he'd told them he'd survived on 'a little snow'. An ambulance took him to hospital where he made a slow but steady recovery.
Amatuer photographer and grocery assistant manager Tyler Mode captured a corker of an image when he took pictures of cloud formations over Mount Rainier in America's National Park, Washington State. Lenticular clouds look like giant corkscrews in the sky and are very common in the region.
Who's that girl and boy? A sculputre which had been idling in Cairo Museum after its 1918 discovery on the banks of the Nile was suddenly declared to depict the twin children of Antony and Cleopatra. Egyptologist Giuseppina Capriotti of the Intalian National Research Council identified the children,previously thought to be of twin gods Shu and Tefnet, following painstaiking stylistic and iconographic analysis, published by the Polish Cetre of Mediterranean Archaeology at the University of Warsaw.
Luck turned out to be a real lady when number 19 came up on a Las Vegas roulette wheel seven times running. A pro poker player snapped the staggering run as it was displayed on the roulette display screen which he then posted on Twitter. The sequence was then broken by number 15 - and then 19 came up again.
Eyes turned heavenward for a very rare event, which few alive today are likely to see again. The world's telescopes were trained on the skies for the transit of Venus, when the planet passes between the Sun and Earth and can be seen as a small black disk. Transits come in pairs separated by more than 100 years and another isn't due until 2117. Sky watchers across seven continents viewed the historic event and interest was huge. At one point Nasa's live webcast crashed after more than 100,000 people at once tried to log in.
Olympic fever was building and enterprising cabbie David Weeks converted his Hackney cab into a one-room hotel. At £50 a night, guests could enjoy a 'memory foam' mattress, pillow and duvet, complete with official Olympic pillow case and bedspread, bedside lamp, curtains, bedside lamp, solar powared fridge, radio and iPad - plus teddy.
The Diamond Jubilee was a sparkling year highlight, crested by the London 2012 Olympics, kicked offin spectacular style with Danny Boyle's opening ceremony. A stonking UK medals haul peaked on Super Saturday with12 Golds in rowing, cycling, the heptathlon, long jump and 10,000m.
The sporting euphoria continued with the Paralympics, garnering praise from around the world and even more UK medals. Baharain's Gulf Daily said that London 2012's legacy were not necessarily the achievements of Mo Farah or Bradley Wiggins but "the fundamental change in the way much of the world looks at disability"
Four puppies were believed to have saved the life of a 10 year-old Alabama boy with Downs Syndrome after he was lost in woods for 18 hours. A huge hunt by police and volunteers was sparked after Kyle Camp went missing from his home. He was found the next morning wet, shivering and shoeless in a creek but with the four puppies piled on top of him. Police believed he initially followed the family dog and her puppies into the woods. "We don't know what would have happened to him if the puppies had not been with him," a volunteer told NBC News.
Whoops - the entire Christian calendar is based on a mistake and Jesus was born several years earlier than commonly believed, claimed Pope Benedict in a book which went on sale around the world. In Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, the pontiff said the mistake was made by a sixth century monk who got his sums wrong.
Disneyworld it isn't and a new amusement park won't exactly be made in China - but it will be China made in Australia. A council Down Under has given the green light to a $520 million park featuring Chinese landmarks in the hope it will increase Chinese tourism to the area. Why wouldn't you want to see your homeland done Aussie-style?