Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive. This is our final blog for 2020 before we take a holiday hiatus – we’ll see you for more Friday Faves in early 2021!

2020 – the year of all years and it’s not over yet

Anne says: In previous years, normal years, I would enjoy doing the final post – a wrap –  for our Friday Fave series. This year – I just don’t want to reflect on the what has passed and the impact it’s had on our lives. We have all experienced this year in very different conditions. Instead, what I’ve collected for my end of year wrap reflects some observations about remote working, what we did online, and a selection of books for those who are looking at a quiet Christmas / New Year break.

Let’s start with the year’s search trends for Google! It always fascinates what people search online for…

Google has collected these by country as well, and of course, there’s trends. The video below is a clever way to represent some of the events and what searches related to them.

For Australia, there’s some obvious terms that aren’t surprising: Zoom, fires near me, coronavirus symptoms, US elections, and… wait for it, toilet paper!

Globally, there’s a close similarity with Zoom, coronavirus, election results, but… glaringly missing: toilet paper!

And for the trends – there’s an interactive display that lets you select what sort of trends you want to explore.


And now for some books

Something that repeated lockdowns have afforded me, is the opportunity to re-engage with books. This year I’ve noticed an increase in the range of topics appearing from authors who I’m familiar with – perhaps these disrupted times have created new opportunities for writers to extend their writing as well? In that vein, I’ve selected three lists to share with you – each subtly different, but all of them worthy of inspection and selection.

First up a selection from Wired Magazine – 26 of the most fascinating books WIRED read in 2020: “From pig poop to sunscreen to poker to hackers, the books we love dive deep to tell smart stories about how the world works”. The curated list is fascinating – where do you even start? If I could only choose one, which one would that be? Really, really tough choice, but I’m going with: The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohslted. Why? Because I’m fascinated by design and right now we’re going to have to redesign so many aspects of our lives.

Next list is from MIT Sloan – Faculty authored books. Of course, as the link suggests this is more business, academic research focused. However, there’s a great collection here, but I’m going to go with Recommendation Engines, by Michael Schrage.

And finally, this list of non-fiction books from Bill Gates – 5 Good books for a lousy year. What a selection here… watch the video to help you decide. My choice, encouraged by my brother’s recommendation, is Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, by David Epstein.

And if you feel like a new podcast – Bill Gates’ series with Rashida Jones, Ask Big Questions, has been stimulating to unpack some of the complicated issues we’re grappling with this year.

A New Year’s task – update your passwords!

In between reading, listening and watching, you might want to put a little time aside to sort out your passwords! If you don’t believe me, you have to read this article. Password manages are good, they work! They take a little time to set up but you’ll never look back!

And the worst password for 2020?

123456 remains the most commonly used password of 2020, yes really, appearing 2,543,285 times in the database analysis.

There’s also a link to the 200 passwords to avoid – in case you want to check if your favourite ones are listed! It’s not a cybersecurity problem if systems are getting hacked – it’s a user problem. And it’s easy to fix!


And that’s a wrap from me for 2020 – we’ll be back in 2021 and I hope everyone stays safe and has a happy festive season in some way! Bon Nadal!

Olive and Mabel

Whoopi says: This year has been pretty crazy for us dogs as well. We’ve been restricted to on-leash, 1 block walks, no park runnings, no socialising at cafes, a challenging time. Although we didn’t have to wear masks, we were subjected to constant paw washing before entering the house. In an attempt to keep us from going crazy, Anne invented some team indoor sports and brain twisters – they were a bit easy, but we (Sansa, Lluna and me) managed to look interested to amuse Anne. But then, we needed more. For me, it was the number of dogs (and some cats) who were becoming stars because their owners needed something to do in lockdown! (Amazing that it takes a lockdown for people to become more engaged with the pets – just saying).  One of my favourites is the YouTube channel of clips with Olive and Mabel.

Andrew, their owner, was trying to find a way to explain their behaviour in human terms – hilarious! He took what was normal doggie behaviour, lying on sofas, sitting in ponds, playing chasey, and he just kind of talked about it. We all loved it. There were some great moments that inspired us and maybe a couple of insights that helped us understand how people think.

Overall, I think all dogs should watch Olive and Mabel with their owners and share happy, simple moments of pleasure. Merry Christmas everyone and here’s to more dog-human interactions in 2021, particularly if they help our people feel better about themselves.


Good riddance 2020

Jakkii says: and don’t let the door hit you on the behind on the way out.

Oof. What a year. And I say that as a Queenslander, living in one of the least affected by coronavirus states in Australia (impacts from border closures and other restrictions notwithstanding). And as we’re finally pulling to a close, we’re watching case numbers rise in NSW, seemingly out of nowhere, with a close eye on the borders and what that means for people who were finally going to get to see one another after months of separation.

We had our last remote working meetup today, and Anne asked us all about what had inspired us this year. It’s a great question, but in the moment and even right now, I don’t really have an answer. To me, to be inspired means to be invigorated, to feel the drive to take action, to do something or create something because of that inspiration. Like an example given in the group about being inspired to get healthy – and taking actions to do just that. For me though, and maybe it’s just a reflection of a mentally tough year, there hasn’t been much this year that has inspired me. But watching people – individuals and communities and the nation at large – work to adapt and overcome the challenges presented by covid has been impressive. Industries like hospitality adapting their business models towards takeaway and online so that they can continue to operate, and governments changing laws (even if temporarily) to allow it has been impressive. Individuals by and large taking up the challenge of following rules and restrictions and locking down so we can keep each other safe has been impressive. And watching people get creative to keep themselves entertained, and to express themselves and have an outlet through covid via social media has been impressive. There’s a lot for which we can be proud of one another in 2020. I guess the year hasn’t been all bad.

Having spent plenty of time in 2020 curating lists of links for our Friday Faves, it seems fitting to end 2020 with a list of links that wrapping up 2020, and a few that look ahead to 2021. Read, watch, and enjoy!

That’s it from me – and from all of us – for 2020! Stay safe, enjoy your holidays and, hopefully, at least some time off! It’s been well-earned by pretty much all of us in 2020, that’s for sure. See you in 2021.

Stay safe this holiday season everyone! We recognise the holidays can be particularly difficult for some – please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 if you need help.

See you in 2021.

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