I am often asked where I find all the material for this column. In short, I am in a constant state of research. The hope is that finding things that interest me will also interest you. That said, I toss away about ninety-five percent of what I collect. So, as 2022 draws to a close, I have a few items with which to wrap up the year. 


Did you realize that in 2022 Michigan began being touted as the Saudi Arabia of fresh water? “The Great Lakes hold twenty percent of the globe’s fresh water supply. Saudi Arabia has twenty-one percent of the world’s crude oil reserve. In a warming world, Michigan’s water will become even more valuable.” 


There's a reason for this designation. “By 2050, the United Nations warns the global fresh water supply will be scarce because of over consumption and the effects of climate change. Dozens of interviewed experts agree Michigan is ideally situated to avoid the worst consequences, extreme droughts, wildfires and intensifying weather events.” (https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2022/12/fresh-water-will-draw-millions-but-michigan-lacks-systems-to-harness-it.html)


The result of this is that our state will be getting more crowded. “The Great Lakes will draw climate migrants. People in the United States are beginning to seek refuge from rising sea levels, intensifying hurricanes, pervasive western forest fires, suffocating heat waves. Michigan is the most attractive destination. Climate experts say Michigan is likely to have the current climate of Tennessee by the year 2050. What is happening around the United States already is making the Mitten State and its surrounding Great Lakes a climate haven.” (https://www.mlive.com/news/2022/12/letter-from-the-editor-get-ready-michigan-climate-migrants-will-be-seeking-a-pleasant-peninsula-in-droves.html)


Another trend taking hold in 2022 is the demise of cash. “In less than a decade, the share of Americans who go cashless in a typical week has increased by double digits. Today, roughly forty-one percent say none of their purchases in a typical week are paid for using cash. Conversely, the portion of Americans who say that all of their purchases are paid for using cash in a typical week has steadily decreased to fourteen percent.” 


The use of cash varies by age group. “Adults under fifty are less likely to always have cash on hand (forty-five percent). Fifty-four percent of adults younger than fifty say they don’t worry much about whether or not they have cash on them.”  (https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/10/05/more-americans-are-joining-the-cashless-economy/)


Given the rise of electronic methods of payment, having account with secure passwords is of critical importance. Unfortunately, Americans a very lax in this regard. “Researchers compiled the top two-hundred most common passwords in 2022. Despite growing cybersecurity awareness, old habits die hard. The research shows that people still use weak passwords to protect their accounts. Most take hackers one second or less to figure out. In the United States the list includes toughies like “123456” and “password.” The list, plus how long it would take to “crack” these is at: https://nordpass.com/most-common-passwords-list/.


If you want peace of mind, there is a way to test the strength of your passwords at: https://www.comparitech.com/privacy-security-tools/password-strength-test/#password-test-tool. If your password is weak, a password generator is available to improve your security. 


In the realm of security, a situation close to the ground became more concerning in 2022. “The U.S. Is facing a shortage of canines trained to sniff out bombs, according to the  PennVet Working Dog Center at the University of Pennsylvania. “Covid-19 negatively impacted both the procurement of trained dogs by the U.S. and the breeding of dogs. The federal l government employs a total of 5,159 dogs (as of February 2022) to perform a variety of tasks that range from detecting explosives on Amtrak trains to sniffing out disease. Estimates put a dog's nose anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 times more sensitive than a human’s.”(https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/us-faces-bomb-sniffing-dog-shortage-180981223/)


Other animals are also good at bomb sniffing, but dogs are the preferred option. “Elephants, rats and jackals all have excellent noses. For obvious reasons, elephants aren’t a top choice for finding explosives.” 


On the topic of dogs, here's a weird trend spotted in 2022 by nameberry.com. “Popular dog names follow many of the trends set by popular baby names, sharing several names at the top of both lists, such as Bella and Max. In fact, every single name among the Top Ten Names for Dogs is also a people name. Along with Bella, popular female dog names that are also common for babies include Luna, Lucy, Daisy, and Lola. Along with Max, popular male dog names and human names include Charlie, Milo, Buddy, and Rocky.” (https://nameberry.com/popular-names/dogs)


If you have trouble coming up with a name for your dog, nameberry,com has a nifty dog name generator. Answer a series of questions and the site produces a moniker for your canine pal. Go to: https://nameberry.com/quiz/unique-dog-name-generator.


Finally, the past year has been sort of weird. If you agree, a good laugh is to review the weirdest sports of 2022. “Weird sports like these have crazy objectives, ridiculous rules, and look downright fun to play!” See them at: https://www.ranker.com/list/weird-sports-2022/patrick-alexander.


Some weird sports can recall childhood fun, like the Pillow Fight Championship.  More bizarre sports include: 'Cheese Rolling, Egg Throwing, Face Slapping, and Extreme Ironing.' No mention was given to a popular northern Michigan competition –  extreme snow blowing for distance.  


Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at CadillacNews.com and NeffZone.com/cadillacnews