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Our Christmas bonus online issue to lift you out of 2020 gloom

Image credit: Shivraj Gohil

Welcome to our special digital-only extra issue - our last of 2020, the year we'll be glad to see the back of. Was it all bad, though? E&T looks for a glimpse of a silver lining.

It’s been a hard and difficult year for so many people, but the end is now in sight with vaccines on their way. In this online issue, we look at how those doses will be distributed to 70 million people in the largest-ever vaccination programme. We’ve a few more serious features, too, like the one about technology to stop locusts, or the one on Braille for the digital age.  

There’s not too much more stuff that’s all that serious in this issue, though, because it’s time for some well-earned relaxation at the end of 2020. This is an extra digital-only issue of E&T and I would like to think one well-suited to some calm and enjoyment in the holiday season. Lean back, put your feet up and enjoy this Christmas bonus edition, which we wanted to make a welcome break from all those conference calls, socially distanced queues, more conference calls, and seemingly endless bad news.  

We’ve got some pleasant reading, we hope, for dipping into in between the box sets and Christmas sitcom specials. Our cover story brings a bit of sustainable excitement looking forward to getting out on the road or racetrack once again. It’s all about a new race called Extreme E. Electric vehicles have come a long way from the milk float. All new cars are now supposed to go electric by 2030, so the time seems right for a showcase of what we could all be driving just a few years from now. The new race series kicks off in 2021, just around the corner. Check out the race contenders.  

We have wearables for dogs – the ideal Christmas gift for the four-legged member of your family? Do pets really need wearables, though? It seems those with important jobs do: military canines can learn with augmented reality. Yes, it's wearable AR for dogs.  

What would Isaac Newton say if we could address him today? Apart from ‘Call me Sir, sir!’. Nick Smith imagines an E&T interview with the great man on this Christmas Day, which would have been his 378th birthday. Hear why he doesn’t like being called Britain’s greatest-ever scientist – on several levels - and why ‘engineer’ simply won’t do. Is it true that he predicted the end of the world? And what really happened with that apple during lockdown?

We’ve even got jokes - for and about engineers and engineering. You’ll have to work out which are which. I’d warn that ‘jokes’ is a bit of a loose term for these, too. Don’t expect any belly-laughs here. They’re more of the groan and ‘yeah-dad-right, very-funny-not’ variety, but can they be any worse than those of the Christmas cracker variety? Perhaps. Look out for these two features publishing online next week, in the run-up to Christmas on our latest issue page

Finally, check out the IET’s new campaigning video to encourage kids into engineering and Help Santa Save The North Pole. Let us know what you and, more importantly, any young budding engineers you have, think of it.  

Have a Happy Christmas everyone, do your best in these lonely times and we’ll be back with a new issue of E&T in the New Year.

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