I was having coffee with one of my best friends and discussing my frustrations over the number of readers I’ve attracted during the last year. Between 150-200 folks usually read my posts but I had hoped to have lots more by now. Yes…I’m sure it is my ego at work. Doesn’t EVERYONE want to read my musings?
My friend suggested that maybe people are just tired of all the negative stuff going on in the country and the world, and since I tend to focus on some of that negative stuff maybe that partially explains why I’m not getting more readers.
Here are some things about which to be happy and optimistic:
- In 1820 almost everyone on the planet lived in some level of poverty and very few people actually had higher standards of living. Poverty rates have steadily declined during the last 200 years even as the planet’s population increased seven times. In 1820 about 94% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty but by 2015 that number had dropped to 9.6%. In 1836 the world’s richest man, Nathan Rothschild, died of an infection that almost everyone on the planet would have treated today.
- The world’s population is becoming more literate. In 1820 only 12% of the planet’s inhabitants were literate and today that number is 83%. This has obviously been a consequence of increased access to education across the plane.
- Although American life expectancy rates have actually dropped the last two years, mostly because of the opioid crisis, life expectancy rates have risen steadily across the planet in recent decades and that trend is expected to continue. Women tend to live longer than men because they are less likely to abuse alcohol, use tobacco, or engage in other harmful behaviors as are men. By 2030 the average woman will live more than 85 years and women in South Korea will live past 90. Overall, life expectancy on the planet has almost doubled in the last 100 years.
- Artificial Intelligence capabilities are being developed that have improved and will increasingly improve our lives in numerous ways. You can read this cool story on Watson, the IBM AI being used to diagnose diseases and much more. Yes…the TV ads on Watson are accurate (but annoying). Many of industry’s most dangerous jobs could eventually be replaced by AI driven robots that can perform tasks more efficiently and safely.
- Michael Brown, a 17 year old senior from Texas, was accepted by all the top 20 universities in the United States and offered full scholarships at each. That includes admission and free tuition to every Ivy League school, Stanford, and Vanderbilt. No student has previously accomplished this. And everyone says he’s a good, well-rounded young man. And he wants to major in Political Science!
- Contrary to popular belief, American homicide rates have actually declined during the last two decades or so. American homicide rates peaked during the 1970’s, 80’s, and early 90’s then began dropping significantly. According to this research, homicide rates were much higher during America’s early colonial period.
- Larotrectonib, a new cancer drug, “was effective in 93% of pediatric patients tested” and had a 75% response rate in adults. Whereas most cancer drugs target a specific organ or affected area, this drug may actually treat a variety of cancers. Read this story about a 13 year old girl whose life was saved by Larotrectonib.
- Because humans decided to establish policies phasing out chemicals used in aerosol cans, refrigerator coolant, and air conditioning systems, the Earth’s ozone layer is actually recovering. The use of chloroflurocarbons was causing the ozone layer to thin, so humans were at greater risk of skin cancers, plant growth was inhibited, and more. This intervention is proof that we can actually solve environmental and other problems if we have the resolve to do so.
- Because of increased sex education in at least some American states and because of other forms of sex education, teen pregnancy rates have been on a steady decline in recent years after teen birth rates hit an all time high in 1991. Research indicates that more teens are abstaining from sex and more are using birth control when they do have sex. Colorado reduced teen pregnancy rates by 40% and abortion rates by 35% when a law providing free birth control was passed.
- In the average developed country taxes are a 34% share of gross domestic product. American taxes are only 24% of GDP. In fact almost every developed country has a higher rate of taxation than does the United States.
- The sun is expected to burn steadily for another 5.4 billion years. That is a good thing because solar power is quickly becoming the Earth’s most affordable form of energy. New technology and materials will make it even more affordable and accessible in the future.
- As much as I sometimes question its value, the number of people with access to the internet has increased from 16 million in 1995 to almost 4.2 billion today. This matters because more people have access to information and also may begin to understand that those we previously thought were enemies are in fact people just like us. We truly do have the opportunity to become a world village. The internet may certainly be used for evil causes as well, but I would like to think that with increased knowledge comes the opportunity for increased awareness. As you know, I am a dreamer.
- The number of people dying in wars has steadily declined since the 1940’s and that number is currently at its lowest level in seven decades.
My wife and I have traveled to numerous countries and I have visited at least 46 American states. Everywhere I go I find people who are kind, generous, funny, and loving. I continue to believe that almost all humans are basically good but that those who aren’t get all the press coverage.
Thank you for reading my blog.
And thanks for making me consider happier news in at least one post, Julie!
I will never for the life of me why parents are soooo afraid of sex education and allowing thier girl to take birth control or hell buying your son some condoms. If they are going to (which will happen) be safe about it! Educate and give away tools to make smart choices! Seems so simple
As I’m teaching a global problem-solving class this semester, we tend to veer toward cynicism when assessing the multitude of structural problems that exist and prevent long-term solutions, so this is a good reminder of the many ways in which we are “trending up” globally. I’ll make sure to share this with my students in an attempt to disabuse them of their notion that things continue to get worse. Thanks!
Thanks for focusing on ‘good’ news! Your data is also a reminder of how much ground we stand to lose if some of the current trends and attitudes continue. Your blog helps illuminate the issues so please keep thinking and writing.
Thank you David.
I totally agree with Mindy! Thanks for the uplifting information!! I think obesity could be another factor in our declining longevity. I agree that the opioid crisis is also a huge factor. I would love to see more money spent on recovery programs. We seem to spend so much money on incarcerating people….and forget that we could put that money towards rehab/recovery. Save incarceration for the truly dangerous people!!