Last Friday: the social progress the country’s made losing its fear of  high school football captains.

Today: physical and technological progress.  (Why does it come so much easier, despite all the higher math required, than social progress?)


Physical:  New York-a-philes may enjoy these then and now photos.


Technological:

      • All very nice.  But did you see Sunday’s incredible 60 Minutes segment?  Xyleco will slow climate change, replacing lots of fossil fuel; reduce ocean garbage, via biodegradable plastic; impede weight gain and tooth decay, via better sugar.  All this from a guy with no science education!

      • Invisibility.  Jim Burt: “Just tell POTUS his new wall has been completed and is in place: an impenetrable barrier built from the same materials used to make the Emperor’s New Clothes and fully paid for by Mexico.  Congratulate him on his success.  Then move on.  He’ll never know the difference. He’s not detail-oriented.”


Okay, maybe not that.  But as the invaluable Nick Kristof explains: 2018 was by important measures the best year in human history.

. . . Each day on average, about another 295,000 people around the world gained access to electricity for the first time, according to Max Roser of Oxford University and his Our World in Data website. Every day, another 305,000 were able to access clean drinking water for the first time. And each day an additional 620,000 people were able to get online for the first time.

Never before has such a large portion of humanity been literate, enjoyed a middle-class cushion, lived such long lives, had access to family planning or been confident that their children would survive. Let’s hit pause on our fears and frustrations and share a nanosecond of celebration at this backdrop of progress. . . .

. . . It is of course true that there are huge challenges ahead. The gains against global poverty and disease seem to be slowing, and climate change is an enormous threat to poor nations in particular. And the United States is an outlier, where life expectancy is falling, not rising as in most of the world.

So there’s plenty to fret about. But a failure to acknowledge global progress can leave people feeling hopeless and ready to give up. In fact, the gains should show us what is possible and spur greater efforts to improve opportunity worldwide. . . .


*Yes, it is.

 

 

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