Good News Friday

  • AIDS-related deaths have decreased. In 2021, around 650,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses worldwide, compared to 2 million people in 2004 and 1.4 million people in 2010. UNAIDS (PDF link).
  • Leprosy has decreased from over five million cases a year in the 1980s to just 133,802 in 2021. WHO (PDF link).
  • Since 2008, the UNFPA Supplies Partnership, which supplies reproductive health services, has prevented 254,000 maternal deaths and saved 1.6 million children.
  • In Tanzania, deaths due to malaria have decreased by 71% from 6,311 in 2015 to 1,811 in 2021. For children under 5, malaria-related mortalities declined by approximately 50% between 1999 and 2016. Global Citizen.
  • By 2020, the number of violent crime arrests involving youth reached a new low, 78% below the 1994 peak, and half the number 10 years earlier. US Department of Justice (PDF link).
  • A series of bipartisan bills has led to a 21% decline in prison populations in Oklahoma in the past five years. The Crime Report.
  • Texas bail reform reduced jail time and crime, new study says. Bloomberg.
  • Seven years ago, the homicide rate in El Salvador was 103 homicides per 100,000 people – the highest in the world. In 2021, that had dropped to 18 per 100,000, and the downward trend has continued into 2022. El Salvador Info.
  • Aggregate global wealth grew by 12.7% in 2021, which is the fastest annual rate ever recorded. It’s not just the rich getting richer. Global wealth inequality has fallen this century because emerging economies are growing faster. Global median wealth has risen approximately twice as fast as global wealth per adult. Credit Suisse.
  • All fifty states greenlit to move EV charging networks forward, covering 75,000 miles of highway. US Department of Transportation.
  • In a bipartisan vote, US Senate ratifies pact to curb potent greenhouse gases. New York Times.
  • Phoenix plans to build affordable housing on vacant city land. Axios.

For more good news, check out The Progress Network, and Future Crunch.

Good News Friday

  • Ozone-killing materials in Earth’s stratosphere fell over 50% to levels seen before the ozone hole became a problem. DW.
  • Tiny new tree frog species found in rewilded Costa Rican nature reserve. Mongabay.
  • Dutch students have invented a zero-emissions car that captures carbon as it drives. Euronews.
  • Scientists hail autoimmune disease therapy breakthrough. The Guardian.
  • The Nigerian project helping babies to be born free of HIV. The Guardian.

For more good news, check out The Progress Network, and Future Crunch.

Good News Friday

  • Measles cases in southeast Asia declined by 92% between 2002 and 2020, and the death rate decreased by 97% – saving an estimated 9.3 million lives. WHO (PDF link).
  • Maternal mortality rates in Zimbabwe declined from 657 deaths per 100,000 births in 2007, to 217 per 100,000 births in 2019. Significant improvements in maternal, neonatal and child health as well as interventions to reduce HIV, malaria and TB are working. BMJ (PDF link).
  • Trials showed new malaria vaccine provides up to 80% protection against the deadly disease. BBC.
  • Iran close to eradicating illiteracy. Tehran Times.
  • The average life expectancy in India in 1947 was around 32 years and now it has increased to 70 years. Times Now.
  • More people now work in clean energy than in fossil fuels. Quartz.
  • In the US, child poverty fell by 59 percent from 1993 to 2019. The New York Times.
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation released its Goalkeepers Report on global progress. Since 1990, poverty and hunger have declined dramatically while life spans have increased on every continent. The share of global smokers has declined by about 20 percent; children are roughly 30 percent less likely to be malnourished or stunted; rates of tuberculosis have declined by about one-third; maternal deaths per live births have declined by 40 percent; the prevalence of neglected tropical diseases such as dengue and leprosy has declined by roughly 70 percent; and the share of the global population with access to toilets and safe plumbing has increased by 100 percent. The Atlantic.

For more good news, check out The Progress Network, and Future Crunch.

Good News Friday

  • Cooperation among strangers has increased for the past 60 years. SciTech Daily.
  • China‚Äôs CO2 emissions fall by record 8% in second quarter of 2022. CarbonBrief.
  • By 2020, the number of violent crime arrests involving youth reached a new low, 78% below the 1994 peak, and half the number 10 years earlier. US Department of Justice (PDF link).
  • The worldwide suicide rate has went down 40% since 1990. Our World in Data.
  • Chinese researchers create the first successful, living mammals with a fully-reconfigured genome. ZME Science.
  • California passes bill banning long-term solitary confinement in prisons and jails. KTVU.
  • 11,000 federal inmates were sent home during the pandemic. Only 17 were arrested for new crimes. Reason.
  • 3 ways our work-life balance and education have gotten better – in data. Euronews.
  • Labor market added 315,000 jobs in August, a bright spot in the economy. The Washington Post.

For more good news, check out The Progress Network, and Future Crunch.

Westworld Season 4

“Sometimes the things that feel the most real are stories.”

Season 4 of Westworld isn’t interested in the big riot that was the finale of season 3. Instead, we get a reset. It’s now years later and the riot apparently didn’t change anything.

Prohibition Town has replaced West World, but as Maeve tells us, it’s the same story, just like in Shogun World. Wouldn’t people want something new? Would you play a video game sequel if it was exactly the same as the original? Call-back culture has gone too far into the realm of toxic nostalgia. I know it’s easier to keep repeating the same thing over and over, but please try a little harder and give us something new.

It is interesting that they’re reversing the robot/human dynamic. Humans appear to be the ones who are programmable this time around with their stories being written by others, while the robots amuse themselves by mistreating the humans. Robots are now all too human, struggling with boredom, becoming what they hate. The moral of the story for season 4 seems to be that two wrongs don’t make a right, which you’d think the robots would be advanced enough to figure out without the world coming to an end yet again.

Apparently when a human mind is put in a robot body, the robot body dies soon, except when it doesn’t. The robot version of The Man in Black doesn’t have this limitation. There’s no doubt some hand-wavey explanation for why. He’s a copy of a human mind instead of an actual human mind or something. The Man in Black claims every man for himself is survival of the fittest, but that’s not how evolution works in social species. Survival of the fittest includes strength in numbers and groups working together. He seems to have confused humans with racoons or something.

I did like a lot about season 4. They do another surprise reveal that was similar to the Man in Black reveal in the first season, but even though it was done before, it felt new to me. Bernard has spent years running countless simulations and has realized, much like Dr. Strange in Infinity War, there’s only a slight chance of saving humans. It’s fun that he knows what’s going to happen before it happens.

The hero of season 3 is the villain of season 4. We get another reversal with outliers now being the saviors of humanity rather than the destroyers. It’s interesting that Dolores grows as a character by reverting to her original character. Giving us another riot at the end felt like a repeat of season 3’s finale, though.

It looks like they’re planning at least one more season. Many characters seem to permanently die during the season, but that’s never stopped them from coming back to life before, so who will be in the cast is still wide open. Roman World was featured as an easter egg, so maybe we’ll see that? Hopefully it won’t just have the same plot as Westworld, Shogun World, and Prohibition Town.

Presidents’ Body Counts by Al Carroll Part 5


Al Carroll’s book has an appendix examining what presidents did after they were no longer president. Some presidents died in office or shortly after leaving office. Some, like Truman, lived decades after leaving office but didn’t do anything of note. Others accomplished quite a bit.

After leaving office, Carter became one of the greatest humanitarians in world history. He founded the Carter Center dedicated to peace keeping, human rights, and ending global hunger, poverty, and disease. The Carter Center has likely prevented 13 coups or civil wars. Carter himself prevented two wars. In 1994, he negotiated a treaty that led to a dictator in Haiti stepping down. In 2007, he helped prevent a war between the two Koreas. The Carter Center has one of the greatest records in fighting disease including malaria, mumps, rubella, measles, lymphatic filariasis, and has almost completely eliminated Guinea worm. The Carter Center has also helped end malnutrition by teaching 8 million farmers in Ghana better farming techniques. Carter also founded Habitat for Humanity, which has helped build homes for over 4 million people in 16 nations. He’s likely saved millions of lives.

After leaving office, Herbert Hoover dedicated his life to feeding the hungry of Europe both during and after World War II, feeding millions of children.

John Quincy Adams became a congressman for 17 years after his presidency, and became a persistent critic of slavery.

Clinton founded the Clinton Foundation which has helped treat 750,000 AIDS patients. The Clinton Global Initiative has exaggerated how many people it’s helped, but it has worked to end global warming, helped 5 million children get medical equipment, and treated over 30 million people for disease.

Teddy Roosevelt worked on progressive causes the rest of his years, founding the Bull Moose party. Many of their ideas became law such as recalls, referendums, primaries, income tax, direct election of senators, votes for women, and the eight-hour workday. The Bull Moose party was a big influence on his cousin Franklin’s New Deal.

Millard Fillmore became the only ex-president to support terrorism. He ran as candidate of the Know Nothings, a terrorist group responsible for killing at least 50 Catholics.

John Tyler is the only ex-president to commit treason. He became part of the Confederate government, although he died before taking office.

Nixon lived a comfortable life, getting $7 million for the Frost interviews. He accepted a full pardon from Ford, meaning he admitted to committing 13 criminal felonies.

George W. Bush is the first ex-president to face criminal indictments. There are 147 nations he cannot travel to without risk of being prosecuted for torture.

George H. W. Bush went back to being a businessman, taking advantage of classified information, in order to make money and aid his investments.

Towards the end, Carroll reminds us that presidents can’t control the economy, not even dictators can. The only reason to vote should be the candidate’s stance on war and what they’ll do to improve as many lives as possible. I agree that we should all set politics aside and instead focus on electing the most humanitarian candidate, regardless of their party affiliation.