Good News Friday

  • Between 2000 and 2020 the annual number of measles deaths fell by 94%, from 1,072,800 to 60,700, averting an estimated 31.7 million deaths. WHO (PDF).
  • New Canadian Cancer Statistics report reveals 50% decline in prostate cancer death rate since peak in 1995. Newswire.
  • After 35 years of conservation, the population of the endangered Burrowing Parrot in Chile has increased from 217 in 1986 to over 4000. Evolve to Ecology.
  • Coastal marine species carried out to sea on debris are not only surviving, they’re colonizing the high seas and making new communities on the floating plastic detritus that make up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an accumulation of trash stuck in ocean currents that’s estimated to be about twice the size of Texas. NBC News.
  • After more than 15 years of fear and intimidation, Mosuli musicians in Iraq can finally play music in public again. New Lines.
  • There’s been a massive decrease in global deaths from disasters over the last hundred years. Our World in Data.
  • Thousands of farmworkers will see pay raises in 2022. The Counter.
  • Renewable energy has ‘another record year of growth’ says IEA. The Guardian.
  • Hackney man first to receive 3D-printed prosthetic eye. BBC.
  • Unique effort reopens girls’ schools in Afghan province. AP News.
  • 200 years ago, everyone lacked democratic rights. Now, billions of people have them. Our World in Data.

For more good news, check out The Progress Network, Future Crunch, and Reasons to be Cheerful.

Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker

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The world is better today because of the Enlightenment, yet people attack reason, science, humanism, and progress when these things should be celebrated.

One of the bits of wisdom from the Scientific Revolution is that misfortune is no one’s fault. Bad things sometimes happen for no reason other than the universe is indifferent to human suffering. There’s no point looking around for someone to blame when an earthquake happens. Entropy ensures there’s more ways for things to go wrong than for things to go right.

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Good News Friday

  • At 1.9%, Nebraska now has the lowest unemployment rate of any state, ever. Wall Street Journal.
  • Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is recovering from life-threatening coral bleaching episodes. NPR.
  • A new stem-cell treatment has cured a man of Type-1 Diabetes. The New York Times.
  • US jobless claims hit 52-year low after seasonal adjustments. AP News.
  • Portugal goes coal-free long before deadline. CNN.

For more good news, check out The Progress Network, Future Crunch, and Reasons to be Cheerful.

Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany

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“If there’s no word for it, how do you think about it?”

Twenty years after an invasion of the solar system, poet Rydra Wong (famous throughout the five explored galaxies) is called upon to help decode Babel-17, a language that has something to do with the invasion. Rydra is only 26 and in addition to being a famous poet, is also an expert in both human and extraterrestrial languages, to the extent she can even read people’s minds simply by observing their body language. There are nine space-faring species, some on each side of the war, but language barriers keep them from reality knowing each other even if they’re allied.

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Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop

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The live-action Cowboy Bebop is finally here. Overall, I think it’s okay. I enjoyed some episodes more than others. It’s more R-rated than the original with lots of cussing, nudity, and violence. The original anime was quite violent at times, of course, so maybe the new series just felt more violent due to being live-action. There’s a scene in one episode in which lots of naked people are gunned down which added nothing to the plot, so I can only assume it was done purely for shock value.

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Good News Friday

  • Seven amazing trends the media ignores that’ll make you feel great about the future. Upworthy.
  • The number of tobacco smokers worldwide is falling by about 5 million people a year. Euronews.
  • mRNA vaccine against tick bites could help prevent Lyme disease. New Scientist.
  • Green Jobs offer ex-offenders a career path after prison. Reasons to be Cheerful.
  • As cities wrestle with how to reform policing to reduce the use of lethal force, Albuquerque has created a new kind of responder on the streets. It sends behavioral specialists to deal with calls that involve emergencies like mental health issues and homelessness. Christian Science Monitor.
  • Virginia will expand Medicaid coverage up to a year after pregnancy. Virginia Mercury.
  • New HIV jabs taken two months apart hailed as huge step forward. The Guardian.
  • After record low, monarch butterflies return to California. NBC News.
  • Nurse salaries rise as demand for their services soars during Covid-19 pandemic. The Wall Street Journal.
  • New law in Kenya allows refugees to work. VOA.

For more good news, check out The Progress Network, Future Crunch, and Reasons to be Cheerful.

Good News Friday

  • This injectable gel reversed paralysis in mice. Humans could be next. Daily Beast.
  • Water chlorination has cut mortality rates for children under five in certain Kenyan villages by 63%. Vox.
  • Cancer deaths in U.S. fall overall by 27% over last 50 years. UPI.
  • Presumed extinct, the tentacled butterfly ray comes back from the dead. Hakai.
  • Airless puncture-proof tires may be on your car by 2024. Big Think.
  • Beavers return to Nottinghamshire for first time in 400 years. BBC.

For more good news, check out The Progress Network, Future Crunch, and Reasons to be Cheerful.

Good News Friday

  • In 2021, 147 countries have improved their overall score on the Social Progress Index since previous indices. Social Progress Imperative.
  • HPV vaccine saves thousands of women from cervical cancer, UK study shows. The Guardian.
  • Tucson OK’s measure to gradually raise minimum wage to $15 AP.
  • Hiring grows in U.S. as employers add 531,000 jobs, beating expectations. NBC News.
  • Firefighting robots go autonomous. Scientific American.
  • A father and son in remote Siberia are trying to engineer an ice age ecosystem. Peer-reviewed scientific papers show they are slowing global warming. Reuters.
  • Japan start-up designs wind turbine that can harness typhoon energy. Reuters.
  • 20 recent justice reform measures to celebrate. The Innocence Project.

For more good news, check out The Progress Network, Future Crunch, and Reasons to be Cheerful.

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick

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In this alternate version of 1962, Roosevelt is assassinated during his first year in office which leads to the Japanese and Germans winning World War II. Germany and Japan divide the United States between them with the western US belonging to Japan and the eastern US belonging to Germany. While the Rocky Mountain states belong to Japan, they’re considered inconsequential and generally left to themselves. (Italy has a small empire in the Middle East, but generally didn’t benefit much from their alliance with Germany.)

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Good News Friday

  • Insecticide-spraying drones have reduced malaria incidence in Rwanda by 90.6%. Freethink.
  • Solar pumps are helping Kenya’s farmers access water. Good Good Good.
  • Egypt has ended their 2017 state of emergency which curtailed constitutional rights. Aljazeera.
  • Stacey Abrams group donates $1.34M to wipe out medical debts. AP.
  • Thanks to science, cancer deaths are rapidly decreasing. Good Good Good.
  • This new concrete soaks up a greenhouse gas. Freethink.
  • US wages jump by the most in records dating back 20 years. AP.
  • COVID-19 pandemic drove flu to historic lows, and may have eliminated one virus type completely. ABC Science.
  • In Senegal, rate of access to sanitation in urban areas has risen from 61.7% in 2013 to 74% in 2020, and in rural areas from 38.7% to 50.7% during the same period. Afrik21.
  • Strokes are the second-leading cause of death worldwide, but between 1990 and 2019, the age-standardized incidence of strokes has decreased by 17%, and deaths by 36%. The Lancet.
  • In Pakistan between 1990 and 2019, life expectancy at birth increased by 7.2 years, average schooling increased by 2.9 years, average income rose by 64%, and poverty declined from over 50% to just over 20%. UNDP.
  • The Saharan gazelle saved from extinction in southern Spain. El Pais.
  • For the first time in 60 years, cheetahs have returned to Mozambique. Daily Maverick.
  • Sea turtle populations are thriving in Cape Verde, with the number of nests increasing from 10,000 to almost 200,000 in the past six years. The Guardian.

For more good news, check out The Progress Network, Future Crunch, and Reasons to be Cheerful.