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In which John ushers in the twelfth annual project for awesome by talking about the 353,000 babies born yesterday and their many and varied talents.

The Project for Awesome is nerdfighteria's annual 48-hour fundraising extravaganza devoted to the decreasing of worldwide suck levels. During the first half of the Project for Awesome, all proceeds from your donations will go to Save the Children and Partners in Health to assist in their work providing healthcare and opportunities to the world's most vulnerable people. #ProjectforAwesome #p4a2018

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Good morning, Hank.  The 2018 Project for Awesome is here!  You can go to projectforawesome.com/live right now to join the 48 hour livestream extravaganza or donate at projectforawesome.com/donate.  

Okay, so get this: yesterday, about 353,000 babies were born.  That's amazing.  It's like the population of Honolulu, Hawai'i.  Quick pause to note the cuteness of a Honolulu's worth of babies.  Although, of course, a city populated entirely by babies would be a disaster due to babies being, you know, tremendously incompetent.  

Here's the thing that gets me about newborn babies.  They have no skills.  Like, forget about walking, they haven't even discovered their own hands, and yet, many of the 353,000 babies born yesterday are like, eight or nine years away from understanding that their home planet is part of a solar system that is rotating around a star called the sun.  Like, humans have been around for 250,000ish years and it took 249,500 of those years for us to figure out that the Earth was definitely not the center of the universe.  We spent 99.8% of human history not knowing something that most babies born yesterday will be able to understand like, six months after they learn how to tie their own shoes.

This seems to me like the central hope of human history.  We are so good at accumulating, sharing, and passing on knowledge that the babies born yesterday may, within a few decades, know how to solve problems that to us feel totally unfixable.  Those babies born yesterday were born into the healthiest and best educated moment in human history.  They're more than twice as likely to survive to adulthood than children born in 1990 and far more likely to go to school.  They're less likely to experience extreme poverty or malnutrition and that has not happened by accident or because progress is natural.  It has happened because we as a species have decided to prioritize children.  

But I would argue we haven't prioritized them nearly enough.  266,000 children are expected to die of malaria this year.  728 of them were born yesterday.  An additional 14,000 children born yesterday will die before the age of five, and most of them will die from easily treatable or preventable illnesses: diarrhea, pneumonia, starvation.  I know that the challenges of delivering healthcare in poor communities are exceptionally complex.  It's not just a matter of having enough food or medicine.  There are challenges when it comes to sanitation and staffing and transportation and storage.  

I don't want to pretend that the problems are simple, but I think the solution is simple.  The more we as a species make the health of our most vulnerable children a priority, the more likely they are to lead healthy lives.  Our community has worked with Partners in Health and Save the Children for over ten years now, and we have seen and supported Save the Children's work in refugee camps and also providing healthcare and educational opportunities and nutritional support for children in poverty and crisis, and Partners in Health does extraordinary work providing healthcare to the poor from Sierra Leone to Haiti.  They're both highly rated charities known for their efficiency and effectiveness, and for the first half of the Project for Awesome til noon on Saturday, all your donations at projectforawesome.com/donate will go to support them, and because of overwhelming support from matching donations, every dollar you donate will count as four dollars.  So let's do what we can to give all the babies born yesterday a healthy life.  

Plus you can get amazing perks from the P4A commemorative coin to this amazing poster to secret episodes of Dear Hank and John and The Anthropocene Reviewed.  Also, Sarah and I are making a Project for Awesome only podcast called The Statue Got Me High and Sarah and Katherine are hosting a version of Dear Hank and John called Dear Sarah and Katherine.  Or you can get some pressed pennies.  We take horrible worthless pennies and turn them into magnificent souvenirs, including one that honors the late, great Fireball Wilson Roberts.  

All that and so much more at projectforawesome.com/donate.  And then, during the second half of the Project for Awesome, we'll be raising money for charities chosen by you.  You can submit your Project for Awesome videos right now at projectforawesome.com and also, you can vote for Project for Awesome videos and help us decide where the money goes, and finally, the 48-hour Project for Awesome livestream starts now at projectforawesome.com/live.  It is going to be so much fun!  

Hank, I can't believe this is the 12th Project for Awesome.  I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled, I will see you in the livestream!