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In which John discusses good news and encouraging trends he has noticed in 2016, including improvements in health, technology, literacy, and the number of Beyonce albums. You can watch me play No Man's Sky here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzDa5AshX8Y SOURCES:
Much of the info in this video comes from the amazing Our World in Data, which is also just a great site to have bookmarked: https://ourworldindata.org/

1. Child mortality is declining all around the world: https://ourworldindata.org/child-mortality/ and is continuing to trend down in every region of the world: http://data.unicef.org/child-mortality/under-five.html

2. The West Africa ebola virus outbreak that began in 2014 has ended: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_African_Ebola_virus_epidemic

3. Humans are close to eradicating guinea worm disease; in the first half of 2016, there were only seven confirmed cases: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dracunculiasis

4. Tremendous progress has been made in the fight against malaria: https://ourworldindata.org/malaria/

5. Survival rates for early stage pancreatic cancer are now nearly 30%: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jun/03/pancreas-cancer-survival-extend-drugs-combination-liverpool-university And overall cancer survival is increasing: http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/ld/all.html (this information is helpfully graphed here: http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/all.html)

6. The data here is taken from the ongoing updates from this wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ongoing_armed_conflicts and the data on the massive decrease of war as a cause of death comes from Our World in Data: https://ourworldindata.org/war-and-peace-after-1945/

7. ISIS is weakening, losing territory, and struggling with recruitment: http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21701721-jihadists-are-losing-their-caliphate-they-remain-deadl-islamic-stateless

8. There are fewer bankruptcies in the United States (which is just one among several indicators that American economic life is, on average, improving): http://www.creditslips.org/creditslips/2016/01/2016-bankruptcy-forecast-lets-say-780000.html

9. The global economy is growing (although not as much as we'd like): https://www.conference-board.org/data/globaloutlook/ and absolute poverty is declining; 200 million fewer people live in poverty today than did in 2012. http://www.worldbank.org/en/publication/global-monitoring-report

10. Literacy rates are increasing, and the gender literacy gap is decreasing: https://ourworldindata.org/literacy/ More info here, although God this web site is slow: http://www.uis.unesco.org/literacy/Pages/literacy-data-release-2016.aspx

11. Book sales are up at bookstores: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/71190-bookstore-sales-up-6-1-in-first-half-of-2016.html (This is also true in Canada, interestingly.)

12. No Man's Sky is a significantly better video game than Pong and you can watch me play it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzDa5AshX8Y

13. There is a new Harry Potter play. Here is a source attesting to the fact: http://www.harrypottertheplay.com/

14. Evidence that AFC Wimbledon is in League One: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGSxCIGkT8E

15. Pokemon Go is amazing. Here's a source: https://i.redd.it/i6g4d69ildfx.jpg

16. Lemonade is the greatest non-Mountain Goats album of the decade. As evidence, I present Lemonade: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrCHz1gwzTo&index=2&list=PL9NY5axt700Exl2gAl8NEjbmOpsvLJPUz


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Good morning, Hank, it's Tuesday. So you may have noticed that as years go, 2016 has been, you know, something of a dumpster fire? And yet, there's still a lot of good news around the world. We tend to hear about the bad news a lot, because it happens suddenly and it's often dramatic, whereas good news usually happens slowly. Like as Max Roser from Our World in Data puts it, "You never see headlines reading ‘Global Child Mortality Fell by 0.00719% Since Yesterday’" But there is lots of encouraging news, let's start there, actually.

1. Child mortality continues to fall around the world, and 2016 is on pace to have the fewest child deaths of any year in like, thousands of years. Literally.

2. Then there's Ebola. Remember the Ebola virus outbreak that killed more than 11,000 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia? It has ended, although flareups remain possible and strengthening community health centers in those countries is vital to prevent future outbreaks.

3. Speaking of ending, we are very very close to ending the debilitating and extremely painful guinea worm disease. There were about 3.5 million cases as recently as 1986. In 2015, there were 22 cases. So far in 2016, there have been seven.

4. And then there's malaria, which continues to be a massive global health problem, but the attention and funding its received in the last 15 years has made a huge difference. Around the world, malaria deaths have fallen by almost half since 2000.

5. We're also making progress when it comes to non-infectious diseases, like a large phase III study just found that better treatment for pancreatic cancer and early stage pancreatic cancer survival rates are now approaching 30%, whereas a decade ago, they were under 10%, and overall, cancer survival rates are also going up. Like, in the US, in 1980, the overall cancer survival rate was just under 50%. Today, it's very close to 70%. In fact, it might even reach that milestone this year.

6. Okay, let's move on to war. So, worldwide, conflict deaths were down in 2015 from 2014, and they're on pace to be down again this year. This is largely due to decreases in violence in Afghanistan and from the Boko Haram insurgency. I wanna be clear though that 2016 is still a definite dumpster fire when it comes to conflict, it's just that it was worse in 2015 and worse than that in 2014. But it is worth noting that worldwide, the percentage of humans who die in war has gone way, way, way down since 1945.

7. Also, ISIS is losing. They've lost the cities of Fallujah and Manbij, and while they definitely remain a threat, especially in Syria, Iraq, and Libya, to quote The Economist, "the self-proclaimed Islamic State is weakening fast."

8. Okay, let's move on to bankruptcy. There is less of it, at least in the US. In fact, the rate of personal bankruptcies has fallen every year since 2010 and is down again in 2016.

9. Meanwhile, the global economy is growing and will probably grow faster this year than it did last year, and worldwide, absolute poverty is declining. In fact, in 2016, there are 200 million fewer people living in absolute poverty than there were just four years ago in 2012.

10. Literacy rates are going up around the world, and the literacy gender gap is shrinking. The percentage of literate humans will be higher than ever this year, and no, people have not stopped reading books.

11. In fact, sales at book stores are up in 2016. It's the first time they've risen in many years, and nobody knows quite why it's happening, but it reminds me that I should really finish that book I've been working on.

12. We're going to end with a few fun ones. Video games are getting better. Like, I know lots of people don't like it, but I am overwhelmed by the beauty and size of the new video game No Man's Sky. In fact, Hank, I've just begun a new series on hankgames where I explore my own existential anxieties while walking around a largely abandoned planet. You can watch that by clicking here, or there's a link in the doobly-doo, but in general, video games have gotten awesome.

13. What else, we got more Harry Potter.

14. AFC Wimbledon is in League 1 and our awesome new advertising is up in their stadium.

15. Pokémon Go has led me to explore a fascinating and intricately detailed world called outside.

16. And Beyoncé released maybe the best non-Mountain Goats album of the decade.

Hank, again, I'm not trying to say that everything is going well here on Earth, there is much to lament and much that needs to change. But I'm really encouraged that, as a species, we've shown an ability to make broad positive changes, and I really believe that in spite of it all, hope is not misguided.

Hank, I'll see you on Friday.