Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, 2016!!

As always, it was a busy holiday season, hence the time gap since my last post.  As I did last year, I hope to take advantage of the vacation days I have built up so as to catch up on my reading and e-publish something new.  I did not receive a book this year for Christmas, but I do have to finish the last 2015 edition of Lapham's Quarterly, in addition to the January editions of Smithsonian and National Geographic, as well as the first 2016 Lapham's magazine.  My next literary effort (if I may use that term) will be a trilogy of short stories that present a hopeful opinion of the future.  Only one of the stories is actually new, but the other two have been revised a bit, and have not been presented in the context that I am targeting with this publication.  I will follow up with details when complete.

In the meantime, and along a similar line of thought, today I shall only touch upon positive points.

First, as is true of previous years, Smithsonian once again presented an edition noting a few of the innovators of our time.  Their work, whether it be in medicine, social science, the arts or technology, reminds is that there are many people among us today with visions of a better world, and who are actively striving to achieve that better world.  They are an inspiration to us all, especially in light of the focus that much of today's media places on reporting the negative and the bad. 

Of course, there have always been people of vision working to improve the lives of their fellow citizens, but what of the everyday people who occasionally resort to crime to enhance their income.  Strangely, and I say strangely based on the fact that everyday I hear someone say that the world is spinning out of control, the crime rate is trending down.

If you spend a few moments at the site listed above, you will see that in 2014, violent crime was down over 2013 numbers and has been dropping since 2010.  Also, property crime is decreasing as well.  Unfortunately, good news does not improve TV ratings, sell advertising time, or inspire the base to vote, so it is bad news that predominates.  Too bad since the facts support the belief that we, the human race, continues to evolve socially (more accepting of others), and spiritually (more aware of the importance to respect all human life).  Certainly there are exceptions to this trend, and those exceptions are discussed ad nauseam on talk radio and opinion news shows, but they are not presented as the exceptions that they are but as the norm, which is just not true.

How about the infant mortality rates of the world?  Certainly, a telling gauge for the overall health of the human population might be found in this number.

A quick glance at the tables at the above site will reveal that the number of deaths per 1000 live births has dropped significantly in virtually all of the world since the 1950's.  Even today, in countries with 90-100 deaths per 1000 births (that is 9-10% folks), the rate has dropped from numbers in the
180-230 range (18-23%!!).  Obviously, even in the countries where there is lawlessness, natal health care progress has been made through organizations like Doctors without Borders and other NGO associations.

How about deaths in war?  With the atrocities by ISIS and events like the Paris terrorist murders happening in what seems like at a weekly clip, virtually every google entry entitled deaths by war detailed a significant decline since the 1950's, especially when the increase in global population is factored in the calculations.  Additionally, most studies of how safe a person in 2015 was compared to a person living in the 15th century, or 9th century or 1st century AD, or 5th century BC, indicates that we are vastly safer today than the majority of humans who lived in any other time frame.  Yet, facts aside, I would guess that if 100 people were asked tomorrow if they felt more safe or less, a majority would say less, even those who may have been children during the Cuban Missile Crisis, or adults during World War 2 or the Cold War.  Unfortunately, again, more money can be made and more votes acquired when we paint a gloomy picture of death and danger at every turn.

So, again Happy New Year!  And smile! 

We are fortunate enough to have been born in the safest time in human history.  And, if trends like those noted above continue, we can trust that our grand children and great grand children and so on will be born in even safer times. 

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