Thursday, July 23, 2015

Coffee and Provocation

The World is Getting Better Very Fast
The world is getting much better, very fast, at least for people. Check out these terrific data graphics which make the case. Bottom line: We're living longer than ever, global GDP has surged, extreme poverty is in free fall, deaths from war are at a historical low, death from HIV is in decline, vaccine coverage is increasing, measles deaths are on the decline, democracy is spreading and making the world freer and safer, malnourishment is on the decline, fewer mothers are dying in childbirth, infant mortality is on the decline, and more kids are going to school than ever before.

But the Good News is Still Sobering
Between 1990 and 2015, about 1.1 billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty. That's a big lift for a very short distance; extreme poverty is defined as living off less than $1.25 a day.

Clones at the Polo Field
Perhaps the greatest polo player ever, Adolfo Cambiaso, is planning to compete on a pony that died nearly a decade ago — a clone of his beloved stallion Aiken Cura. More than a dozen cloned polo ponies are now competing.

Really Bad Wildlife Management
Britain's most endangered animals and plants have declined by 58 percent since the 1970s. Can rewilding help?

GMO Snake Venom? 
If you put snake genes in yeast, you get a blood-clot-fighting medicine based on snake venom.

Is Islam Dead from the Neck Up?
The Islamic world, which was once a center of learning and knowledge 1,000 years ago, is now a despotic backwater of willful know-nothings. "In 2005 Harvard University produced more scientific papers than 17 Arabic-speaking countries combined. The world’s 1.6 billion Muslims have produced only two Nobel laureates in chemistry and physics. Both moved to the West: the only living one, the chemist Ahmed Hassan Zewail, is at the California Institute of Technology. By contrast Jews, outnumbered 100 to one by Muslims, have won 79. The 57 countries in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference spend a puny 0.81% of GDP on research and development, about a third of the world average. America, which has the world’s biggest science budget, spends 2.9%; Israel lavishes 4.4%. Many blame Islam’s supposed innate hostility to science. Some universities seem keener on prayer than study. Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, for example, has three mosques on campus, with a fourth planned, but no bookshop. Rote learning rather than critical thinking is the hallmark of higher education in many countries."

1 comment:

jeffrey thurston said...

I will not be provoked- just want to say that being smart doesn't make you right. The WW2 Germans were smart too- at least they did their own dirty work. The Tail wags the Dog (us)...