The world is becoming a better place

Little by little, the world is becoming a better place for the humans who live here, and no amount of bad news seems to slow it down. Improvements in broad economic, health, and security trends are making life better for millions.

Progress is slower than many would want, but there is progress. Poverty and hunger are falling, life expectancy and leisure time are increasing, violence is diminishing, education and literacy are increasing, technology is moving forward fast, and fewer children are dying from preventable diseases.

Dylan Matthews has a post on Vox collecting charts and maps that show many of the ways in which the world is getting better. He leads the post with a short explanation of how the good new often get buried under the bad.

The press — and humans in general — have a strong negativity bias. Bad economic news gets more coverage than good news. Negative experiences affect people more, and for longer, than positive ones. So it’s natural for things like Russia’s incursion into Ukraine or the rise of ISIS or the Ebola outbreak to weigh on us more than, say, the fact that extreme poverty has fallen by half since 1990, or that life expectancy is increasing, especially in poor countries.

It makes sense that bad news gets more coverage. Bad news is what people tune in for, and people tuning in is what advertisers pay for.

But could there be a better way to distribute news? It would be interesting to see advertisers sponsor news outlets dedicated to good news. It seems that would be a more attractive narrative with which to associate a brand. And I’m sure there is a large audience out there who are hungry for the good news of the day.

Fourteen things I’m thankful for from 2014

2014 was a good year for me and my family. Here are a few of the reasons I’m thankful:

  1. Moved to a new home that suits our family perfectly (also thankful for our old place—filled with all the memories and good times, and which was perfect for us, up until we our latest edition to the team started crawling around underfoot)
  2. For friends who helped us move all our stuff to the new house and build the playground in the back yard for the kids
  3. Stared listening to music again with better sound equipment and the near limitless catalog of a premium Spotify subscription
  4. Started a fantastic new job at a great company, where I get to work with excellent co-workers
  5. Got to watch my baby girl learn to walk with my parents while they were visiting
  6. Getting to hear my middle child learn to talk (kid grammar is difficult to correct when it is especially cute—”Me love you!”).
  7. Seeing my wife expand her musical career into some exciting new areas and develop her Yoga skills
  8. Fort the writers, podcasters, comic book artists, and film makers that made this such an entertaining year
  9. For the businesses and people who make the products and services I enjoy
  10. For my new appreciation for Christmas music
  11. For getting to visit and reconnect with friends from college
  12. For having friends and family visiting us at our new home
  13. For another year of riding my bike (and now getting to ride with the whole family)
  14. For the opportunity to spend another year with my amazing family

There was so much to be thankful for in 2014, and so much more to look forward to in 2015. I can’t wait to find out what exciting new adventures will make this new year special.