Friday, December 7, 2007

"U.S. Childhood Cancer Death Rate Declines Sharply"

This is from yesterday's Yahoo! News:

The cancer death rate for children in the United States has declined sharply -- down 20 percent from 1990 to 2004 -- thanks to better treatment of leukemia and other cancers, health officials said on Thursday.

The cancer death rate for U.S. children was 34.2 per million for children up to age 19 in 1990, but fell to 27.3 per million in 2004, the CDC said. This death rate has declined 1.7 percent per year during this period, according to the CDC.

"It's not that we're having less cancer diagnosed. The incidence rates, the new-case rates are the same. It's just that we're getting better survival," the CDC's Dr. Lori Pollack said in a telephone interview.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

"'Dramatic' Fall in Measles Deaths"

This is from today's BBC News:

Measles deaths in Africa fell by 91% between 2000 and 2006, figures from the World Health Organization show. The drop, from an estimated 396,000 to 36,000, means the United Nations target to cut measles deaths by 90% by 2010 has been hit four years early.


Overall global measles deaths fell by 68% - from an estimated 757,000 to 242,000 - over the six year period, a WHO report showed.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Humpback Whales Come Back

Erich sent me a link to this news item about recovery in population of humpback whales. Buried in the news item is this information:

"The focus on this year's hunt is the humpback, which was in serious danger of extinction just a few decades ago. They are now a favorite of whale-watchers for their playful antics at sea, where the beasts — which grow as large as 40 tons — throw themselves out of the water.

Humpbacks feed, mate and give birth near shore, making them easy prey for whalers, who by some estimates depleted the global population to just 1,200 before the 1963 moratorium. The southern moratorium was followed by a worldwide ban in 1966...

...The American Cetacean Society estimates the humpback population has recovered to about 30,000-40,000 — about a third of the number before modern whaling. The species is listed as "vulnerable" by the World Conservation Union. [my bold]

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I am on Cafe Hayek!

I emailed Don Boudreaux of Cafe Hayek and he promptly wrote up this blog here. I feel honored and hope that his readers will in turn forward news about human progress for this blog.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"'Fast economic growth' in Africa"

That's the headline on BBC News today. It starts with:
The economic outlook for Africa is improving after a decade of growth of 5.4% for the continent that matches global rates, the World Bank has said. The trend indicates that a fundamental change is occurring in Africa, a World Bank official told the BBC.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

"The Global Millionaire Boom"

Here's a link to the Yahoo! article (which in turn is showing Business Week Online content).

Household wealth is hitting record heights, and not just in the U.S. There are more millionaire households on the planet than ever before, particularly in Europe and in China, where growth rates are highest.

The total number of world millionaire households -- those with assets of $1 million or more -- grew by 14% in 2006, to 9.6 million, representing the richest 0.7% of all households and owning $33.2 trillion, or about a third of the world's wealth, according to a recent study by the Boston Consulting Group, a global management consulting firm.

Monday, October 15, 2007

"U.S. Cancer Death Rates Continue to Fall"

On Yahoo! News today: "U.S. cancer death rates continue to fall". Excerpt:
They found important declines in deaths from lung, prostate and colorectal cancers in men, as well as in breast and colon cancer among women. Lung cancer deaths were still on the rise among women but this increase slowed, according to the report.

"The significant decline in cancer death rates demonstrates important progress in the fight against cancer that has been achieved through effective tobacco control, screening, early detection, and appropriate treatment," U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said in a statement.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

100% Data-driven

Rest assured, gentle reader, that all the entries I post on this blog will be 100% data-driven. I will post the new item and the data-source if available. Basic intellectual honesty demands that.

US Life Expectancy

US life expectancy - both at birth and at age 65 - continues to increase year after year. As of 2003, it is at 80 years at birth and 20 years at 65 for women. For men, it is 75 years at birth and 17 at age 65.

Here is the mother-lode of the US data ( Warning: This is a HUGE file, all sorts of data on 559 pages). I will be looking for 2007 data in due course of time.

US Car Deaths

I was wrong: US Highway deaths are up over the last 10 years. I was right: As a percentage of total highway miles travelled as well as of total US resident population, however, the trend is clearly and steadily down. All these data come from the FARS Encyclopedia.

My Worldview

I am going to put my cards on the table and state my worldview, so that you know where I am coming from. First of all, I am a humanist (a Transhumanist, actually, if it means anything to you) and politically a libertarian (classical liberal, if you prefer).

Here are some of my biases:
  • I believe that life is good.
  • I believe that more life is better.
  • I believe that more money is better.
  • I believe that we humans have an inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
  • I believe that more human empowerment is good.
  • I believe that individual liberty is good.
  • I believe that democracy is good.

Thus my list of news items about human progress will typically include news about

  • more life (longer life-expectancy, reduced mortality, anti-aging breakthrough etc.)
  • more wealth (globally speaking, stock markets, net worth etc.)
  • better technology (communications, prostheses, pills etc.)
  • more democracy (countries voting for the first time, women voting for the first time etc.) etc.

Just so you know...

Child mortality 'at record low'

From the BBC news story from Thursday, 13 September 2007:
Fewer children under the age of five are dying, thanks to immunisation programmes and anti-malaria measures, the UN children's agency, Unicef, says. Worldwide, the number of young children who died in 2006 dropped below 10 million for the first time, it said.
Note that these are lows in terms of absolute numbers. That means that in terms of relative numbers or percentages, the story is even better.

Documenting the Progress of Humanity

From where I stand, humanity is progressing pretty rapidly. You'd of course never know this from the headlines! It is a fact of life that bad news make for better viewership and higher ratings. I would like to change that in my own small way. I want to collect news about human progress here so that we can see at a glance how the global arrow of human progress is pointing relentlessly upward.

Just recently there have been many news items about human progress. Just a few off the top of my head:
  • child mortality at an all-time low
  • deaths from US car accident at an all-time low
  • human life-expectancy at an all-time high
  • global wealth at an all-time high
  • global hunger at an all-time low

You get the point. These were just recent headlines and if I asked you, the typical reader, to name any of these, you will likely be hard-pressed to remember any. So now I am off to find permanent links to all these news items!