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!