Been spending more time inside lately. We’re currently in the hottest parts of the summer. So far I’m managing alright. I think it helps that I’m getting enough sleep and keeping my mind occupied through computer games and educational programs on youtube and curiosity stream. I had to get a new phone a few days ago after my old one quit working. So far it’s doing everything I need done.
In spite spending so much time indoors and not socializing much outside of internet and phone, I’m still feeling pretty decent. I’m feeling actually quite optimistic overall. Watching science programs and programs about what is actually going right in civilization while avoiding the negativity and background noise can do that to even a hardened mentally ill person like myself. I do find it tragic that the advances in science and humanitarian efforts aren’t given more publicity in the media. I get it that mass media isn’t a public service and they have to draw and audience like every other business. And nothing draws a human’s attention like fear and anxiety. There is actually far more going on right than most people will ever know.
Last Christmas I did a piece on science and tech advances that happened just in 2016. I’m going to do this again at the end of 2017. I really don’t think people pay enough attention to what’s going on in the realms of science, tech, and humanitarian efforts. I wonder how many people know that over 90 percent of people in Africa have access to cell phones. Granted the same CNN article states that only 63 percent of people in Africa have access to piped water and only 30 percent to flushing toilets. But both of those numbers are better than many people in the developed world thought they would be. And this article was written in 2016.
When my parents were first married in the early 1970s, many people were worried about overpopulation and as a result my parents decided to have only two kids. Fast forward 45 years and many countries, especially in the developed world, are actually experiencing decreasing populations. USA would have the same problem if it wasn’t for many immigrants still wanting to come here. The fears of overpopulation didn’t come to fruition because as people became more prosperous and better educated, they started having fewer kids and investing more in the one or two kids they did have. The population is still growing, yes, but that is far more because people no longer die like flies than breed like rabbits. Smallpox is eradicated and polio is all but eradicated.
There were similar fears about acid rain in the 1970s. But we as a species, especially scientists and engineers, saw that this could become a problem eventually and we adapted. As a result, the worst didn’t happen. Right now there are fears about climate issues and what could happen within the next several decades. But few people realize that air pollution has actually gone down in many countries and industrializing countries like China and India are going forward with non polluting energy sources now that the prices are more competitive with traditional fuel sources. My country may have pulled out of the Paris Agreements, but that was my federal government and not individual peoples or state governments. And in the USA, regardless of individual political beliefs, most people do not approve of the leadership our federal officials are offering. So many state and local governments are taking it on themselves to develop non polluting energy sources. I may live in a state where many people aren’t sold on the sciences being climate changes but that doesn’t stop people from putting up wind generators and solar panels. In my own family, my parents have been using solar panels since the 1980s. Many people don’t know that the largest state for wind power generation is Texas, a traditionally oil rich state. Just because a person may not be sold on the hard science doesn’t mean they can’t or aren’t doing their parts to bring about less toxic energies and use less fuel. Can you imagine how bad pollution and oil issues would be if we had the same cars from the 60s and 70s? When my father was in the military, he had a street racer car that got less than 9 miles to the gallon in gas. Pickup trucks now get much better than that, let alone family sedans or smaller cars. My dad said about his hot rod, “it would pass everything on the road besides a gas station.” Science is saving our bacon right now, more so than governments or most other established large institutions.
I’m also encouraged by the prospects of private individuals and companies taking on space exploration. We aren’t living my parents’ space race when it was just Russia and USA doing the work. There are many things I am encouraged and optimistic about. But I did not get this way getting information just from traditional sources. I had to use search engines. I had to go to science specific websites and journals. I had to specifically look for the science information because most of it wasn’t being reported in traditional mass media. But traditional mass media is in decline and will eventually break apart if they don’t adapt to the new realities. And that doesn’t hurt my feelings at all. I’m tired of hearing about what is going wrong all the time. I doubt I’m the only one who feels this way. I want to know what’s going well and what we’re improving. I have dig deeper than most people, but I am finding out some of what’s going right. Maybe more research labs and universities should hire publicity firms to better promote what’s going on. I think many people would be interested providing the information is presented in the right ways.