What went right in 2018
The brain focuses on the bad in order to keep you alive.
The Mainstream media focuses on the bad in order to keep you buying their crap.
And, sell crap they do. From grossly overstating events to twisting facts to out-and-out lying, the Press isn’t doing us any favors. We’re not looking at that today. We’re looking at what went right in 2018.
These stories are in no particular order. There are many big ones and a few sweet ones thrown in for good measure
I DON’T CARE WHO YOU BLAME; US IS DOING SWELL
In the United States, the economy continued to grow, wages increased, and unemployment fell to its lowest level (3.7%) since 1969. Unemployment among black Americans hit the lowest it has been since the government started tracking it in 1972.
The share of black men in poverty in the US has fallen from 41% in 1960 to 18% today, and the share in the middle class has risen from 38% to 57% in the same time. Black business ownership jumped 400%
Youth unemployment (among those 16 and 24 years old actively looking for work) hit a 52 year low this summer
- USMCA trade agreement replacing NAFTA
- Food Stamp usage has declined for 8 straight months
- First Step Act criminal justice reform is now law — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the law would give thousands of people in prison a “second chance”
- We’re going to host the 2026 World Cup
CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF, VIOLENCE IS DOWN ALL OVER THE WORLD
This is according to reports on trends in organized violence from data collected by the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP). With almost 90,000 deaths recorded by UCDP last year, 2017 saw a decrease for the third consecutive year to a level 32% lower than the latest peak in 2014. The data is not fully in, but the trend continued through 2018.
SUICIDE RATES ARE DECLINING
Globally, the rate has fallen by 38% from its peak in 1994. As a result, over 4m lives have been saved—more than four times as many people as were killed in combat over the period.
HALF THE WORLD IS NOW MIDDLE CLASS OR WEALTHIER
For the first time since agriculture-based civilization began 10,000 years ago, the majority of humankind is no longer poor or vulnerable to falling into poverty.
MALAYSIA SAYS IT WILL END DEATH PENALTY FOR ALL CRIMES
Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia’s new government said it would abolish the death penalty for all crimes and halt all pending executions, a rare move against capital punishment in Asia that human rights groups hailed as a major advance.
More than 1200 people are on death row in Malaysia, which mandates hanging as punishment for a wide range of crimes including murder, drug trafficking, treason, kidnapping and acts of terror.
THE WORLD JOINED IN PRAYER AND RESCUE EFFORTS, GETTING ALL 12 THAI BOYS OUT OF A CAVE
All 12 Thai boys and their coach who were marooned deep in a cave were saved in an operation that needed 100 rescuers inside the cave, 1,000 Thai soldiers in support, and thousands of volunteers furnishing meals, transportation and other help. Saman Gunan, retired Thai SEAL died in the effort.
WE LANDED ON MARS FOR THE 8TH TIME
For only the eighth time, a spacecraft landed safely on Mars. The InSight lander touched down on Nov. 26 and sent the first photograph back shortly thereafter. It will collect and transmit all kinds of data for the next two years.
HONEYBEES ARE COMING BACK
Saving the Bees: Honeybee Populations on the Rise After Colony Collapse Disorder
Vaccine for Honeybees Could Be a Tool to Fight Population Decline
SMOKING IS GOING DOWN
Fewer American Adults Are Smoking Than Ever Before
Smoking rates among U.S. adults have hit an all-time low, according to new federal data.
Approximately 14% of American adults said they were smokers last year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While that’s still a significant number, encompassing about 34 million Americans, it’s the lowest rate recorded since the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) began collecting data about cigarette use in 1965. Smoking rates have declined by 67% since then, according to the CDC.
FOR THE FIRST TIME, WE’RE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT AIDS IN AFRICA
AIDS, the immunodeficiency syndrome caused by the virus HIV, has killed more than 35 million people worldwide. But Williams, co-founder of the South African Center for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (SACEMA), thinks we are close to effectively wiping out AIDS in eastern and southern Africa. This is despite the fact that there are more people living with HIV there than anywhere else in the world.
By 2030, if trends in the use of HIV/AIDS treatments hold, the rate of infection might fall to a key threshold of one in 1,000 people in some of the worst-affected nations. That threshold would, in theory, stop the disease’s spread, Williams says.
SPEAKING OF OPTIMISM, OUR YOUTH HAS A MORE FAVORABLE OUTLOOK THAN WE DO
A Survey across 15 countries found that 90% of teenagers in Kenya, Mexico, China and Nigeria are hopeful for the future. In more developed countries, the numbers were lower, but still higher than their adult counterparts.
A LOWLY SOCIAL WORKER LEFT $18M TO CHILDREN’S CHARITIES
Friends remember him as being frugal. He wore old shoes held together with duct tape, bought his apparel at the grocery store, drove jalopies, and ate at cheap restaurants. But when he died of cancer in January 2018, at age 63, the people around him learned that he had quietly saved millions for a higher cause. Washington state social worker Alan Naiman left most of his $11 million estate to organizations serving abandoned, impoverished, sick and disabled children.
THE RATE OF PRISON RECIDIVISM IN THE UNITED STATES HAS DROPPED BY NEARLY A QUARTER
The share of people who return to state prison three years after being released—the most common measure of recidivism—dropped by nearly a quarter over a recent seven-year period, according to an analysis by The Pew Charitable Trusts of federal Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) data on prisoners
NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA — NEED I SAY MORE?
Speaking of Korea, South Korea closed its largest dog meat slaughterhouse
About one million dogs are consumed every year and activists have sought to end the custom.
Dog meat was once considered a delicacy in South Korea, but attitudes have changed in recent years.
“This is a historic moment,” Korean Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) said in a statement. “It will open the door for more closures of dog meat slaughterhouses across the country, expediting the decline of the overall dog meat industry.”
The Taepyeong-dong complex – an important source of meat for restaurants across the country – housed at least six slaughterhouses, holding several hundred animals at a time.
Campaigners from Humane Society International (HSI) described conditions inside the complex as “horrifying”. They reported seeing electrocution equipment used to slaughter the dogs, knives and a de-hairing machine.
THE EARTH’S POPULATION OF PEOPLE WITHOUT ACCESS TO ELECTRICITY FELL BELOW 1 BILLION
The greatest success story was India completing the electrification of all of its villages. Many other Asian countries have also seen significant progress. In Indonesia, the electrification rate is almost at 95%, up from 50% in 2000. In Bangladesh, electricity now reaches 80% of the population, up from 20% in 2000. Kenya’s access rate has increased massively from 8% in 2000 to 73% today
FOR ONLY THE SECOND TIME ON RECORD, NO ONE KILLED BY TORNADOES IN US IN MAY OR JUNE
For the first time since 2005, and only the second time on record, no one was killed by tornadoes in the U.S. in either May or June.
Those are typically two of the USA’s deadliest months for tornadoes, along with March and April. Official U.S. tornado records go back to 1950.
Although we have a long way to go, the U.S. could see its least deadly year for tornadoes on record: So far in 2018, tornadoes have killed only three people. The most recent was on April 13 in Louisiana, according to the Storm Prediction Center.
An average of 71 Americans are killed each year by tornadoes, based on data from 1987 to 2016, the Weather Channel reported.
THE OZONE HOLE COULD HEAL IN OUR LIFETIMES, UN REPORTS
Scientists identified the chemicals as problematic, and policymakers actually acted on it. The Montreal Protocol was inked in 1987. After 30 years, the ozone hole still continues to be an annual occurrence. But the new report definitively adds to a 2016 study showing the ozone hole has been on the mend since 2000. If all goes according to plan, ozone levels in the region could return to pre-hole conditions within 40 years.
CHINA’S IVORY BAN IS SUCCESSFUL
New research released by WWF and TRAFFIC has shown that intention to buy ivory in China has dropped by almost half to 26%, in comparison to 2017 before the ban was in place. Alongside this, 9 out of 10 people asked in the consumer research said that they support the ivory ban in China.
NEW YORK AND VIRGINIA HAVE BECOME THE FIRST TWO STATES TO ENACT LAWS REQUIRING MENTAL HEALTH EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS
New York’s law updates the health curriculum in elementary, middle and high schools to include material on mental health. Virginia’s law mandates that mental health education be incorporated into physical education and health curricula for ninth- and 10th-graders.
250 BIG ORGANISATIONS HAVE NOW PLEDGED TO ERADICATE PLASTIC WASTE BY 2025, INCLUDING COCA COLA, H&M AND L’OREA
All promised that 100% of their plastic packaging would be reused, recycled or composted within seven years.
Honorable mention: Adidas is expecting to sell 5 million pairs of shoes made from ocean plastic this year, and it has committed to using only recycled plastic in its products by 2024
COLORADO ANIMAL SHELTER CELEBRATES WHEN ALL ITS DOGS ADOPTED IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS
A video of the staffers cheering the shelter’s empty cages quickly went viral on Facebook with more than 150,000 views.
“Although we’ve come close to adopting out all of our available dogs before, Monday was the first time we succeeded and had our dogs kennels completely empty!” Gretchen Pressley, the shelter’s community relations manager told ABC News. “Seeing so many pets find wonderful new homes is what makes it all worthwhile for us.”
Pressley added that it’s not too late to adopt a pet, as the shelter still has cats, and more dogs are available daily. It is waiving pet adoption fees until the New Year.
REAL WORLD ENEMIES UNITED FOR HOCKEY
Just a few months ago, the seemingly endless conflict between South and North Korea felt like it was coming to a dangerous head. But the two countries cast their differences aside and united as one to play ice hockey as a single team at the Winter Olympics. It was an inspiring moment that transcended sports and brought hope and good feels to everyone following the games, with North Korea’s cheerleaders making sure everyone stayed positive.
POLICE DOG LOSES JOB, GETS A BETTER ONE
Somebody getting canned isn’t usually cause for celebration, but that’s not the case with Gavel, a German Shepherd who couldn’t make the cut as a police dog. Despite intensive training, Gavel was just too sweet to be a cop. Fortunately, his time on the unemployment roster was very short, and Gavel was soon offered another job by the Governor of Queensland, to serve as Vice-Regal Dog.
INTERNET TROLLS GET SERVED (A SANDWICH)
At just 16 years of age, Jade Hameister has already accomplished more extraordinary feats than some adults will do in a lifetime, having skated across Greenland’s biggest ice cap and skied to the North Pole. But that won’t stop internet trolls from giving her grief. A few years ago she gave a TEDx talk encouraging girls to not give up on their dreams. Once the talk was posted on YouTube the trolling began, with many YouTube commenters suggesting she stop talking and start making them a sandwich. So a sandwich she made… then she skied it to the South Pole and offered it to any troll willing to go there and fetch it.
NEWS STATION FORGIVES MEDICAL DEBT
Tired of hearing about people relying on charity to cover their healthcare costs, KIRO 7 in Seattle spent $12,000 to buy $1,000,000 in medical debt, and forgave it all. The station has since set up a website for people who want to contribute to more medical debt forgiveness.
SPEED TRAP TOWN ORDERED TO PAY UP
In a slightly different vein of feel-good news, the town of New Miami, Ohio, has been ordered by a judge to pay back over $3 million in unconstitutional speed camera tickets. That’s a story that should make anyone ever caught in a trap smile.
ANOTHER SECRET TO LONGEVITY REVEALED
In perhaps the most uplifting news story of the year, research has shown that drinking is better for you in the long haul than exercise, with those who drank one or two beers or glasses of wine every day running a lesser risk of a premature death than those who exercised 15-45 minutes daily. That’s definitely something to feel good about.