That is, it's a good time, I think, to ponder: is the world going to hell in a handbasket?
There seem to be a lot of reasons to leap up and say "hell yeah."
For one, our President is an idiot--and idiot who activates not 'the better angels of our nature,' but instead the worst of America. Venal, petty, racists, misogynistic, anti-science, nazi scum.
9,000 miles away, another idiot nut is threatening to explode hydrogen bombs over the Pacific.
Mexico has been rocked by a series of horrific earthquakes. And the Caribbean is being blown apart by hurricane after hurricane caused by changes in the climate that one-half of the American electorate denies.
But then, and because it's a new year, there's this (by way of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.)
Since 1990, have been saved among kids 5 years and younger. The rate of death has fallen from 85 deaths per 1,000 live births to just 38.."
Over the past 25 years, women have started giving birth in hospitals and health facilities more frequently than at home.
The biggest benefit: Mortality rates have fallen from 275 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 179 deaths in 2016.
HIV's decline over the past 25 years is nothing short of remarkable, the report noted. Rates of infection have fallen from their high of 0.60 deaths per 1,000 people in the late 1990s to 0.25 in 2016.
The World Bank defines global poverty as living on less than $1.90/day.
The Gates Foundation found rates of such poverty have declined considerably over the last few decades, from 35% in 1990 to 9% in 2016.
Between 1990 and 2016, the prevalence of daily smoking among people 10 years and older has dropped from 22% to 16%.
Greater numbers of sewer connections and water treatment plants are helping to clean up the world.
Over the last 25 years, the percentage of people relying on unsafe sanitation has fallen from 57% to 33%.
Neglected tropical diseases
There are a slew of neglected tropical diseases that affect but rates of infection of neglected tropical diseases have fallen from 47,000 cases per 100,000 people in 1990 to 27,000 cases in 2016.
The Gates Foundation called widespread vaccination "one of the most impressive public health stories in global health."
Since 1990, the proportion of target populations who have gotten covered by the eight major vaccines has risen from 73% to 89%.
There's also this. A photo of the waterfall my daughter Hannah swam in yesterday in Fiji.
Take your joy where you can find it.