This is my newsletter which offers a round-up of the week’s causes for optimism, as noticed in the media. Plus discussions of the optimism/pessimism gap, and debunkings of optimism/pessimism.
* The Daily Mail newspaper is a leading purveyor of grime and crime in the UK, but at least counters this by often talking a lot of common sense. Including, the new “Seven metrics that prove the world is becoming better – longer life, less poverty, better health outcomes”.
* In the journal Nature, the paper “Impaired immune surveillance accelerates accumulation of senescent cells and aging”, from the Weizmann Institute in Israel. Translation from sci-speak: We now know more about how cells ‘gunk up’ as we age, and how this causes inflammation and ageing. A substance has been found that stops the gunk from accumulating in cells, and thus lets mice live longer.
* Science magazine on “Why Japan’s exit from international whaling treaty may actually benefit whales”. “Japan will now abandon its scientific whaling programs [and] Japan’s whaling efforts will shift to its own coastal waters and the 200 mile exclusive economic zone around them”, where it is likely to catch around “100 minke whales” per year.
* There is a new book from McFarland that systematically rebuts the damning myths and sly slurs about Winston Churchill: Winston Churchill, Myth and Reality: What He Actually Did and Said. A review from The Churchill Project at Hillsdale College praises the book for its diligence and deep knowledge, and notes that… “Though aimed at correcting error, it casts considerable light on how errors arise” in political history.
* Steven Pinker’s book Enlightenment Now is apparently new in paperback, though it’s been on Kindle and audiobook for a while now. News of the book and its message has even reached Arkansas… “Enlightenment continues to glow”.
Enjoyed this post? There’s more at the ‘Something for the Weekend’ newsletter archive.