Welcome to an edition of my newsletter surveying the week’s causes for optimism, as noticed in the media. Plus links to discussions of optimism and pessimism.
* The Adam Smith Institute fisks The Guardian newspaper’s questionable anti-American alarmism on the alleged prevalence of food poisoning in the USA.
* A huge new trade deal goes into effect across the Americas, replacing NAFTA.
* The UK has this week announced an extra £40 million for local nature conservation projects across the UK, as part of the recovery stimulus package… “It is envisaged that the fund will create a broad range of short and long-term jobs such as ecologists, surveyors, nature reserve staff and education workers in environment organisations”.
* Now at Quillette, after having this week been published and then mysteriously ‘vanished’ by Forbes for no apparent reason, “On Behalf Of Environmentalists, I Apologize For The Climate Scare”. The article’s author is the same as that of the new book Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All.
* The mini podcast Dead Wrong with Johan Norberg has now come to an end as a video-series, after 4 years and 172 episodes. These offered pithy 90-second fact-based debunkings of alarmists and leftist buffoons. There’s a YouTube playlist for all 172, or there is until his channel gets cancelled for wrong-think like so many others. Download them all with the free playlist-to-audio robo-catcher MakeHuman. It can load and get all 172 as audio-only, and is doing so for me right now.
* In India, the national Digital India programme celebrates its first five years. The number of e-services appears to be up by about a third, though that rise might have been expected to happen anyway. Online participation appears to be widening, and ecommerce is emerging. While it’s obviously still ‘the early years’ of a Digital India at the citizen level, the progress in digital government has at least enabled rapid rollout of virus-related services in India.
* New UK university research is developing… “3D printed insoles [for shoes, that] offer new hope for patients with diabetes”.
* New open-source software aims to reduce motion-sickness in VR use. The helmet-like VR goggles often cause nausea in wearers, and not just because of the naff aesthetics of the entertainment on offer.
* And finally, The Japan Times reports this week, as an aside in an article on another topic, that the book… “Factfulness by Hans Rosling has become a big bestseller in Japan.” This being one of the key books from ‘the new optimists’.
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