Feeling Gloomy About the Future?

Here Are 1O Bits of Good News 

The news media understands that bad news sells better than good. So it’s not surprising that if you allow yourself more than, say, 30 minutes a day reading newspapers or on social media, you’ll develop a very pessimistic view of the future.

Whenever I’m feeling that way, I spend an hour or two searching for good news. And guess what? There’s plenty of it.

Here’s a sample of what I discovered after rolling out of bed on the wrong side this morning:

  1. The number of cigarettes being smoked in the UK fell by nearly a quarter between 2011 and 2018. This means that 1.4 billion fewer cigarettes are being smoked every year.
  2. For the first time, humans have achieved direct brain-to-brain communication through non-invasive electroencephalographs (EEGs). The “BrainNet” system achieved over 80%accuracy.
  3. Saudi Arabia, traditionally one of the world’s most misogynistic countries, has granted women the right to travel overseas without male permission. Women can also now register births, marriages, and divorces; be issued official family documents, and be guardians to minor children.
  4. Engineers from MIT accidentally developed a material 10 times blacker than anything in existence. And in case you’re wondering, it may actually have a practical use. As pointed out by Brian Wardle, one of the developers, “There are optical and space-science applications for very black materials, and of course, artists have been interested in black, going back well before the Renaissance.”
  5. The poverty rate in the United States has reached its lowest point since 2001. There were 1.4 million fewer people living in poverty in 2018 than in 2017.
  6. Starting next summer in San Diego, Uber Eats will be delivering dinner for two via drone.
  7. California has done away with private prisons. This is a major victory for criminal justice reform because it removes the profit motive from incarceration.
  8. A year ago, Chile began a campaign to ban plastic straws. Since then, 200 million fewer plastic straws have been delivered to shops and restaurants.
  9. MediView XR recently raised $4.5 million to further develop its Extended Reality Surgical Navigation system. The system gives surgeons a form of “x-ray vision” when conducting cancer ablations and biopsies.
  10. The Chinese city of Handa has deployed a team of traffic robots to help police with road patrol, vehicle management, and accident warnings.
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misogyny (noun) 

Misogyny (mih-SAH-uh-nee) is a dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women. As I used it today: “Saudi Arabia, traditionally one of the world’s most misogynistic countries, has granted women the right to travel overseas without male permission.”

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China Grows Mutant-Like While the USA Founders 

It’s been about 40 years since I wrote Information Beijing: How to Do Business in China. I wrote it as an employee of Welt Publishing, which specialized in books and newsletters about doing business overseas. I wrote it like the uninformed writer I was at the time, from secondary research and a few conversations with colleagues. I hadn’t even traveled to Beijing. And yet it got good reviews.

Since then, I’ve been to China, for business and pleasure, about a half-dozen times. And I’ve seen firsthand how things have changed. Back in the 1990s, business opportunities were opening up for foreigners but with considerable restrictions. By the early 2000s, things had loosened up and all sorts of sectors were growing. And in the last 10 to 15 years, the Chinese government began to invest hugely in infrastructure, building roads and dams and cities like nothing I’d ever seen or even read about.

Instead of spending billions each year on policing the world, the Chinese government had a different idea: They would do everything possible to become the world’s leading economy –  leveraging their huge population and the combination of central control and semi-free markets and investing commercially in developing countries to open up new markets. And then, about 10 years ago, they began to buy lots and lots of gold as US reserves were depleting.

In short, it looked like China was outpacing the US in every economic and commercial category of growth. But in recent visits, I noticed two things that disturbed me: the enormous smog that hung over many of its most populated cities, and the unfathomable lack of people in some of the new cities.

Tom Dyson has been noticing the same things as he and his family travel through China. If you are interested in this massively important global trend, you might want to check out his blog post– “Prepare for ‘Stagflation’ by Owning Gold and Silver” – and perhaps subscribe to his service.


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