Turning The Page on 2014

Zooming way out, 2014 was a good year. Despite the increasingly sensational and manytimes troubling headlines in mainstream media, things are getting better all around us. We’re living 75+ years on average now and the world’s becoming a safer place. I hope we reach a time when we can collectively graduate from needing traditional war and country borders as a tool for power. Something tells me that technological progress and the pace thereof is going to have an important role to play in this graduation.

|| ————— | ————— slate: number of armed conflicts | slate: prevalence of mass killings slate: democracy and autocracy | slate: victimization of children slate: homicide rates | slate: violence against female partners

And from Bill Gates’ 2014 review (gatesnotes.com), there’s a number of general health improvements we’re seeing as well including falling child mortality rates and curing or at least strongly countering terrible diseases like HIV, Ebola, and Polio. These continued improvements contribute to our longer livespans and more abundant lives.

|| ————— | ————— gates: 5yo mortality rate | gates: tipping point hiv gates: fewer pills | gates: polo cases drop

2014 was a banner year for scientific progress (wikipedia.org). And the lines between science & discovery and the humanitarian areas continues to blurr.

We managed to land a probe (Philae) on a moving comet so we could get a better sense of what’s inside and the role comets play within our universal ecosystem.

|| ————— | ————— philae2014:landing 1 | philae2014: landing 2

We’ve got a gen1 planetary robot (Curiosity) helping us explore Mars from afar. To boot, Curiosity’s just confirmed organic materials, interesting environment interactions, evidence of historic water, and more.

|| ————— | ————— curiosity2014: martian landscape | curiosity2014: BOM curiosity2014: hydro topographic | curiosity2014: martian hillside

We like what we’ve seen enough to set a new BHAG for NASA: double down on discovery and bring humans to Mars to continue in person. nasa: go to mars

Looking forward to 2015, here’s to making it our best yet!