Statistics reveal dramatic reductions in war deaths, family violence, racism, rape, murder and all sorts of mayhem.
In his book, [Harvard psychologist Steven] Pinker writes: “The decline of violence may be the most significant and least appreciated development in the history of our species.”
And it runs counter to what the mass media is reporting and essentially what we feel in our guts.
NASA-funded researchers found evidence this past summer that some building blocks of DNA, the molecule that carries the genetic instructions for life, found in meteorites were likely created in space. The research gives support to the theory that a “kit” of ready-made parts created in space and delivered to Earth by meteorite and comet impacts assisted the origin of life.
Over the last two decades, thanks largely to government policy, the poverty rate in Brazil has halved. With this, income inequality has also fallen sharply, declining on average by 1.2% a year.
Starting in the mid-1990s, major American cities began a radical transformation. Years of high violent crime rates, thefts, robberies, and inner-city decay suddenly started to turn around. Crime rates didn’t just hold steady, they began falling faster than they went up. This trend appeared in practically every post-industrial American city, simultaneously.
We’re just a few years from the point at which electricity from solar panels becomes cheaper than electricity generated by burning coal. The progress in solar panels has been dramatic and sustained.
The usual take on solar power is that it’s a niche energy source, too pricey and erratic to meet more than a sliver of our electricity needs. Bill Gates has mocked solar as “cute.” But, as Paul Krugman reminds us today, that’s changing far more quickly than people realize. “In fact,” Krugman writes, “progress in solar panels has been so dramatic and sustained that, as a blog post at Scientific American put it, ‘there’s now frequent talk of a Moore’s law in solar energy,’ with prices adjusted for inflation falling around 7 percent a year.”
Women now get more than half of all the doctorates awarded in American universities, but they’re still catching up in the fields of chemistry, engineering, and math.
Already, statistics from the Council of Graduate Schools show that women, overall, earned slightly more than half of the doctorates handed out in all disciplines in the United States in 2009 and 2010. When it comes to the STEM fields, women have been most successful in medicine and biology – and least successful in engineering, math and computer science.
But experts hope that, too, will change. A recent report from the American Association of University Women notes that, 30 years ago, the ratio of seventh- and eighth-grade boys who scored more than 700 on the SAT math exam, compared with girls, was 13 to 1. Now it’s 3 to 1.