Saturday, 3 December 2016

2016 did not suck.

The idea 2016 sucked is an indication of the triumph of media over statistics.

In the United States, which I use because their data is very open and thorough, national unemployment is less than 5% and has been steadily dropping. Of those unemployed, most of them are either between jobs by choice, or have not yet ever had major employment. We know this because the proportion of the workforce on unemployment assistance is below 1.20%, the lowest rate in more than 40 years.

Also in the US there was also a record low number (not proportion, raw number) of teenage pregnancies. That means both fewer abortions AND fewer unwanted births. So if you're pro-choice or pro-life, your side is winning.

Globally, the birth rate is falling faster than previously forecast, largely because of faster-than-forecast improvements to the quality of life in India. Last month, the Indian government target for solar power capacity was raised dramatically foe the 3rd time in 6 years because the bringing clean energy to people keeps getting easier and cheaper at a rate faster than anyone could reasonably expect.

Compared to 2015, worldwide sales of electric cars has increased 55%, worldwide use of coal has decreased. Anthropogenic (Man-made) carbon emissions were the same as 2015, despite the world economy growing.  This is an indication that we could get climate change under control.

A lot of the problems of the last couple of years were either mitigated well in 2016, or outright handled.

Remember Ebola? The outbreak is officially over, and was close to over for most of 2016. There is a vaccine that's currently in use, and if something goes wrong, we have another vaccine candidate in Phase III (late human-equivalent testing) trials to take its place. This was the ultimate Ebola outbreak - not just the biggest but the last we will ever see.

Remember the Fukushima disa
ster? Radioactivity in most (not within a km of the damaged reactor) of the region has dropped to levels fit for permanent human habitation. After the disaster, Japan shut down all their nuclear power plants for years for safety upgrades, and 2016 saw the last of them come back online. What happened with the Fukushima reactor was extraordinary, and problem of that magnitude is impossible for CANDU modern reactors.

Remember Zika? The outbreak has been contained. There are scattered reports of new cases, but it's not showing up all over the world as was predicted after the Rio Olympics. On that note, the Rio Olympics seemed unremarkable as far as mishaps and problems are concerned. I saw Rio de Janerio in October. It looked like it has survived well enough.

Remember that war that started in 2016? Me neither. A cursory search finds no armed conflict between two or more different countries that started this year.

You can remember 2016 as the year we lost Alan Rickman, but 40 million people will remember it as the year they got access to clean water.