2017 is a good time to be alive, with developments in science and socioeconomics that mean you are the least likely to die from a disease or a violent cause than any other time in history, live a longer, richer and healthier life, and have fun doing so. It may not always feel like this is the case, but here’s a couple of specific things that have made the world a more exciting place this year.
1. Germany legalised same-sex marriage with 393 votes in favour to 226 against in Parliament, joining more than a dozen other countries who have already done the same.
2. A 3D printed rocket made it to space, launched from New Zealand.
3. Thanks to effective drugs, people with HIV are able to control the virus to the point where they can have normal relationships without fear of passing on the infection. In a study of couples with one HIV-positive and one HIV-negative person, it was found that in 58,000 cases of unprotected sex, not a single transmission occurred.
4. Weed snacks for ailing pets are a thing now, apparently. Cannabis-containing treats are helping ageing pets get their mojo back, without causing them to get “high” .
5. On July 1st 2017, it was the 60-year anniversary of diplomacy in Antarctica, proving that even historic enemies can work well together in the name of science.
6. Alcohol addiction may be treatable with MDMA, as scientists research it as a treatment option in a world-first study in the UK.

If you take nothing else with you today, take this:

The United Nations estimates that global poverty has been reduced more in the past 50 years than in the 500 years before that.

Looking at the news, it would be easy to think that current civilisation is descending into hatred, violence, autocracy and class divide, but you know what? Just like sex, fear sells. News headlines are designed on purpose to grab your attention, and “people are currently doing slightly better than the year before, and a lot better than last century” is just not catchy.

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