Reasons For Optimism 42-45

42. 3D Printers Are Reshaping Modern Medicine. Dude, we can print human tissue! We’re still “at least 10 years away” from literally printing new organs, but I’m amazed that it’s even on the horizon. Meanwhile, they’re figuring out how to help wounds heal quicker and how to use 3D-tissue models to test drugs quicker and cheaper than 2D models.

43. The Rise of Africa. As the world is focused on the crisis in Europe, Africa is quietly growing. Capitalism and industrialism bring challenges to be sure, and the political systems will play a big part in how well it works (rule of law, corruption, etc), but I’m optimistic that this is a path of freedom and prosperity for millions of Africans and not merely a new round of exploitation. A few of the many stunning stats:

20 per cent: The annual growth in cellphone sales in Africa in each of the past five years

4: The number of major African wars today, down from 12 in the mid-1990s.

48: Percentage by which secondary-school enrolment in Africa rose from 2000 to 2008.

44. Slightly More Freedom In Cuba. Cuba announced plans to make it easier for Cubans to leave the country, although there are a host of caveats and limitations. This is another small but positive step in the direction of freedom for the country, where there are now “hundreds of thousands of small business owners” after the government began to encourage personal businesses a couple years ago – although apparently that’s not going quite as well as it could. Still, it all sounds like progress from where the country has been.

45. Another Increase In US Oil Production. A couple weeks after increasing to the highest level since 1996, US oil production increased again last week to the highest level since 1995. In the long run we seem to be heading towards lower oil demand, and every extra barrel of oil buys us time, along with jobs and lower gas prices.