We promised ourselves that as we got older we would not be the type of people that are always complaining about how everything used to be better. So here is a list of 10 things that are better, or have made the world better.
10. Cars are better than they used to be. We had a lot of debate about whether or not to include this. We are taking a risk of getting hundreds of nasty e-mails or comments from people insisting that the old time cars were better. It is true that some of the old cars were beautiful works of art. Unfortunately many of them were also death traps. No seat belts, metal dash boards, no air bags. Take a look at highway death statistics and you will see that cars really have improved.
9. No more second hand smoke – It used to be there was no way to get away from it. Trains, airplanes, restaurants, offices, even doctor’s waiting rooms all had people smoking. For a first hand account of how it used to be just read the story Cigarettes in the Slipstream.
8. The internet – We take it so much for granted now that we tend to forget all the benefits it has given us. Information that used to take hours or days to find can now be found in seconds. Doctors in remote locations can instantly send data to a major medical center in order to get a better diagnosis for a patient. It is also spreading democracy world-wide.
7. Cell Phones – They used to be giant bricks. Heavy, expensive and with poor reception. Sure, someone talking on a cell phone in a restaurant is annoying, but that is more that outweighed by the benefits. People can instantly call the police or an ambulance in an emergency.
6. Medicine has improved tremendously. There was a time not too long ago, for example, when the diagnosis of cancer was essentially a death sentence. Now there are thousands of cancer survivors living long and happy lives. Transplants of livers, kidneys and even hearts have saves thousands of others.
5. Education for special needs children has improved. This is especially true in the early identification of issues.
4. The crime rate is way down. Of course there have been very public shootings and tragedies and any crime is awful. However, the overall crime rate has dropped tremendously especially in large cities such as New York.
3. Race relations are very improved. It is hard explain to people growing up now, just how much hatred and mistrust existed not many years back. There is a long way to go, and there will always bee some people filled with bigotry and hate, but the overall trend has been positive for many years.
2. Opportunities for women and minorities are better than they have ever been. Today an Africa-American doctor or a female engineer was an unusual event. Now it is so commonplace we do not even notice it.
1. The future real. That may sound strange, but when we were kids there were only two opposite extremes of the future presented to us. The first was the “End of World “. We even had bomb drills in school to prepare us for an atomic attack. (We were taught to hide under our desks, which is ridiculous when you think about the impact of a Hydrogen bomb). The second was the “Science will make everything perfect” scenario. This was the magical future presented at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. It was a wonderful World’s Fair, but completely unrealistic. People now have a much more realistic view of the future. The world is not about to end but no magic science discovery is going to make it perfect either. The future is something we are going to have to create ourselves, by a lot of hard work and recognizing what is what is real and what is not. That future may not be as exciting as the fantasy future of the past, but it is actually better.