Hooray for 2012: the best year ever
“It may not feel like it, but 2012 has been the greatest year in the history of the world,” says The Spectator. Does that sound like “an extravagant claim”? Well, it’s borne out by the evidence. “Never has there been less hunger, less disease or more prosperity.” The West may be in the economic doldrums, but the world at large is getting vastly richer, as global capitalism lifts millions out of poverty every year: the UN’s millennium goal of halving the number of people living on $1 a day or less by 2015 was met seven years early. Technological and medical advances mean that people across the world are living longer. Britain’s life expectancy was 78 a decade ago; it will hit 81 next year. In Africa, it reached 55 this year – up from 50 a decade ago. The death toll from wars is also at a historic low: Oslo’s Peace Research Institute says there have been fewer war deaths in the last decade than at any time in the last century. Christmas may be difficult for some, with rising costs and stagnating incomes. “But as we celebrate the arrival of Light into the world, it’s worth remembering that the forces of peace, progress and prosperity are prevailing.”
If you have not read Rory Stewarts books, you should. He is exactly the kind of person we need to be sending the Parliament. The kind of person you would send irrespective of party afflilation.
A human female skull from Peru with cranial binding.
Details from Bone Clones:
Dated over 2,000 years old, this skull is an extreme example of binding and elongation. Cranial binding is the shaping of the skull when a child is very young, usually an infant. This wrapping is often done with rope or cloth by itself or against a wooden board. This results in the misshaping, flattening (see our cradle-board skull, BC-222) or, in this case, elongation. This wrapping or binding, is thought to be the oldest form of body modification, dating back 9,000 years. This particular skull is from Peru, but this practice has occurred in other regions as well.
[Thanks to Vaughan Bell for the pointer]