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Illustration: Robert Harrison / Axios

Devastating hurricanes, Nazi and KKK parades, melting ice sheets, ISIS, and threats of nuclear war — We are daily bombarded with bad news. It's hard to believe Barack Obama's claim that "now is the greatest time to be alive." And yet, we were able to find 10 pieces of important, good news to prove we as humans are at least getting a few things right.

Why it matters: We all need some good news now and then.

  1. We're wealthier than ever before. Despite growing income inequality and the various gender and race gaps in our society, Americans overall are wealthier than they ever have been, including African Americans and Hispanics. There are more rich people and fewer poor people.
  2. We're beating cancer. While there are still life-altering side effects from chemotherapy, and some forms of cancer have low survival rates, researchers have reported a continued decline in overall cancer death rates due to screening, prevention and new treatments.
  3. Teen pregnancies are down by 51% from ten years ago, an extraordinarily fast social change compared to adult smoking, which took 40 years to reduce by half. Experts attribute the phenomenon to better use of birth control, as teenage girls were found to be just as likely to be sexually active in 2007 as 2012.
  4. Oil independence: The U.S.'s dependence on foreign oil continues to decrease, with even fewer imports in 2016, a new 30 year low.
  5. The hole in the earth's ozone layer is on the mend with the help of the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which helped phase out ozone-destroying chemicals.
  6. In galaxies far, far away, astronomers say we are entering a new era where we can both see with optical telescopes and hear with detectors like LIGO events occurring deep in space. A little closer to home, Elon Musk announced plans to start colonizing Mars as early as 2024 and sending cargo to the planet in 5 years.
  7. Women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive cars for the first time in June 2018.
  8. In Houston we witnessed citizens going out of their way in boats and jetskis to rescue those stuck in the floods after Hurricane Harvey.
  9. The five living former presidents, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter have banded together to raise money to aid Hurricane relief efforts in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Island. You can follow their lead to address the suffering in Puerto Rico. Donate here, here or here to help.
  10. A sunny forecast: To top it all off, most Americans will get to enjoy beautiful weather this weekend with only a few expected showers, according to the Weather Channel.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
14 mins ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

How smartphone cameras became the best cameras

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

For years, the smartphone has been the most convenient camera, and in recent years it has also become the easiest and most versatile camera. But this year's high-end smartphones have taken things to a new level — capturing images that would be either tough or impossible even with a high-end digital camera.

Between the lines: Traditional cameras have the advantage of bigger sensors and better lenses, but smartphone cameras are rivaling and even surpassing them by tapping computational power.

The rise of vegan food in unexpected places

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vegan cuisine is popping up in two places it wasn't present before: fine dining and fast food.

Why it matters: The single biggest way an individual can reduce their carbon footprint is to eat less meat and dairy. Now, the popularization of meatless meals could help curb meat consumption in the U.S.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
44 mins ago - Health

Experts predict an easier COVID winter this year

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

This winter probably won't bring another crushing COVID wave, experts say.

Why it matters: Last winter was the deadliest phase of the pandemic, and many Americans are braced for cold weather to once again usher in a surge in cases and deaths. But there are good reasons to think this year won't be nearly as bad.