It’s Thanksgiving in the US today, and in the spirit of the day, I just thought I’d post a few things I’m thankful for:
One: Fewer Nukes
“Perhaps the most succinct analysis of the deal was tweeted by Ali Vaez, a senior Iran analyst for International Crisis Group, which describes itself as an “independent, non-partisan, source of analysis and advice to governments, and intergovernmental bodies.”
Vaez tweeted: “Like hurdling track and field, springing over the first obstacle does not guarantee victory. But without it the race is lost.””
This week the US reached a preliminary deal with Iran, for which I think we can all be thankful. Here’s a bit on the story from NPR.
Plus it’s nice to remember that the number of nuclear weapons in the world is shrinking, year by year.
Two: Healthcare is Improving in America
Regardless of the debacle that is the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, this year, “3.1 million more young adults have health insurance on their parent’s plan, three million seniors have received a 50 percent discount on their prescription drugs, and millions of Americans now have access to no-cost preventive services to help them stay healthy.” “Pre-existing conditions” and coverage caps are a thing of the past.
And on top of that, the ACA has allowed for the creation of a single-payer system in Vermont, and if you’re not familiar with how things started in Canada, you might want to look it up: the ACA could eventually lead to socialized healthcare for all Americans.
Three: The US has a space program (and Chris Hadfield is awesome)
And I don’t know about you, but as a fan of all things space, I’m thankful for the existence of Chris Hadfield, who has done more for the space program’s image in the past few years than anyone else has for the past twenty.
“Yet I am confident we will find answers. The same driving, restless intellect that created the problems can minimize and even reverse them. New standards aim to double automobile fuel economy by 2025. Battery technology for electric cars is making progress, as are power-distribution networks. Improvements in renewable energy sources make them an ever-more significant proportion of our energy supply. Wind-powered seawater desalination plants are coming online.”
“While I was on the space station, I used Twitter to ask hundreds of thousands of people what they would like me to take a picture of. Resoundingly, the answer was “home.” Everyone, from all around the world, wanted to see their hometowns. I found that thought-provoking. After millennia of wandering and settling, we are still most curious about how we fit in and how our community looks in the context of the rest of the world. A curiosity of self-awareness, now answerable by technology.”
He’s got a new long-form read up at Wired, and you should definitely give it a look in between dinner and dessert.
I’m also thankful that our solar system is bigger than this new one discovered by scientists going through the Kepler data.
Lastly, here are some Thanksgiving-themed links for your perusal on this day of turkeys.
Thanksgiving on the Space Station: What’s on the Menu?
We the Geeks: Talking Turkey and the Science of Cooking