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Source: io9

The world is better than ever — and these 6 charts prove it


Max Roser, the Oxford economist behind Our World In Data, has devoted his career to spreading a statistically informed view of global development. Chart how things have actually changed over history, he says, and you’ll see that we’ve come a long way.

Roser recently released a commentary on the last two centuries. It sums up world progress with the following six charts:

 xWorld as 100 people 2 centuries 1

Extreme poverty has collapsed. Basic education and literacy have exploded. Democracy—measured by the Polity IV status —has rapidly spread around the globe. Vaccination against some of the worst killers of human history has become almost universal. Child mortality has collapsed.

It’s hard to think of anything that pessimists could hold up to counter those trends.

While there’s no guarantee that progress will continue, mankind is also in a better position than ever to deal with problems, Roser says.

"Solving problems—big problems—is always a collaborative undertaking," he writes, "and the group of people that is able to work together today is a much, much stronger group than there ever was on this planet."

Why does it matter that the world is better than ever? Because most people think it isn’t.

Rosling cites one survey that asked people if they thought the world was getting better, worse, or neither. Only 6% of Americans said the world was getting better (it was 4% of Germans and 10% of Swedes).

Another survey, part of Gapminder’s Ignorance Project, found that 66% of Americans think global poverty has almost doubled in the last 20 years; in reality, global poverty has almost halved.

Certainly, few of the people chanting "Make America Great Again" think the world is getting better.

You could blame the media for focusing on the negative or simply the tendency of people to complain; whatever it is, a fundamental misunderstanding of global affairs is widespread.

Roser says this disconnect is limiting our ability to deal with future challenges (e.g., eliminating poverty, increasing liberty, and projecting the environment).

"The story that we tell ourselves about our history and our time matters," Roser writes. "Knowing that we have come a long way in improving living conditions and the notion that our work is worthwhile is to us all what self-respect is to individuals. It is a necessary condition for self-improvement.

Roser says that pessimism also is an obstacle to freedom.

"Freedom is impossible without faith in free people," he writes. "And if we are not aware of our history and falsely believe the opposite of what is true we risk losing faith in each other."

Learn more about world history at Our World In Data and Gapminder.

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from SAI

How Vegas nightlife is turning to tech for unforgettable opportunities



A night out in Vegas will have you fully immersed in the tech scene. It’s easy to geek out at the amazing light shows and video displays here, but it’s even cooler when you discover how it’s done.

“We try and create a centerpiece or a ‘wow moment’ that you cannot experience anywhere else,” says James Algate, VP of Entertainment at Hakkasan Group, which owns a host popular clubs and restaurants on the strip — Omnia Nightclub, Jewel Nightclub and Bootsy Bellows to name a few.

The 75,000-square-foot Omnia Nightclub at Caesar’s Palace is a lavish experience that expertly combines the indulgences of a classic club or opera house with modern marvels inspired and informed by technology.

Omnia’s pièce de résistance is the high-tech chandelier that moves in sync with the music. The light fixture combines motion-detection technology with liquid-crystal display screens that react to people walking by and can be synced with the timecoding of the music to move and react as if it’s been choreographed to the song.

It’s a truly hypnotic experience to behold — the lights, the music and the crowd moving together as if they shared the same driving pulse.

A short drive up the street is Jewel at the Aria Resort & Casino, a testament to the power of LED technology. Here you’ll find 24,000 square feet of LED heaven.

When first entering the club, a glittering staircase shimmers and flickers as you walk in, as if transporting you to another world. Encircling the dome-shaped dance floor is a series of LED ribbons that surround the space and pulse with the music. It’s here that specially designed curved LED tiles create an all-encompassing visual experience. Elsewhere in the club, dual-sided LED video screens flicker and throb, powered by SFX lighting that allows for 360-degree movement.

After a night transported amidst this inventive and inspired spaceship of a dance floor, you may never want to return back to Earth.

from Mashable!