If you’re depressed by the state of the world, let me toss out an idea: In the long arc of human history, 2019 has been the best year ever.
The bad things that you fret about are true. But it’s also true that since modern humans emerged about 200,000 years ago, 2019 was probably the year in which children were least likely to die, adults were least likely to be illiterate and people were least likely to suffer excruciating and disfiguring diseases.
Every single day in recent years, another 325,000 people got their first access to electricity. Each day, more than 200,000 got piped water for the first time. And some 650,000 went online for the first time, every single day.
Perhaps the greatest calamity for anyone is to lose a child. That used to be common: Historically, almost half of all humans died in childhood. As recently as 1950, 27 percent of all children still died by age 15. Now that figure has dropped to about 4 percent.(NYT, Nicholas Kristof)
(Creative Commons zero)
In just three years, the Trump administration has diminished the role of science in federal policymaking while halting or disrupting research projects nationwide, marking a transformation of the federal government whose effects, experts say, could reverberate for years.
Political appointees have shut down government studies, reduced the influence of scientists over regulatory decisions and in some cases pressured researchers not to speak publicly. The administration has particularly challenged scientific findings related to the environment and public health opposed by industries such as oil drilling and coal mining. It has also impeded research around human-caused climate change, which President Trump has dismissed despite a global scientific consensus.(NYT)
2 bottles dry red wine
1 bottle sweet white wine, like sauternes or German spaetlese
10 cardamom pods
3 cinnamon sticks
1 inch fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 cup raisins
1 cup blanched almonds
1 cup sugar (or to taste)
1 tablespoon bitters
1 cup vodka (optional)
Combine wines in a large saucepan. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest of citrus fruits. Squeeze fruits and add juice to wine. Tie up lemon peel, orange peel and spices in cheesecloth and add to wine. Add raisins, almonds and sugar.
Bring wine mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and gently simmer for 15 minutes, or until flavors are well blended and almonds are soft. Skim wine from time to time to remove any foam. Taste glogg and add sugar as necessary.
Just before serving, add bitters and aquavit or vodka. Ladle glogg into mugs or cups and provide each guest a spoon for eating the raisins and almonds.