Thursday, July 30

The Health Of Nations: A Comparison

Canada has earned a steady “B” on this indicator for nearly five decades. Japan’s impressive increase in life expectancy has set a high bar for attaining an “A” grade on average in this decade, a standard that only Switzerland has met. Moreover, Japan, which had among the lowest life expectancies in the 1960s, has been a steady “A” performer ever since. Of the five top-ranked countries in the 1970s, only Japan has been able to consistently maintain its “A.” Switzerland lost its “A” in the 1990s, regaining it in the current decade.

The Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden, on the other hand, have all lost their top-ranking status.

The U.S. has also seen a decline in its relative performance. It earned a “C” in the 1960s and 1970s and dropped to a “D” in the 1980s, where it has remained.

More links and charts here.

Wednesday, July 29

The Stimulus Is Working

From Fast Lane, the Department of Transportation blog:

Here's the scorecard:

•$22 billion--nearly half of DOT's stimulus money--made available to the States;
•Over 6,600 projects approved
•Over 3,200 projects underway right now

And the future promises even more boosts to economic activity:

•$8 billion in high-speed rail development
•$1.5 billion in TIGER discretionary grants

Sounds great to me. Let's remember, there was never a promise of immediate relief. The President never said that no one would ever lose their job ever again. The stimulus is about creating and sustaining jobs as well as rebuilding our national infrastructure and expanding green technology to have a more robust economy and a better national future. There is a long way to go, but we could not have started without the stimulus.

Ray LaHood, the Secretary of Transportation, says it more succinctly:

I know the stimulus can't make up for every job our economy has shed. But we have supported over 5,000 jobs already, with up to 500,000 more on the way once the full effect of this landmark program is felt in the transportation industry.

And every job we do create or preserve should be counted as a victory.

Saturday, July 18

PopSci: 10 Facts About Apollo 11 Moon Landing

With the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing approaching, I thought I would present this post from Popular Science. It is a list of 10 interesting facts about the mission. Personally, #2 really caught my eye: "The Apollo computers had less processing power than a cellphone."

One can only imagine the possibilities if we, as a nation, had continued our initial investment in space exploration and massive science education. Hopefully, the upcoming 40th anniversary of man's first steps on the moon will renew that spirit of challenge and curiosity.

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win... President John F. Kennedy, September 12th, 1962