ok ok we got this
December 13, 2016 1:08 AM   Subscribe

Something to pick you up this morning: 99 Reasons Why 2016 Was a Good Year (SLMedium)
posted by leibniz (76 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
 
A lot of these are just things that will be destroyed in 2017.
posted by acb at 1:24 AM on December 13, 2016 [35 favorites]


Ah.... Something to read while I can't sleep again because I'm so sad that everything seems so broken.
posted by Hicksu at 1:46 AM on December 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


41. In December, the Gambia became the latest African country to show that voting does count, and dictators do fall.

Not quite there yet.
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 1:51 AM on December 13, 2016 [11 favorites]


Some of these things will be destroyed in 2017, some may be destroyed. But most are long-term international gains that Trump cannot touch, notably the move away from coal and other fossil fuels. Some of the gains are due to economic trends, a few to philanthropy, and a few others to the decline of U.S. imperial overreach. Oh, and some are due to the better angels of human nature, to use a psychological metaphor borrowed from the realm of the religious. (And some are surely due to some of the Upworthy-type optimism-spin that Medium is prone to, not that there's anything wrong with that, as a counteractive measure to the bad-news-sells spin inherent in "real news"/"fake-news" stories.)

Anyway, insomniacs, night owls, and early-risers have a bracing dose of good news this morning. Thanks.
posted by kozad at 2:00 AM on December 13, 2016 [26 favorites]


Treasure Trove of Longreads. Thanks!
posted by mannequito at 2:01 AM on December 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


OK I'll do it
eponysterical
posted by thelonius at 2:01 AM on December 13, 2016 [25 favorites]


gottverdammt!
posted by leibniz at 2:23 AM on December 13, 2016 [11 favorites]


Carbon emissions don't matter anymore. Methane matters. Sections 1 and 3 are meaningless.

Global health and politics don't matter anymore, because those methane emissions will cause an extinction event on the scale of the Permian as soon as the ocean temperature rises by 6 degrees C. The projections I've seen give that 75 years, tops. None of the other sections matter either.

It's over, and this is the year we clinched it.
posted by darksasami at 2:35 AM on December 13, 2016 [7 favorites]


Just for comparison's sake, how would they have rated 1939 in terms of progress over previous years? Up until, say, the end of August 1939, before everyone was sent back to school?
posted by pracowity at 2:36 AM on December 13, 2016 [7 favorites]


Dear prognosticators of doom on this thread: WE KNOW.

I'm not saying you're wrong or anything, only that WE ALREADY KNOW. ALL OF US. WE KNOW.

So maybe save it for a thread where people are not searching for a slim morsel of momentary happiness?
posted by kyrademon at 2:43 AM on December 13, 2016 [121 favorites]


Pete Townsend eradicated the measles from North America to South America? He isn't only a pinball wizard, he's a world health wizard. They should hire him at the WHO.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:24 AM on December 13, 2016 [22 favorites]


There has to be a twist.
posted by pracowity at 3:39 AM on December 13, 2016 [22 favorites]


I personally had a really good year this year. Much better than the previous few in pretty much every way. But weirdly I'm not supposed to mention this in public, online or otherwise, because the media has decided everyone has to be miserable. It feels a little odd sometimes actually.

Top of my list of good things: I got a kitten.
posted by shelleycat at 4:02 AM on December 13, 2016 [49 favorites]


How do you think he does it??
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 4:03 AM on December 13, 2016 [12 favorites]


I don't know.
posted by parki at 4:04 AM on December 13, 2016 [16 favorites]


Regarding methane emissions: sure if we just give up. But maybe we should work on educating ourselves about possible solutions and encouraging their implementation. For example, a researcher has got a seaweed based feed that reduces cattle methane emissions to zero. That's 20% of the world's methane emissions right there. If enough people heed the possibility of hope, we may actually get that 75 years tops.
posted by Mister Cheese at 4:05 AM on December 13, 2016 [11 favorites]


What makes him so good?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:16 AM on December 13, 2016 [10 favorites]


Intuition.
posted by biffa at 4:37 AM on December 13, 2016 [8 favorites]


Sense of smell.
posted by Lucinda at 4:46 AM on December 13, 2016 [8 favorites]


I like to imagine you are all responding to the picture of the cat. What makes that cat so good? I am sure sense of smell is part of it, but that expression is priceless.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:54 AM on December 13, 2016 [23 favorites]


Dear prognosticators of doom on this thread: WE KNOW.

I'm not saying you're wrong or anything, only that WE ALREADY KNOW. ALL OF US. WE KNOW.

So maybe save it for a thread where people are not searching for a slim morsel of momentary happiness?

So, i've been avoiding all current news, which is damn hard, because otherwise I keep having panic attacks over and over. I'm already on sleeping pills because I can't currently sleep without them due to stress. It's exhausting living like this, and having to avoid anything negative leaves me feeling out of the world and isolated.

So i see this thread and think 'Ha! Yes! A news-ish thread that's not going to make me cry from anxiety - I am so here for this'. I might have known better. Metafilter is, after all, the place that coined the term 'Dead Goat People'.
posted by pseudonymph at 4:56 AM on December 13, 2016 [24 favorites]


(I will be over in the Fast & Furious thread instead, because that is a Good Time.)
posted by pseudonymph at 4:57 AM on December 13, 2016 [9 favorites]


So, i've been avoiding all current news, which is damn hard, because otherwise I keep having panic attacks over and over. I'm already on sleeping pills because I can't currently sleep without them due to stress. It's exhausting living like this, and having to avoid anything negative leaves me feeling out of the world and isolated.
The one thing I avoid at all costs these days is local news. Particularly in my area, it's a non-stop diet of mindless violence and makes people feel unsafe in their own areas. The local paper around here is especially bad as it prints regular editorials and columns that are out-and-out racist, homophobic and quite literally threatening to anyone who happens to either be Pakistani or not fit the editor's ideal of a real man.

I prefer to curate my own news, avoid my local area, listen to radio stations from cities and countries elsewhere and search for online sources of news on subjects that feel more interesting and relevant to me than stabbings in local nightclubs or drug dealers getting shot or why the gay snowflakes should up and leave town. Perhaps that means I live in a bubble or an echo chamber, but you have to put your mental health first.
posted by winterhill at 5:23 AM on December 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


For anyone interested in the bigger picture in low carbon energy this analysis of his start of year predictions by Michael Liebrich at Bloomberg New Energy Finance is a useful one.
posted by biffa at 5:24 AM on December 13, 2016


Not on this list, but seriously helps my heart: the Chicago Cubs won the World Series.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:32 AM on December 13, 2016 [6 favorites]


I think one thing that's happening for all of us is that this election has really flipped some of our pessimism meters. So I see "cage free eggs by 2025" and think "eggs are already the cheap food with which I massage our food budget, will 2025 kill that?" I want to take hope in this list, but I just can't.
posted by corb at 5:41 AM on December 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


Can we celebrate the death of neoliberalism while we're at it?
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:50 AM on December 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't see the death of neoliberalism anywhere: it seems just as strong, only with added xenophobia.
posted by peacheater at 6:02 AM on December 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Corb, is it possible to raise chickens where you live? Its easier than you'd think, and while you might not be able to cover all of your family's egg needs, it helps. Also you can feed chickens all your leftovers that would normally get wasted, and they turn them into eggs and poop that makes GREAT compost for your garden. Healthy soil removes and stores carbon from the atmosphere. Also my garden and my chickens give me something to be happy about in this crazy world. Win win win!
posted by WalkerWestridge at 6:06 AM on December 13, 2016 [14 favorites]


If neoliberalism is dying its only because something worse is going to replace it.
posted by biffa at 6:21 AM on December 13, 2016 [11 favorites]



Not on this list, but seriously helps my heart: the Chicago Cubs won the World Series.


The only thing that makes the think the world might continue to turn: Cleveland and Chicago's long suffering fanbases got their championship but Buffalo is still without (and honestly at this point I would consider just making the playoffs enough).
posted by everybody had matching towels at 6:37 AM on December 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Can I feed the chickens neoliberalism
posted by beerperson at 6:38 AM on December 13, 2016 [14 favorites]


I'll admit here to having a viscerally negative reaction to this article. I might feel different reading it in Jan 2017, though. Many are still mourning 2016, and "hey, look on the bright side" is an inappropriate response to those who mourn.
posted by Vitamaster at 6:38 AM on December 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Neoliberalism has been replaced by Nu Liberalism, which is like Neoliberalism, but with more reverb.
posted by GameDesignerBen at 6:44 AM on December 13, 2016 [10 favorites]


39. Denmark became the first country to no longer define being transgender as a mental illness

Not quite. The Danish parliament has declared their intention that this will happen in 2017. In light of the guidelines issued in 2015 to clinicians with regard for the legal process of accessing treatment, which tightened requirements and continues to require a psychiatric assessment that effectively amounts to the usual "trans enough"/"cisnormatively acceptable enough" gatekeeping by cis doctors, this is pretty much the empty performative politics it's been widely derided as by Danish trans activists.
posted by Dysk at 6:45 AM on December 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


On top of everything else, I had a pretty terrible year personally. A long term relationship ended in a betrayal, my business partner left, which more or less ended my business, and a much-needed investor for a project walked away after getting cold feet when the election made the world seem like a more risky place. When trying to think about good things this year, I come down to bad things that *didn't* happen, like "Hey, no major health scares in my immediate family!"

Sometimes I feel a real physical yearning for "a win."

So, maybe silly listicles like this help me stumble forward until I can get to something real? Maybe fake-it-til-you-make-it optimism (plus attending protests) is an okay way to be right now.
posted by GameDesignerBen at 6:56 AM on December 13, 2016 [16 favorites]


You guys saying something good happened will not cripple our ability to fight evil. Unclench a little. There are many many other oh-shit threads on the Blue.

(and thanks for this post leibniz, seriously I did need it).
posted by emjaybee at 7:06 AM on December 13, 2016 [16 favorites]


Most of these facts are about countries other than the US. "We" are not as important as we think we are, and that's a sign of hope.

This is a stunning fact: In 1990, more than 60% of people in East Asia lived in extreme poverty. As of 2016, that proportion has dropped to 3.5%.
posted by ferdydurke at 7:11 AM on December 13, 2016 [42 favorites]


Thanks, OP! I enjoyed it as well. The constant-gloom diet has been bad for my system. I needed this.
posted by Bella Donna at 7:11 AM on December 13, 2016


There are signs of action on methane.

"The leveling off we've seen in the last three years for carbon dioxide emissions is strikingly different from the recent rapid increase in methane," says Robert Jackson, a co-author of the paper and a Professor in Earth System Science at Stanford University. The results for methane "are worrisome but provide an immediate opportunity for mitigation that complements efforts for carbon dioxide."

By all means, let's lose our shit about methane emissions, but let's use that as motivation to do something.
posted by a mirror and an encyclopedia at 7:18 AM on December 13, 2016 [7 favorites]


My daughter was born this year. Every day (sometimes at 3 in the morning) I get reminded that something fantastic happened in my life in 2016.

So: 2016 was a good year.[1]

Sometimes holding onto the good things is what gives us the strength to fight. I'm holding on tight.

[1] See Appendix A, pages 238-692, "List of Exceptions"
posted by pianoblack at 7:23 AM on December 13, 2016 [28 favorites]


[Twenty-Sixteen] is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an annus horribilis. - HRH
posted by blue_beetle at 7:23 AM on December 13, 2016 [2 favorites]




More relevant: And be arrested for it.
posted by pracowity at 7:43 AM on December 13, 2016


let's lose our shit about methane emissions
I see what you did there.
posted by pxe2000 at 7:47 AM on December 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


99 positives but the rich ain't one.
posted by gottabefunky at 7:50 AM on December 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. Folks I'm gonna suggest that in this thread that's explicitly about non-negative things, people lay off enumerating the negative things and the reasons for dread and hopelessness. There are a lot of other places where those can go on the site.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:59 AM on December 13, 2016 [18 favorites]


Many are still mourning 2016, and "hey, look on the bright side" is an inappropriate response to those who mourn.

I had to tell my Mom something like this, the day after the election. She was exhorting everyone to take heart and fight and not despair. Mom, I said - people don't want to hear that today, they aren't ready, they need to process the shock of the loss. They need to vent and find commiseration among other garment renders.
posted by thelonius at 7:59 AM on December 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


let's lose our shit about methane emissions


Didn't someone just mention a horrible anus?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:03 AM on December 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


82. In March, Yellowstone’s grizzly bears passed a major milestone, completing one of the greatest wildlife comeback stories in history.

If you read the article linked on this one, you will see that's pretty controversial news. The US Fish and Wildlife service appears to be folding to internal and external pressure declare victory and delist the Yellowstone grizzly ignoring much of its own science. Delisting the grizzly will be a Mission Accomplished moment in endangered species management.
posted by peeedro at 8:03 AM on December 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yeah, yeah yeah - I'm as cynical as the next guy, but this:

10. The World Health Organisation released a report showing that, since the year 2000, global malaria deaths have declined by 60%.

Holy crap, that's impressive.
posted by eclectist at 8:11 AM on December 13, 2016 [8 favorites]


pianoblack: My daughter was born this year. Every day (sometimes at 3 in the morning) I get reminded that something fantastic happened in my life in 2016.

Congratulations on your daughter, enjoy the present, and take some comfort in knowing that she will learn to sleep through the night, sooner or later. Kids, yours or other peoples, can give you such joy and hope for the future.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:15 AM on December 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


Thank you for posting this.
posted by Artw at 8:16 AM on December 13, 2016


I'm unendingly thankful for the fact that we're not talking about Ebola right now. The Ebola scare was some of the worst existential anxiety I'd had prior to November of this year. So, that's one less thing.
posted by witchen at 8:26 AM on December 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Many are still mourning 2016, and "hey, look on the bright side" is an inappropriate response to those who mourn.

Clearly, there are many people in this thread who disagree with you, and are thankful for this post. I suggest that those who are not up to reading positive news right now skip the thread, and let those who need it, have it.
posted by greermahoney at 8:27 AM on December 13, 2016 [9 favorites]


Makes me want to add my own:

Yesterday the law that impedes the approval of safe injection sites was repealed in Canada, but before that an awesome brave glorious group of activist nurses ran their own renegade sites to offer safe health services to people living with addictions... and the activists and my local chief health officer both worked to make ade the need for safe injection drug services visible.

The family from Syria I am part of sponsoring arrives this Thursday, at long last, and we have found a lively hone for then that is set up and ready for their arrival. Through my group I have met so many awesome neighbours!

I have been witnessing a resurgence of thoughtful feminism on campus and they are kicking patriarchy's ass.

This week federal scientists in Canada had their right to speak freely with the media protected.

My campus now has gender neutral washrooms in every building.

I also want to say that social change work goes on regardless of the government, and the vast majority if change work is done outside government. If you want to stop feeling hopeless, try to set aside time to volunteer for a good organisation. Be kind to yourself, people!
posted by chapps at 8:33 AM on December 13, 2016 [21 favorites]


The only thing that makes the think the world might continue to turn: Cleveland and Chicago's long suffering fanbases got their championship but Buffalo is still without

The Mariners and Nationals, unless they meet in 2017 World Series, would like a word with you.
posted by rokusan at 8:48 AM on December 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


(not meaning to be judgemental here... I know it's possible to volunteer and work for social justice and still feel crushed... just trying to echo the sentiment that the work is valuable, today even more so! Xo)
posted by chapps at 8:55 AM on December 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


I was surprised at how many of these surprised me. Now let's hope Trump is too dumb to fuck it up.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:00 AM on December 13, 2016 [1 favorite]



Relevant: How to Create Art and Make Cool Stuff in a Time of Trouble


I had no idea I needed this until I read it. Thank you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:19 AM on December 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


39. Denmark became the first country to no longer define being transgender as a mental illness

I don't know if Denmark uses something similar to the DSM in a similar way, but I think a lot of people misunderstand it in the US. While it's important to characterize these things correctly to avoid stigmatizing people, it's also important that they're included in the first place.

That's because if they're not valid diagnoses, then doctors can't provide treatment and get insurance to cover it!

What we need is to break the stigma of "mental illness = bad person," so that we can just say, "okay cool, he has depression, and they have gender dysphoria, and she has diabetes," and none of them are value judgments, just medical diagnoses. I really hope that in my lifetime, we'll see mental illnesses become viewed as similar to any other afflictions.
posted by explosion at 9:37 AM on December 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


The argument over the depathologisation of trans identities is probably a derail, so suffice to say there are issues with categorising transness as a disease or disorder aside from just the mental health angle (with which there are unique issues, not least those relating to historical medical conceptions of transness).
posted by Dysk at 9:45 AM on December 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Penguins 1: Humans 0. Heh.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:56 AM on December 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm not surprised the DSM is behind the zeitgeist on trans issues, to the point of conflating transgenderism and gender dysphoria. Heck, even BDSM was a mental illness, per DSM, until 2013. It's still not exactly treated well, even in the current edition.
posted by rokusan at 10:05 AM on December 13, 2016


That's because if they're not valid diagnoses, then doctors can't provide treatment and get insurance to cover it!

Yes, the American-style insurance twist on things is a huge monkey wrench clanking around inside any engine of equitable treatment.
posted by rokusan at 10:05 AM on December 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Humans Heh : Penguins Wenk!
posted by rokusan at 10:07 AM on December 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Being elected leader of a declining empire is not the same as being made king of the world. Fair few people could do with remembering that.
posted by howfar at 10:11 AM on December 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


So methane is a much better insulator than CO2, but surely there are some reasons that methane emissions are easier to mitigate than CO2. Methane only lasts for 12 years in the atmosphere before breaking down into CO2 and water. Also burning methane is net energy positive, while turning carbon dioxide into almost anything else is energy negative. So it's easier to "scrub" methane from the atmosphere since the methane itself is relatively reactive compared to carbon dioxide.
posted by rustcrumb at 10:21 AM on December 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


In 1990, more than 60% of people in East Asia lived in extreme poverty. As of 2016, that proportion has dropped to 3.5%.

I haven't heard about any plagues or genocides that would account for this, so I'll presume it's due to a redefinition of the term "extreme poverty."
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:23 AM on December 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


It isn't. But don't let the facts get in the way of narrow minded waffle.
posted by howfar at 10:45 AM on December 13, 2016 [7 favorites]


Seriously, the Western notion that the rest of the world is uniformly collapsing into squalor and degradation because we're too unimaginative and poorly informed to conceive of non-white-majority countries as anything but places where desperate poverty happens is kinda pathetic.
posted by howfar at 10:48 AM on December 13, 2016 [21 favorites]


Newlight Technologies is able to make plastic from methane and air at prices competitive with oil. They signed an agreement with IKEA for a "10 billion pounds production licence". Not to mention that natural gas power (which is composed mainly of methane) is what's getting the US off of coal. Methane leaks from landfills, fracking, and other human generated sources is a waste. Unfortunately, natural sources of methane remain a problem. There is a methane uptake cycle by bacteria.
posted by Mister Cheese at 11:18 AM on December 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


The one bright shining point of 2016 for me was that my child was born on Dec 28 of 2015, and I've gotten to see them grow all this year. Everything else is somewhere from problematic to downright terrifying, but my baby is the Best Little Baby Ever To Baby, and that's okay.
posted by XtinaS at 12:58 PM on December 13, 2016 [8 favorites]


In this case, it's the ICD10, but the DSM is talked about in anglophone trans circles a lot more, and looms much larger in trans spaces as a result. (Hell, my own trans punk band's name is half a reference to it.)

(And just as an aside, "transgenderism" has some very ugly medical history behind it as a term, and is largely frowned upon as a consequence)
posted by Dysk at 1:07 PM on December 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


I haven't heard about any plagues or genocides that would account for this, so I'll presume it's due to a redefinition of the term "extreme poverty."

Faint of Butt, the poverty reduction numbers are from the World Bank, and the World Bank has indeed redefined extreme poverty several times since 1990, but in all cases to increase the dollar-equivalent definition. If you are interested in the reasons, you can check out this article.

Worldwide, there are a billion less people living in extreme poverty now than in 1990. One billion. Chronic good news is invisible, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
posted by ferdydurke at 2:58 PM on December 13, 2016 [8 favorites]


If you want to hear a hopeful story about poverty reduction: my mom owns a farm near a village in rural Tamil Nadu, India. She mentioned the other day that she noticed that villagers were no longer taking turns to stand guard over the rice harvest before it was milled. She asked one of the villagers how come and he laughed and said: who can be bothered to go steal rice these days?

It seems like a small thing, but it basically means that people in that village are not desperately hungry any more. In Tamil Nadu, that's due to a number of government policies, such as the free noon meal program and subsidized meals at government canteens (dishes priced at 1, 2 or 3 rupees - 1 dollar is about 60 rupees). People are measurably better off.
posted by peacheater at 4:00 PM on December 13, 2016 [15 favorites]


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