Diminish the mass of evils that afflict the human species, increase enjoyment and well-being. And even if the new routes opened up could prolong the average life of mankind by only a few hours, or even a few days, then the scientist, too could aspire.
I had two family members involved in World War I: two great-uncles. One of them is on a memorial in France. And the other was a trench runner who survived the war. The average life span of a trench runner was 36 hours, but he survived the whole war.
One nice thing about the Third World, you don't have to fasten your seat belt. (Or stop smoking. Or cut down on saturated fats.) It takes a lot off your mind when average life expectancy is forty-five minutes.
One of the things that got me on this topic for this book was that when I was researching the column I wrote in 2009 saying that I was stepping down from my column at "Newsweek" because I wanted to make room for newer, fresh voices out there, I discovered that in the year I was born, 1952, the average life expectancy of an American was 68. I was shocked by that figure and every time I mention it I hear a gasp from somebody in the crowd. Now, of course, we're more or less at 80, so that means... Read more »
Human beings have been smart enough to turn nature to their ends, generate vast wealth for themselves, and double their average life span. But are they smart enough to solve the problems of the 21st century?
When I was trying to figure out why lives have improved so much in the last 300 years, where we've gone from a third of kids dying before 5 to - by 1990 it was down to 10% - now it's down to 5%. And saying why, over all history, there were smart people, but that number didn't change. Average life span didn't change. What's magical about what's been deemed the Industrial Revolution? It's really energy intensity.
Only 1 percent of the homosexual population in America will die of old age. The average life expectancy for a homosexual in the United States of America is 43 years of age. A lesbian can only expect to live to be 45 years of age. Homosexuals represent 2 percent of the population, yet today they're carrying 60 percent of the known cases of syphilis.