A short article by Charlie Stross on Boing Boing is worth reading if you think the world is going relentlessly downhill.
It argues that although the developed world is currently slipping back things are getting better for the majority of the population. Thanks to George for recommending it. I am sure that a determined pessimist can rake up some bad news to put a damper on this but it is nice to start 2011 with a positive feeling backed by evidence.
The advances in treatment of AIDS has to be a good thing; but the treatment only reduces the viral count . There is no cure in sight and what worries me is that HIV, being particularly aggressive and rapidly mutating, could mutate into something more virulant and which spreads in the same way as, say, influenza (e.g. by droplet infection). If the threat of dangerous, lethal outcomes is removed there will be no incentive to change the licentious behaviour which allows the HIV to thrive and mutate. I'm no biologist - am I missing something?
I'm not being pessimistic about the past but just trying to do my infinitesimal bit to raise awareness of a possible problem.