A period of about three months seems to have slipped by since I posted a blog item. I’m letting my fan down at this rate: sorry J. I hope you are still out there. Since I (self-)published my second novel in January, I have been busy with the research for my third. I hope that today’s post will be of interest.

Firstly, though, I thought you might be interested in an update of an item I posted a year or two ago. It was in one of my “good news” posts.

Here’s the original item.

Dr David Goodall, Australia’s oldest scientist, will be permitted to keep his office at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia, reversing a decision that would have forced him to work from home. The university told Dr Goodall, 102 years of age, that he was a health risk because of his lengthy journey to work using public transport. Following an international uproar about the treatment of elderly workers, the university has offered Dr Goodall an office at a branch of the main campus nearer his home.

Dr Goodall’s career in ecology spans over 70 years. “I hope to continue with some useful work in my field in so far as my eyesight permits,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Company after the decision was reversed.

An item in The Guardian of 12th May 2018 caught my eye. It explained that Dr Goodall, 104, had ended his life at a clinic in Switzerland. Before he turned a wheel that set in motion a lethal infusion into his bloodstream, Dr Goodall enjoyed a meal of fish and chips, then listened to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.

What was heartening about the story is that David Goodall made his own decision about how his life should end. Although he was not terminally ill, his eyesight and mobility had deteriorated to such an extent that he said that his life stopped being enjoyable. His wishes were that he would have no funeral, no remembrance service or ceremony: he simply wanted a dignified death of his own choice.

Dr Goodall’s story kind of leads me into today’s post.

Hans Rosling’s book Factfulness is, IMHO, a very refreshing read. The title is, presumably, a nice play on the word ‘mindfulness’. In his book, Rosling – who was a professor of international health and a renowned statistician – argues, with the aid of well-established data, that the world is in a much better state than the media makes out. He posits that the media, particularly in the West, puts forward an over-dramatic and negative worldview, which is stressful and often misleading. To paraphrase one of his themes: journalists are storytellers; they appeal to our dramatic instincts. A journalist who reported that a flight didn’t crash or a crop that didn’t fail would soon lose their job.

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