Friday, June 30, 2006

To the chagrin and ridicule of some, I picked up the only newspaper I can really access on the road: USAToday. 2 stories right up front--maybe they were just feel-good weekend stories but they worked on me.

First, a new vaccine. Chris Rock does a funny bit where he complains that science hasn't cured anything since Polio. And it can be depressing to hear the same devastating diseases continue to raise awareness, year after year, (and money for research) only to persist. But there is an amazing breakthrough vaccine--a real, ready-to-use, get your children immunized vaccine--that will protect women from the virus that causes 70% of cervical cancer. What a fabulous development!

Second, whether you realize it or not, it's safer than ever to fly, because of little-publicized technological advancements that make it harder for pilots to miss noticing a couple of important things: mountains and runways. And what prompted this progress? The article spells it out--maybe you can guess what I think is the most important...
After two of the worst airline crashes of the 1990s — TWA Flight 800 and ValuJet Flight 592 — a White House commission headed by Vice President Gore issued a recommendation that many scoffed at.

The accident rate should be cut 80% over the next 10 years, the commission said.

The goal issued in 1997 seemed impossible at the time. There were many ideas on how to improve safety, but little consensus about priorities and who should pay for improvements.

Nine years have passed, and, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, the nation is on a pace to meet that goal.

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