- - Sunday, October 27, 2019

Hope paved humanity’s lengthy pathway to the 21st century, but fear threatens to take it from here. It shouldn’t. Beyond the gloomy headlines, advances in human knowledge are making these supposedly dreadful years actually the most amazing ever.

“King” Lebron James grovels before China’s Communist dictatorship, apologizing for an NBA executive’s “misinformed” Hong Kong-backing tweet that could cost the league hundreds of millions. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tsk-tsks over Joe Biden taking fire from President “potty mouth” Trump and schemes to exorcise the White House of his presence “because he has not honored his oath of office.” “Progressive” firebrand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez moans in trembling tones about her “dreams of motherhood now bittersweet” owing to her fearful outlook on climate change.

It’s no secret that some headlines are fake, but a larger share are just plain trivial. With their hyperbolic gripes, these newsmakers look small, smaller and smallest standing next to the immense achievements of other Americans who are building a brighter future for this world and beyond.

Cancer, the scourge of modern humankind that kills more than 600,000 Americans a year and nearly 10 million worldwide, is on the run. That’s owing to medical scientists who have figured how to track it down before it gets too deadly. A new blood test capable of accurately detecting more than 20 forms of cancer has been recently unveiled. The test, developed by GRAIL Inc., is able to pick up cancer signals from a patient’s DNA and identify the organ or tissue where it originated, according to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where the test is currently undergoing trials.

Early detection is critical for successful treatment. Accuracy rises from 32 percent for cancer in its initial, Stage 1 form, to 93 percent for advanced, Stage 4 cancer, “The results of the new study demonstrate that such assays are a feasible way of screening people for cancer,” wrote lead study author Geoffrey Oxnard.

Immunotherapy firms are developing new techniques for knocking cancer out of the body once it is discovered. Using each person’s own immune system to target invasive threats is less damaging than relying on chemotherapy or radiation treatments that can’t differentiate between healthy cells and cancerous invaders.

Americans can only hope socialist-minded politicos wielding “Medicare for All” schemes don’t get their mitts on the levers of medical innovation. If government decides which treatments it is willing to fund and who is eligible to get them, the best and brightest who have made America the world’s innovation leader will take their clever ideas elsewhere.

Anyone who thinks that space surrounding the third rock from the sun is a desolate void needs to get out more. Big thinkers like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson didn’t turn new ideas into fabulous wealth by following the crowd. They are piggy-backing on the achievements of NASA and building operations for space tourism, cargo shipping and human exploration because there is stuff out there of immense value. Those with sufficient wanderlust are bound to hunt for it.

Like wilderness hikers, spacefarers mustn’t leave home without their living essentials, with one exception: Water. Sturdy mountaineers can slake their thirst in virgin streams and, someday, intrepid astronauts gaining a foothold on the moon and Mars are likely to guzzle local H2O.

The lunar landscape that appears from Earth a dead rock is strewn with water ice hidden in the shadows of craters and crevices. The frozen water, possibly amounting to hundreds of millions of tons, according to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, is thought to be concentrated near the South Pole region that is never exposed to sunlight. The Artemis program is expected to help U.S. astronauts perfect techniques for extracting water from lunar soil in preparation for a hopscotch during the 2030 decade to Mars.

The red planet, happily, also appears to harbor water. NASA’s Curiosity rover has spotted terrain resembling dry lake and stream beds on Earth. And while frigid temperatures mean most Martian water is frozen solid, darkened areas lead scientists to believe water warmed by the sun seeps beneath the ground. That’s a huge resource for enterprising explorers bold enough to undertake a fresh pathway of human achievement on a virgin planet.

If the news from Washington and the other usual places seems dismal or drab these days, it’s because its purveyors lack the imagination that animates the innovators of progress. It may be time to change the channel, or better yet, join the real progressives.

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