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Was removing the drudgery from laundry the greatest feat of the industrial revolution? [VIDEO]

What was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution? The automobile? The assembly line? The leaf blower? Wrong on all counts, says visionary Hans Rosling, who makes a compelling and personal argument for... wait for it... the washing machine. In this peppy presentation for TED, Rosling concludes that freeing his mother from the drudgery of hand-washing gave her time for things that improved, exponentially, the quality of life for her and her family. It's the holy grail of innovation.

There’s never been a safer time to live on the planet (and here’s a...

Surprisingly frequently, I find myself making the case that there has never been a safer time to live on the planet. Sure, we're confronted daily by news of wars, murders and other forms of human-inflicted violence. But, if you refer to the stats, things are actually pretty good, as this engaging video demonstrates.

Through the gloom, progress: 200 years that changed the world

This interesting Gapminder visualisation illustrates how far the various nations of the world have come (in terms of prosperity and life expectancy) over the past 200 years. Presented by Swedish professor Hans Rosling (top left inset), it traces the rise of the West (Australia and New Zealand have fared particularly well) and the emergence of China, India and the developing world.

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