While browsing TED Talks on my iPhone app I discovered the Swedish scientist Hans Rosling.
He and two colleagues have created Gapminder, a beautiful, informative, and elegant web platform for showing global development statistics. You must check this out as it shows how major indicators of development–health, GDP, infant mortality, etc.–change over time.
Now of course not all of the data sets point toward progress, but most do. The increase in CO2 over the decades is ominous and disturbing. But trends in most other areas leave much reason for hope.
Check it out! http://www.gapminder.org/