I don't often post about world events in there, but yesterday, I was amazed as I watched a live video feed of thirty-three miners in Chile, three quarters of a kilometre underneath the earth, being pulled one by one to safety. I can't remember an event like this happening within my lifetime... every day, we are bombarded with news of people losing their lives through natural disasters, accidents or through the pointlessness and stupidity of religious warfare. In contrast, the development of the FĂ©nix capsule and the rescue that it made possible are wonderful examples of how humanity can be good, how we value life, and signs of the ingenuity and technology that we have made to preserve it.

The events that we saw unfold have been compared to Apollo 13, and it happened in an age where the whole world really was watching - through the video feeds, it was possible to see the small round capsule being dropped down the shaft, someone being loaded into it with good-luck gestures as the door was closed, and then being winched up into the daylight ten minutes later. It even worked better than the rescuers had been expecting, and the whole operation - 39 descents and ascents, including the ones for the six rescue workers - was complete in about half the time they had projected.

After being told of destruction daily, it's heartening to see a disaster turn around from hopelessness to a story in which just this once... everybody lives.

2010-10-14 10:09:00