Inspiring News Stories
Excerpts of Highly Inspiring News Stories in Major Media



Below are one-paragraph excerpts of highly inspiring news stories reported in the major media. Links are provided to the original stories on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These inspiring news stories are listed with the stories most recently posted to the website listed first. You can explore the same list with the most inspiring stories listed first. See also a concise list providing headlines and links to a number of highly inspiring stories. May these articles inspire us to find ever more ways to love and support each other and all around us to be the very best we can be.


Note: This comprehensive list of inspiring news stories is usually updated once a week. See also a full index to revealing excerpts of key news articles on several dozen engaging topics.

Website shows foster kids their wishes are worthwhile
2013-03-07, CNN
Posted: 2013-10-15 10:33:42
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/03/07/us/cnnheroes-gletow-foster-wishes/index.html

Many 16-year-olds might covet a smartphone, an Xbox, maybe some expensive new sneakers or even a car. Ronald Hennig just wanted a suit so he could attend a relative's funeral. "I didn't really own even a shirt and tie or dress shoes," he said. "I was seeing some of my old family members, and it was kind of embarrassing to not have a suit when everyone else would have one." The teenager, who had been in and out of foster care for much of his childhood, was living in a group home at the time. His caseworker was unable to justify the nonessential expense. But an anonymous benefactor stepped in to help Hennig through a website called One Simple Wish. "I got custom-fitted for the suit and I was able to go to the funeral," said Hennig, now 18. "I could pay the same respect as everyone else." One Simple Wish was started by Danielle Gletow to help grant the wishes of children in foster care. Since 2008, the nonprofit has granted more than 4,000 wishes for children living in 35 states. Since 2006, Gletow and her husband, Joe, have been foster parents to several children, eventually adopting one of them. Over the years, many friends and family members expressed a desire to help other children in the system, short of becoming foster parents themselves. "(They) would say, 'I really wish there was something I could do, but I don't want to be a foster parent,' " Gletow said. "I just felt like, this is my opportunity to create something that makes it possible for all of these children who need something to get connected to all of these wonderful people that are out there, that want to help them."

Note: Check out the One Simple Wish website at www.onesimplewish.org and see how to help. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Malala Yousafzai: The Bravest Girl in the World
2013-10-05, Parade Magazine
Posted: 2013-10-08 08:39:34
http://www.parade.com/170557/parade/malala-yousafzai-the-bravest-girl-in-the-...

In this exclusive excerpt from her autobiography, I Am Malala, young activist Malala Yousafzai recounts the day she was shot by the Taliban. "Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, wasn’t the best of days to start with, as it was the middle of exams. We had been getting threats all year. Some were in the newspapers, and some were messages passed on by people. I was more concerned the Taliban would target my father, as he was always speaking out against them. His friend and fellow campaigner Zahid Khan had been shot in the face in August on his way to prayers. When our bus was called, we ran down the school steps. Inside the bus it was hot and sticky. Then we suddenly stopped. A young bearded man had stepped into the road. The man was wearing a peaked cap and had a handkerchief over his nose and mouth. Then he swung himself onto the tailboard and leaned in over us. “Who is Malala?” he demanded. No one said anything, but several of the girls looked at me. I was the only girl with my face uncovered. That’s when he lifted up a black pistol. My friends say he fired three shots. The first went through my left eye socket and out under my left shoulder. I slumped forward, blood coming from my left ear, so the other two bullets hit the girls next to me." Malala has undergone a recovery that is nothing short of miraculous. The bullet narrowly missed her brain [and she] suffered no major permanent neurological damage. The ordeal did, however, solidify her will: “It feels like this life is not my life. It’s a second life. People have prayed to God to spare me and I was spared for a reason—to use my life for helping people.”

Note: Malala was only 11 when she took on the Taliban, demanding that girls be given full access to school. Her campaign led to a blog for the BBC, a New York Times documentary, and a Pakistani peace prize. But all that was only a prelude to even more extraordinary events, the Taliban's assassination attempt and her miraculous recovery. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Okla. teen acts to right his father's wrong
2013-09-27, CBS News
Posted: 2013-10-08 08:38:04
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57605098/okla-teen-acts-to-right-his-fa...

Seventy-eight-year-old Tona Herndon of Bethany, Okla., was vulnerable in every way. Her husband of 60 years had died just two weeks earlier. Her eyes were so clouded with grief, she never saw it coming. She was mugged as she visited her husband's grave. The mugger got away with her purse and $700, but not for long. Police caught him, and the news put his mug shot on TV. Fifteen-year-old Christian Lunsford says the first time he saw the picture, he ... had no doubt that it was his dad. Christian says his parents divorced when he was two, and his dad has been mostly absent ever since. Last time he heard from him was a few weeks ago. His dad gave him $250 for a band trip Christian really wants to go on. Christian says his dad has been in and out of jail more than half a dozen times. "There's times that you just feel really low, like, 'Is that going to be me?'" he says. "'Am I going to end up like that?'" Which is why, after Christian heard about his dad's latest crime, he reached out to the victim and asked to meet her. Christian says he just had to tell her he was sorry about what happened. And Christian was just getting started. "He gave me $250 for my band trip, but I'm not sure if it was yours or however he got it, but I'd feel bad if I didn't give it to you," he told Tona. "I accepted the money back," Tona says. "And it was mine to do with what I wanted." "I want you to take your band trip," Tona told Christian. She gave it all back to him for his band trip. "I feel more like my life still has a purpose," Tona says. "You're not who your parents are," Christian says. "Even if they do raise you, you can become whatever you want to be."

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




New Yorkers 'pay it forward' after 9/11
2013-09-10, CNN
Posted: 2013-10-08 08:36:51
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/10/us/cnnheroes-parness-sandy/index.html

Some New Yorkers mark the anniversary of the September 11 attacks by going to a memorial service or observing a moment of silence. For the past 10 years, Jeff Parness has been helping others. Every September, Parness brings hundreds of volunteers from New York to help another disaster-stricken community in the United States. "It was our way of saying, you know, New Yorkers will never forget what people from around the country and the world did for us in our time of need after 9/11," said Parness. "So that's how the mission started. It was just to pay forward the kindness that we experienced." Over the past decade, Parness' nonprofit, New York Says Thank You, has assisted victims of wildfires in San Diego, tornadoes in the Midwest and Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Many of those who receive help are so inspired that they travel across the country the next year -- often at their own expense -- to volunteer with Parness' group and help someone else. The result is a unique disaster-response organization. "All of our volunteers are survivors. They survived, whether it was 9/11 or Katrina or tornadoes. So they all share that common bond," said Parness, who quit his job as a venture capitalist to work on his nonprofit full-time. This year, Parness' mission has come full circle. Last weekend, more than 300 volunteers -- at least half of whom were from outside the New York area -- helped rebuild 13 homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy in October. For Parness, a native New Yorker, the work carried extra significance.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Two in a Million: Danny and Annie Perasa
2006-02-24, NPR
Posted: 2013-10-08 08:35:26
http://www.npr.org/2006/02/24/5230164/two-in-a-million-danny-and-annie-perasa

The story of Danny and Annie Perasa — how they met, and how they've stayed in love — inspires many who hear it. Their joy in life, and in one another, was celebrated recently in New York, where a crowd gathered to honor Danny and Annie. The Perasas are a memorable couple. In person, they come off like a pair of favorite grandparents, with thoughtful wisecracks and stories that take unpredictable turns. They say their affinity for one another was always obvious. Their enthusiasm has now been honored in a tangible way. The StoryCorps oral history project has dedicated its booth in Grand Central Terminal to the Perasas. On Friday, Feb. 10, a plaque was unveiled that dedicated the booth to the Perasas. The plaque reads: "This booth is dedicated to Danny and Annie Perasa, who recorded their story here on January 6, 2004. Their humor, heart, eloquence and love will never be forgotten." The couple made the trip to the ceremony despite Danny's illness: suffering from pancreatic cancer, he is currently in hospice care. Their visit was a treat for those present, as the Perasas revisited the conversation they had that day in 2004, and the life they've shared since 1978.

Note: For a very touching six-minute NPR video on this true story of beautiful marriage, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Dairy Queen worker's intervention nets royal treatment
2013-09-19, USA Today
Posted: 2013-10-01 09:43:48
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/09/19/dairy-queen-manager-cust...

A Dairy Queen manager who came to the aid of a visually impaired customer is receiving Internet and social media praise for his heroic actions. Joey Prusak said on Sept. 10 [that] one of his regular customers came in to order a sundae. While paying, the visually impaired man dropped some of his money on the floor. "Right then and there I knew when he dropped that $20 bill, game's over, he's not going to know," explained Prusak. "He just kept walking and that's when the lady picked it up and I thought, she's going to give it back 'cause she picked it up so quickly." Prusak then watched as the woman her put the money in her purse. Initially he didn't know what to say, but when the woman reached the counter to place her order Prusak confronted her. He says they went back and forth a bit: She claimed the money was hers. "I said, ma'am I'm not going to serve someone as disrespectful as you, so you can either return the $20 bill and I'll serve you, or you can leave," said Prusak. "And she goes, 'Well it's my 20-dollar bill,' and I go, well then you can leave." The woman left, but was clearly not happy. Prusak ultimately gave the customer who dropped the money $20 of his own money. Other customers saw what happened and one of them emailed Dairy Queen. The email was forwarded to the store's owner, who posted it on a board in the shop. A co-worker was impressed by what happened and posted the message on Facebook, where others found it and shared it. "People started sharing it, pretty soon it's on Reddit," Prusak said. "It's one of the top things on Reddit and all of a sudden it's gone viral."

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




D.I.Y. Foreign-Aid Revolution
2010-10-24, New York Times
Posted: 2013-10-01 09:42:32
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/24/magazine/24volunteerism-t.html?pagewanted=all

It’s striking that the most innovative activists aren’t necessarily the ones with the most resources, or the best tools. Maggie Doyne epitomizes this truth, for she began her philanthropic work as an 19-year-old financed by her baby-sitting savings. Yet she has somehow figured out how to run a sophisticated aid project in a remote area of Nepal. She took a “gap year” after high-school graduation and ended up in northern India, working with needy children. “The first little girl I met was Hema,” Doyne remembers. Then 6 or 7 years old (few children know their precise age), Hema spent her time breaking rocks and scavenging garbage and had no chance to go to school. Doyne, who decided to take Hema under her wing and pay for her education: “I knew I couldn’t do anything about a million orphans, but what if I started with this girl?” So she took Hema to school and paid $7 for the girl’s school fees and another $8 for a uniform so that she could enter kindergarten. “It became addictive,” Doyne said. “I said, if I can help one girl, why not 5? Why not 10? And along with scholarships, they needed the most basic things: food, shelter, clothing.” Doyne ... telephoned her parents with a strange and urgent request: Can you wire me the money in my savings account? Doyne returned to New Jersey and began to take odd jobs and proselytize for her shelter. People in her hometown thought that she was nuts, but in a benign way — and they wrote checks. After a few months, when Doyne had raised $25,000, she moved back to Nepal to oversee construction of the shelter, called the Kopila Valley Children’s Home.

Note: For a beautiful slide show of Maggie's work, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Silicon Valley 'well' backs world water charity
2013-09-15, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-09-24 10:02:17
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Silicon-Valley-well-backs-world-water-...

At age 28, Scott Harrison felt he had spent a decade of his life selfishly. For 10 years he had been promoting nightclubs and wanted to give back to the world. So he volunteered with a group that exposed him to poverty and disease around the globe. Most afflictions, he found, started with water. "We would see people drinking from swamps and ponds and rivers, sources so unthinkable," said Harrison, now 38. "It seemed simple to attack the root cause by giving people clean water." He founded Charity: water in New York to tackle the world's water crisis after returning from a volunteer trip to Liberia in 2006. So far Charity: water has spent more than $55 million on more than 9,000 water projects in 20 countries, including Ethiopia, Rwanda and Malawi. Harrison recruits people to start their own fundraisers, and all of the money raised goes directly to the cause. Overhead costs are covered by "the well," which is made up of 100 donors who pledge anywhere from $24,000 to $2 million for three years. Well donors are largely Silicon Valley tech titans, like ... Matt Mullenweg, founder of Automattic, the San Francisco Web development platform behind Wordpress. "I've seen a lot of nonprofits and charities, and Charity: water continues to strike me as the most effective," Mullenweg said. "A dollar spent there goes a lot farther than anywhere else." Mullenweg has traveled to Ethiopia with Harrison twice since becoming a donor to "the well." "Every day was a rush of emotions and experiences," Mullenweg said. "We visited villages that didn't have wells yet and then those that did and it was night and day."

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




The tech startups that believe happiness can be found in an app
2013-07-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-09-24 10:00:52
http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/technology-happiness-found-in...

To the startups behind a series of new phone and tablet apps designed to make you smile, happiness is big business. Happier Inc ... launched a phone app in February encouraging users to reflect upon and share pleasant everyday moments. Built around the theory that writing down a nice thought is good for you and that positivity is contagious, the app is about helping consumers take stock of what's good in their life now and to treasure it, says [founder Nataly Kogan]. In the process, she is hoping to prove the technology haters wrong and remedy the negativity on social networks. "On Facebook, we're all bragging," she says. We present the best versions of ourselves and then our friends compare the real versions of their lives to our best versions, and that is depressing." Happier is not alone however. An array of other apps – such as Mappiness, Happy Apps and Live Happy – have come onto the market in the last couple of years, variously promising to track, share or enact moments of joy. John C Havens, author and founder of non-profit, H(app)athon Project, which uses mobile data to provide recommendations for volunteerism in the local community, suggests digital tools designed to measure contentment redress an imbalance in society where economic data is too often prioritised over social data. "There is real joy in discovery and introspection and reflection, which is something that we lack in modern society where we are so obsessed with productivity," he says. "If you allow yourself on a personal level, that self-reflection, as aided by these technologies, the hope is that you will discover areas of your life you have not been giving credit to."

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Startup Idol: Happier wants you to share the love
2013-07-19, CNN
Posted: 2013-09-24 09:59:29
http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/07/19/startup-idol-happier-wants-you-to-shar...

Nataly Kogan understands the pursuit of happiness -- in her younger years, she lived for it. As a Jewish refugee from Soviet Russia, Kogan escaped her native country at the age of 13 with a handful of suitcases and $600 in cash for her entire family of four. Jumping between refugee camps across Europe, Kogan finally made it to the United States where her pursuit of happiness really took off. She graduated top of her class from Wesleyan University. She worked at McKinsey & Company, then at Microsoft. She got married and had a daughter. On paper, Kogan had achieved the American Dream. But still, she wasn't happy. Kogan is the CEO and Chief Happiness Officer of startup Happier. The secret, she says, is understanding that you can't actually be happy, but you can always be happier. That's the message conveyed with her new app, Happier, which she describes as an "emotional bookshelf in your pocket." Users upload anything that makes them happy, from posts chronicling their small daily success stories ("I got a great parking spot!") to photos of their favorite foods or places. Anytime you need a pick-me-up, simply open your Happier app and enjoy all of the happy moments posted by your friends. Since its launch in February, users have shared over one million happy moments, says Kogan. With a $2.4 million seed round under her belt from investors like Venrock and Resolute.vc, Kogan's march toward making the world a happier place is well underway. "Life is made of moments," she says. "Choose to create and collect the happy ones."

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Public Displays of Meditation
2011-07-29, Utne Reader Magazine
Posted: 2013-09-24 09:55:56
http://www.utne.com/mind-and-body/public-displays-of-meditation.aspx#axzz2fAO...

It was the om heard ’round the world. Yesterday in 108 cities—from London to Los Angeles, Hong Kong to Houston, Barcelona to Birmingham, and more—“MedMob” groups participated in large-scale displays of meditation. Playing off of the flash mob concept, in which strangers organize online, arrange to meet at a specific time and place, and then perform an unexpected public act, MedMob members delight in presenting meditation in a surprising, inclusive way, says Shambhala Sun. MedMob’s goals: 1. To create an environment for people from all walks of life to come together in meditation. 2. To expose the world to meditation through public display of meditation. 3. To come together as a global community to send positive intentions out into the world. 4. To show that leading by example is the best way to lead. Simple acts can stimulate major paradigm shifts in thinking. The MedMob movement, which began in Austin early this year, is for everyone, reports David Telfer McConaghay for elephant journal. Telfer assures us that passers-by do not need to believe in “hippy-dippy feel-goodery” to participate in meditation, whether in a group or alone. “The goal is not to attain some state of illusory bliss, then wander around all day in a disconnected daze with a silly grin,” he writes. “The goal (if meditation can be said to have a goal) is to allow the naturally arising chaos and distractions of the mind to settle and fade so that we can act and make choices with greater intention and clarity.”

Note: For more on this inspiring movement, see http://www.medmob.org. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Food best source of vitamins, study finds
2013-09-10, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-09-16 16:30:45
http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Food-best-source-of-vitamins-study-finds...

About half of all Americans take a daily multivitamin as a way to improve their health and cut their risk of diseases. But experts now say that - in almost all cases - the best way to get a full dose of vitamins is from nutritious foods rather than from pills. There is a lot of scientific evidence showing diets rich in produce, nuts, whole grains and fish promote health and decrease risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer, according to a new "Vitamins and Minerals" report from Harvard Medical School. On the other hand, studies involving vitamin supplements - and there have been many - show mixed results. In fact, after reviewing a large body of research in 2006, the National Institutes of Health decided not to definitively rule for or against multivitamins' ability to prevent diseases. So what are the quickest ways to boost the vitamin content in your meals? The report identifies about three dozen foods that have the most nutrients per calorie, including avocados, berries, cantaloupe, dark leafy greens, eggs, yogurt, lentils, beans, almonds, fish, chicken and turkey. And although most people think of citrus as the best source of vitamin C, a red pepper has twice as much as an orange. Similarly, potatoes and white beans have more potassium than bananas. The final advice from Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, the report's editor: "Spend your time and money improving your diet, which is far more likely to pay off in the long run than popping a pill."

Note: The Harvard report can be found here: http://hvrd.me/9Uixox. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Santa Clara, Stanford compete in Solar Decathlon
2013-09-07, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-09-16 16:29:23
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Santa-Clara-Stanford-compete-in-Solar-...

Designed by students, the small blue house wedged onto a corner of the Santa Clara University campus generates all the electricity it needs. And it needs very little. Solar cells blanket most of the roof. A separate solar array heats water. Pipes in the ceiling circulate cold water to keep the house cool. A mobile phone app controls the lights and windows. Dubbed Radiant House, the building is the university's entry in this year's Solar Decathlon, an international student competition to create energy-efficient houses that run their systems and appliances on sunlight. To win, the houses can't just be a collection of technologies. They have to feel inviting and livable. Judges grade them on comfort and curb appeal in addition to innovation. This year's decathlon culminates next month in Orange County, when 20 university teams present their homes to judges drawn from the fields of architecture, development and renewable energy. First held in 2002, the Solar Decathlon runs in two-year cycles, giving teams enough time to design, finance and build their creations. This year, students from two Bay Area schools - Santa Clara and Stanford University - will compete against teams from as far afield as Austria and the Czech Republic. The contest rules require that the houses can't be larger than 1,000 square feet and must produce at least as much energy as they consume over the course of a week. Solar panels donated by Bosch Solar Energy coat the central room's tilted roof and can generate up to 7.14 kilowatts of electricity, more than a typical home array. The panels rest on a new type of rack, made by startup company Sunplanter, that is integrated into the structure of the roof.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Jacob Barnett, 14-Year-Old With Asperger's Syndrome, May Be Smarter Than Einstein
2013-05-11, Huffington Post
Posted: 2013-09-16 16:27:48
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/11/jacob-barnett-autistic-14-year-old-n...

When Jacob Barnett was 2 years old, he was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism. Doctors told his parents that the boy would likely never talk or read and would probably be forever unable to independently manage basic daily activities like tying his shoe laces. But they were sorely, extraordinarily mistaken. Today, Barnett -- now 14 -- is a Master's student, on his way to earning a PhD in quantum physics. The teen, who boasts an IQ of 170, has already been tipped to one day win the Nobel Prize. Since enrolling at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) at the age of 10, Barnett has flourished -- astounding his professors, peers and family with his spectacular intelligence. The teen tutors other college students in subjects like calculus and is a published scientific researcher, with an IQ that is believed to be higher than that of Albert Einstein. In fact, according to a 2011 TIME report, Barnett, who frequently tops his college classes, has asserted that he may one day disprove Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Outside of his rigorous university commitments, Barnett, who has Asperger's Syndrome, is also an entrepreneur and aspiring author. The teen, who, with his family, runs a charity called Jacob's Place for kids on the spectrum, has used his story to raise awareness and dispel myths about autism. In April, [his mother] Kristine Barnett's memoir about her family's experience with autism, The Spark: A Mother's Story of Nurturing Genius, was released. A movie deal is said to be in the works.

Note: For the CBS 60 Minutes piece on this child genius, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Mindfulness in Politics
2013-09-06, DailyGood
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:29:18
http://www.dailygood.org/story/508/mindfulness-in-politics-michael-edwards

The movement for “mindfulness meditation” is growing, but can it break the modern political gridlock? Congressman Tim Ryan [wants] everyone to develop greater “mindfulness”, through simple forms of meditation and other practices that focus our attention and help us listen to each other. Elected to the House of Representatives at the tender age of 29, the Democrat from Ohio spoke out repeatedly against the policies of President George W. Bush on Iraq, the economy and other issues. But then so did many others. What makes Ryan stand out is his conviction that the USA can be transformed – not just “tinkered with”, as he puts it in A Mindful Nation, the book he published in 2012. Practicing mindfulness may not get everyone on the same page in detailed policy terms, he believes, but it could help to find more common ground between different views and break the political gridlock. In this sense the personal is always political. There’s an upbeat tone in Ryan’s approach that seems out of place with the realities of Washington DC: “Strip away the materialism, the marketing, the media and the technology and our fundamental nature is revealed,” he writes, “joyous, generous and courageous.” Still, given that US politics is soaked through with cynicism, “gotcha” tactics and manipulation, even admitting that you meditate, let alone publicly recommending it to others, is a courageous thing to do. And who knows, the “quiet revolution” of mindfulness might even work.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




‘Samsara,’ Ron Fricke’s Cinematic Portrait of the Globe
2012-08-17, New York Times
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:27:56
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/movies/samsara-ron-frickes-cinematic-portra...

The new film “Samsara” ranges across the globe: there are fantastical tiered temples in verdant Myanmar and glorious Japanese mohawks, the natural wonders of Namibian sand dunes and orderly production lines of modern agribusiness in China and Europe. The locations are unnamed, and a rich, varied score is heard instead of political or social commentary. One striking image flows into the next, loosely organized according to the cyclical Hindu notion of birth and destruction that gives the film its Sanskrit title. But in an era when the Internet and television overflow with eye-popping imagery from around the world, [“Samsara” ] is a twofold throwback. For one, it is shot in grand, rarely used 70 millimeter, a medium invented for [widescreen cinema]. In its mission, too, there is something old-fashioned about “Samsara.” Though touched with a certain spiritual mindfulness, the film is not intended to send a message. That’s a departure from similarly expansive, globally conscious nonfiction films in vogue now. And though [Ron Fricke, who directed and shot “Samsara,”] views the ambitious chronicles of “Samsara” as beyond documentary, audiences may approach that global tour with expectations molded by the flood of recent films that present Earth and its diversity as something in need of saving, not just gazing. The perspective of “Samsara” could instead be called cosmic, and its goals primarily aesthetic. “Our film is more about feelings and an inner journey than an intellectual experience,” Mark Magidson, who produced and co-edited the film, [said]. “We’re not trying to say anything.”

Note: Samsara was the highest grossing documentary release of 2012. To watch this hauntingly beautiful and politically poignant documentary online, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Communities print their own currency to keep cash flowing
2009-04-10, USA Today
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:26:24
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/economy/2009-04-05-scrip_N.htm

A small but growing number of cash-strapped communities are printing their own money. Borrowing from a Depression-era idea, they are aiming to help consumers make ends meet and support struggling local businesses. Businesses and individuals form a network to print currency. Shoppers buy it at a discount — say, 95 cents for $1 value — and spend the full value at stores that accept the currency. Workers with dwindling wages are paying for groceries, yoga classes and fuel with Detroit Cheers, Ithaca Hours in New York, Plenty in North Carolina or BerkShares in Massachusetts. Ed Collom, a University of Southern Maine sociologist who has studied local currencies, says they encourage people to buy locally. Merchants, hurting because customers have cut back on spending, benefit as consumers spend the local cash. Jackie Smith of South Bend, Ind., who is working to launch a local currency, [said] "It reinforces the message that having more control of the economy in local hands can help you cushion yourself from the blows of the marketplace." During the Depression, local governments, businesses and individuals issued currency, known as scrip, to keep commerce flowing when bank closings led to a cash shortage. Pittsboro, N.C., is reviving the Plenty, a defunct local currency created in 2002. It is being printed in denominations of $1, $5, $20 and $50. A local bank will exchange $9 for $10 worth of Plenty. "We're a wiped-out small town in America," says Lyle Estill, president of Piedmont Biofuels, which accepts the Plenty. "This will strengthen the local economy. ... The nice thing about the Plenty is that it can't leave here."

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Judy Wicks: In Business for Life
2006-11-30, Yes! Magazine
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:24:23
http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/go-local/judy-wicks-in-business-for-life

In 1983, I opened the White Dog Cafe as a coffee and muffin take-out shop on the first floor of my house, where I have now lived for 35 years. Today the White Dog is a full-service restaurant occupying three of the brownstone row-houses. Our gift shop, the Black Cat, sells local and fair-trade crafts, books, and novelties. The other row houses are home to other restaurants, a coffeeshop, real estate office, newspaper and magazine shop, and a hair salon. By living above the shop on Sansom Street, I ... grew to understand first hand how the wonderful diversity of people added to the vitality of my neighborhood and to the success of my business. Living and working in the same community has not only given me a stronger sense of place, but a different business outlook. There's a short distance between me as the business decision-maker and those affected by my decisions—a basic principle of the local living economy movement. I am more likely to make decisions from the heart, not just from the head. [For me] business is about relationships with everyone we buy from, sell to, and work with. As a society, we are taught that economic growth benefits everyone and success is measured by material gain. Yet continual growth is destroying the planet, using up more natural resources than can be regenerated. And it is the rich who are getting richer, while the share of wealth for everyone else is declining. I made a conscious decision to stay small and learned to grow in other ways besides the physical. As the Earth Charter says, “After basic needs are met, it's about being more, not having more.”

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




16-year-old finds a new way to detect cancer
2013-05-18, CBS News
Posted: 2013-09-03 09:38:25
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57585179/16-year-old-finds-a-new-way-to...

Sixteen-year-old Jack Andraka's innovative mind led him to create a new way to detect pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancer. "I created a new way to detect pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancer that costs three cents and takes five minutes to run," he said. After a close friend died from pancreatic cancer, this 16-year-old from Crownsville, Maryland, unleashed his hyper-drive intellect on preventing more cancer deaths. "It's 168 times faster, over 26,000 times less expensive, and over 400 times more sensitive than our current methods of diagnosis," he said. Tinkering in his room and using information readily available online, he came up with a new way to detect cancer. "85 percent of all pancreatic cancers are diagnosed late, when someone has less than a two percent chance of survival. And our current test costs $800 per test and misses 30 percent of all pancreatic cancers," he said. He won last year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. The sweet validation came with $100,000 in scholarships, but Jack Andraka's got his eye on even bigger things. "The name of the competition is called the Tricorder XPRIZE," he said. "It's a $10 million prize. Essentially what you have to do is develop something the size of a smartphone that you scan over your skin and it will diagnose any disease instantly." Jack is fielding a team of other high-schoolers to compete against 300 teams of adult scientists and corporations in the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE competition. He says youth is an advantage -- that new eyes are more likely to solve old problems.

Note: Let's hope this invention gets fast tracked and makes it to market. Notice how little attention this exciting development received. To read about many potential cancer cures reported in major media which have not made it to market for financial reasons, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Mayor to take salary in Bristol pounds
2012-11-20, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-09-03 09:36:28
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/nov/20/mayor-salary-bristol-pounds

On his first day in office the new independent mayor of Bristol rebranded the Council House, scrapped a parking measure brought in only a few weeks ago and announced he would take his salary in the city's local currency. George Ferguson, who beat 14 candidates to become mayor, also revealed [that] the hole in the city council's budget was £32m – £4m greater than he had expected. Ferguson said he would work with anybody who could come up with a clever way of finding the savings needed without harming services. To applause, Ferguson said he wanted to move fast. He did not want to commission expensive surveys or report on initiatives. "Let's just do it and see how it turns out," he said. Of his salary – currently £51,000, though the figure could change – Ferguson said he would take it in Bristol pounds, a currency introduced this year and proving a success. Thanking the voters for entrusting him with the "ultimate project", Ferguson said Bristol had a minor link to London but a more important link to the rest of the world. "We are a proud provincial city," he said. "We are pretty self-contained and we are independent." Ferguson completed his speech by asking everyone present to join him as he took the oath made by young men of Athens when they became citizens: "I shall not leave this city any less but rather greater than I found it."

Note: For more on alternative and community currencies, click here and here and see a USA Today article here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.





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