This comprehensive list of inspiring news stories is usually updated once a week
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Ballard man recalls pulling girl from fiery car and a vision days later
2010-10-27, Seattle Times
Posted: 2010-11-15 16:24:50
It would take an unusual man to decide, in a split second after witnessing a car crash, to crawl into the Subaru that had erupted into flames 8 feet high to try to save a little girl and her dad. Early Thursday evening in Ballard, that is what Kenny Johnson did. He remembers talking to himself as he went into the Subaru: "Oh, my God, this car is gonna blow up and I'm going to be in it. Well, if does blow up, I guess I'm going straight to heaven because I'm trying to save that little girl." He did save the 3-year-old, Anna Kotowicz, who suffered a broken arm and some bruising. Her dad, Andy Kotowicz, 37, who had just picked up his daughter at day care, died at Harborview Medical Center three days later. Amid the crackling and popping of the car on fire, Johnson says he heard the cries of the 3-year-old, "a beautiful princess with blonde hair and blue eyes. I go to the passenger side. I don't remember this, but people afterward told me that when I couldn't open the door, I ripped it off the hinges. I jump into the car. For a few seconds, it's like there is no sound, no smell, everything is in slow motion. I can't explain it any other way." Days passed, and Johnson went back to his routine. That is, until Tuesday morning around 6, he says. "Then there is this man standing right by the bed. He says he needs help with a few things. He says he wants me to give a message to his wife and to his daughter. He also tells me to talk to the people at Sub Pop [his workplace], he wants to let them know not to be mad at the driver that caused the accident. That's his message." Johnson says that later that day, he went to the Sub Pop website, and there it was, a memorial photo of the man who had stood by his bed: Kotowicz.
Canadian couple give away millions in lottery winnings
Posted: 2010-11-08 09:41:17
A Canadian couple who won $10.9m (£6.7m) in lottery winnings in July say they have given away $10.2m of the prize to groups in their community. Allen and Violet Large said they were plain country folks who needed no more than "what we've got". The two said they had donated about 98% of the cash after helping their family. The elderly pair gave the money to churches, fire departments, cemeteries, the Red Cross and hospitals, where Ms Large has undergone cancer treatment. "We haven't bought one thing. That's because there is nothing that we need," Mr Large, 75, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Mr Large, a retired welder from Canada's Nova Scotia province, added that he and his wife were quite content with their 147-year-old home and everything else they already owned. "You can't buy happiness," he said.
Note: Considering that the vast majority of people believe they don't have enough money, if you feel you have enough, you can consider yourself one of the richest people in the world, no matter how much is in your bank account. Think about this, and ask yourself how much is enough?
The Final Days
2007-07-01, New York Times
Posted: 2010-11-08 09:33:48
“Coast to Coast AM” is an overnight radio show devoted to what its weekday host, George Noory, calls “the unusual mysteries of the world and the universe.” “Coast to Coast AM” is by far the highest-rated radio program in the country once the lights go out. “My motto tonight,” Noory intoned at the beginning of [a] program, “is be prepared, not scared.” What followed was a graphic recitation of disaster scenarios for 2012, including hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions caused by solar storms, ... and mass extinctions brought on by nuclear winter. For Christians awaiting rapture or Shiites counting the days until the Twelfth Imam appears, the trials and injustices of the known world are a prelude for the paradise that we can imagine but can’t yet achieve. Judging by the sheer number of predicted end dates that have come and gone without the trumpets blowing and angels rushing in, we are a people impatient to see our world redeemed through catastrophe. Gnostics predicted the imminent arrival of God’s kingdom as early as the first century; Christians in Europe [were prepared] for the end of the world at the first millennium; the Shakers believed the world would end in 1792. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have been especially prodigious with prophetic end dates: 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975 and 1994. End dates are not the stuff of fantasy, after all; each and every one of us has a terminal appointment inscribed in our calendars. Perhaps that is why we need to imagine a supernatural force with one eye on a ticking clock, waiting to make everything new again.
Note: Could the desire for apocalypse represent a deep dissatisfaction with both ourselves and the world around us? Don't be surprised if after 2012 a new date of apocalypse eventually comes in vogue again. Could it be that when we open to accepting things as they are, we begin to experience more of paradise in our lives here and now? Coast to Coast tends to focus on the sensational, yet it is one of the few programs reporting deep cover-ups that no other media will touch.
A town crier in the global village
2010-09-02, The Economist magazine
Posted: 2010-11-01 09:51:12
Nearly four years ago, a web-based political movement set itself the modest task of “closing the gap between the world we have and world most people everywhere want”. Calling their group Avaaz, which means “voice” in several languages, ... the movement, using 14 languages and engaged in a mind-boggling list of causes, has had some spectacular successes. Within the next few months, membership will top 6m. The number of individual actions taken (from bombarding a politician with a well-aimed message, or funding a poster campaign, to helping provide satellite phones to Burmese monks) is estimated at over 23m. Among the recent developments Avaaz claims to have influenced are a new anti-corruption law in Brazil; a move by Britain to create a marine-conservation zone in the Indian Ocean; and the spiking of a proposal to allow more hunting of whales. Avaaz’s campaign against the death sentence for adultery imposed on an Iranian woman asks members to phone Iranian embassies (and provides numbers); members are also being urged to put pressure on the leaders of Brazil and Turkey to intercede with Iran. Avaaz is collecting funds for a campaign in the Brazilian and Turkish press, too. Avaaz’s other demands range from the simple -— close Guantánamo -— to the very broad: fight climate change, avoid a clash of civilisations. Despite the risk of blurred signals, the variety of causes is also a strength.
Note: Consider signing up at Avaaz.org to join in the powerful advocacy work they are doing.
Seeking Proof in Near-Death Claims
2010-10-25, Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2010-11-01 09:47:03
At least 15 million American adults say they have had a near-death experience, according to a 1997 survey -— and the number is thought to be rising with increasingly sophisticated resuscitation techniques. In addition to floating above their bodies, people often describe moving down a dark tunnel toward a bright light, feeling intense peace and joy, reviewing life events and seeing long-deceased relatives—only to be told that it's not time yet and land abruptly back in an ailing body. "There are always skeptics, but there are millions of 'experiencers' who know what happened to them, and they don't care what anybody else says," says Diane Corcoran, president of the International Association for Near-Death Studies, a nonprofit group in Durham, N.C. The organization publishes the Journal of Near-Death Studies and maintains support groups in 47 states. In his new book, Evidence of the Afterlife, Jeffrey Long, a radiation oncologist in Louisiana, analyzes 613 cases reported on the website of his Near Death Research Foundation and concludes there is only one plausible explanation: "that people have survived death and traveled to another [mode of existence]." "The self, the soul, the psyche—throughout history, we've never managed to figure out what it is and how it relates to the body," [said Sam Parnia, a critical-care physician]. "This is a very important for science and fascinating for humankind."
Note: For two of the most amazing near-death experiences ever told, click here and here.
Baltimore Artist's Art, Spirit Triumph Over Disability
Posted: 2010-10-24 20:26:05
Dan Keplinger was born with severe cerebral palsy. But at 30, he's already a successful artist, the subject of an Oscar-winning film called "King Gimp," and he's finishing his second college degree. Keplinger insists on doing everything for himself. To paint, Keplinger wiggles into headgear, then kneels over a canvas, hugging himself tightly to keep his arms from flailing. Many of Keplinger's works are self-portraits or reference his disability. "King Gimp" charts Keplinger's experience in a regular public school, his discovery of art and his entry into college. The 40-minute film won an Oscar in 1999 for best short subject documentary. His art continues to garner fans and critical acclaim. "Many of Keplinger's paintings are in some way autobiographical," [NPR reporter Neda] Ulaby says. "His bearded face flickers from the canvas, the eyes empty hollows. He looks both vulnerable and blank. It isn't easy to separate Keplinger's story from his art." Keplinger explains it simply: "Art... is... my... life."
Note: For one of the most inspiring one-minute videos ever made, watch the clip featuring Dan at this link.
Micro-loan portal Kiva celebrates 5 years
2010-10-10, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2010-10-17 18:06:26
Micro-asset financing is a relatively recent innovation in micro-finance - which is best known for small loans issued to people trying to escape poverty by starting a business - and is an example of how the field has explored different loan models. Kiva, celebrating its fifth anniversary on [October 13], took that experimentation to a new level in 2005 when it coupled the Internet and large numbers of individual lenders with needy borrowers. Using a Web portal, Kiva facilitates loans from individuals who can log onto its site and read borrowers' stories. Kiva partners with lending organizations in developing countries, which take the no-interest loans from Kiva and distribute them locally. Kiva lenders are paid back if the borrower succeeds, but do not earn interest. In recent years, with the help of Kiva, micro-finance as an anti-poverty tool has quickly grown in popularity. Economist Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank in Bangladesh are credited with pioneering the micro-finance movement in the mid-1970s by lending small amounts of money to basket weavers. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his efforts. But the concept received much broader exposure in the United States after Kiva came along. Described by some as "the Internet generation's answer to charity," Kiva became the philanthropy du jour for a time, and in the United States, was endorsed by celebrities and academics alike.
Note: For our excellent essay on building a better world through microlending, please visit this link.
Solar energy making a return to White House
2010-10-06, Washington Post
Posted: 2010-10-11 10:38:06
The White House is going solar after all - a home improvement that carries modest energy benefits but much larger symbolic importance. It isn't the first time the White House has used solar energy. President Jimmy Carter put 32 solar panels on the roof in the late 1970s, but President Ronald Reagan removed them in 1986. Two grass-roots campaigns have recently been lobbying President Obama to restore them as a sign of his commitment to renewable energy. The roof of the White House residence will get solar panels and a solar water heater, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and the White House Council on Environmental Quality's chair, Nancy Sutley. A campaign launched by Oakland, Calif.-based Sungevity called Solar on the White House and another by 350.org founder Bill McKibben tried to get Obama to reinstall solar panels. "The White House did the right thing, and for the right reasons: They listened to the Americans who asked for solar on their roof, and they listened to the scientists and engineers who told them this is the path to the future," McKibben said in a statement. "If it has anything like the effect of the White House garden, it could be a trigger for a wave of solar installations across the country and around the world," he said.
Impact investing seeks to make money, do good
2010-10-06, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2010-10-11 10:36:02
Most investors, when sizing up a company, ask a simple question: "Will this company make me money?"
But John Grafer, a principal with Satori Capital, likes to ask a question most traditional investors never think of: "Does your receptionist have an equity stake in your company?" Grafer is one of a growing breed of investors who look beyond the bottom line and ask what a company is doing to help society. It's called impact investing, and its supporters say it combines the shrewdness of the for-profit marketplace with an earnest desire to do good. "It's the opposite of a quick flip," Grafer said. "While there might not be a short-term return, you get a larger long-term return." The companies that make up Satori's $175 million fund all have to meet strict financial and social benchmarks. Grafer said he focuses on ownership, the environment, civic involvement and respectful relationships with customers. A report by Hope Consulting indicates that investors were willing to spend as much as $120 billion on companies that promise social and financial return, if the right product were available. Four social market funds are well on their way to reaching $100 million. And attendance at this year's conference was double what it was when the conference began just three years ago. Organizers say the trend toward socially conscious investing has been spurred by the downturn in the economy. "The traditional market failed," said Kevin Jones, of San Francisco's Good Capital and a conference organizer. "This kind of stuff works without creating a bubble."
Note: For an excellent example of investing for social good while still make a return on your investing, check out our excellent piece on microlending at this link.
Vatican astronomer cites possibility of extraterrestrial 'brothers'
2008-05-14, New York Times
Posted: 2010-10-04 10:26:06
The Vatican's chief astronomer says there is no conflict between believing in God and in the possibility of extraterrestrial "brothers" perhaps more evolved than humans. "In my opinion this possibility exists," said the Reverend José Gabriel Funes, head of the Vatican Observatory and a scientific adviser to Pope Benedict XVI, referring to life on other planets. "How can we exclude that life has developed elsewhere," he said in an interview with the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano. The large number of galaxies with their own planets makes this possible, he noted. Asked if he was referring to beings similar to humans or even more evolved than humans, he said: "Certainly, in a universe this big you can't exclude this hypothesis." In the interview headlined, "The extraterrestrial is my brother," he said he saw no conflict between belief in such beings and faith in God. "Just as there is a multiplicity of creatures on earth, there can be other beings, even intelligent, created by God. This is not in contrast with our faith because we can't put limits on God's creative freedom," he said. "Why can't we speak of a 'brother extraterrestrial'? It would still be part of creation." Funes, who runs the observatory that is based south of Rome and in Arizona, held out the possibility that the human race might actually be the "lost sheep" of the universe.
There could be other beings "who remained in full friendship with their creator," he said.
Note: For a fascinating summary of evidence presented by government and military professionals for the possible presence of extraterrestrials here on Earth, click here.
Computers set for quantum leap
2010-09-16, Financial Times
Posted: 2010-09-27 09:48:11
A new photonic chip that works on light rather than electricity has been built by an international research team, paving the way for the production of ultra-fast quantum computers with capabilities far beyond today’s devices. Future quantum computers will, for example, be able to pull important information out of the biggest databases almost instantaneously. As the amount of electronic data stored worldwide grows exponentially, the technology will make it easier for people to search with precision for what they want. Jeremy O’Brien, director of the UK’s Centre for Quantum Photonics, who led the project, said many people in the field had believed a functional quantum computer would not be a reality for at least 25 years. “However, we can say with real confidence that, using our new technique, a quantum computer could, within five years, be performing calculations that are outside the capabilities of conventional computers,” he told the British Science Festival, as he presented the research. The immense promise of quantum computing has led governments and companies worldwide to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the field. Big spenders, including the US defence and intelligence agencies concerned with the national security issues, and governments ... see quantum electronics as the foundation for IT industries in the mid-21st century.
Crime rate decline puzzles theorists
2010-09-14, Boston Globe/Associated Press
Posted: 2010-09-20 10:00:56
Violent crime declined 5.3 percent last year, the third straight annual fall, the FBI reported [on September 13]. The drop was accompanied by a 4.6 percent drop in property crime, marking the seventh consecutive year that nonviolent crime has dropped. The figures challenge theories among some criminal analysts that crime tends to rise in times of uncertain economies. In the 1970s and early 1980s, when the economy went south, crime rates went up. Inflation was high then, which could account for the different reaction. James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University, said that although the downward trend is encouraging, the economy “could come back to haunt us’’ because of a nearly 10 percent drop per capita in police budgets in the past few years. “There is a connection between the economy and crime rates, but it’s not that when the economy is bad, people go out and commit crime,’’ said Fox. “When the economy is bad,’’ he said, “there are budget cuts. Less is spent on youth crime prevention and crime control on the street.’’
Note: Robbery and violent crime rates have dropped over 50% since 1994. Take a look at the graphs on the US Department of Justice website available here. Why isn't this highly inspiring news given top headlines?
UN: Number of hungry people declines
2010-09-14, Washington Post/Associated Press
Posted: 2010-09-20 09:58:23
The number of chronically hungry people in the world dipped considerably below the 1 billion mark - the first drop in 15 years - thanks partly to a fall in food prices after spikes that sparked rioting a few years ago, U.N. agencies said [on September 14]. Still, an estimated 925 million people are undernourished worldwide, and the latest figures don't reflect the repercussions from the massive flooding in Pakistan. The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization's report suggested some progress in the battle to end hunger, but stressed the world is far from achieving the U.N. promoted Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of undernourished people from 20 percent in 1990-92 to 10 percent in 2015. The report estimated there are 98 million fewer chronically hungry people than in 2009, when the figure just topped 1 billion. The drop in the chronically hungry is partly because ... cereal and rice harvests have been strong. Cereal production this year was the third-highest ever recorded, despite a drought-fueled wheat shortfall in Russia, said FAO director-general Jacques Diouf. Also heartening, Diouf noted, is that cereal stocks are high - some 100 million tons more than the low levels of 2007-2008, when some 38 countries shut down their food export markets in reaction.
Glassdoor offers view inside firms like HP
2010-09-08, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2010-09-20 09:55:43
If the workplace review site Glassdoor is to companies what Yelp is to restaurants, then Hewlett-Packard Co. employees gave former chief executive Mark Hurd only two stars, but remain hopeful of a four- or five-star successor. In the past, those kinds of inside insights into employee morale at any corporation could be locked away behind closed doors. But in the open world of the Web, sites like Glassdoor have moved those sentiments into the open market, giving voice to rank-and-file workers in a way that no company suggestion box ever could. "In a world with Glassdoor and Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, there's a tsunami of transparency washing over the employment space," Glassdoor Inc. CEO Robert Hohman said. The Sausalito company lets any employee post reviews about the overall workplace environment, both the pros and the cons of working there and "advice for senior management." The reviews are posted anonymously, to encourage openness without fear of retribution. In the two years since its launch, the site has grown from having reviews for about 3,000 companies to now having about 90,000 companies, including Bay Area giants like Chevron Corp., Intel Corp., Oracle Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., Facebook Inc. and, of course, HP.
Note: The transparency offered by the Internet is making a big difference.
For first time, more women than men earn PhD
2010-09-15, USA Today
Posted: 2010-09-20 09:52:23
With female enrollments growing at all levels of higher education, doctoral degrees have been one area where men have continued to dominate. No more. New data being released today show that in 2008-09, for the first time, women earned a majority of the doctoral degrees awarded in the USA. The data are part of an analysis of graduate enrollments and degrees from the Council of Graduate Schools. The majority for women in doctoral degrees is slight, 50.4%. But the shift has been steady and significant. As recently as 2000, women were earning only 44% of doctoral degrees. In master's degrees, where women have already accounted for a majority of degrees, their share now stands at 60%. Nathan Bell, director of research and policy analysis for the Council of Graduate Schools, said that the female majority for doctoral recipients was "a natural progression of what we have been seeing" in the rest of higher education. Given that female enrollments have overtaken male enrollments in associate, bachelor's and master's programs, he said, "the pipeline is increasingly female." In fact, he said that the only reason that women did not become a majority of doctoral recipients earlier is that a greater share of doctoral degrees are awarded in fields like engineering that remain disproportionately male than is the case at the undergraduate level.
Mom's Touch Brings Baby to Life
Posted: 2010-09-13 10:31:07
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, a heart-broken couple in Australia cradles the body of their newborn baby. The doctor declared the little boy dead saying that he had no vital signs. But then something remarkable happened: a twitch, a blink and what some people are now calling a miracle. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) This is Jamie Ogg, a tiny little boy born at just 27 weeks, weighing just one kilo; a little boy who has defied all medical odds, whose survival can only be described as miracle. He should be dead. In fact, the doctor who delivered him pronounced him dead. Overwhelmed with grief, Kate and David were given Jamie for a cuddle; to hold and say good-bye to the son they believed it was dead. It's normal practice, but what happened was far, far from normal. Although Jamie had no visible signs of life, he was occasionally gasping for air, a reflex the doctor had told the new parents to suspect. The couple did everything they could to soothe Jamie in his last minutes. This video taken by a midwife clearly shows Jamie's movements, but, still, there were doubts. So in one last ditch attempt, Kate gave Baby Jamie some breast milk on her finger. To her amazement, he took it.
Note: To watch a video of this highly inspiring story, click here.
Israeli actors refuse to take the stage in settlement theatre
2010-08-30, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2010-09-06 11:23:19
Five leading Israeli theatres were facing a mounting political row yesterday after a pledge by 60 of the country's most prominent actors, writers and directors to boycott the companies' planned performances in a Jewish West Bank settlement. The companies triggered the protest by planning a programme of performances to mark the opening of a new £6.4m cultural centre in the West Bank settlement of Ariel later this year. The protest ... includes Yousef Sweid and Rami Heuberger, two of Israel's best known actors, as well as its most venerated living playwright, Joshua Sobol, whose Holocaust work "Ghetto" won the Evening Standard Play of the Year award when Nicolas Hytner directed it at London's National Theatre in 1989. Their petition, sent to Israel's ... Culture Minister, Limor Livnat, expressed "dismay" at the theatres' decision to perform in the settlement's new auditorium and served notice that the artists will refuse to perform in any settlements. Calling on Israeli theatres to "pursue their prolific activity" within the "green line" that marked its border until the 1967 Six Day War, it says that to do otherwise would "strengthen the settlement enterprise."
The Muslims in the Middle
2010-08-17, New York Times
Posted: 2010-08-31 09:52:08
Many of our leaders have a tendency to see the Islamic world as a single, terrifying monolith. Feisal Abdul Rauf of the Cordoba Initiative is one of America’s leading thinkers of Sufism, the mystical form of Islam, which in terms of goals and outlook couldn’t be farther from the violent Wahhabism of the jihadists. His videos and sermons preach love, the remembrance of God (or “zikr”) and reconciliation. His slightly New Agey rhetoric makes him sound, for better or worse, like a Muslim Deepak Chopra. Such moderate, pluralistic Sufi imams are the front line against the most violent forms of Islam. In the most radical parts of the Muslim world, Sufi leaders risk their lives for their tolerant beliefs, every bit as bravely as American troops on the ground in Baghdad and Kabul do. Sufism is the most pluralistic incarnation of Islam — accessible to the learned and the ignorant, the faithful and nonbelievers — and is thus a uniquely valuable bridge between East and West. The great Sufi saints like the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi held that all existence and all religions were one, all manifestations of the same divine reality. What was important was not the empty ritual of the mosque, church, synagogue or temple, but the striving to understand that divinity can best be reached through the gateway of the human heart: that we all can find paradise within us, if we know where to look. In some ways Sufism, with its emphasis on love rather than judgment, represents the New Testament of Islam.
Crocodile crazy: The man who enjoys giving his dangerous 'companion' kisses and cuddles
2009-08-17, Daily Mail (One of the UK's largest-circulation newspapers)
Posted: 2010-08-23 11:09:44
Known as the 'Crocodile Man', Costa Rican animal lover Chito swims, plays and even feeds Pocho the giant crocodile in what is one of the world's most unlikely friendships. 'This is a very dangerous routine but Pocho is my friend and we have a good relationship,' says 52-year-old Chito. 'He will look me in the eye and he does not attack me. It is too dangerous for anyone else to come in the water. It is only ever the two of us.' The bizarre friendship began nearly 20 years ago when Chito rescued the 980-pound crocodile after finding him close to death ... shot in the left eye by a cattle farmer after preying on a herd of cows. Chito enlisted the help of several friends to load the massive reptile into his boat. Naming him 'Pocho' (meaning strength), the fisherman says he healed the reptile with medicine, food, and, more importantly, lots of care and attention. 'When I found him in the river after he was dying so I put him in my boat and I brought him into my house,' recalls Chito. 'He was very skinny, weighing only around 150 pounds, so I gave him chicken and fish and medicine for six months to help him recover.' During the recovery process, Chito stayed by Pocho's side, even sleeping with him at night. 'I just wanted him to feel that someone loved him, that not all humans are bad,' Chito says.
Note: Don't miss the great photos at the article link above.
Computers to translate world's 'lost' languages after program deciphers ancient text
2010-07-27, The Daily Mail (One of the UK's largest-circulation newspapers)
Posted: 2010-08-17 09:46:49
Scientists have used a computer program to decipher a written language that is more than three thousand years old. The program automatically translated the ancient written language of Ugaritic within just a few hours. Ugaritic was last used around 1200 B.C. in western Syria and consists of dots on clay tablets. It was first discovered in 1920 but was not deciphered until 1932. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology told the program that the language was related to ... Hebrew. Through repeated analysis, the program linked letters and words to map nearly all Ugaritic symbols to their Hebrew equivalents in a matter of hours. The system looks for commonly used symbols in the two languages and gradually refines its mapping of the alphabet until it can go no further. The Ugaritic alphabet has 30 letters, and the system correctly mapped 29 of them to their Hebrew counterparts. Of the words that the two languages shared the program was able to correctly identify 60 per cent of them. Science professor Regina Barzilay, who was leading the research, said: ‘Traditionally, decipherment has been viewed as a sort of scholarly detective game, and computers weren't thought to be of much use. Our aim is to bring to bear the full power of modern machine learning and statistics to this problem.’ Scientists hope the breakthrough could help them decipher the few ancient languages that they have been unable to translate so far.