Inspiring News Stories
Excerpts of Highly Inspiring News Stories in Major Media
Below are one-paragraph excerpts of highly inspiring news stories from the major media. Links are provided to the original stories on their media websites. If any link fails to function, click here. The inspiring news story summaries most recently posted here are 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.
Tardigrades, also known as water bears, are nearly indestructible. The microscopic animals can survive boiling water, extreme cold, and even a trip to space. Tardigrades can even be frozen for a year, or 10, and return to life when they thaw. But these tough little animals are still surprising scientists. When scientists sequenced the genome of water bears, they found that 17.5 percent of the animals’ DNA came from other species. “We had no idea that an animal genome could be composed of so much foreign DNA,” study co-author Bob Goldstein said in a news release. “We knew many animals acquire foreign genes, but we had no idea that it happens to this degree.” Tardigrades have some 6,000 foreign genes, the scientists report in a paper published Monday. Foreign DNA appears in an organism’s genome through a process called horizontal gene transfer. In that process, species swap genetic material directly, instead of exclusively inheriting DNA from the organism’s parents. Dr. Goldstein and colleagues ... think the tardigrade’s defense mechanism for extreme circumstances actually opens the door for this foreign DNA. When the water bears are under extreme stress they curl up, expel their water and appear dead. The scientists think the animal’s DNA splits into tiny pieces during this process. When the animal starts to come back to life by rehydrating, their cells become leaky and can absorb molecules around the animal. As the animal stitches its own DNA back together, the foreign pieces can get woven in too.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Two decades ago, Harris Rosen ... decided to shepherd part of his fortune into a troubled community with the melodious sounding name of Tangelo Park. This neighborhood [and] its leaders tried to beat back drugs, crime and too many shuttered homes. Nearly half its students had dropped out of school. Twenty-one years later, with an infusion of $11 million of Mr. Rosen’s money so far, Tangelo Park is a striking success story. Nearly all its seniors graduate from high school, and most go on to college on full scholarships Mr. Rosen has financed. Young children head for kindergarten primed for learning, or already reading, because of the free day care centers and a prekindergarten program Mr. Rosen provides. Property values have climbed. Houses and lawns, with few exceptions, are welcoming. Crime has plummeted. “It’s not inexpensive,” Mr. Rosen said. “You stay until the neighborhood no longer needs you.” But, he added, there are a lot of wealthy people with the resources to do the same thing if they choose. In all, Mr. Rosen now spends about $500,000 a year, less than when he began the program, he said. Mr. Rosen’s plan gives no money directly to the schools, directing it instead to help preschool children and provide scholarships for high school graduates. Next year, Mr. Rosen is starting his education program in Parramore, a neighborhood in downtown Orlando, with housing projects and a more transient population. Success ... he said, might persuade other wealthy people to embrace the program.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Cochin International Airport in southern India’s Kerala state may be best known as the gateway to the tourist beaches and houseboats of the region’s famous backwaters. Now it has a new claim to fame: The world’s first solar airport. Since August, the airport has used 46,000 solar panels laid across 45 acres to power all its electricity needs, and sell excess power to the government-run grid. At night, when the sun doesn’t shine, it pulls some of that power back from the grid, making the airport effectively “carbon neutral.” Over the next 25 years, the project is expected to reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of planting 3 million trees. The move to solar power is also expected to help cut pollution in Kochi, an industrial city ranked the 24th most polluted in India. Based on the results at Kochi, India’s government has directed 125 airports run by the Airport Authority of India to generate at least 1 megawatt of solar power each by March 2016. If a medium-sized airport such as Kochi, with just 1,300 acres of land, can produce sufficient electrical power for its operations, larger airports such as Delhi, with 5,000 acres, and Bangalore, with 3,000 acres, should be able to meet some of their power demand too, said Kurian, the Kochi airport’s managing director. “We are expecting not only other Indian airports, but airports in other countries, also to follow suit,” he said. “Every day we are being asked for expert advice and are answering queries from across the world.”
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A Facebook post from the mother of an unmuzzled B.C. biologist has gone viral, shedding more insight into the changes in the control of information since the new federal government took office last week. [Jody] Paterson quoted a status update her son made on his personal Facebook account. "We were told that it's ok to talk to the media or anyone about what we do without permission. That's how surreal it was. That's how things changed over night," the post reads. Kristi Miller, a B.C.-based molecular geneticist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, was among the first scientists to speak out after the unmuzzling. In 2011, she was prevented from discussing her research into the 2009 Fraser River sockeye salmon collapse following its publication. "When we were banned, it almost made government scientists second-class citizens in the scientific arena," she said. "It was quite embarrassing." Navdeep Bains, the new minister of innovation, science and economic development, announced the policy change Friday, two days after Trudeau and his cabinet were sworn in. "Government scientists and experts will be able to speak freely about their work to the media and the public," he said in a written statement. The previous government ... brought in a restrictive communications policy that required national or international media requests to speak with federal government scientists to be approved by a minister's office, and all communications with government scientists to go through a government communications office.
Fragrance company Axe has built a grooming products empire by buddying up with bros. Their ads are well known for their sexual humor and exaggerated scenarios. Perhaps that’s why Axe’s latest ad has come as such a surprise. Instead of focusing on broad humor, the company’s Super Bowl spot to promote the new Axe Peace fragrance line is a sprawling epic that seemingly spans to span continents and generations. Axe often visits college campuses and talks to students to discover what topics and themes will captivate their Millennial customers. Right now, [marketing director Matthew] McCarthy says, those topics are peace and harmony. “The idea of making the world a more peaceful place is a pretty universal idea. Young people are saying, ‘Hey, this world’s pretty soon going to be my world and I’m going to be even more responsible for it.’” The commercial ... begins with a montage of classic wartime images. A tank rolls through a devastated European city, an Asian dictator is flanked by Maoist propaganda posters and a Middle Eastern ruler wields a nuclear device. Midway through, though, the narrative is turned on its head as each invader is revealed to actually be making a loving gesture toward a woman. If the typical Axe ad operates on the assumption that sex sells, this one attempts to prove that romance does. So is Axe turning to a more serious tone for good? McCarthy says the company simply has to pick the right message for the right moment. But for now he thinks they’ve hit a note that resonates.
Note: Don't miss the most amazing, two-minute version of this awesome commercial.
A Georgia State Patrol Trooper went above and beyond the call of duty after a Halloween tragedy. Four Morgan County children lost both of their parents as they were getting ready to trick-or-treat Saturday. Donald and Crystal Howard ... were killed instantly when their SUV flew off the road and hit a tree. Trooper Nathan Bradley arrived at the home to break the news of the tragedy. “Unfortunately, I was greeted by four children in full costumes,” Bradley said. With their grandmother’s permission, Bradley didn’t tell the children, who ranged in age from 6 to 13, that their parents had died. “The first thing I said was, ‘Hey lets go get something to eat,’” Bradley said. “They said, ‘My parents will be here soon.’ I said, ‘Your Grandma wants you to hang out with me till she gets here." Bradley treated Justin, Amaya, Damien and Travion to dinner, movies and Halloween candy at the Monroe State Patrol post followed by a sleepover. “The whole purpose was to preserve their Halloween,” said Bradley. They weren't told about their parents’ accident until the next morning when their grandmother arrived. Bradley also started a GoFundMe page for funeral expenses so that Crystal and Donald can be buried in Florida, where the children are moving in with grandparents. All the kindness came from a young state trooper who didn't want to ruin Halloween for his four new friends. “It’s the first time in the line of duty I told someone I loved them and I do love them,” Bradley said. “I care about them a lot.”
Note: Through gofundme, over $450,000 was raised to support this grieving family. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Research is mounting that a natural, potent source of stress relief is right in front of your nose. New science is showing that slowing down and deepening your breathing can have profound effects on well-being. “Many researchers can’t imagine how something so simple could actually have effects on physiology,” says Dr. Andrew Weil, a physician and founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. Breathing exercises – a staple of mindfulness and yoga practices – have been shown to help control blood pressure, improve heart rate, make arteries more flexible and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which tamps down the body’s fight-or-flight response to stress. Weil and other experts now believe deep breathing has a place in a clinical setting. “It’s enough to warrant applications in several areas of medicine,” says Dr. Luciano Bernardi, an internal-medicine professor whose research shows that slow-breathing exercises improve exercise capacity in patients with chronic heart failure. “We’ve shown that this simple thing has a fantastic series of effects.
Note: Explore three simple breathing exercises recommended by Dr. Andrew Weil.
In 2015, Naropa University awarded its first-ever honorary degree. Parker Palmer ... delivered one of the greatest commencement addresses of all time — a beam of shimmering wisdom illuminating the six pillars of a meaningful human existence. In his first piece of advice, Palmer calls for living with wholeheartedness. "What I really mean ... is be passionate, fall madly in love with life. Be passionate about some part of the natural and/or human worlds and take risks on its behalf, no matter how vulnerable they make you." Palmer’s second point of counsel speaks to ... living with opposing truths. Take everything that’s bright and beautiful in you and introduce it to the shadow side of yourself. Wholeness is the goal, but wholeness does not mean perfection, it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of your life. In his third piece of advice, Palmer calls for extending this courtesy to others: As you welcome whatever you find alien within yourself, extend that same welcome to whatever you find alien in the outer world. His fourth piece of advice: Take on big jobs ... like the spread of love, peace, and justice. In his fifth point of counsel, Palmer ... offers: "Since suffering as well as joy comes with being human, I urge you to remember this: Violence is what happens when we don’t know what else to do with our suffering." In his sixth and final piece of wisdom, Palmer quotes ... Saint Benedict: “Daily, keep your death before your eyes.” If you hold a healthy awareness of your own mortality, your eyes will be opened to ... life.
In every corner of the world, there are people who are flagrantly ill, people who mutter to invisible others and box at the air. In India ... Madhu’s relatives dealt with her illness by abandoning her at a healing shrine. She wandered the country [until] the outreach team from an organization called the Banyan found her ... on the street. Since the Banyan was started in 1993, it has rescued over 1,500 women from the street. The group’s members wash, feed and medicate the women, and then they teach them to sew, cook and do other tasks. Families are more likely to take the women back if they come with medication and domestic skills. Over half the women have since been reunited with their kin. When I visited the Banyan, I was struck by how happy and grateful the women were. The atmosphere seemed so different from the palpable anger and fear in the shelters that catered to women with serious mental illness that I knew from working in Chicago. The challenge for the Banyan is to enable women to be useful to families who may not accept them back if they cannot work. In our country, it’s different. Because of our underfunded and fragmented mental health system, it is commonplace for people with psychosis to become periodically homeless. They often end up living in a street culture that teaches them that they become crazy only if they are weak. They distrust help, and they have learned that they should never admit to being ill. To reach the people who need our help we need to understand what it means to be crazy in their world.
The Iceman's students look wary as they watch him dump bag after bag of ice into the tub of water where they will soon be taking a dip. Under the direction of "Iceman" Wim Hof, the group of athletes is going to stay in the water for minutes practising his meditation techniques. Hof, 52, earned his nickname from feats such as remaining in a tank of ice in Hong Kong for almost 2 hours [and] swimming half the length of a football field under a sheet of ice in the Arctic. Hof tells his students meditation in the cold strengthens mind and body. For most people, hypothermia begins shortly after exposure to freezing temperatures without adequate clothing, and it can quickly lead to death. Hof says he can endure cold so well because he has learned to activate parts of his mind beyond the reach of most people's conscious control, and crank up what he calls his "inner thermostat." "I never had a teacher, and I never had lessons, other than hard Nature itself," he says in an interview at his apartment in Amsterdam. "If you do it wrong, it hurts and you take some knocks, and if you do it right, then you really learn." Hof may be able to exercise some influence over other body functions considered involuntary, [and] tells his students at the Rotterdam workshop that viewing mental and physical training as separate may hinder their performance. Hof describes the three main elements in his method as controlled breathing, paying close mental attention to signals coming from the body, and crucially, keeping an open mind.
President Barack Obama announced new measures to smooth the integration of former criminals into society. "We've got to make sure Americans who have paid their debt to society can earn their second chance," Obama said in a speech at Rutgers University in Newark, a city of about 280,000 that has grappled for decades with poverty and high rates of violent crime. Obama said he was banning "the box" that applicants had to check about their criminal histories when applying for certain federal jobs. He praised companies such as Wal-Mart, Target, Koch Industries, and Home Depot for taking similar measures in the private sector. The president noted that Congress was considering similar measures. The new steps unveiled by the White House included up to $8 million in federal education grants over three years for former inmates as well as new guidance on the use of arrest records in determining eligibility for public and federally assisted housing. Obama in July became the first sitting president to visit a federal prison. He has called on Congress to pass legislation to change sentencing laws to help reduce the number of people serving long sentences for non-violent drug crimes. With only 5 percent of the world’s population, the United States accounts for about 25 percent of the world’s prison population, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Note: Read another rich article on ABC News where Obama shares vulnerably about his history and concerns with the justice system.
During the past few months, young Iraqis met each evening in a sparsely furnished building in Baghdad’s Karada neighborhood to ... rebrand their city from one of war to one of peace. Baghdad [is] the heart and soul of Iraq’s culture; cosmopolitan, diverse, and dynamic. The annual Baghdad City of Peace Carnival ... attended this year by more than 15,000 people, provided opportunities for some 500 young people to volunteer, collaborating across political, ethnic, and religious lines in an effort to show the positive side of Baghdad that they see. This year’s carnival included displays of paintings and handicrafts from local artists, readings of traditional poetry, performances by Iraqi and Western-style musicians, a book fair, free health checkups from medical students, and fundraising by local organizations. For Caesar Alwardii, the carnival is a second job. “I work from 8 to 4 every day, and then I come here,” he explains. “I spend more time on this than my actual job because this ... reminds people that there are things to be proud of and happy about in Baghdad.” Now the idea of the carnival may be spreading. “Our goal is that next year every province in Iraq, on one day, will have a Day of Peace,” he says. This year, the carnival took place on the heels of protests in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square. Noof Assi, one of the organizers of the carnival and a leader in the demonstrations ... sees [these events] as a sign of hope for a better future, especially as struggling Iraqis continue to flee to Europe.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is taking on an unlikely opponent: junk food. Brady got heated during an interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI about Coca-Cola. "The fact that they can sell that, you know, to kids, that's, I mean that's poison for kids, but they keep doing it," Brady said. Brady, a father to two sons and one daughter, also took a shot at breakfast cereals, specifically the cereal represented in advertisements by the character Tony the Tiger. "That's just America and that's what we've been conditioned to so, you know, we believe that Frosted Flakes are actually, is a food," he said. The 38-year-old, four-time Super Bowl champion credited a healthy diet as a big part of his on-field success. He also accused certain large food and beverage companies of false advertising. "All those companies make lots of money selling those things," Brady told WEEI. "They have lots of money to advertise, you know? When you go to the Super Bowl, it's you know, that's who are the sponsors. That's the education that we get. That's what we get brainwashed to believe."
The European Parliament voted Thursday in support of a resolution that calls on member states to protect Edward Snowden from extradition. The vote ... has no legal force. The resolution urges nations to drop criminal charges and "consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as whistle-blower and international human rights defender." Snowden called Thursday's vote a "game-changer." "This is not a blow against the US Government, but an open hand extended by friends. It is a chance to move forward," he wrote.The Justice Department has said Snowden would face criminal prosecution if he returns to the United States. He's been charged with three felony counts, including violations of the U.S. Espionage Act. Snowden told the BBC this month that he has offered "many times" to go to prison in the United States as part of a deal to return from exile in Russia, but is still waiting for an answer from the American government. In response to Thursday's vote, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. policy on Snowden has not changed. "He needs to come back to the United States and face the due process and the judicial process here in the United States.
In a study published in the January edition of the journal Mindfulness, psychologists ... asked 313 adults if they had helped anyone during the previous week. Eighty-five percent said they had — by, say, listening to a friend’s problems, babysitting, donating to charity, or volunteering. This small study reveals a truth that is consistently demonstrated in many domains of research: We care deeply for one other, and ... would rather help our fellow beings than not. Even more, the science shows that refusing to help others can have debilitating, long-term mental and physical consequences for ourselves. Isolation hurts, physically; so does aggression. Every angry word we utter fries neurons and wears out our hearts. Here’s an experiment you can perform right now: Think about something stressful that happened to you during the past week. Now scan your body: How does your chest, stomach, or neck feel? Then think about something good that happened during the same period, however small. Now what happens in your body? Did you feel any difference? The research predicts that the stressful memory caused you physical discomfort. Your tight chest and clenched stomach doesn’t make the world a better place. So what can you do? Science has an answer, and it starts with counting ... the good things in life. That doesn’t mean we ignore the bad. But all too often our negativity bias leads us to see only the bad, in other people as well as in ourselves. By counting the good things, we see reality more clearly.
Note: The new site Greater Good in Action offers concrete, research-tested practices for individuals to cultivate strengths like awe, gratitude, empathy, and compassion.
It may seem straight out of "Star Trek," but it's real: Scientists have created a sonic "tractor beam" that can pull, push and pirouette objects that levitate in thin air. The sonic tractor beam relies on a precisely timed sequence of sound waves that create a region of low pressure that traps tiny objects that can then be manipulated solely by sound waves. Though the new demonstration was just a proof of concept, the same technique could be adapted to remotely manipulate cells inside the human body or target the release of medicine locked in acoustically activated drug capsules, said study co-author Bruce Drinkwater. The principle behind the new system is simple: Sound waves, which are waves of high and low pressure that travel through a medium such as air, produce force. "We've all experienced the force of sound," Drinkwater told Live Science. "It's a question of harnessing that force." By tightly orchestrating the release of these sound waves, it should be possible to create a region with low pressure that effectively counteracts gravity. Drinkwater, his Ph.D. student Asier Marzo and other colleagues ... found three different acoustic force fields. One works like tweezers and seems to grab the particles in thin air. Another traps the object in a high-pressure cage. The third type of force field acts a bit like a swirling tornado, with a rotating high-pressure field surrounding a low-pressure, quiet "eye" that holds the object in place.
Note: Watch a video of this incredible tractor beam in action.
The Grant Study ... is now the longest longitudinal study of biosocial human development ever undertaken, and is still on-going. The study’s goal was to identify the key factors to a happy and healthy life. In 2009, I delved into the Grant Study data to establish a Decathlon of Flourishing - a set of ten accomplishments that covered many different facets of success. Two of the items in the Decathlon had to do with economic success, four with mental and physical health, and four with social supports and relationships. Then I set out to see how these accomplishments correlated, or didn’t, with three gifts of nature and nurture - physical constitution, social and economic advantage, and a loving childhood. The results were as clear-cut as they were startling. In contrast with the weak and scattershot correlations among the biological and socioeconomic variables, a loving childhood - and other factors like empathic capacity and warm relationships as a young adult - predicted later success in all ten categories of the Decathlon. What’s more, success in relationships was very highly correlated with both economic success and strong mental and physical health. In short, it was a history of warm intimate relationships ... that predicted flourishing. The Grant Study finds that nurture trumps nature. And by far the most important influence on a flourishing life is love. Not early love exclusively, and not necessarily romantic love. But love early in life facilitates not only love later on, but also the other trappings of success, such as high income and prestige.
School lunches are undergoing a big change in Marin County [CA]. In fact, one school might be making food history. This is school lunch as a fine dining experience, with fresh flowers on each table and the chef sitting down to personally explain his menu; one he's made from scratch. And everything is 100 percent organic and non-genetically modified. The Marin City School District is said to be the first in the nation to offer that. "It's literally the best we can get, that's the starting point," said Judi Shils, director of Turning Green. "That's how we can begin to start making bodies healthy and minds healthy." Turning Green is a nonprofit that launched the Conscious Kitchen at Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy in 2013 and this year added a second site. Some of the produce comes from the school's own garden. Because many of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch, the federal government picks up the tab for the meals. But the Conscious Kitchen also has an influential local partner. Justin Everett, the acclaimed Executive Chef at Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito, consults on menus and mentors some of the students. "Food speaks to everybody and that's this great way that we can connect with kids," said Everett. For some, it's a learning process. "I didn't like everything," said one student. But most like the switch from pre-packaged foods. "It's fresh, doesn't have pesticides in it," said another student. A healthy breakfast and a snack are also served and educators say they've seen improvement in behavior and grades.
Note: This article neglected to mention that teachers at the school have reported that as a result of the dietary change, they have seen increased leadership qualities exhibited by students, improved academic performance, and a huge 67% decrease in disciplinary cases.
Free Money Day, being celebrated today, is an annual event where people hand out money to strangers, two notes or coins at a time, asking them to pass half on to someone else. Using fun and intrigue, the day encourages conversations about our broken financial system and how its very design increases inequality. The Free Money Day project began in 2011 when a number of researchers at the Post Growth Institute were looking for a way to engage the broader population in a conversation on financial reform. Four years later, more than 200 Free Money Day events spanning 41 countries have been held, and more than US$10,000 (Ł6,500) has been distributed. In Moerewa, New Zealand, for example, buskers Emma and Derek handed out money to people listening to their music. In Mexico City, Axel gave his money to people living on the streets with a request that they in turn pass half on to strangers. In Utah, Roger handed out two $1 bills to each of his restaurant co-workers. Others have taken the experiment beyond money. In 2012, Gonçalo’s video store in Lisbon, Portugal, for example, offered free movie rentals. In the same year, Layne and Patcharin in Chiang Mai, Thailand, were so inspired by the Free Money Day concept that they gave away half of their 14-acre land holding to begin a land trust for permaculture farmers. By exploring the real value of money, Free Money Day encourages people to consider how they can put it to better use.
Ra Paulette ... has been scraping and shaping New Mexico's sandstone into man-made caves of art. He calls them his wilderness shrines - massive in scale, poetic in their design. "I see this as an environmental project; I'm trying to open up people's feelings," he said. He has no degree in sculpting. He's not a structural engineer, and he's not an architect. He is simply a man who found his passion. "Most of the wonder that I feel is in the actual making of the caves," he said. "Once they're made, I move on, if I want fresh wonder." He's found that fresh wonder digging about a dozen caves so far, most commissioned by nearby residents who want a piece of livable art. One cave along the Rio Grande River even has power, a wood floor, and a colorful bathtub with running water. It took Paulette two years to dig. He charged a mere $12 an hour in labor. "You don't do this for the money, you're not getting rich off making these beautiful places," said Cowan. "No, it's the process, you know? I'm having the time of my life." Recently ... documentary filmmaker heard of the caves, and spent three years following Paulette as he dug. The result was a film so unique it was nominated for an Academy Award. Suddenly, Ra Paulette was a caveman with a following. Showing us his latest project, [he said], "This is the largest thing I've ever done." At 67, he'll be well into his 70s before he shares this cave with the world. He hopes those who come here will find in its solitude what Ra Paulette already has: a sense of peace, and purpose.
Note: These caves bear some similarity to the intriguing carved caves in New Mexico allegedly created by a group called the WingMakers.