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.

The brain injury that made me a math genius
2014-04-20, Salon
Posted: 2014-04-29 11:27:13
http://www.salon.com/2014/04/20/the_brain_injury_that_made_me_a_math_genius/

If you could see the world through my eyes, you would know how perfect it is, how much order runs through it, and how much structure is hidden in its tiniest parts. The universe itself and everything we can touch and all that we are is made of the most beautiful geometric patterns imaginable. I know because they’re right in front of me. Because of a traumatic brain injury, the result of a brutal physical attack, I’ve been able to see these patterns for over a decade. This change in my perception was really a change in my brain function, the result of the injury and the extraordinary and mostly positive way my brain healed. All of a sudden, the patterns were just . . . there, and I realize now that my injury was a rare gift. I’m lucky to have survived, but for me, the real miracle—what really saved me—was being introduced to and almost overwhelmed by the mathematical grace of the universe. Doctors tell me that nothing in my brain was newly created or added when I was injured. Rather, innate but dormant skills were released. This theory comes from psychiatrist Darold Treffert, who is considered the world’s leading authority on savants and acquired savants. He ... suggested that all of us have extraordinary skills just beneath the surface, much as birds innately know how to fly in a V-formation and fish know how to swim in a school. Why the brain suppresses these remarkable abilities is still a mystery, but sometimes, when the brain is diseased or damaged, it relents and unleashes the inner genius. This isn’t just my story. It’s the story of the potential secreted away in all of us.

Note: Excerpted from Struck By Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel by Jason Padgett and Maureen Seaberg. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Iranian killer's execution halted at last minute by victim's parents
2014-04-16, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2014-04-29 11:25:57
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/16/iran-parents-halt-killer-execution

When he felt the noose around his neck, Balal must have thought he was about to take his last breath. Seven years ago Balal, who is in his 20s, stabbed 18-year-old Abdollah Hosseinzadeh during a street brawl in the small town of Royan, in the northern province of Mazandaran [Iran]. But what happened next marked a rarity in public executions in Iran, which puts more people to death than any other country apart from China. The victim's mother approached, slapped the convict in the face and then decided to forgive her son's killer. The victim's father removed the noose and Balal's life was spared. Balal's mother hugged the grieving mother of the man her son had killed. The two women sobbed in each other's arms – one because she had lost her son, the other because hers had been saved. [The slain boy's father, Abdolghani] Hosseinzadeh said a dream prompted the change of heart. "Three days ago my wife saw my elder son in a dream telling her that they are in a good place, and for her not to retaliate … This calmed my wife and we decided to think more until the day of the execution." Many Iranian public figures, including the popular TV sport presenter Adel Ferdosipour, had called on the couple, who have a daughter, to forgive the killer. Although they did so, Balal will not necessarily be freed. Under Iranian law the victim's family have a say only in the act of execution, not any jail sentence.

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




Rivers' garbageman named CNN Hero of the Year
2013-11-19, CNN
Posted: 2014-04-29 11:24:45
http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/19/world/hero-of-the-year/index.html

Chad Pregracke, an Illinois man who has dedicated his life to cleaning the Mississippi River and other U.S. waterways, is the 2013 CNN Hero of the Year. Pregracke organizes community cleanups across the country through his nonprofit, Living Lands & Waters. About 70,000 volunteers have pitched in, helping Pregracke collect more than 7 million pounds of trash in the past 15 years. "The garbage got into the water one piece at a time," Pregracke said earlier this year. "And that's the only way it's going to come out." "I'll just keep on cleaning up America's rivers and loving every minute of it," said Pregracke when he accepted the award. During the show, Pregracke pledged to spread some of his Hero of the Year money to the rest of the top 10 Heroes: "I've met so many great people today, the other Heroes, and I'm really moved by all their stories and all the things they do around the world. ... I'm going to give 10 grand to each of them, because they're awesome." Pregracke, 38, grew up in East Moline, Illinois, where the Mississippi River was in his backyard. As a teenager, he worked as a commercial shell diver and began to notice the heaps of debris in the fabled waterway, which supplies drinking water to 18 million people in more than 50 U.S. cities. "I saw thousands of barrels, thousands of tires, cars, trucks and tops of school buses. ... I got sick of seeing it and just wanted to do something about it," said Pregracke. For nine months out of the year, Pregracke lives on a barge with members of his 12-person crew. They go around the country with a fleet of boats, and they try to make cleanup fun for the volunteers who show up in each city.

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




Teen's invention could charge your phone in 20 seconds
2013-05-18, NBC News
Posted: 2014-04-29 11:23:42
http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/innovation/teens-invention-could-charge-your-phon...

Waiting hours for a cellphone to charge may become a thing of the past, thanks to an 18-year-old high-school student's invention. She won a $50,000 prize ... at an international science fair for creating an energy storage device that can be fully juiced in 20 to 30 seconds. The fast-charging device is a [type of] so-called supercapacitor, a gizmo that can pack a lot of energy into a tiny space, charges quickly and holds its charge for a long time. What's more, it can last for 10,000 charge-recharge cycles, compared with 1,000 cycles for conventional rechargeable batteries, according to [the inventor] Eesha Khare of Saratoga, Calif. Supercapacitors also allowed her to focus on her interest in nanochemistry — "really working at the nanoscale to make significant advances in many different fields." To date, she has used [her] supercapacitor to power a light-emitting diode, or LED. The invention's future is even brighter. She sees it fitting inside cellphones and the other portable electronic devices that are proliferating in today's world, freeing people and their gadgets for a longer time from reliance on electrical outlets. "It is also flexible, so it can be used in rollup displays and clothing and fabric," Khare added. "It has a lot of different applications and advantages over batteries in that sense." Khare's invention won her the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, conducted ... in Phoenix, Ariz.

Note: Now let's see if it actually makes it to market or is blocked by the companies that profit from selling many chargers. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Plant Breeders Release First 'Open Source Seeds'
2014-04-17, NPR
Posted: 2014-04-21 08:05:55
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/04/17/303772556/plant-breeders-release-...

A group of scientists and food activists is launching a campaign to change the rules that govern seeds. They are releasing 29 new varieties of crops under a new "open source pledge" that is intended to safeguard the ability of farmers, gardeners and plant breeders to share those seeds freely. The new Open Source Seed Initiative will pass out 29 new varieties of 14 different crops, including carrots, kale, broccoli and quinoa. Anyone receiving the seeds must pledge not to restrict their use by means of patents, licenses or any other kind of intellectual property. Any future plant that is derived from these open source seeds also has to remain freely available as well. Irwin Goldman, a vegetable breeder at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, ... doesn't like the consequences of restricting access to plant genes — what he calls germplasm. "If we don't share germplasm and freely exchange it, then we will limit our ability to improve the crop," he says. Sociologist Jack Kloppenburg, also at the University of Wisconsin, has been campaigning against seed patents for 30 years. His reasons go beyond Goldman's. He says turning seeds into private property has contributed to the rise of big seed companies that in turn promote ever-bigger, more specialized farms. "The problem is concentration, and the narrow set of uses to which the technology and the breeding are being put," he says.

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




French parliament bans cultivation of GM maize
2014-04-15, Reuters
Posted: 2014-04-21 08:04:45
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/15/us-france-gmo-idUSBREA3E1NY20140415

France's lower house of parliament adopted a law on [April 15] prohibiting the cultivation of any variety of genetically modified maize, saying it posed a risk to the environment. France adopted a decree last month to halt the planting of Monsanto's insect-resistant MON810 maize, the only GM crop allowed for cultivation in the European Union. The law also applies to any strain adopted at EU level in future, including another GM variety, Pioneer 1507 developed jointly by DuPont and Dow Chemical, which could be approved by the EU executive later this year after 19 out of 28 member states failed to gather enough votes to block it. The Socialist government, like its conservative predecessor, has opposed the growing of GM crops because of public suspicion and widespread protests by environmentalists. Jean-Marie Le Guen, the minister in charge of relations with parliament, told the National Assembly, "This bill strengthens the decree passed last March by preventing the immediate cultivation of GMO and extending their reach to all transgenic maize varieties." A debate on the future of GM policy is going on at EU level, with the European Commission suggesting an opt-out that would allow individual countries to ban such crops. Le Guen called for a stable EU system that would ensure member states' decisions could not be challenged legally.

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




10 ways to keep your diet GMO-free
2014-03-25, CNN
Posted: 2014-04-21 08:03:23
http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/25/health/upwave-gmo-free-diet/index.html

Jeffrey M. Smith, author of Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods and founding executive director of The Institute for Responsible Technology, a leading source of GMO-health-risk information, says several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified food, including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. In fact, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine has asked physicians to advise all patients to avoid genetically modified foods altogether. Ready to go GMO free? Here are 10 ways to shop smarter: 1. Go organic. The USDA National Organic Standards prohibit GMOs, so shopping organic is a great way to avoid them. 2. Load up on fruits and veggies. Most fresh produce is non-GMO, says Smith, but zucchini, yellow summer squash, edamame, sweet corn and papaya from Hawaii or China are considered high risk and are best avoided. Only buy those high-risk fruits and vegetables if they are labeled "organic" or "non-GMO," he advises. 3. Look for the non-GMO-verified seal. Since GMOs require no labeling, this seal is one of the best ways to tell when foods are free of genetic modification. 4. Join the Tipping Point Campaign. This network of local activists is working to educate communities on the dangers of GMOs. 5. Beware of additives. The five most common GMOs -- corn, canola, soy, cotton and sugar beets -- often end up as additives (in the form of corn syrup, oil, sugar, flavoring agents or thickeners) in packaged foods.

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




The Vatican's Precious Manuscripts Go Online
2014-04-11, Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2014-04-21 08:01:39
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303873604579495370743103510

Almost 600 years after Pope Nicholas V founded the Vatican Apostolic Library, the Holy See is now turning to 50 experts, five scanners and a Japanese IT firm to digitize millions of pages from its priceless manuscripts, opening them to the broader public for the first time. When the project is finished, one of the richest and most important collections of historical texts in the world will be available with a click of the mouse—and free. [The] institution known as the Popes' Library ... houses more than 82,000 manuscripts, some dating back to the second century. Scholars must now submit a detailed request to gain access to the library, which sits within the Vatican walls. The most precious works of art ... have been mostly off-limits. For the past year, Vatican officials have worked closely with experts at Japanese IT firm NTT DATA to test special scanners designed to handle particularly delicate documents. The machines have a protective screen to limit the manuscripts' exposure to light, and windows must remain shut and curtains drawn during the scanning procedure to keep dust and extraneous light out of the room. With the test phase finished, about 50 Italian and Japanese operators will soon begin the process of digitizing the first batch of 3,000 manuscripts under the watchful eye of Vatican librarians. That process, which will take place entirely inside the library, is expected to take four years. After each document is scanned, it will be formatted for long-term storage and then released onto the library's website. The first digital images are expected to be put online in the second half of this year.

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




Netherlands face prison undercrowding crisis
2014-04-11, CBS News/Associated Press
Posted: 2014-04-14 07:24:13
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/netherlands-face-prison-undercrowding-crisis/

The Dutch government is facing an unusual crisis: Prison undercrowding. There are now more guards and other prison staff than there are prisoners in the Netherlands for the first time, according to data released by the Justice Ministry. In 2008, there were around 15,000 inmates, in a country of 17 million. As of March of this year, there were just 9,710 inmates remaining, compared with 9,914 guards. And the number of inmates included 650 Belgian criminals the Netherlands is housing as part of a temporary deal. In the U.S., the figure is more like one guard or staff member per five prisoners. The overall U.S. incarceration rate is more than 10 times higher. Justice Ministry spokesman Jochgem van Opstal said "we're studying what the reason for the decline is." The ministry is already in the process of closing prisons and cutting 3,500 staff. Last week, labor union Abvakabo FNV slammed the cuts, saying they were leading to "staffing shortages." "At this moment you can't say there is any safety in Dutch prisons," union leader Corrie van Brenk said in an interview with Dutch broadcaster NOS. "It's an explosive situation." The government has rejected the criticism, saying violent incidents at prisons have been declining. One change politicians are considering is ending a practice of granting probation to criminals once they have served two-thirds of their sentences.

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




Goodbye, Oil: US Navy Cracks New Renewable Energy Technology To Turn Seawater Into Fuel, Allowing Ships To Stay At Sea Longer
2014-04-08, International Business Times
Posted: 2014-04-14 07:22:38
http://www.ibtimes.com/goodbye-oil-us-navy-cracks-new-renewable-energy-techno...

After decades of experiments, U.S. Navy scientists believe they may have solved one of the world’s great challenges: how to turn seawater into fuel. The development of a liquid hydrocarbon fuel could one day relieve the military’s dependence on oil-based fuels and is being heralded as a “game changer” because it could allow military ships to develop their own fuel and stay operational 100 percent of the time, rather than having to refuel at sea. The new fuel is initially expected to cost around $3 to $6 per gallon, according to the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, which has already flown a model aircraft on it. The Navy’s 289 vessels all rely on oil-based fuel, with the exception of some aircraft carriers and 72 submarines that rely on nuclear propulsion. The breakthrough came after scientists developed a way to extract carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas from seawater. The gasses are then turned into a fuel by a gas-to-liquids process with the help of catalytic converters. The next challenge for the Navy is to produce the fuel in industrial quantities. It will also partner with universities to maximize the amount of CO2 and carbon they can recapture. ”For the first time we've been able to develop a technology to get CO2 and hydrogen from seawater simultaneously. That's a big breakthrough," said Dr. Heather Willauer, a research chemist who has spent nearly a decade on the project, adding that the fuel "doesn't look or smell very different."

Note: Strangely, the major media networks appear to be largely silent on this important breakthrough, except for Forbes, which downplays the whole thing, as you can see at this link. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Collective thoughts that heal
2014-03-28, lynnemctaggart.com
Posted: 2014-04-14 07:20:49
http://lynnemctaggart.com/blog/262-collective-thoughts-that-heal

A remarkable study carried out by Harvard University [is] detailed in Dr. Joe Dispenza’s fascinating new book You are the Placebo. In 1981, eight men in their 70s and 80s attended a five-day retreat at a monastery in Peterborough, New Hampshire, organized by Harvard University, where they were asked to pretend that they were 22 years younger than their present age. When they got there, they discovered constant reminders of two decades previously: old issues of Life magazine and the Saturday Evening Post, shows on TV that had been popular in the late 50s, radios playing Perry Como and Nat King Cole. The men were asked to discuss events that had been current two decades before: Fidel Castro’s sudden ascendancy to power in Cuba, Nikita Khrushchev’s stand-off with Eisenhower in a US meeting, homeruns hit by Mickey Mantle and knock-out punches by Floyd Patterson. This carried on throughout the five days of the retreat. After the retreat ended, the researchers took the same physiological measurements they’d carried out at start of the study and discovered that the men actually had grown ‘taller’; they showed improved height, weight and gait, their postured straightened, their joints had become more flexible, their hearing, eyesight, grip strength, memory and general mental cognition had all improved. In fact, by the end of the five days, many of these octogenarians had given up their canes and were playing touch football. Once they’d been reminded of their younger selves, their bodies actually became younger – and all in less than a week. ‘The change wasn’t just in their minds,’ wrote Dispenza, ‘it was also in their bodies.’

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




Meditation Has the Power to Influence Your Genes
2013-12-09, Psychology Today
Posted: 2014-04-14 07:19:03
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201312/meditation-has-th...

In a groundbreaking discovery, a collaborative team of researchers from Wisconsin, Spain, and France reported in December 2013 the first evidence of specific molecular changes at a genetic level following a period of mindfulness meditation. "To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice," says study author Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds. The study compared the effects of a single day of intensive mindfulness practice between a group of experienced meditators and a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. After an intensive day of mindfulness practice, the meditators showed a dramatic range of genetic and molecular differences. Meditation was found to alter levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation. "Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs," says Perla Kaliman, first author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona in Spain, where the molecular analyses were conducted. In past studies, mindfulness-based training has been shown to have beneficial effects on inflammatory disorders. Meditation is endorsed by the American Heart Association as an effective way to lower [the] risk for heart disease. Another study from April 2011 found that meditation produces powerful pain-relieving effects in the brain.

Note: For an excellent and inspiring book on how your thinking and feeling can change your genes, check out Bruce Lipton's Biology of Belief, available here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Venezuela: A Call for Peace
2014-04-02, New York Times
Posted: 2014-04-07 14:34:36
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/02/opinion/venezuela-a-call-for-peace.html

Venezuelans ... have built a participatory democratic movement from the grass roots that has ensured that both power and resources are equitably distributed among our people. According to the United Nations, Venezuela has consistently reduced inequality: It now has the lowest income inequality in the region. We have reduced poverty enormously — to 25.4 percent in 2012, on the World Bank’s data, from 49 percent in 1998; in the same period, according to government statistics, extreme poverty diminished to 6 percent from 21 percent. We have created flagship universal health care and education programs, free to our citizens nationwide. We have achieved these feats in large part by using revenue from Venezuelan oil. Since 1998, the movement founded by Hugo Chávez has won more than a dozen presidential, parliamentary and local elections through an electoral process that former American President Jimmy Carter has called “the best in the world.” Recently, the United Socialist Party received an overwhelming mandate in mayoral elections in December 2013, winning 255 out of 337 municipalities. Popular participation in politics in Venezuela has increased dramatically over the past decade. The claims that Venezuela has a deficient democracy and that current protests represent mainstream sentiment are belied by the facts. The antigovernment protests are being carried out by people in the wealthier segments of society who seek to reverse the gains of the democratic process that have benefited the vast majority of the people.

Note: This article was written by Nicolás Maduro, the president of Venezuela. We have long observed a strong media bias against Venezuela. Thanks to the New York Times for finally printing an article in support of this country which, despite its problems, has made remarkable strides in recent years.




The 3 best plants to clean your air
2014-04-03, The Intelligent Optimist
Posted: 2014-04-07 14:29:51
http://theoptimist.com/3-best-plants-clean-air/#!CRsQt

The world’s air quality is deplorable. You don’t have to look far to find examples of how bad it is. Harder to find are solutions to this problem. Government mandates and clean air initiatives help the goal of reducing greenhouse gases on a larger scale, but these measures do little to help improve the quality of air that you’re breathing right now. [Here is information about] three plants that create enough oxygen to keep you alive, even if you’re sitting with them inside a sealed container, though we don’t suggest you try that. Dypsis lutescens [or] bamboo palm: In addition to removing carbon dioxide from the air and replacing it with oxygen, the bamboo palm filters out air particles that can be dangerous when inhaled. The main particles the bamboo palm removes from the air are xylene, a byproduct of the petroleum and chemical industries, and toluene, a component of car exhaust. It is recommended to have 4 shoulder high palms per person in your house. Sansevieria trifasciata [or] snake plant: Snake plant ... converts carbon dioxide to oxygen at night [and] removes nitrogen oxide, a by-product of car exhaust and fertilizer, and formaldehyde, a component of textile and wood production, from its environment. It is suggested to have 6–8 waist high plants per person per household. Epipremnum aureum [or] devil’s ivy: Devil’s ivy ... filters out formaldehyde, xylene, and benzene, a byproduct of petroleum combustion, from the air you’re breathing. A handful of these 12-inch high plants should do wonders for making the air quality in your house better.

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




Facebook CEO Zuckerberg’s Base Salary Falls to $1
2014-04-01, MSN
Posted: 2014-04-07 14:28:14
http://money.msn.com/business-news/article.aspx?feed=BLOOM&date=20140401&id=1...

Mark Zuckerberg has decided he’s a $1-a-year man. Zuckerberg, who is Facebook Inc.’s chief executive officer and also the 22nd richest person in the world as ranked by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, was paid $1 in salary for 2013, according to a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday. That’s down from a base salary of $503,205 in 2012, the year that Facebook went public. Zuckerberg is following the well worn path of other Silicon Valley technology moguls who also chose to take on the symbolic annual salary of $1 after they were already wealthy. Apple Inc.’s late co-founder Steve Jobs helped popularize the practice, which is today also espoused by Google Inc. co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, among others. All own sizable equity stakes in their own companies. Zuckerberg, whose wealth totals around $27 billion, owns Facebook shares that give him 61.6 percent of voting power in the Menlo Park, California-based social network, according to the filing. He saw his net worth balloon last year as Facebook’s stock more than doubled in value. The 29-year-old has ramped up his public service and philanthropy, including starting a group called Internet.org to connect the world to the Web. Zuckerberg’s total compensation last year was $653,165, down from $1.99 million in 2012. The amount, besides the $1 salary, was for the passenger fees, fuel, crew and catering costs for his use of private planes for personal reasons, as part of his security program, according to the filing. The CEO also made $3.3 billion last year after exercising stock options to purchase 60 million shares, according to the filing.

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




Why happiness is healthy
2014-03-20, CNN
Posted: 2014-04-07 14:24:25
http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/20/health/happiness-wellbeing-health

Happiness -- you know it when you see it, but it's hard to define. We also know that we don't always have control over our happiness. Research suggests that genetics may play a big role in our normal level of subjective well-being, so some of us may start out at a disadvantage. On top of that, between unexpected tragedies and daily habitual stress, environmental factors can bring down mood and dry up our thirst for living. Being able to manage the emotional ups and downs is important for both body and mind, said Laura Kubzansky, professor of social and behavioral sciences at Harvard School of Public Health. Many scientific studies ... have found a connection between psychological and physical well-being. A 2012 review of more than 200 studies found a connection between positive psychological attributes, such as happiness, optimism and life satisfaction, and a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease. Lower blood pressure, normal body weight and healthier blood fat profiles were also associated with a better sense of well-being in this study. Some researchers speculate that positive mental states ... have a direct effect on the body, perhaps by reducing damaging physical processes.

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




A shy boy, a three-legged dog and a soul-binding friendship
2014-02-21, Fox News
Posted: 2014-04-07 14:22:54
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/02/21/shy-boy-three-legged-dog-and-soul-bin...

When 7-year-old Owen Howkins met his new dog, Haatchi, he was a shy boy suffering from a rare syndrome that left his muscles permanently flexed and his mobility limited. When Haatchi met Owen, he was recovering from losing his left rear leg after being hit by a train in north London. For the boy in the wheelchair and the three-legged Anatolian Shepherd, it was an instant, soul-binding friendship, one that Owen says “changed my life.” In the video “A Boy and his Dog,” recently released on YouTube, Owen’s stepmother Colleen Drummond explains, “The day that Haatchi met Owen was utterly incredible. It was electric. It was spiritual…they immediately understood they were going to work together as a team.” Owen has a condition called Schwartz-Jampel syndrome, which his father, Will, explains leaves his muscles in a permanently flexed state. Because they never relax, it affects his balance and Owen uses a walker or wheelchair to get around. Now, Owen says, he and Hattachi “like going for walks in my electric wheelchair.” “His confidence has grown and grown this past year,” his father reports. Owen agrees. “Everything changed in my life with him,” he says, referring to Haatchi, who was rescued by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Among the many things Owen says Haatchi taught him is not to be afraid of strangers. Says Drummond, “Owen and Haatchi simplify everything by pure love.” Adds Owen, “Haatchi is my best friend.”

Note: Don't miss the touching, nine-minute video of this boy and his dog at this link. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Can what you eat affect your mental health? New research links diet and the mind
2014-03-24, Washington Post
Posted: 2014-03-31 08:04:39
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/can-what-you-eat-affect...

Scientists have recently begun to investigate [whether] food can have as powerful an impact on the mind as it does on the body. Research exploring the link between diet and mental health “is a very new field; the first papers only came out a few years ago,” said Michael Berk, a professor of psychiatry at the Deakin University School of Medicine in Australia. “But the results are unusually consistent, and they show a link between diet quality and mental health.” “Diet quality” refers to the kinds of foods that people eat, how often they eat them and how much of them they eat. In several studies ... Berk and his collaborators have found lower rates of depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder among those who consumed a traditional diet of meat and vegetables than among people who followed a modern Western diet heavy with processed and fast foods or even a health-food diet of tofu and salads. “Traditional diets — the kinds of foods your grandmother would have recognized — have been associated with a lower risk of mental health issues,” Berk said. The association between diet and mental well-being may start even before birth. A 2013 study of more than 23,000 mothers and their children, led by Berk’s frequent collaborator and Deakin colleague Felice Jacka, suggests a link between a mother’s consumption of sweets and processed foods during pregnancy and behavioral and mental health issues in her child at age 5.

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




GoldieBlox Helping to Build a Generation of Female Engineers
2013-09-04, ABC News blog
Posted: 2014-03-31 08:02:41
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2013/09/goldieblox-helping-to-build-a-g...

Debbie Sterling is on a mission to build up girls by breaking down a few barriers. Fed up with the lack of women in her engineering field (the latest studies from the National Science Foundation show that 11 percent of engineers of women), Sterling, a graduate of Stanford University, came up with an idea after coming across research that kids’ toys could have a huge impact on their career choices. She set her sights on building a construction toy for girls after visiting a toy store. “I was so disappointed that there weren’t things that would inspire girls to [use] their brains,” Sterling, 30, said. "I wanted to put something in there that girls can see that they too could find a passion in engineering and that they too could find these subjects fun.” And so the idea for GoldieBlox, toys that encourage girls to not just play with dollhouses but build them, was born. “In creating the GoldieBlox character, I wanted to make a character that girls could relate to,” Sterling said. “She’s feminine and she loves building.” To fund the dream, to the tune of $150,000, Sterling made a plea, complete with a video, on Kickstarter. The money started flooding in. “We reached our goal in four days,” she said, “and ended up almost doubling it by the end.” GoldieBlox is now sold in about 500 independent stores in the United States and Canada, and even at Toys R Us. Sterling said her toys had been consistently in the Top 20 best-selling toys on Amazon. "I firmly believe that in my own lifetime I’m going to see a huge shift,” Sterling said. “I’m going to see an enormous shift of more girls entering these fields, inventing amazing things, with men.”

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How Far Can You Get on Kindness? Man Traveling the World on Goodwill
2013-08-21, ABC News blog
Posted: 2014-03-31 08:01:16
http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/far-kindness-man-traveling-world-strange...

Leon Logothetis [is] on a mission. Riding his yellow motorcycle, which he calls Kindness One, he is attempting to travel around the world on nothing but the kindness of strangers. No money. No food. Nowhere to stay. Logothetis is counting on the generosity of the human spirit to keep him going. So far, he's met with success. In Las Vegas, a family gave him food and a place to sleep. In Nebraska, cowboys let him stay with them on their ranch. "The American people have been absolutely fantastic," Logothetis said. And in Pittsburgh, after a dozen people turned him down, Logothetis met Tony, a homeless man who shared his food and offered to let Logothetis sleep with him in a dilapidated garage. So just how far can kindness get you? Logothetis is determined to find out. "I used to be broker in London, sitting behind a desk, working 12 hour days, and it wasn't for me," he explained. "Then I went and traveled the world and connected with people. And that's what it's all about. That's where the magic is; connection. Heart to heart." Logothetis said he'll board a ship from New York to Europe, adding he'll do so "as a non-paying passenger. Kindness Rocks!" He also lists a tentative itinerary that would see him traveling to France, Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, Greece, Istanbul, India, Bhutan, Cambodia and Vietnam, among other countries. His journey will be filmed for a TV show. The trip also serves to raise awareness about and raise funds for Make a Wish International.

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