Inspirational Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Inspirational Media Articles in Major Media
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One of the stories that inspired bestselling author Susan Casey’s new book on the intricate world of dolphins, Voices in the Ocean, is almost too beautiful to be believed. A biologist named Maddalena Bearzi was studying a group of dolphins off the coast of Los Angeles when she noticed something strange. The “pod” (group of dolphins) had just landed upon a herd of sardines. They were about to start feeding when one, unexpectedly, darted off. The rest followed, swimming full speed out to sea. When she reached them, three miles offshore, the pod had a formed a circle - in the middle of it, a girl’s floating body. Very near death, the girl had a plastic bag with her identification and a suicide note wrapped around her neck. With the dolphins' help, she was saved. The first dolphins lived on land. It took them 25 million years to adapt to being in the water. Their bodies shrank and their teeth shrank and their brains got big. They did all kinds of shape-shifting evolutionarily. Their brains grew significantly. It’s fascinating because scientists don’t know why. Most scientists’ main guess is that it was due to their changing social behavior. How did the dolphin know the girl was there? That’s the big question. They don’t rely on vision. I suspect it had something to do with frequency and vibration but of course that’s a guess. We don’t know. They tend to treat us the way they would treat other dolphins. By themselves, they’re vulnerable - to sharks, getting lost, all these things. So when you see dolphins together there is constant touching. They know how to help each other.
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It is every kid's worst nightmare and six-year-old Jaden Hayes has lived it - twice. First he lost his dad when he was four and then last month his mom died unexpectedly in her sleep. Jaden is understandably heartbroken. "Anybody can die, just anybody," he said. But there's another side to his grief. A side he first made public a few weeks ago when he told his aunt, and now guardian, Barbara DiCola, that he was sick and tired of seeing everyone sad all the time. And he had a plan to fix it. Jaden asked his aunt Barbara to buy a bunch of little toys and bring him to downtown Savannah, Georgia near where he lives, so he could give them away. "I'm trying to make people smile," said Jaden. [He] targets people who aren't already smiling and then turns their day around. He's gone out on four different occasions now and he is always successful. Even if sometimes he doesn't get exactly the reaction he was hoping for. It is just so overwhelming to some people that a six-year-old orphan would give away a toy - expecting nothing in return - except a smile. Of course he is paid handsomely in hugs -- and his aunt says the reactions have done wonders for Jaden. "It's like sheer joy came out of this child," said Barbara. "And the more people that he made smile, the more this light shone." Jaden says that's mostly true. "But I'm still sad my mom died," he said. This is by no means a fix, but in the smiles he's made so far -- nearly 500 at last count -- Jaden has clearly found a purpose. "I'm counting on it to be 33,000," said Jaden.
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The sleek race car dubbed 'Blade' didn't come off an assembly line - but out of a 3D printer. Kevin Czinger of Divergent Microfactories has spent most of his career in the automotive industry. One day he realized that no matter how fuel-efficient or how few tailpipe emissions the modern car has, the business of car manufacturing is destroying the environment. "3D printing of metal radically changes that," said Czinger. Currently cars are pieced together on long assembly lines inside large factories that use massive amounts of energy. Even the most fuel-efficient car has a large carbon footprint before ever leaving the plant. Czinger and his team's approach was to take the large plant out of the equation. To accomplish this they printed the modular pieces that are used to connect carbon rods that make up the Blade's chassis. The 3D printed chassis is only 102 pounds and has the same strength and safety protection as a frame made out of steel. By using carbon fiber instead of steel or aluminum for the body, the entire vehicle only weighs 1400 pounds (635kg). The Blade ... runs on natural gas, reducing its carbon footprint even further. The core enabling technology, the ability to print out car components that can be easily assembled, is what Kevin Czinger hopes will revolutionize car manufacturing. He says electric cars are a step in the right direction, but alone they won't be enough to curb greenhouse emissions given the projected rise in demand for cars globally unless the way they are manufactured changes.
Note: Watch a five-minute video showing this exciting process.
A couple in Turkey ... doled out food to 4,000 Syrian refugees for their wedding reception. The bride wore an elaborate white dress, with a tiara perched on her headdress, and the groom sported a white tuxedo with black trim. They stood behind large food trucks distributing meals to hungry Syrians. The couple had decided that instead of hosting their friends and family for a traditional banquet reception, they would feed the victims of a bloody civil war next door. The idea came from the groom’s father, who volunteers for a Turkish relief organization called Kimse Yok Mu (KYM). For the past few years, KYM has distributed daily meals to the thousands of impoverished Syrians who’ve flooded across the nearby border. He approached a representative of the organization and proposed that the family would cover part of the costs of feeding refugees for the day. His son ... was surprised by the prospect, but [was] soon won over. “When he told that to the bride she was really shocked because, you can imagine, as a bride you wouldn’t think about this — it’s all about you and your groom,” says Hatice Avci, the international communications manager for KYM. “In southeastern Turkey there is a real culture of sharing with people in need. They love to share their food, their table, everything they have. That’s why the bride also accepted. And afterwards she was quite amazed about it.” So, they arrived at KYM’s distribution center on Thursday to spend the day serving food and taking photographs with their grateful recipients.
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GiveDirectly has a straightforward approach to helping the world's poorest people: just give them cash, no strings attached. The New York-based nonprofit has distributed about $1,000 — roughly a year's income — to thousands of ultra-poor households in Kenya and Uganda. Recipients don't need to pay back the money, and they can spend it however they wish. This might seem like a radical idea, but it's not. Cash transfers have quietly become one of the most widely researched and consistently effective anti-poverty strategies in the developing world. Now GiveDirectly's work is receiving a major boost from Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna, who on Monday announced a $25 million donation through their foundation Good Ventures. The gift is greater than GiveDirectly's entire 2014 budget. "Governments and donors spend tens of billions of dollars a year on reducing poverty," Tuna said in a statement, "but the people who are meant to benefit from that money rarely get a say in how it’s spent. GiveDirectly is changing that." Moskovitz and Tuna, both in their early 30s, are among the youngest billionaires to pledge the bulk of their fortune to charity. Their goal isn't just to do good, but to do the most good possible. That goal led them to support exhaustive research to determine which organizations working in poor countries are most effective and cost-efficient. That research, in turn, led them to GiveDirectly - the only nonprofit focused exclusively on cash transfers.
Some 1.3 billion people worldwide live without electricity, affecting health, lowering incomes, and making education difficult. An increasing number of advocates ... are promoting the use of solar power to [increase] access to clean energy across the globe. Solar is a low-cost energy source in the long run, but it has high initial costs. Some solar manufacturers and energy distributors are helping people skirt these up-front costs through creative financing models. In programs such as these, customers can finance their own solar systems for less than what they would otherwise be spending on kerosene ($40-$80 per year on average). Barefoot College developed a training program for grandmothers, who ... learn how to install, maintain, and repair the solar systems and, upon graduation, receive a monthly salary for their work. Solar Sister trains rural African women in sales and entrepreneurship, empowering them to become active participants in the economy while acknowledging that “women invest 90 percent of their income into their family’s well being.” Lighting a Billion Lives trains local entrepreneurs to manage their own solar charging station, from which they rent out solar lamps for a modest price to the local population. The organization also offers microloans and subsidies to facilitate such entrepreneurship. Grameen Shakti (Bangladesh), SolarAid (Africa), and Kamworks (Cambodia) operate with similar values. In this way, solar companies are ... empowering families [and] communities.
Comics Bobcat Goldthwait and Barry Crimmins are good friends who each became important in the '80s comedy scene. Both have been through a lot of changes since then. Goldthwait was first famous for ... his role as Zed in the "Police Academy" films. Goldthwait has dropped the persona and become a director of independent films and TV shows like "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and "Maron." His new film is a documentary about Barry Crimmins. [In] the early '90s ... Crimmins revealed he was raped several times at the age of 4 or 5 by a man brought into Crimmins's home by his babysitter. After going public, he started exposing pedophiles on Internet chat rooms. Goldthwait's documentary about Crimmins is titled "Call Me Lucky." This documentary is about [Crimmins's] contribution to the comedy scene, but it also is about his childhood when he was abused - and then later, as an adult, [when he] tried to out child pornographers and did a pretty successful job at getting some of them put behind bars. Crimmins [explains]: "A lot of us are drawn to the stage or show business or whatever because, you know, we didn't feel so great about ourselves, and we didn't know how to do anything about that, so we sought external approval. And as people got older and dealt with things and began to approve of themselves, then they started to find what else they could do and what else they were capable of. You can't hate anybody till you hate yourself and you can't love anybody till you love yourself. Once you [understand that], then you're pretty liberated to try a bunch of other things."
Note: The above was summarized from a lengthy radio interview that you can listen to at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
His body ravaged by chemotherapy treatments, retired radio engineer John Kanzius spent months in his basement in 2003 cobbling together a makeshift tumor-killing machine. Kanzius had no medical background. He had been a ham radio operator and the owner of a television and radio station company. But he had leukemia, and he did not want to die. He did not know it then, but the John Kanzius's Noninvasive Radiowave Cancer Device ... would eventually make the pages of respected medical journals and attract the support of leading cancer researchers. Dr. Steven A. Curley, an oncologist ... launched Kanzius’s research into the national spotlight and devoted his career to the project. Curley had treated many cancer patients, but [grew] particularly close with Kanzius. In 2009, Kanzius died at 64 from pneumonia while undergoing chemotherapy. Many thought the Kanzius machine would die with him. But this May, Curley filed protocols with the Italian Ministry of Health to test the radio wave machine on humans diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, the MD Anderson Cancer Center and Rice University tested the technology [on] human cancer cells in petri dishes, as well as into tumors in mice, rats, rabbits and pigs. Using the Kanzius machine, they were able to heat [injected] nanoparticles and, as a result, kill all those cancerous cells [while surrounding healthy areas remained intact]. Results were published in the oncology medical journal Cancer, as well as Nano Research.
Note: Learn more about promising cancer treatments that are emerging and why these are frequently overlooked. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Although Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used Christian social ethics ... his enduring ethos, at its core, is nonreligious. It champions a set of moral, spiritual, and civic responsibilities. Nowhere does he transmute spiritual ideas from various traditions into secular principles more masterfully than in his extraordinary 1958 essay “An Experiment in Love.” Penned five years before his famous Letter from Birmingham City Jail ... the essay was eventually included in the indispensable A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.. In the first of the six basic philosophies, Dr. King addresses the tendency to mistake nonviolence for passivity. The second tenet: "Nonviolence ... does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his friendship and understanding. The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness." In considering the third characteristic of nonviolence, Dr. King appeals to the conscientious recognition that those who perpetrate violence are often victims themselves. Out of this recognition flows the fourth tenet: "Nonviolent resistance [requires] a willingness to accept suffering without retaliation." The fifth basic philosophy [extends from] the noblest use of what we call “love”. With this, he turns to the sixth and final principle of nonviolence as a force of justice, undergirded by the nonreligious "creative force in this universe that works to bring the disconnected aspects of reality into a harmonious whole."
Tired of sharing a single bathroom with his teenage son, Sean Rosas hatched a plan. But ... renovating their broken-down bathroom ... would cost more than what Rosas, the director of volunteer services at a nonprofit, had on hand. That’s when Rosas, 43, stumbled on Lending Club, a website that matches borrowers directly with individual lenders. If you need a loan, the site pulls up your credit score, vets your application within minutes and assigns an interest rate. If enough people sign up to lend, you can get the money in days. More than 250 people chose to back Rosas, giving him a three-year, $16,000 loan at 8.9% annual interest. Rosas, who has made every monthly payment so far, is thrilled with his deal. “It was a much more human experience than if I had gone to a faceless bank,” he says. Peer-to-peer has grown partly as a response to the recession; when credit was tight, traditional banks pulled back on lending, and consumers needed alternatives. Compared with a traditional loan application, Lending Club is blissfully easy. To qualify, borrowers need only an active bank account, a minimum FICO credit score of 660 ... and at least three years of credit history. What lenders are really doing is investing: they’re putting their money in notes backed by the prospective repayment of loans. The sizes of the loans range from $1,000 to $35,000. Investors can buy notes in increments as small as $25. Since its founding in 2006, Lending Club has delivered investors an average annual return of 7.79%–appealing at a time when three-year Treasury bonds average 1%.
Note: Curious about emerging alternatives to traditional banking? Learn more about the inspiring microcredit movement.
More than a half-dozen black churches have burnt to the ground in the American south since the killing of nine black people inside a historic African American church in Charleston, South Carolina, last month. Since the shooting, authorities have ruled at least three of the church fires to be arson. In the wake of those arsons, dozens of religious institutions and nonprofits have raised cash for those churches. To the surprise of some pastors, the recovery effort is being partially led by Jewish and Muslim leaders, who understand both the sanctity of houses of worship and the seriousness of attacks against them. Faatimah Knight, a 23-year-old black Muslim student, has helped organize a group of Muslim nonprofits including Ummah Wide, the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative, and the Arab American Association of New York. With one week left, the crowd-funded campaign has raised more than $58,000 from over 1,300 donors. Rabbi Susan Talve, who heads the Central Reform Congregation in St Louis, Missouri, says a broad coalition of more 150 religious institutions has raised more than $150,000 toward its $250,000 goal to help rebuild black churches. She says the groups involved with the Rebuild the Churches Fund began working together after the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson. “We believe the church is the heart and soul of a community,” Talve says. “So we wanted to help them out. If you burn them down with hate, we’re going to build them back with love ... better and stronger.”
What is termed Corbynomics is Jeremy Corbyn's proposal that: "The Bank of England to be given a new mandate to upgrade our economy to invest in new large scale housing, energy, transport and digital projects: Quantitative Easing for people instead of banks." The money to fund these projects will be created electronically by the Bank of England. Only 3% of the money in circulation is in the form of coins and notes; the remaining, 97%, is created electronically by private banks every time they make a loan and by the bank of England under its Quantitative Easing programme. The recovery in the British economy thus far has been mainly based on inflating property and financial assets prices. The Bank of England has created Ł375bn, following the 2008 economic crash, that went into banks and financial markets through the buying of existing government bonds (Quantitative Easing for banks). Positive Money calculates that only 8% of that money went into the real economy, with the rest trapped in financial markets, inflating financial assets and property prices, and benefiting the top 5%. This has been money creation that creates bubbles in the economy, and when they burst, the fall out can devastate the lives of millions. Quantitative easing for people (PQE), in contrast, will bypass the financial markets and private banks with the money channelled through a National Investment Bank into the areas that Britain needs. This seems ... less risky to the economy than conventional Quantitative Easing.
Alex Deans has a lot to reflect on this summer. The eighteen-year-old Ontario, Canada native just graduated high school. He’s also changing the way blind people everywhere will be able navigate the world around them. For the past six years, Deans has been working tirelessly on a device now known as the iAid, a navigation system that uses ultrasonic technology and GPS technology to help the visually impaired get where they need to go. The belt-like structure comes with a joy stick and operates using four ultrasonic sensors, which send out sound waves that ricochet off objects and alert the user as to how far away that object is. The idea first came to him at age 12, when he went to help a blind woman across the street. All that was at her disposal was a cane and the option of a guide dog, which is often hard to come by. Dean told Good News Network, “Guide Canes tell you what’s directly in front of you, but they don’t help you figure out where you are in relation your destination and objects that are farther away.” The iAid helps users steer around objects in their vicinity and includes a joystick that swivels in their hands, pointing them in the direction they need to go in. As far as pricing goes, he estimates the device will only cost about $50-$70 per unit, if he can get the cost of materials down. He hopes his invention will one day replace canes and give blind people the ability to maneuver more easily on their own.
In the past several months, a bevy of studies have added to a growing literature on the mental and physical benefits of spending time outdoors. That includes recent research showing that short micro-breaks spent looking at a nature scene have a rejuvenating effect on the brain – boosting levels of attention – and also that kids who attend schools featuring more greenery fare better on cognitive tests. And Monday, yet another addition. It's a cognitive neuroscience study, meaning not only that benefits from a nature experience were captured in an experiment, but also that their apparent neural signature was observed through brain scans. 38 individuals who lived in urban areas, and who had "no history of mental disorder," were divided into two groups – and asked to take a walk. Half walked for 90 minutes through a natural area. The other half walked along a very busy road. Before and also after the walk, the participants answered a questionnaire designed to measure their tendency toward "rumination," a pattern of often negative, inward-directed thinking and questioning that has been tied to an increased risk of depression. Finally, both before and after the walk, the participants had their brains scanned. The result was that individuals who took the 90-minute nature walk showed a decrease in rumination. And their brain activity also showed a change consistent with this result. Spending time outdoors, in nature, is good for you.
The Dutch city of Utrecht ... has paired up with the local university to establish whether the concept of 'basic income' can work in real life, and plans to begin the experiment at the end of the summer holidays. Basic income is a universal, unconditional form of payment to individuals, which covers their living costs. The concept is to allow people to choose to work more flexible hours in a less regimented society, allowing more time for care, volunteering and study. University College Utrecht has paired with the city to place people on welfare on a living income, to see if a system of welfare without requirements will be successful. The Netherlands as a country is no stranger to less traditional work environments - it has the highest proportion of part time workers in the EU, 46.1 per cent. However, Utrecht's experiment with welfare is expected to be the first of its kind in the country. Alderman for Work and Income Victor Everhardt: "One group ... will have compensation and consideration for an allowance, another group with a basic income without rules and of course a control group which adhere to the current rules. Our data shows that less than 1.5 percent abuse the welfare. What happens if someone gets a monthly amount without rules and controls? Will someone sitting passively at home or do people develop themselves and provide a meaningful contribution to our society?"
Lego just announced a bold 10-year plan to makes its goods more environmentally friendly. This comes after a 2013 partnership with the World Wildlife Fund to develop a plan in reducing its overall carbon emissions, as well as those of its supply chain. Lego pledged to invest $150 million to find a replacement for the plastic used in its blocks as well as to reduce the size of its packaging. A commitment for this kind of strategy includes using recycled or renewed materials and improving the recyclability of its products. Hasbro and Mattel, producers of such iconic toys as Play-Doh and Hot Wheels, respectively, have also vowed to invest in this global issue. By 2020, Hasbro plans to reduce its waste, water, energy, and greenhouse gas emissions. It is also overhauling the packaging for most of its brands. These strides have led to Hasbro being named a winner of the EPA's 2014 Climate Leadership Award. After caving to mounting pressure from Greenpeace, Mattel committed to source new materials for its packaging, setting a goal of 85 percent recycled materials by the end of 2015. "The investment announced is a testament to our continued ambition to leave a positive impact on the planet, which future generations will inherit," said Lego Group owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen. Words we should all try to live by.
A 9-year-old Ohio girl used a lemonade stand this week to help her raise money to buy an electronic tablet to help with schoolwork. Fourth grader Gabrielle Garcar was tending to her lemonade stand Monday at her grandmother's condo building when Zak Ropos stopped by for a cup. When the Lake County sheriff's deputy learned what the girl planned to do with the money she raised ... he headed to Best Buy and purchased [her] a brand-new electronic tablet. "She's 9 years old and she's willing to work for what she wants, and I found that very admirable of her," said Ropos, 22. "I knew her lemonade stand wasn't probably going to bring in enough money for a tablet, but seeing that she was willing to work for what she wanted, I was willing to help her. People have helped me out in my life, so it was kind of like a pay-it-forward type thing." He delivered the device to her the next day, meeting up with the family at the local high school where they were attending football practice for the girl's brother. Ropos, 22, has been with the sheriff's department for eight months. He said he's not sure why his act has garnered so much attention. He works among many generous officers: One of his lieutenants recently donated $200 to a needy family, and two fellow deputies just days ago purchased a bike for a boy who needed help getting to soccer practice. "That's how it is at Lake County. Everyone is caring here," he said.
Most people ... don't tap into their full empathic potential. The good news is that almost everyone can learn to be more empathic, just like we can learn to ride a bike or drive a car. A good warm up is to do a quick assessment of your empathic abilities. Neuropsychologist Simon Baron-Cohen has devised a test called Reading the Mind in the Eyes in which you are shown 36 pairs of eyes and have to choose one of four words that best describes what each person is feeling or thinking. Going a step further, there are three simple but powerful strategies for unleashing the empathic potential that is latent in our neural circuitry: 1. Make a habit of "radical listening" ... to the unique feelings and needs a person is experiencing at that very moment. Let people have their say, hold back from interrupting and even reflect back what they've told you so they knew you were really listening. 2. Look for the human behind everything ... by developing an awareness of all those individuals hidden behind the surface of our daily lives, on whom we may depend in some way. Who is driving the train? Vacuuming the office floor? Stacking the supermarket shelves? Such mindful awareness ... can spark empathic action on the behalf of others. 3. Become curious about strangers. Having conversations with strangers opens up our empathic minds. We can not only meet fascinating people but also challenge the assumptions and prejudices that we have about others based on their appearance, accents or backgrounds.
Note: Learn about the world's first Empathy Museum, which is launching in the UK in late 2015.
On Wednesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said a woman will be featured on a redesigned $10 bill in 2020 - the 100th anniversary of the Constitution's 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. A decision on who the woman will be won't be made for several months. The last woman on U.S. paper currency was Martha Washington, who was on the $1 Silver Certificate between 1891 and 1896. "We have only made changes to the faces on our currency a few times since bills were first put into circulation, and I'm proud that the new 10 will be the first bill in more than a century to feature the portrait of a woman," Lew said. The department will launch a website, and is asking for input over social media with the hashtag #TheNew10. Lew wants the next generation of U.S. currency to underscore the theme of American democracy. The portrait must also be of someone who is no longer living. Hamilton, who was the nation's first treasury secretary, has been on the $10 bill since 1929. Bills are flagged for updates mainly for security reasons, Lew said. It was a "happy coincidence" that a push to put a woman on American money happened as the $10 note came under consideration. Lew said Hamilton will also be a part of the new design. He said it's up for discussion whether Hamilton will appear alongside a woman or be the centerpiece of one version of the new bill.
Ahh, chocolate. There probably isn't a more magical ingredient on earth than the sweet, dark brown flavoring used for more than 3,000 years. Today most chocolate is consumed in the form of candy. Common sense tells us that too much of something so fatty and full of calories is a bad thing. But a surprising number of studies have found that dark chocolate can reduce the risk of death from a heart attack, decrease blood pressure and help those with chronic fatigue syndrome. The question for many chocolate lovers has been at what point are you having too much of a good thing. That is, is there an optimal "dose" for chocolate eating? A new study published in the journal Heart on Monday looked at the effect of diet on long-term health. It involved 25,000 volunteers and found that the answer to how much chocolate can be good for you is - a lot. Those who ate 15 to 100 grams of chocolate a day in the form of everything from Mars bars to hot cocoa had lower heart disease and stroke risk than those who did not consume the confection. The study also noted that more of the participants in the study ate milk chocolate vs. dark chocolate which has long been considered healthier. This might suggest that beneficial health effects may apply to both, the researchers said.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.