Inspirational Media Articles
Excerpts of Key Inspirational Media Articles from Major Media
Below are many highly engaging excerpts of key inspirational articles reported in the mainstream media.
Links are provided to the original articles on their major media websites. If any link should fail to function, click here
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. Enjoy your reading!
For an index to revealing excerpts of media articles on several dozen engaging topics, click here
FBI says violent crime fell 4 percent last year; but has long downward trend hit bottom?
2012-06-11, Washington Post/Associated Press
The number of crimes reported to police dropped again last year compared with 2010. Last year marked the fifth straight year of year-to-year improvement for the number of violent crimes reported to authorities. It was the ninth consecutive year of declines for property crimes, according to preliminary FBI data for 2011. The FBI says murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault all went down in 2011. Violent crime decreased in all four regions: 4.9 percent in the Midwest; 4.7 percent in the West; 4.5 percent in the South and 0.8 percent in the Northeast. There was, however, an increase in murder in the Midwest — 0.6 percent — and an 18.3 percent jump in murder in cities with populations of less than 10,000. In the property crime category, motor vehicle theft dropped 3.3 percent, and larceny-theft decreased 0.9 percent. However, burglary offenses increased 0.3 percent, rising 3.2 percent in the Northeast, 1.3 percent in the Midwest and 0.7 percent in the West. The preliminary data is based on information the FBI gathered from 14,009 law enforcement agencies around the United States.
Note: This article is a great example of how the media consistently downplay any good news about the massive drop in crimes over the past 20 years. The entire article fails to mention the inspiring news that violent crime rates are now less than 1/3 what they were in 1994. That's awesome! For lots more on this inspiring news and the media's penchant for playing it down, click here.
Ernestine Shepherd: The 75-year-old bodybuilding grandma
2012-06-10, BBC News
The world's oldest female bodybuilder wakes up every day at 02:30 to fit in a 10 mile (16km) run before hitting the gym. But 75-year-old Ernestine Shepherd insists that "age is nothing but a number". "Miss Ernie", as she is known in the world of competitive bodybuilding, began training at the tender age of 71. She says her true calling in life, however, is helping others to follow a more healthy lifestyle. The BBC caught up with her at an exercise class at her church in the US city of Baltimore, Maryland, to find out why she started bodybuilding.
Note: Click on the link above to watch an amazing three-minute video with this inspiring grandmother.
Champion Gymnast's Hidden Life: Dominique Moceanu on Secret Sister
2012-06-08, ABC News
Dominique Moceanu was the youngest member of the celebrated "Magnificent 7" gymnasts who won team gold at the 1996 Olympic Games. But behind the broad smile and shining medals she hid heartache and pain inflicted by some of the people she trusted the most. Moceanu would ultimately file for emancipation from her parents when she was 17, and got a restraining order against her father. After an injury quashed her bid for the 2000 Olympics, she went to college and was married in 2006 to a fellow gymnast named Mike Canales. She became pregnant with her first child soon after her marriage to Canales. But two weeks before giving birth, Moceanu learned some shocking news. She received a package containing a letter and photos of a young woman who looked surprisingly similar to her younger sister Christina. Reading the letter, she learned that the 20-year-old woman, named Jen Bricker, had been adopted and had recently learned that her birth name was Moceanu. "It was the biggest bombshell of my life," Dominique Moceanu remembered. "I had this sister that was born who was given up for adoption, and I never knew it." When Moceanu reached out to her new sister, Bricker [told her] "Oh by the way. I have no legs. But people forget that within minutes of meeting me." Five years later, they have met many times and have developed a friendship and bond that only sisters could have. They're athletic, do gymnastics -- Bricker even competed in the Junior Olympics -- and have discovered other striking similarities.
Note: For a touching video on this showing the amazing gymnastic abilities and inspiring can-do attitude of this woman with no legs, click here.
Looking For 10% Yields? Go Online For Peer To Peer Lending
2012-06-06, Forbes Magazine
Today a tidal wave of aging boomers want income, but traditional sources are lacking. But there’s [a] source of high yield that relatively few consider. Peer-to-peer lending, or making personal loans via the Internet using websites like LendingClub.com and Prosper.com. After six years of experience and some bumps, including a financial crisis and ensuing recession, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending has finally earned its place on an income investor’s menu. The basic premise of these bank disintermediaries is that they harness the networking power of the Web to match people who have excess cash with people in need of it or those who simply want to refinance credit card debt. The key to its success has been how the sites have managed the inherent riskiness of unsecured personal loans. Believe it or not, it is now possible to earn yields of 6% or more, making relatively safe loans to complete strangers. San Francisco’s Lending Club is the largest P2P lender, followed by its crosstown rival Prosper. Lending Club and Prosper have loaned a total of more than $1 billion since inception, in 112,000 loans. Lending Club currently issues about $45 million in loans a month versus Prosper’s $13 million per month. Of course defaults happen. Lending Club’s top-rated three-year loans expect a default rate of around 1.4%, and the riskiest loans, offering rates as high as 25%, have a 9.8% default rate.
Note: A 1.4 default rate is much lower than that of the average bank. For those who want to borrow or loan money free of the banks with excellent rates, check out www.lendingclub.com and www.prosper.com.
Do Plants Think?
2012-06-05, Scientific American
How aware are plants? This is the central question behind a fascinating new book, What a Plant Knows, by Daniel Chamovitz, director of the Manna Center for Plant Biosciences at Tel Aviv University. Chamovitz unveils the surprising world of plants that see, feel, smell—and remember. Just because we don’t see plants moving doesn’t mean that there’s not a very rich and dynamic world going on inside the plant. People have to realize that plants are complex organisms that live rich, sensual lives. Plants had to develop incredibly sensitive and complex sensory mechanisms that would let them survive in ever changing environments. [A plant] can mount a defense when under siege, and warn its neighbors of trouble on the way. A plant can even be said to have a memory. If a maple tree is attacked by bugs, it releases a pheromone into the air that is picked up by the neighboring trees. This induces the receiving trees to start making chemicals that will help it fight off the impending bug attack. So on the face of it, this is definitely communication.
Note: This article only touches the surface of a rich world of research suggesting that plant life is much more complex and miraculous than we might imagine. For more, explore the landmark book The Secret Life of Plants or the work of researcher Cleve Backster.
US firms put social values before big profits
2012-05-20, BBC News
In the next few weeks, half a dozen US states are expected to pass legislation that will for the first time protect companies which value their social impact as much as the bottom line. Whether it's buying locally, protecting the environment or launching community projects, the new "benefit corporations" have a common mission - to do well by doing good. "It's becoming a national movement," says Penny Jones-Napier, owner of the Big Bad Woof pet store in Hyattsville, Maryland, the first business in the US to adopt the new benefit corporation designation. "What started with small businesses is moving into the mainstream." As a benefit corporation, Big Bad Woof is protected from legal action if it makes decisions that aren't in the financial interests of its shareholders. The company can support local suppliers for instance, even though that might not be the cheapest option and could reduce the profit margin. Seven states, including New York and California, have already adopted the new business class. These seven states combined produce a third of America's annual economic output, which makes their support for benefit corporations significant.
Note: Many are not aware that corporations legally are not allowed to do make socially responsible choices if those choices don't benefit shareholders. Isn't it time to put more pressure on companies to make socially responsible choices more important than big profits?
Two 'mad scientists' create sleep mask that lets people control their dreams
2012-05-20, Daily Mail
A duo of developers from Brooklyn, New York, have built a sleeping mask designed to allow people to have lucid dreams that they can control. While it may look like a standard sleeping mask, Remee has been billed as a special REM (Rapid Eye Movement) enhancing device that is supposed to help steer the sleeper into lucid dreaming by making the brain aware that it is dreaming. The goal of the product is to allow people to have the dreams of their choice, from driving a race car to flying to having lunch with Abraham Lincoln. The inside of the sleeping mask features a series of six red LED lights that are too faint to wake the sleeper up, but visible enough for the brain to register them. The lights can be programed to produce a sequence designed by the user. Sleep stages are divided into two main categories: non-REM and REM. People go back and forth between these stages throughout the night, with REM stages, where most dreaming occurs, lasting the longest towards morning. Remee apparently notices these longer REM stages and ‘enters’ the dream via the flashing lights. The device will wait for four to five hours for the sleeper to get into the heavy REM stages before the red lights turn on. The idea is simple: you are playing a perfect round of golf in a dream, and you see a pattern of red lights flashing in the distance. Because the pattern is in a particular sequence, it would signal to you that you are dreaming. Once you realize you are in a dream, you can then decide what happens next, whether it be a quick trip to Antarctica or time travel.
Note: For more on this most intriguing invention, see the inventors' website at this link.
The honeymoon effect
2012-05-16, Ode Magazine
"I want people to understand that we are creating this world. That we are creating our own lives. That our realities and experiences are not accidents.” At the end of a long conversation about cell membranes, evolution and (sub)consciousness, I ask Bruce Lipton what his most important message is. Bruce Lipton is a stem-cell biologist who ... performed pioneering research at Stanford University before writing his bestselling book, The Biology of Belief, in 2005. His message does not come from quick pop interpretations of quantum mechanics but from work with cell cultures in a lab. These experiments showed that environments and circumstances, not genetic makeup, dictate how cells behave. Despite all the pharmaceutical claims of individually based genetic medicine, genetic determinism may have had its day. Lipton’s research shows a different perspective. Identical cells developed in different directions when the environment was changed. Different information led genes to evolve in different ways. So genes don’t control life; they respond to information. “It’s the environment, stupid.” Lipton’s discoveries are part of an emerging new biological paradigm that presents a radically different view of the evolution of life: epigenetics. The implications are profound. Change your environment, and you can change how you think. “We are not locked into our fate, because we have the freedom to change the way we respond to the world,” he explains.
Paralyzed Woman Moves Robotic Arm With Her Mind
2012-05-16, ABC News
A 58-year-old woman paralyzed by a stroke was all smiles after sipping her cinnamon latte with the help of a mind-controlled robotic arm. Cathy Hutchinson is one of two tetraplegic patients able to reach and grasp with a robotic limb linked to [a] tiny sensor in her brain, according to a study published today in the journal Nature. The device, called BrainGate, bypasses the nerve circuits broken by the brainstem stroke and replaces them with wires that run outside Hutchinson's body. The implanted sensor is about the size of a baby aspirin. "You can go from the brain ... directly to a device like a computer or a robotic arm," said BrainGate developer John Donoghue, director of the Institute for Brain Science at Brown University in Providence, R.I. "This can help restore independence to a person who was completely reliant on other people for every activity, whether it's brushing their teeth, eating their dinner or taking a drink." Hutchinson, who has been unable to move or speak for 15 years, had the 96-channel sensor implanted in her brain's motor cortex in 2005. Since then, the BrainGate team has been fine-tuning the system to give her back some of the control she lost. With its hair-like electrodes, the BrainGate sensor taps into the flurry of brain activity, recording electrical signals that can be translated into movement commands. "It's like learning a language," Donoghue said of the translation process, a series of mathematical calculations that copy the brain's processing ability.
Note: Remember that the world of classified and secret research is generally at least 10 years in advance of whatever is available to the public. The above link contains videos of this event. Another very good video on this new breakthrough is available at this link. For a video of a new device which will likely soon replace wheelchairs and empower paraplegics, click here. And for an inspiring five-minute video of a disabled vet who learned to walk on his own again because someone believed in him, click here.
At 93, world's oldest yoga teacher still going strong
2012-05-10, NBC News
Tao Porchon-Lynch considers her hundreds of yoga students to be her own children. The 93-year-old has been practicing yoga since she was 8 years old, and was just named the world's oldest yoga teacher by Guinness World Records. Based in New York, Porchon-Lynch has taught hundreds of students around the globe for over 45 years, and has followers in India, France and the U.S. It wasn’t until the age of 73 that Porchon-Lynch decided to concentrate on teaching yoga, founding the Westchester Institute of Yoga in New York. Porchon-Lynch teaches yoga four days a week and also keeps busy ballroom dancing and guiding wine tours in New York State. And she certainly knows how to overcome a challenge. At 87, she had hip surgery but a month later she took to the dance floor, starting lessons. “I believe that we can always reach just a little bit further," said Porchon-Lynch. "I’m inspired to bring yoga into others’ lives along with helping people unearth new talents.”
Note: For an awesome, two-minute video showing this amazing woman's strength and flexibility, click here. For an inspiring article and video of an incredible 86-year-old gymnast performing unbelievable feats, click here. For an article and video of a 75-year-old grandmother who is a champion body builder and runs 10 miles a day, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
Utah environmental activist appealing conviction
2012-05-10, San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press
An environmental activist who disrupted an oil and gas auction for land near Utah's national parks did so in protest, bringing attention to parcels that shouldn't have been for sale, his lawyers argued Thursday. Tim DeChristopher's conviction in the case should be overturned because his move was a form of civil disobedience intended to protect the environment from an auction he believed to be illegal, Ron Yengich said in federal appeals court. Yengich said that many of the 113 parcels up for sale were suspended from future bidding by the federal government because of attention drawn by DeChristopher's actions. DeChristopher is asking the court to overturn his conviction. He is now serving two years in a federal prison in California after a conviction last summer in Salt Lake City. DeChristopher contended during trial that the Bush administration rushed the auction without properly reviewing the parcels. Many of the parcels up for auction were later suspended soon after by President Barack Obama's Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in 2009. His lawyers say he was singled out for prosecution because of his honesty, and that the government never took action against bidders at other auctions who failed to pay or bounced checks for their parcels. DeChristopher is considered a folk hero in the environmental community for sabotaging the auction. He says he plans to continue a life of social activism after prison.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on government corruption, click here.
Highway deaths per mile fall to record low
2012-05-07, Boston Globe/Associated Press
Highway deaths declined again last year, reaching their lowest rate when compared to miles driven since such record-keeping began in 1921. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's early estimate of 2011 traffic fatalities ... said there were 32,310 deaths in motor vehicle crashes last year, a drop of 1.7 percent from the previous year. That's the lowest number of deaths in more than 60 years. Safety experts have attributed the historic decline to a variety of factors, including less driving due to a weak economy, more people wearing seat belts, better safety equipment in cars and efforts to curb drunken driving. The number of miles driven on America's roadways declined last year by 35.7 billion miles, or 1.2 percent, the safety administration said. There were 1.09 deaths per 100 million miles traveled, down slightly from 1.11 deaths in 2010. That's the lowest rate on record, NHTSA says. Overall, traffic fatalities have plummeted 26 percent since 2005. There were significant regional differences in the fatality reductions last year, with the sharpest drop -- 7.2 percent -- in the six New England states.
Ari Hallmark’s Story: To Heaven After the Storm
2012-05-07, WHNT-TV (Huntsville, Alabama CBS affiliate)
Ari Hallmark could be one of the most remarkable 7-year-olds you will ever meet. Somewhere between gymnastics and finishing up the first grade, she’s managed to become an author. What adds to Ari’s remarkable story is the subject of her book, titled To Heaven, After the Storm. On April 27th of last year, Ari, along with her mom and dad, Shane and Jennifer Hallmark, her grandparents, Phillip and Ann Hallmark and her two cousins, Jayden and Julie, sought shelter in a bathroom to ride out an EF-4 tornado that came through the Ruth community of Marshall County.
Her book talks about it all. Only she and her cousin Julie survived. However, Ari says for a while, she joined her family members in Heaven. She describes in vivid detail seeing her father Shane, who had been bald all of her life, with hair. She writes that, “my daddy did not have his glasses.” She says an angel came to her and told her it was time to go back. She says she then remembers waking up in a field near the house. The proceeds from Ari’s book will help a ministry for other children dealing with death. Her therapist suggested the idea. “She’s was like, ‘Hey, let’s make a book. And do it to help other kids’,” Ari says.
Note: For more on the beautiful story of how this seven-year old girl foresaw her family's death in a tornado and went through an inspiring near-death experience, click here. For many other most inspiring stories of near-death experiences, click here.
'Wired To Run': Runner's High May Have Been Evolutionary Advantage
Endurance athletes sometimes say they're "addicted" to exercise. In fact, scientists have shown that rhythmic, continuous exercise — aerobic exercise — can in fact produce narcoticlike chemicals in the body. Now researchers suggest that those chemicals may have helped turn humans, as well as other animals, into long-distance runners. The man behind the research is University of Arizona anthropologist David Raichlen, a runner himself. He thinks humans are "Wired to run, meaning that our brains ... have been sort of rewired ... to encourage these running and high aerobic-activity behaviors." Many anthropologists think early humans learned to run long distances to chase down and exhaust prey, like antelopes. Meat is one payoff for runners. But Raichlen thinks there may have been another reward: a runner's high. He designed an experiment to test this idea. When people exercise aerobically, their bodies can actually make drugs — cannabinoids, the same kind of chemicals in marijuana. Raichlen wondered if other distance-running animals also produced those drugs. If so, maybe runner's high is not some peculiar thing with humans. So he put dogs — also distance runners — on a treadmill. Also ferrets, but ferrets are not long-distance runners. The dogs produced the drug, but the ferrets did not. Says Raichlen: "It suggests some level of aerobic exercise was encouraged by natural selection, and it may be fairly deep in our evolutionary roots."
Doctors consider using street drugs to ease suffering of dying patients
2012-04-24, Fox News
Recent studies at Harvard, U.C.L.A. [and] John Hopkins have now made it plain that doctors should [soon] be free to offer illicit drugs to patients who are terminally ill, in order to ease their emotional suffering. At Harvard, Dr. John Halpern ... tested MDMA (the street drug Ecstasy) to determine if it would ease the anxieties in two patients with terminal cancer. At U.C.L.A. and Hopkins, Drs. Charles Grob and Roland Griffiths used psilocybin (the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms) to help cancer patients past their paralyzing, debilitating fears. The results are reportedly consistently good. In many cases, patients are able to cope with their physical pain and psychological turmoil better than before. Some, no doubt, feel the drugs opened doors of perception previously closed to them, allowing them to make peace with their lives and the impending end of their lives. Recent data also show that low doses of the street drug Special K (ketamine), when slowly infused via IV, can instantly [relieve] major depression ... in many patients. And opiates like oxycodone ... are also extremely useful for those patients who ... suffer with unwieldy anxiety that cannot be addressed ... in any other way.
Note: For more news articles from reliable sources on mind-altering drugs, click here.
How Psychedelic Drugs Can Help Patients Face Death
2012-04-22, New York Times
Charles Grob [is] a psychiatrist and researcher at Harbor-U.C.L.A. Medical Center who [has administered] psilocybin — an active component of magic mushrooms — to end-stage cancer patients to see if it could reduce their fear of death. When the research was completed in 2008 ... the results showed that administering psilocybin to terminally ill subjects could be done safely while reducing the subjects’ anxiety and depression about their impending deaths. Grob’s interest in the power of psychedelics to mitigate mortality’s sting is not just the obsession of one lone researcher. Dr. John Halpern, head of the Laboratory for Integrative Psychiatry at McLean Hospital in Belmont Mass., a psychiatric training hospital for Harvard Medical School, used MDMA — also known as ecstasy — in an effort to ease end-of-life anxieties in two patients with Stage 4 cancer. And there are two ongoing studies using psilocybin with terminal patients, one at New York University’s medical school, led by Stephen Ross, and another at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, where Roland Griffiths has administered psilocybin to 22 cancer patients and is aiming for a sample size of 44. “This research is in its very early stages,” Grob told me earlier this month, “but we’re getting consistently good results.” Grob and his colleagues are part of a resurgence of scientific interest in the healing power of psychedelics.
Note: For fascinating reports from major media sources on the beneficial uses of psychedelics, click here.
Q&A with Fair Trade USA founder Paul Rice
2012-04-15, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Paul Rice spent more than a decade in Nicaragua before returning to the United States to start Fair Trade USA in late 1998. Then known as TransFair, the Oakland nonprofit began to push businesses to practice fair trade. Today, the group works with more than 800 brands, including Peet's Coffee & Tea, Numi Tea and Ben & Jerry's, which have adopted fair-trade practices and carry its fair-trade label on certain products. [Rice:] The way it works is farmers organize themselves into marketing cooperatives and sell direct. When they sell direct to Starbucks, Peet's, Ben and Jerry's, or any number of the 800 brands we work with today, they're able to get a much higher price for their harvest. It's like a farmers' market gone global. Fair Trade USA plays three critical roles in the fair-trade movement. The first role - and defining function - is to certify fair-trade products. We certify 90 percent of fair-trade products in the U.S. That label gives consumers the assurance that the product came from a sustainable farm and farmers received a fair price for their products. We have auditors around the world that audit and inspect farms. We also have a supply-chain audit. It tracks the product from the farm to the grocery store shelves. We also have two other functions, consumer education and farmer support. With consumer education, our goal is to develop programs that raise awareness among consumers in the U.S. We (also) run training programs for farmers all over the world, to help them improve the quality of their products, develop strong business skills and to help them get access to capital.
The UN Embraces the Economics of Happiness
2012-04-12, Yes! Magazine
Imagine ... a world where the metric that guides our decisions is not money, but happiness. That is the future that 650 political, academic, and civic leaders from around the world came together to promote on April 2, 2012. Encouraged by the government of Bhutan, the United Nations held a High Level Meeting for Wellbeing and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm. The meeting marks the launch of a global movement to shift our focus away from measuring and promoting economic growth as a goal in its own right, and toward the goal of measuring—and increasing—human happiness and quality of life. Some may say these 650 world leaders are dreamers, but they are the sort that can make dreams come true. The meeting began with an address by Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley of Bhutan, where the government tracks the nation’s “Gross National Happiness”: "The time has come for global action to build a new world economic system that is no longer based on the illusion that limitless growth is possible on our precious and finite planet or that endless material gain promotes well-being. Instead, it will be a system that promotes harmony and respect for nature and for each other; that respects our ancient wisdom traditions and protects our most vulnerable people as our own family, and that gives us time to live and enjoy our lives and to appreciate rather than destroy our world. It will be an economic system, in short, that is fully sustainable and that is rooted in true, abiding well-being and happiness."
Geriatric gymnast impresses crowd at German competition
2012-03-30, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Johanna Quaas performed an impressive parallel bar and floor demonstration after finals concluded at Germany's Cottbus Challenger Cup. Displaying balance, strength and flexibility that would be the envy of someone a quarter her age, Quaas's floor routine included a handstand forward roll, cartwheel, backward roll and headstand while on the bars she performed a full planche, holding her body taught and parallel to the ground. A multiple time senior champion of artistic gymnastics in Germany, Quaas, from Halle in Saxony only took up gymnastics when she was 30, putting paid to the belief that the sport is the preserve of the young.
Note: Don't miss the amazing video of this highly inspiring woman at the link above.
Living Seed company takes root from heirloom seeds
2012-03-28, San Francisco Chronicle
Two entrepreneurs are hoping to take gardening back to a time when an abundance of plant diversity was the norm. Matthew Hoffman and Astrid Lindo grow, source and sell seeds of rare and heirloom edibles. "What's amazing is 100 years ago, everybody saved their own seed," Lindo said. By 1983, the 408 varieties of peas cultivated on American farms some 80 years earlier had dwindled to 25. Sweet corn saw a drop from 307 to 12 varieties. Hoffman undertook intensive training in New Mexico at the first-ever seed school taught by Bill McDorman, one of the veterans of the contemporary North American seed-saving movement. His enthusiasm was infectious; within a few months, Lindo decided to ... immerse herself in the fledgling business. The couple talked with experienced seed growers and farmers, researched catalogs, and scanned gardening forums and blogs online. And then they dug in and began growing their own seed. McDorman, director of Native Seeds/Search, a Tucson organization focused on conserving the genetic diversity of crops ... is effusive in his praise of the couple. "These young kids are way smarter than we were," he remarked. "Matthew and Astrid are indicative of what's coming, a whole new wave." The couple have ... a lively Twitter feed, a blog and a Facebook page as well as a YouTube channel with instructional videos on seed-saving techniques. The company also donates seeds to school garden programs, urban garden programs and correctional facilities.
Note: Learn more at www.livingseedcompany.com. Read the blog at this link and check them out on twitter:@LivingSeedCo; Facebook: www.facebook.com/LivingSeedCompany; and YouTube: bit.ly/wR0P3B