Inspirational Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Inspirational Media Articles in Major Media
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Sweden is moving to a six-hour working day in a bid to increase productivity and make people happier. Employers across the country have already made the change, according to the Science Alert website, which said the aim was to get more done in a shorter amount of time and ensure people had the energy to enjoy their private lives. Toyota centres in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city, made the switch 13 years ago, with the company reporting happier staff, a lower turnover rate, and an increase in profits in that time. Filimundus, an app developer based in the capital Stockholm, introduced the six-hour day last year. “The eight-hour work day is not as effective as one would think," Linus Feldt, the company’s CEO told Fast Company. Mr Feldt has said staff members are not allowed on social media, meetings are kept to a minimum, and that other distractions during the day are eliminated - but the aim is that staff will be more motivated to work more intensely while in the office. He said the new work day would ensure people have enough energy to pursue their private lives when they leave work – something which can be difficult with eight-hour days.
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Everybody knows about the spread of war, the rise of AIDS and other diseases, the hopeless intractability of poverty. One survey found that two-thirds of Americans believed that the proportion of the world population living in extreme poverty has almost doubled over the last 20 years. Another 29 percent believed that the proportion had remained roughly the same. That’s 95 percent of Americans — who are utterly wrong. In fact, the proportion of the world’s population living in extreme poverty hasn’t doubled or remained the same. It has fallen by more than half, from 35 percent in 1993 to 14 percent in 2011 (the most recent year for which figures are available from the World Bank). The world’s best-kept secret is that we live at a historic inflection point when extreme poverty is retreating. United Nations members have just adopted 17 new Global Goals, of which the centerpiece is the elimination of extreme poverty by 2030. Their goals are historic. There will still be poor people, of course, but very few who are too poor to eat or to send children to school. Inequality [remains] a huge challenge in the U.S. But globally, inequality is diminishing, because of the rise of poor countries. The challenge now is to ensure that rich donor nations are generous in supporting the Global Goals — but also that developing countries do their part, rather than succumbing to corruption and inefficiency. So let’s get down to work and, on our watch, defeat extreme poverty worldwide. We know that the challenges are surmountable — because we’ve already turned the tide of history.
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Plastic, long considered nonbiodegradable and one of the biggest contributors to global pollution, might have met its match: The small, brownish, squirmy mealworm. Researchers have learned that the mealworm can live on a diet of Styrofoam and other types of plastic. Inside the mealworm's gut are microorganisms that are able to biodegrade polyethylene, a common form of plastic, according to new studies published in Environmental Science and Technology. The findings could help solve the plastic pollution problem affecting the world. The research documented 100 mealworms that consumed 34 to 39 milligrams of Styrofoam, which is about the weight of a pill, every day. Scientists also paid attention to the mealworms' overall health and saw larvae that ate a diet subsisting strictly of Styrofoam were as healthy as mealworms eating a normal diet of bran, [and] transformed the plastic they ate into carbon dioxide, worm biomass and biodegradable waste. This waste seemed safe to use in soil for plants and even crops, the studies said. Being able to find insects that can safely degrade plastic is critical to potential pollution management because other insects such as cockroaches can also consume plastic, but they have not shown biodegradation.
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Two movies on similar missions are opening within weeks of each other this season, “Racing Extinction” and “This Changes Everything,” both exploring the devastation humanity has wrought on the natural world. Yet rather than focusing only on what is dying and lost, both films offer messages of hope, profiling people who have helped stop ... the pillaging of wildlife and land. Naomi Klein, who adapted “This Changes Everything,” based on her book of the same name, said a film salesman ... told her that he would market the movie only if there was no reference to climate change in the marketing. If you beat people over the head with shame, guilt and despair ... people turn away and try to forget about it. Cognizant of such aversion, the teams behind each film ... developed similar plans: target the people most passionate about what’s at stake, and bank on them to draw in others. “We want to make sure we approach the core audience directly,” said Richard Abramowitz, whose company, Abramorama, is distributing both films. “Racing Extinction” got a head start with its message this summer when the director and his collaborators projected images of endangered animals onto the Empire State Building. “This Changes Everything”... focuses on grass-roots movements that thwarted oil companies and communities that embraced renewable energy. It’s all part of the effort to get people to see the movie and then take an action.
Potentially life-giving water still flows across the ancient surface of Mars from time to time, NASA scientists said Monday in revealing a potential breakthrough in both the search for life beyond Earth and human hopes to one day travel there. While the discovery doesn't by itself offer evidence of life on Mars, either past or present, it does boost hopes that the harsh landscape still offers some refuge for microbes to cling to existence. "The existence of liquid water, even if it is super salty briny water, gives the possibility that if there's life on Mars, that we have a way to describe how it might survive," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA. NASA researchers using an imager aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter confirmed the watery flows by looking at light waves returned from seasonal dark streaks on the surface, long suspected to be associated with liquid water. It remains unclear where the water comes from. Alfred McEwen, who heads up NASA's HiRISE high-resolution camera aboard the Mars orbiter, said he's fairly confident life will one day be found on Mars. "It's very likely, I think, that there's life somewhere in the crust of Mars, microbes," he said. Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA, said the discovery announced Monday puts NASA in a perfect position to look for that life.
The FBI says crime rates, including murder, were down last year. The report is in contrast to headlines this year. In 2014 the U.S. recorded the fewest murders since 2009. Most other violent crimes, such as robbery, burglary, theft and arson have declined, while aggravated assaults and rapes, which now includes a broader definition, were on the rise in 2014. The 2014 numbers do not reflect an increase this year in murders and other violent crimes reported in some cities. Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates highlighted progress made for cities compared to decades past. "We have witnessed a remarkable drop in crime since the 1980's - both violent crime and crime overall. Entire cities have been transformed, unlocking tremendous potential and releasing a wave of prosperity," Yates said, adding that "even though crime is trending downward in most places, we are seeing pockets of rising violence in various locations across the country." While the FBI has expanded the report to include new statistics such as hate crimes and human trafficking arrests, it addressed concerns of transparency in the reporting of potential violent crimes committed by law enforcement officers on civilians.
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Kanya Sesser, 23, skateboards, models lingerie and surfs – and she does it all without lower limbs. Sesser, who was born without legs, was adopted from an orphanage in Thailand before moving to Portland, Oregon, with her new family. Now, she earns more than $1,000 a day working as a model. "I enjoy making money from it and I love showing people what beauty can look like," Sesser told the Daily News. "These images show my strength." The 23-year-old, who uses a skateboard instead of a wheelchair, began modeling for sports brands when she was 15. The Huffington Post UK reports that the Los Angeles-based model has reportedly posed for brands like Billabong, Rip Curl Girl and Nike. "I was mainly doing athletics shoots then as I got older I got into lingerie modeling," Sesser told the Daily News. "It's something fun and it shows my story – I'm different and that is sexy, I don't need legs to feel sexy." Now, the model hopes to compete in the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, as a mono-skier.
Note: Don't miss this inspiring seven-minute video of Kanya's courage and fascinating life.
Farmer Phub Zam, 55, is in a hurry. Monsoon rains have hit ... and Zam is rushing to harvest her broccoli. "Of all my vegetables, broccoli is the most sought after," she said. Each kilogram sells for ... 15 to 30 cents more than broccoli imported from neighboring India, because her produce is grown without the use of chemicals. After decades of subsistence farming, Zam went organic four years ago. Now she grows 21 crops on her 1.3-acre farm, [earning] three times more than she made before. Zam’s success is part of Bhutan’s plan to support sustainable farming as one key to build a thriving “green" economy. In 2011, the government launched the National Organic Program, which aims to make the country’s agriculture 100 percent organic by 2020. Zam’s switchover came when a team of officials from the agriculture ministry told her they were offering women farmers in her village free training in organic farming, including composting and selling the compost for a profit. After attending a three-day training course, Zam started her home compost heap. Today, she sells about 60 kilograms of compost - made of grass, leaves, cow dung and sawdust - every two months to tourist resorts and other buyers. Zam also uses the compost at her farm, including in the two greenhouses she bought and installed with an 80 percent subsidy from the government. In June, officials announced that the government had so far provided 176 greenhouses to farmers and planned to install 650 more.
A record-breaking distance has been achieved in the bizarre world of quantum teleportation. Scientists teleported photons (packets of light) across a spool of fiber optics 63 miles (102 kilometers) long, four times farther than the previous record. Quantum teleportation relies on the strange nature of quantum physics, which finds that the fundamental building blocks of the universe can essentially exist in two or more places at once. Specifically, quantum teleportation relies on an odd phenomenon known as "quantum entanglement," in which subatomic particles can become linked and influence each other instantaneously, regardless of how far apart they are. Scientists cannot distinguish the state of either particle until one is directly measured, but because the particles are connected, measuring one instantly determines the state of the other. Currently, physicists can't instantly transport matter (say, a human), but they can use quantum teleportation to beam information from one place to another. "What's exciting is that we were able to carry out quantum teleportation over such a long distance," study co-author Martin Stevens, a quantum optics researcher at the NIST in Boulder, Colorado. Quantum teleportation could enable the development of a "quantum Internet" that allows messages to be sent more securely, Stevens said. The scientists detailed their findings ... in the journal Optica.
It is hard for T. A. Barron – a Colorado native, former Rhodes Scholar, and author of more than 30 highly acclaimed books – to pick the young hero that impresses him the most. They all inspire the veteran writer. In 2001, Barron founded The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, a program that strives to recognize and encourage the heroic efforts of young people and, as Barron describes it, “to spread the word about their examples as young heroes, so that other young people from all backgrounds will be inspired to do something themselves to make the world better.” In the 15 years since its founding, The Barron Prize has awarded more than $540,000 to some 364 young leaders. The honorees have come from 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada, and have collectively raised more than $15 million for their causes. “These kids are from every conceivable background,” Barron says, adding that their stories far outweigh any that he could pen. The latest batch of honorees will be announced Sept. 21, and will include Mary-Pat. Tired of attending more funerals than school graduations, she flew from Atlanta to Chicago, determined to receive help from Burrell Communications, one of the largest mutlicultural marketing firms in the world, for her “Think Twice” ad campaign against gun violence. Barron says he hopes the ever-growing list of prize winners will serve to inspire other young people.
Note: Don't miss the video of one of these inspiring teens available at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Amid a massive corruption scandal which has tarnished Brazil’s political class and driven the country’s president to the brink of impeachment, the Brazilian supreme court has banned corporate donations to candidates and parties in future elections. With eight votes in favour and three against, the court declared late on Thursday that the rules allowing companies to donate to election campaigns were unconstitutional. Rosa Weber, one of the judges who ruled in favour of the ban, argued that undue economic influence comprised the legitimacy of the country’s elections. “The influence of economic power has ended up transforming the electoral process into a rigged political game, a despicable pantomime which makes the voter a puppet, simultaneously undermining citizenship, democracy and popular sovereignty.” According to “The Spoils of Victory”, a US academic study into campaign donations and government contracts in Brazil, corporate donors to the PT in the 2006 elections received between 14 to 39 times the value of their donations in government contracts. The case was brought to the supreme court around one and a half years ago by the Order of Brazilian Attorneys (OAB). On Thursday the organization’s secretary general, Cláudio Pereira de Souza Neto, celebrated the decision. “It is what Brazilian society has been hoping for, even more so in these times of crisis,” he said, adding that the court order should make future elections cheaper.
Note: What do you think might happen if the US and Europe banned corporations from making political contributions? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Erik de Buhr ...has found his dream job in the construction industry. He uses his skills to build huts, 6-by-10-foot dwellings. Then he gives them away. For the past three years, these small dwellings have become a home for the homeless in Eugene, [Oregon]. Teaming up with 12 local churches, de Buhr and his wife, Fay, are giving people who have been living on the streets a safe place to sleep. So far they’ve placed 49 huts in the community, serving 100-plus homeless people. [They also provide] a bridge to other programs. Whether the need is drug rehabilitation or job training, getting eyeglasses or going to a dentist, de Buhr and the churches he partners with can point the way. The emphasis is always on the next step. “We foster a culture of self-improvement,” de Buhr says. “That’s what’s rewarded in our camps.” The idea is to move homeless people from needing assistance to living on their own. “We encourage people to find ways not to be a burden on the social services,” de Buhr says. “And also for their own well-being not to become dependent on those social services.” But in some situations those services are very much needed, he agrees, such as for people with ongoing disabilities or mental health problems. “But if you have the capacity to improve your situation, and also live with a certain self-confidence, that’s what we want to see,” de Buhr says. He, Fay, and their 6-year-old son live in a 6-by-10-foot hut behind their renovated office building. Next door to them are six other huts, temporary homes for homeless people.
What unites us as human beings? French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand filmed interviews with more than 2,000 people in 60 countries to answer that ambitious question for his latest project, "Human." "For the past 40 years, I have been photographing our planet and its human diversity, and I have the feeling that humanity is not making any progress," Mr. Arthus-Bertrand writes. For more than two years, his crew ... traveled the world, seeking answers. Without any disclosure of location or identity, each subject answers the same 40 questions, including: What is the toughest trial you have had to face, and what did you learn from it? Why are our differences so great? What is your message for the inhabitants of the planet? When is the last time you said "I love you" to your parents? And so on. The result ... is a riveting portrait of life, love, anger, and desire, as told by real-life characters ranging from a laborer in Bangladesh to a death-row inmate in the United States to the former president of Uruguay. Arthus-Bertrand released a web-adapted version of the project on YouTube ... with subtitles available in Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. "The film speaks to ... the difficulties we each encounter in relation to our own lives, in maintaining valuable connections with our families and those around us and coming to terms with our personal ethics," Arthus-Bertrand says. "The older I get, the more I understand how difficult those objectives are to achieve. But the answer is always love. Love is the answer."
Note: Watch a profound three-minute segment of the conversion of a murderer taken from this beautiful, sometimes disturbing documentary. That will likely convince you to watch the entire engaging documentary "Human."
A US billionaire is hoping to boost the morale of teachers in the US by increasing their pay packets out of his own pocket. Hedge fund manager Jim Simons is to offer an extra $15,000 (Ł10,000) a year to 800 mathematics and science teachers in the US. The founder of Renaissance Technologies, a company worth $22bn, said that the number of people being paid would increase. "We give them extra money, $15,000 a year. We have 800 math and science teachers in New York City in public schools today, as part of a core," said Simons, during a Ted talk interview. "There's a great morale among them. They're staying in the field. Next year, it'll be 1,000 and that'll be 10% of the math and science teachers in New York public schools." He said he hoped the scheme would incentivise good teaching. "Yeah — instead of beating up the bad teachers, which has created morale problems all through the educational community, in particular in math and science, we focus on celebrating the good ones and giving them status," Simons said. Teachers in the US are paid approximately $56,383 (Ł37,000) a year and Simons set up the Math for America 20 years ago with his wife, Marilyn, to promote mathematics teaching in the US.
Free Money Day, being celebrated today, is an annual event where people hand out money to strangers, two notes or coins at a time, asking them to pass half on to someone else. Using fun and intrigue, the day encourages conversations about our broken financial system and how its very design increases inequality. The Free Money Day project began in 2011 when a number of researchers at the Post Growth Institute were looking for a way to engage the broader population in a conversation on financial reform. Four years later, more than 200 Free Money Day events spanning 41 countries have been held, and more than US$10,000 (Ł6,500) has been distributed. In Moerewa, New Zealand, for example, buskers Emma and Derek handed out money to people listening to their music. In Mexico City, Axel gave his money to people living on the streets with a request that they in turn pass half on to strangers. In Utah, Roger handed out two $1 bills to each of his restaurant co-workers. Others have taken the experiment beyond money. In 2012, Gonçalo’s video store in Lisbon, Portugal, for example, offered free movie rentals. In the same year, Layne and Patcharin in Chiang Mai, Thailand, were so inspired by the Free Money Day concept that they gave away half of their 14-acre land holding to begin a land trust for permaculture farmers. By exploring the real value of money, Free Money Day encourages people to consider how they can put it to better use.
Trent Griffin was concerned last summer when he saw a child riding a bike that was missing a front tire in his neighborhood in Huntsville, Ala. He bought supplies to make the fix and offered the boy a newly repaired bike. Soon, Mr. Griffin was visited by many young bike riders. Griffin went to thrift stores to get materials to repair the bikes. He even gave bikes away to children in need. When a child received a freshly fixed bike, he or she also received a life lesson. His sister, Nicole Griffin Fields, told ABC News, "He makes them sign contracts that require them to have good behavior, to maintain their good grades, and to obey their parents." Is a little life counseling from a NASA engineer a good price to pay for having a freshly repaired bike? At least 1,000 people and a NASA astronaut said it was. Griffin's friends and family nominated him for the "Above and Beyond" award from "Good Morning America." His prize was a field full of 50 relatives and 1,000 grateful participants at the US Space and Rocket station near the Marshall Space Flight Center where Griffin works. Griffin also met an astronaut at the International Space Station, Scott Kelly, via a NASA video chat. Commander Kelly told Griffin he would receive 50 bicycles from Schwinn and Mongoose that he can give to more children in his neighborhood. Kelly finished the video chat with a low-gravity flip. America has a rich tradition of active community involvement, and people like Griffin share that with children by example.
Sweden said it’s targeting to become one of the first nations in the world to be free of fossil fuels and that it will invest 4.5 billion kronor ($546 million) in climate-protection measures next year as a step toward that goal. The government will increase support for solar, wind, energy storage, smart grids and clean transport. Investment in photovoltaics will rise nearly eightfold. Sweden got about two-thirds of its electricity generation capacity from clean and low-carbon sources last year. It plans to significantly reduce its emissions by 2020. It didn’t set a target date for the nation becoming fossil free, though Stockholm may reach that goal by 2050. Sweden will also spend 50 million kronor annually on electricity storage research, 10 million kronor on smart grids and 1 billion kronor to renovate residential buildings and make them more energy efficient. The Scandinavian country will also increase its funding of climate-related projects in developing countries, raising its budget to 500 million kronor. The government hopes it will send an “important signal” before the United Nations conference in Paris in December.
The U.S. solar industry is on course for a new growth record in 2015, according to a new report that finds that solar photovoltaic installations now exceed 20 gigawatts in capacity and could surpass an unprecedented 7 gigawatts this year alone across all segments. A gigawatt is equivalent to 1 billion watts and can power some 164,000 homes. “It’s setting records every quarter,” says Shayle Kann, senior vice president of GTM Research and lead author of the [report's] residential segment. The report comes just weeks after President Obama traveled to Las Vegas — a particularly fast-paced solar market — to sing the industry’s praises and cast solar, and particularly “distributed” solar on rooftops, as an icon of progress and technological innovation. Out of all new electricity installations in the U.S. in the first six months of this year, 40 percent were solar. U.S. solar photovoltaic is at 20 gigawatts of installed capacity now, and may add another 18 gigawatts by the end of next year. The new report also looks towards a tiny market at present that nonetheless contains great potential — solar-plus-storage, in which solar installations are combined directly with batteries in order to preserve energy culled from the sun for use at times of convenience or greater demand. It finds that while only 4 megawatts of solar-plus-storage were deployed last year, by this year that could increase five fold — and by 2020 it could reach 769 megawatts.
Lava Mae - the unlikely nonprofit that turns old Muni buses into shower stalls to be used by homeless people - said Tuesday that its second bus is rolling along and that it has a new plan to expand throughout California. Doniece Sandoval, founder of Lava Mae, stood in front of Bus No. 2, which will be parked every Tuesday on Fulton Street next to the Main Library. Sandoval ... had the idea for Lava Mae after seeing a filthy homeless woman crying and saying she would never be clean. Lava Mae’s simple solution of providing homeless people with showers and toilets has captured the attention of people around the world, many of whom have asked Sandoval to help them create a similar program. City Librarian Luis Herrera said Lava Mae is a great addition to the Main Library, which sees up to 3,000 visitors every day - many of them homeless and seeking bathrooms, sinks or just a place to rest. Despite all the praise, getting Lava Mae up and running has been much harder than expected, Sandoval said. The first bus is being taken out of rotation for a few weeks so some electrical glitches can be fixed. Finding licensed bus drivers adept at working with homeless people and willing to do it for $16 an hour has also been a huge problem, especially with all the competition from corporate shuttle buses. Sandoval said the bus driver shortage has prompted her to plan for the third Lava Mae vehicle to be a pickup truck pulling a shower stall on wheels. That should be running early next year.
As part of its ‘Unlimited’ campaign, Western Sydney University in New South Wales, Australia, has told the harrowing story of one of its graduates, refugee lawyer Deng Thiak Adut. In 1985, the Sudanese government began destroying villages eventually leading to the rise of the People's Liberation Army. Two years later, six-year old Deng Thiak Adut was taken away from his family’s banana farm in South Sudan and conscripted into the Army. After undergoing military training, several years of army service and witnessing numerous atrocities, Deng was still a boy when he was shot in the back. A further two years later, a chance meeting led to Deng reuniting with his brother who helped smuggle him out of the country by hiding him in a corn sack on the back of a truck. After working at a local service station to learn English, Deng enrolled at TAFE and completed his Advanced Diploma in Accounting before deciding to study law. In 2005 he enrolled in a Bachelor of Laws at Western Sydney University and became the first person in his family to graduate with a law degree. Now determined to help other Sudanese refugees, the university’s poignant video has prompted its Facebook page to be flooded with messages of support for the graduate and the campaign. As the refugee crisis continues to develop in Europe, the emotional advert serves as a stark reminder that if a country open its doors to those in need, people from all walks of life can come together to benefit humanity as a whole.
Note: Don't miss the awesome video commercial featuring this most inspiring man.
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.