Inspirational News Articles
Excerpts of Key Inspirational News Articles in Major Media


Below are many highly engaging excerpts of key inspirational news articles reported in the mainstream media. Links are provided to the full, original news articles. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These inspirational articles are listed by order of importance. You can also explore the news articles listed by order of the date of the article or by the date posted. Enjoy the rich inspiration!


Inspirational News Articles


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.

Occupy Wall Street activists buy $15m of Americans' personal debt
2013-11-12, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/12/occupy-wall-street-activists-15m...

A group of Occupy Wall Street activists has bought almost $15m of Americans' personal debt over the last year as part of the Rolling Jubilee project to help people pay off their outstanding credit. Rolling Jubilee, set up by Occupy's Strike Debt group following the street protests that swept the world in 2011, launched on 15 November 2012. The group purchases personal debt cheaply from banks before "abolishing" it, freeing individuals from their bills. By purchasing the debt at knockdown prices the group has managed to free $14,734,569.87 of personal debt, mainly medical debt, spending only $400,000. "We thought that the ratio would be about 20 to 1," said Andrew Ross, a member of Strike Debt and professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University. "In fact we've been able to buy debt a lot more cheaply than that." The Rolling Jubilee project was mostly conceived as a "public education project", Ross said. "Our purpose in doing this, aside from helping some people along the way – there's certainly many, many people who are very thankful that their debts are abolished – our primary purpose was to spread information about the workings of this secondary debt market." The group has ... acquired the $14.7m in three separate purchases, most recently purchasing the value of $13.5m on medical debt owed by 2,693 people across 45 states and Puerto Rico, Rolling Jubilee said in a press release. “No one should have to go into debt or bankruptcy because they get sick,” said Laura Hanna, an organiser with the group. Hanna said 62% of all personal bankruptcies have medical debt as a contributing factor.

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




Malala Yousafzai wows 'The Daily Show'
2013-10-10, USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/10/10/malala-jon-stewart-daily-...

Sixteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai ... is a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize for her courage in the face of death threats in her home country of Pakistan over her advocacy of education for girls. On Thursday, she won the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Malala was shot in the head and neck one year ago on her school bus by a gunman who was sent by the Taliban, the Muslim clerical group that believes in adherence to a strict version of Islamic law. Where it can, the Taliban has imposed rules forbidding girls from going to school, listening to music or taking most jobs. Malala, who lives in England now, told Stewart that she was stunned when she was told as a 14-year-old girl that the Taliban had issued a death threat against her for her activism and for her blog on the BBC, in which she wrote about how hard it was to live under strict Muslim rule as a girl. "I just could not believe it, I said no, it's not true," she said, saying she thought the Taliban would instead come after her father, who operates a school and opened up his classes to girls. "We thought the Taliban were not that much cruel that they would kill a child." After she was shot, she was allowed to go to Britain for brain surgery. She now lives outside London with her family. Though the Taliban has threatened her life again, she says striking back at them would not help. "If you hit a Talib, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib," she said. "You must not treat others with cruelty. … You must fight others through peace and through dialogue and through education."

Note: You can watch portions of this inspiring show at the link above and at this link. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




The Science Of Conquering Your Fears -- And Living A More Courageous Life
2013-09-15, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/15/conquering-fear_n_3909020.html

Aristotle believed courage to be the most important quality in a man. “Courage is the first of human virtues because it makes all others possible," he wrote. Recent research has begun to move toward an understanding of what courage is and how we might be able to cultivate the ability to face our fear and make decisions with greater fortitude. Neuroscientists recently determined just how courage works in the brain, finding that a region called the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) is the driving force behind courageous acts -- a conclusion which could one day prove useful in treating anxiety disorders. So how can we train our minds to act more courageously in everyday life? Other recent research on courage [has] shown that's it's not just about facing fear, but also about coping with risk and uncertainty (as Ernest Hemingway put it, courage is "grace under pressure.") And, it seems, we can make ourselves more courageous with practice and effort. Six tried-and-true ways to loosen the grip of fear on your life -- and become more courageous than you ever imagined: Be vulnerable. Acknowledge your fears. Expose yourself to what you fear. Think positive. Manage stress [with exercise and meditation]. Practice courageous acts.

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




New Yorkers 'pay it forward' after 9/11
2013-09-10, CNN
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/10/us/cnnheroes-parness-sandy/index.html

Some New Yorkers mark the anniversary of the September 11 attacks by going to a memorial service or observing a moment of silence. For the past 10 years, Jeff Parness has been helping others. Every September, Parness brings hundreds of volunteers from New York to help another disaster-stricken community in the United States. "It was our way of saying, you know, New Yorkers will never forget what people from around the country and the world did for us in our time of need after 9/11," said Parness. "So that's how the mission started. It was just to pay forward the kindness that we experienced." Over the past decade, Parness' nonprofit, New York Says Thank You, has assisted victims of wildfires in San Diego, tornadoes in the Midwest and Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Many of those who receive help are so inspired that they travel across the country the next year -- often at their own expense -- to volunteer with Parness' group and help someone else. The result is a unique disaster-response organization. "All of our volunteers are survivors. They survived, whether it was 9/11 or Katrina or tornadoes. So they all share that common bond," said Parness, who quit his job as a venture capitalist to work on his nonprofit full-time. This year, Parness' mission has come full circle. Last weekend, more than 300 volunteers -- at least half of whom were from outside the New York area -- helped rebuild 13 homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy in October. For Parness, a native New Yorker, the work carried extra significance.

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




Food best source of vitamins, study finds
2013-09-10, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Food-best-source-of-vitamins-study-finds...

About half of all Americans take a daily multivitamin as a way to improve their health and cut their risk of diseases. But experts now say that - in almost all cases - the best way to get a full dose of vitamins is from nutritious foods rather than from pills. There is a lot of scientific evidence showing diets rich in produce, nuts, whole grains and fish promote health and decrease risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer, according to a new "Vitamins and Minerals" report from Harvard Medical School. On the other hand, studies involving vitamin supplements - and there have been many - show mixed results. In fact, after reviewing a large body of research in 2006, the National Institutes of Health decided not to definitively rule for or against multivitamins' ability to prevent diseases. So what are the quickest ways to boost the vitamin content in your meals? The report identifies about three dozen foods that have the most nutrients per calorie, including avocados, berries, cantaloupe, dark leafy greens, eggs, yogurt, lentils, beans, almonds, fish, chicken and turkey. And although most people think of citrus as the best source of vitamin C, a red pepper has twice as much as an orange. Similarly, potatoes and white beans have more potassium than bananas. The final advice from Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, the report's editor: "Spend your time and money improving your diet, which is far more likely to pay off in the long run than popping a pill."

Note: The Harvard report can be found here: http://hvrd.me/9Uixox. 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
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.”

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




Researchers developing communication app for children with autism
2013-08-01, CBS News/Associated Press
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/researchers-developing-communication-app-for-chil...

University of Kansas researchers have received a $1.2 million grant to test whether an iPad voice output application can help children with autism. Similar apps have previously been developed for adults with autism. In June 2012, 60 Minutes interviewed a 27-year-old man with autism who uses the keypad on the iPad to type out letters, words and phrases. A robotic voice then reads the words on the screen, giving a voice to an intelligent young man who previously struggled to communicate. Other researchers have developed apps to test vocabulary and math skills of autistic children. They are finding that the apps reveal a greater level of intelligence than previously expected in many of the children. Lead researcher Kathy Thiemann-Bourque says many young children with autism have complex communication needs but do not develop functional speech. In previous research, she has examined both peer training and direct teaching strategies to increase social communication between children with autism and their classmates without disabilities.

Note: For an amazing eight-minute clip showing how a non-verbal autistic woman uses her computer to eloquently invite people into her world, click here. The amazing writing starts at 3:15. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Richie Parker, Star NASCAR Engineer At Hendrick Motorsports, Doesn't Have Arms
2013-07-23, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/23/richie-parker-nascar-engineer-withou...

The fact that Richie Parker can ride a bike doesn't sound impressive -- until you see him do it. Same goes for the car repairs he makes using power tools. Parker was born without arms, a disability he's overcome time and time again, ultimately leading him to his job engineering chassis and body components for Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR's most winning organization. "Based on his resume, I knew he could do the things that I needed him to do, it was more a question of how,” Rex Stump, engineering manager at Hendrick, said of Parker. Just like every other hurdle in his life, Parker found a way, placing the keyboard and mouse on the floor, then operating both with his feet to build custom high-performance automotive parts. His story has also inspired countless others, not the least of [whom] is Magic Johnson. After watching [an] ESPN segment [on Parker], the retired NBA star tweeted, "Richie Parker's story proves that you can do anything you set your mind to. We should all stop complaining and giving excuses." Or, as Parker says, "I don't know there's a lot in life ... that I'd say I can't do. Just things I haven't done yet."

Note: Don't miss the most awesome video of Richie at the link above. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim: 'They said poverty would always be with us. Well, maybe not'
2013-07-07, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/world-bank-chief-jim-yong-k...

Jim Yong Kim [is] the first man from outside the discipline of economics to take the helm at the World Bank. Having just celebrated his first year in charge, the Korean-American medical expert has refocused the world’s premier development bank on ending extreme poverty. The World Bank leader prefers to dwell on the positives. Global poverty, defined by the bank as living on $1.25 or less per day, was halved five years ahead of schedule. The next phase is to lift the remaining 20 per cent of the world’s population out of extreme poverty by 2030. “The efforts to end poverty have been really significant,” says Mr Kim. “They said poverty would always be with us. Well, maybe not.” A proportion of people – he estimates three per cent – will remain below the poverty line due to natural disasters and their related aftermaths, but otherwise “extreme poverty will be gone from the earth”. His appointment to the World Bank last year was not universally welcomed. Many observers resented his imposition by the United States over popular candidates from Africa and Latin America, while others worried that he was not an economist. They pointed to his presence at protests against the World Bank in 1993. Mr Kim now says that it was the lender’s “one size fits all” approach to economies that he objected to. As well as aiming to end poverty, the bank has set itself the task of tracking the progress of the bottom 40 per cent in every country as a means of measuring social mobility and equality.

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




Chipotle labels all GM items on menu
2013-06-20, Chicago Tribune
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-06-20/features/chi-gmo-news-chipotle-...

As part of its "Food With Integrity" program, Chipotle this week posted information on its website identifying which items on its menu contain genetically modified ingredients. The chain posted a chart noting that 12 out of 25 ingredients, including its rice, barbacoa, chips, chicken, vegetable fajitas, steak and flour tortillas (except in certain restaurants) use either genetically modified corn or soybean oil, the vast majority of which is derived from GM soybeans. The chain said that those ingredients are "currently unavoidable" but that it is "working hard" to eliminate them. This move comes on the heels of Ben & Jerry's announcement that all of its flavors will be GM ingredient free by the end of the year and Whole Foods pledge to phase out all foods with GM ingredients by 2018. Although GM crops ... are considered safe by federal authorities and are legal to plant and sell, some independent studies have linked them to health and environmental problems. The announcements happen amid a flurry of state bills to require mandatory labeling of food with GM ingredients. In more GM news, this afternoon the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan amendment to require labeling of GM salmon as part of a 2014 Agriculture Appropriations bill. Overseas, where the labeling question is largely over, the GM debate rages over expanding GM crop planting approvals in the European Union. Asked [whether UK Prime Minister David] Cameron would eat GM foods or allow his children to eat them, the spokesman steadfastly declined to answer.

Note: Much of Europe labels their food for GMOs, which are even banned in many areas. Read an MSN article on the banning of GM foods from all restaurants and food in the UK's parliament at this link. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz launch the B Team challenge
2013-06-13, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/blog/richard-branson-jochen-z...

In a sign that the corporate sustainability movement may be entering a new dynamic phase, Sir Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz, former chief executive of Puma and current director of Kering, today launched a new global collaboration to drive transformational change in the business sector. The B Team brings together an initial 14 leaders from major corporations around the world, including Unilever, Natura, Celtel, Tata and Kering, in an attempt to enlarge projects that demonstrate that long-term business success can be built only by prioritising people and planet alongside profit. The collective ... has issued a declaration that places much of the blame for the world's problems directly on the doorstep of companies. Recognising that their views will be seen by many competitors as an "affront", the declaration states: "Business is now waking up to the reality that if we carry on using the natural resources of the world unsustainably, they'll quite simply run out. With a burgeoning population, more people are still living in poverty than ever before and inequalities are increasing in many parts of the world. Unemployment rates are at frightening levels. Non-Profits alone cannot solve the tasks at hand, while many governments are unwilling or unable to act. While there are myriad reasons we've arrived at this juncture, much of the blame rests with the principles and practices of business as usual." Rather than go it alone, the B Team is forging partnerships with other organisations such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and Ashoka, a leading light in the social enterprise movement.

Note: For more on the inspiring B Team, see the great three-minute video here and click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Simple vinegar cancer test could save tens of thousands of lives
2013-06-02, NBC News
http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/02/18698271-simple-vinegar-cancer-tes...

A simple vinegar test slashed cervical cancer death rates by one-third in a remarkable study of 150,000 women in the slums of India, where the disease is the top cancer killer of women. Experts called the outcome "amazing" and said this quick, cheap test could save tens of thousands of lives each year in developing countries by spotting early signs of cancer, allowing treatment before it's too late. Usha Devi, one of the women in the study, says it saved her life. "Many women refused to get screened. Some of them died of cancer later," Devi said. "Now I feel everyone should get tested. I got my life back because of these tests." Pap smears and tests for HPV, a virus that causes most cervical cancers, have slashed cases and deaths in the United States. But poor countries can't afford those screening tools. This study tried a test that costs very little and can be done by local people with just two weeks of training and no fancy lab equipment. They swab the cervix with diluted vinegar, which can make abnormal cells briefly change color. This low-tech visual exam cut the cervical cancer death rate by 31 percent, the study found. It could prevent 22,000 deaths in India and 72,600 worldwide each year, researchers estimate. "That's amazing. That's remarkable. It's a very exciting result," said Dr. Ted Trimble of the National Cancer Institute in the U.S., the main sponsor of the study. India has nearly one-third of the world's cases of cervical cancer — more than 140,000 each year.

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




Japanese Octogenarian Becomes Oldest Man to Reach Summit of Mount Everest
2013-05-23, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/International/japanese-octogenarian-oldest-man-reach-su...

Japanese climber Yuichiro Miura, 80, reached the top of Mount Everest [on May 23], becoming the oldest man to scale the world's highest mountain. The climb marks the third time Miura has summited Everest, a successful feat in itself, but even more remarkable considering his age and his medical history. Discussing the hurdles of climbing at such an old age, the octogenarian said, it was to challenge his "ultimate limit." "It is to honor the great Mother Nature," he said on a statement posted on his website. "Hoping to raise even an inch of human possibility." Miura didn't attempt his first climb to the top of Everest until 2003, when he was 70 years old. He made that trek with his son, a former Olympian, and set a world record as the oldest climber to successfully scale the mountain. Five years later, he returned again -- at 75 years old -- to set another record. Yuichiro Miura has spent a lifetime defying the odds. In his younger years, he skied down Mount Everest's South Col, an adventure that was documented in the 1975 Academy Award winning documentary, "The Man Who Skied Down Everest." Not satisfied, Miura summited and skied down all seven summits of the world, by his 50s. Miura has already discussed his next venture -- skiing down the Himalayan mountain of Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world. He hopes to take on that challenge five years from now when he is 85 years old.

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




The price of pacifism: Refusing to go to war is finally being recognised as a brave act
2013-05-18, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/world-history/the-price-of-pacifism-r...

International Conscientious Objection Day took place this week, on 15 May, and in the UK, a ceremony was held at the CO Commemorative Stone in Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury. The UK has also recently seen the opening of a new memorial to COs, at The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. The earliest recorded incidence of conscientious objection was in 296AD, when a Roman refused to serve as a soldier because of his religious beliefs; he was killed, but subsequently canonised as Saint Maximilian. The term 'conscientious objector', however, only gained currency during the First World War, following the implementation of conscription in 1916. In Britain, over 16,000 men refused to fight. While it is well known that many with strong religious beliefs objected, interestingly some war-resisters refused on socialist grounds: they would not fight brother workers, feeling that the average soldier was but a pawn of the ruling classes. Few were given total exemption. Many were forced to join the army or the Non-Combatant Corps (NCC), to serve in a supporting role to the armed forces. Many 'conchies' refused either option, and were sent to prison as a result. The abuses they suffered for their stance make for extremely grim reading, [as] told by David Boulton, in his book Objection Overruled. But word got out about such experiences – and public feeling did move towards respect. It became recognised that to stand up and be counted as someone who would not fight required its own, very high, degree of courage.

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




New app lets shoppers boycott companies by scanning barcodes
2013-05-15, MSN
http://news.msn.com/science-technology/new-app-lets-shoppers-boycott-companie...

Do you know where your money really goes? A new app aims to help consumers avoid companies and products they don't even realize they're investing in. People can create campaigns or join existing boycotts. For example, a campaign identified in the app asks consumers to avoid Koch Industries. More than 8,000 people have pledged to boycott the company, which is owned by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch. Buycott helps consumers do this by untangling a long trail of associations and relationships among companies. For example, sales of Brawny paper towels accrue to Koch Industries because Koch's subsidiary, Georgia-Pacific, produces the towels. Consumers may not be aware of those connections while casually browsing supermarket shelves. The Buycott app scans barcodes and then traces products to their parent companies. The app checks that the product doesn't already run afoul of boycott campaigns the user has joined. If someone joins the Local & Sustainable Food Initiative through Buycott, for example, they can scan barcodes at the supermarket to make sure their food really is coming from a local source. The app can even tell you if a certain food product contains GMOs. One campaign pushes buyers to boycott companies, including Monsanto, that fought against putting GMO labels on food. The app isn't perfect though. As Buycott admits, "Corporate ownership structure is always changing and can sometimes be complex." The app allows users to add their own knowledge of products not yet part of the database, making Buycott more accurate as more people download and contribute to it.

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




Jacob Barnett, 14-Year-Old With Asperger's Syndrome, May Be Smarter Than Einstein
2013-05-11, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/11/jacob-barnett-autistic-14-year-old-n...

When Jacob Barnett was 2 years old, he was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism. Doctors told his parents that the boy would likely never talk or read and would probably be forever unable to independently manage basic daily activities like tying his shoe laces. But they were sorely, extraordinarily mistaken. Today, Barnett -- now 14 -- is a Master's student, on his way to earning a PhD in quantum physics. The teen, who boasts an IQ of 170, has already been tipped to one day win the Nobel Prize. Since enrolling at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) at the age of 10, Barnett has flourished -- astounding his professors, peers and family with his spectacular intelligence. The teen tutors other college students in subjects like calculus and is a published scientific researcher, with an IQ that is believed to be higher than that of Albert Einstein. In fact, according to a 2011 TIME report, Barnett, who frequently tops his college classes, has asserted that he may one day disprove Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Outside of his rigorous university commitments, Barnett, who has Asperger's Syndrome, is also an entrepreneur and aspiring author. The teen, who, with his family, runs a charity called Jacob's Place for kids on the spectrum, has used his story to raise awareness and dispel myths about autism. In April, [his mother] Kristine Barnett's memoir about her family's experience with autism, The Spark: A Mother's Story of Nurturing Genius, was released. A movie deal is said to be in the works.

Note: For the CBS 60 Minutes piece on this child genius, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Solar-powered plane completes first leg of cross-country journey
2013-05-04, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-solar-airplane-phoenix-...

[Solar Impulse HB-SIA, a] solar-powered aircraft making a landmark cross-country flight [piloted by Bertrand Piccard], successfully completed its first leg [on May 4], and will rest about a week in [Phoenix] Arizona before taking to the skies again. "It's a little bit like being in a dream," Piccard told the Associated Press. The aircraft, running off solar cells and electric batteries rather than fossil fuels, ... travels at a leisurely 43 mph and cruises at a maximum altitude of 28,000 feet. Spokeswoman Alenka Zibetto [said] that the exact length of the stay would depend on weather. It is proving to be a popular attraction. Online registration for the Sunday slots -- with space for 150 people per hour -- filled up within a day, Zibetto said. The solar company SunPower [manufactured] the solar cells lining the 208-foot wingspan of Solar Impulse.

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




The Falling Cost Of Solar Energy Is Surprising Everyone
2013-05-02, Business Insider
http://www.businessinsider.com/citi-the-solar-age-is-dawning-2013-5

Citi has just named solar photovoltaics, which convert solar radiation into electric currents via semiconductors, to its list of 10 world-disrupting technologies. In a note this week in advance of the disruption report, Citi's Jason Channell said that in many cases, renewables are already at cost parity with established forms of electricity sources. The biggest surprise in recent years has been the speed at which the price of solar panels has reduced, resulting in cost parity being achieved in certain areas much more quickly than was ever expected; these fast ‘learning rates’ are likely to continue, meaning that the technology just keeps getting cheaper. At peak solar exposure, parts of the southwest U.S. are now already capable of meeting their electricity needs via solar panels. The rapidly expanding parity provides enormous scope for growth in the solar industry, driven by standalone economics as opposed to subsidies, which are becoming ever scarcer in an austerity-driven world. Gas isn't going away, but renewables are coming on strong.

Note: It's rather strange that most mainstream media have hardly reported on this most awesome news at all. For another article showing that solar energy cost is already near parity with other energy sources, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles on exciting new energy technologies, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Seattle’s Free Food Experiment
2013-04-29, National Geographic
http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/04/29/seattles-free-food-experim...

Can food be free, fresh and easily accessible? That’s the bold question that the city of Seattle is hoping to answer with a new experimental farm not far from the city’s downtown that will have fruits and vegetables for anyone to harvest this fall. On Beacon Hill, just south of central Seattle, landscape developers and a few affordable-food advocates are building an edible food forest. Everything grown in the area, from the tree canopies to the roots, will be edible. And it’ll be open around the clock to anyone who wants to come and pick some fresh blueberries or pears. In its first phase, the farm will be 1.5 acres. But if it’s successful, the public land it’ll sit on—currently owned by Seattle Public Utilities—will be able to accommodate 5.5 more acres of growth. One thing that’s striking about the idea (other than the idea in itself to have essentially a public farm that anyone can use—or abuse) is how the [crop] selection came together. Many are expected: apples, berries, row vegetables like lettuce or tomatoes. But others are pretty far out. A large Asian community in the area suggested things like Asian pears and honeyberries. A European influence led to the planting of medlar trees. The concept is modeled on permaculture, a design system and school of thought aimed at returning some land to its own devices. Offering people free, fresh food is one motivation, but making the land useful and ecologically enriched is the larger goal.

Note: For an awesome, free online permaculture course, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




'Afterlife' feels 'even more real than real,' researcher says
2013-04-09, CNN
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/09/health/belgium-near-death-experiences

If your hospital is in Belgium, Dr. Steven Laureys may pay you a visit, interested to hear what you remember from your NDE, or near-death experience. Laureys heads the Coma Science Group at the university hospital in the city of Liege. NDEs feel "even more real than real," Laureys said. Laureys and his team studied the near-death memories of people who survived -- in particular those of coma patients -- with the help of a psychological examination. The Memory Characteristics Questionnaire tests for sensory and emotional details of recollections and how people relive them in space and time. In other words, it gauges how present, intense and real a memory is. They compared NDEs with other memories of intense real-life events like marriages and births, but also with memories of dreams and thoughts. Memories of important real-life events are more intense than those of dreams or thoughts, Laureys said. "If you use this questionnaire ... if the memory is real, it's richer, and if the memory is recent, it's richer," he said. "To our surprise, NDEs were much richer than any imagined event or any real event of these coma survivors," Laureys reported. The memories of these experiences beat all other memories, hands down, for their vivid sense of reality. "The difference was so vast," he said with a sense of astonishment. Even if the patient had the experience a long time ago, its memory was as rich "as though it was yesterday," Laureys said. "Sometimes, it is hard for them (the patients) to find words to explain it."

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