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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 original news articles on their major media websites. If any link should fail to function, click here. These inspirational articles are listed by order of importance. For the same list by date posted to this website, click here. For list by date of article, click here. Enjoy your reading!



Note: For an index to revealing excerpts of news articles on several dozen engaging topics, click here.

A Life Saver Called "Plumpynut"
2007-10-21, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/10/19/60minutes/main3386661.shtml

Every year, malnutrition kills five million children -- that's one child every six seconds. But now, the Nobel Prize-winning relief group "Doctors Without Borders" says it finally has something that can save millions of these children. It's cheap, easy to make and even easier to use. What is this miraculous cure? It's a ready-to-eat, vitamin-enriched concoction called "Plumpynut," an unusual name for a food that may just be the most important advance ever to cure and prevent malnutrition. "It's a revolution in nutritional affairs," says Dr. Milton Tectonidis, the chief nutritionist for Doctors Without Borders. "Now we have something. It is like an essential medicine. In three weeks, we can cure a kid that ... looked like they're half dead. It’s just, boom! It's a spectacular response," Dr. Tectonidis says. No kids need it more than ... in Niger, a desperately poor country in West Africa, where child malnutrition is so widespread that most mothers have watched at least one of their children die. Why are so many kids dying? Because they can't get the milk, vitamins and minerals their young bodies need. Mothers in these villages can't produce enough milk themselves and can't afford to buy it. Even if they could, they can't store it -- there’s no electricity, so no refrigeration. Powdered milk is useless because most villagers don't have clean water. Plumpynut was designed to overcome all these obstacles. Plumpynut is a remarkably simple concoction: it is basically made of peanut butter, powdered milk, powdered sugar, and enriched with vitamins and minerals. It tastes like a peanut butter paste. It is very sweet, and because of that kids cannot get enough of it. The formula was developed by a nutritionist. It doesn't need refrigeration, water, or cooking; mothers simply squeeze out the paste. Many children can even feed themselves. Each serving is the equivalent of a glass of milk and a multivitamin.




Worm poo in plastic bottles: Get rich and save the world
2007-01-26, CNN
http://edition.cnn.com/2007/US/01/26/worm.fertilizer/index.html

Add heaps of red worms to mountains of raw, rotting garbage. Then collect the worms' feces, brew it into a liquid, and squeeze it into a used soda bottle. Sound like a twisted fourth-grade boy's concoction for messing with his sister? Not quite. Rather, it is TerraCycle's recipe for success -- as a booming, eco-friendly fertilizer business. "We're not doing this to help save the environment," said co-founder and CEO Tom Szaky. "We're doing this to show that you can make a lot of money while saving the environment." It does that not only by avoiding excess waste, but by embracing others' throwaways -- from the organic material fed to its hard-working worms, to its used plastic packaging, to the once discarded desks and computers in the firm's Trenton, New Jersey, headquarters. The nonprofit environmental group Zerofootprint recently recognized TerraCycle for having "net zero" negative impact -- the first consumer product to earn that distinction. This unique business takes its cue from Szaky. The Princeton drop-out, born to Hungarian parents and raised primarily in Canada, said he doesn't consider himself an environmentalist, admitting he doesn't eat organic food or drive a hybrid car. Many of the breakthroughs came out of necessity, conveniently married to the pro-environment, anti-waste cause. The two core components are worms -- which eat, excrete and procreate freely -- and similarly cheap, all but omnipresent organic waste. When short on cash, TerraCycle decided to place the liquid fertilizer in used, plastic soda bottles scooped off the streets instead of buying new or recycled bottles.

Note: For lots more on this most inspiring company that is creating a new paradigm in business, visit http://www.terracycle.net and watch the great video there.




Brazil city slashes crime by closing its bars early
2006-05-10, San Francisco Chronicle
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/05/10/MNGIOIOQ3M1.DTL

A bold and controversial law that shuts down bars and restaurants after 11 p.m. has turned Diadema, one of Brazil's most violent cities, into an urban model. The law has cut homicides by nearly half and has slashed other crimes by as much as 80 percent after forcing nearly all of the city's 4,800 bars and restaurants in 2002 to stop selling alcohol between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Since then, the homicide rate has dropped by 47 percent, traffic accidents by 30 percent, assaults against women by 55 percent, and alcohol-related hospital admissions by 80 percent. "Diadema had a large homicide rate, and we estimated that based on the data they gave us, the intervention prevented about 270 homicides over a three-year period," said Joel Grube...director of prevention research. The law's success has municipalities across Brazil adopting similar measures. At least 120 towns and cities have restricted the hours in which alcohol can be served, and the federal government now offers additional funds for law enforcement to localities that implement such measures. With little federal control over alcohol sales or consumption, closing bars in troubled areas is an effective way to cut alcohol-related problems, said Ronaldo Laranjeira, a Sao Paulo physician who led the joint Brazil-U.S. study of homicide rates in Diadema after the law took effect. "They made a relatively modest intervention that doesn't really cost any money, and they got these dramatic improvements."




Finding happiness outside the GNP
2006-01-23, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/01/23/MNGAPGRIJB1.DTL

You don't have to live in a remote mountain kingdom to rise above the world's frantic pursuit of wealth and consumer goods. Anyone can do it, says his Excellency Lyonpo Jigmi Thinley, minister for home and cultural affairs for the Himalayan nation of Bhutan. He wants to encourage others to do as his country has done, which is to seek "Gross National Happiness [GNH]" more than gross national product [GNP]. "What we need," Thinley said in a phone interview Friday, "is a more caring and compassionate society. Bhutan has made Gross National Happiness -- which its officials also call GNH -- its official index for evaluating development. Production-oriented societies suffer from high rates of mental illness, crime, alcoholism, family breakups and personal alienation; their devotion to the profit motive and self-satisfaction undermines human harmony and fosters the plundering of the Earth's resources, he said. "How many governments are truly committed, how many communities are truly committed to equity, to sustainability?" he asked. To achieve GNH, Thinley said, Bhutan has committed itself to sustainable and equitable development, environmental conservation, preservation of culture and good governance.




NASA engineer chasing dream to harness energy from ocean waves
2005-12-06, Houston Chronicle/Orlando Sentinel
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/space/3507969.html

The son of [a] rocket scientist thinks he is close to perfecting...a machine that might make cheap, clean electricity from the ocean. "I believe it'll change the world," said second-generation inventor Tom Woodbridge, a NASA engineer. In theory, the idea is simple. Spinning copper wires through a stable magnetic field makes electricity — lots of electrons jumping off the magnetic field and zooming through a conductive metal. And since the ocean waves are already moving, why not cobble together a machine to harness that energy? Think Pogo Stick inside a floating drum. The rocking motion of the waves pushes a long cylinder of magnets up and down a copper coil. His small model generates 10 watts of power in a 6-inch wave chop. A full-scale version could generate 160 kilowatts. That one buoy is enough to power 160 houses, following the rule of thumb that the average U.S. home uses about 1,000 kilowatts of electricity each month.

Note: The Houston Chronicle actually cut off part of the original article, including the last three sentences above. To read the entire article, click here. For lots more on new energy inventions, see click here.




Breaking Cycle of Poverty with Microloans Yields Nobel Peace Prize
2005-10-23, New York Times/Wall Street Journal/BusinessWeek/The Economist
http://www.WantToKnow.info/051023microcredit

Several major media articles have sung the praises of microcredit, also known as microfinance and microlending: New York Times: Tiny Loans Make a Big Difference in Lives of Poor; Wall Street Journal: A new way to do well by doing good; BusinessWeek: Microfinance funds lift poor entrepreneurs—and benefit investors; The Economist: Microcredit in India, High finance benefits the poor; Excellent general article in Time magazine titled "The End of Poverty" CNN/Associated Press: Bankers for poor win peace Nobel. Without donating a penny, you can help to break the cycle poverty in a very real way. Microcredit investments are not donations or charity. Like other investments, the money is always yours. You even earn a small amount of interest. Yet for every $1,000 you invest, several entire families in the developing world can be pulled out of poverty every year. That is part of the reason why the United Nations declared 2005 to be the International Year of Microcredit and why the individual and group who originated the microcredit concept were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. To download a free 24-page guide to microcredit and community investing, click here.  And note that these investments are not influenced at all by market fluctuations.

Note: For more detailed information on this incredibly inspiring means of decimating poverty, click here.




Last survivor of 'Christmas truce' tells of his sorrow
2004-12-19, The Guardian (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2004/dec/19/christmas.lornamartin

The words drifted across the frozen battlefield: 'Stille Nacht. Heilige Nacht'. To the ears of the British troops peering over their trench, the lyrics may have been unfamiliar but the haunting tune was unmistakable. After the last note a lone German infantryman appeared holding a small tree glowing with light. 'Merry Christmas. We not shoot, you not shoot.' It was just after dawn on a bitingly cold Christmas Day in 1914, ... and one of the most extraordinary incidents of the Great War was about to unfold. Weary men climbed hesitantly at first out of trenches and stumbled into no man's land. They shook hands, sang carols, lit each other's cigarettes, swapped tunic buttons and addresses and, most famously, played football. The unauthorised Christmas truce spread across much of the 500-mile Western Front where more than a million men were encamped. There is only one man in the world still alive who spent 25 December 1914 serving in a conflict that left 31 million people dead, wounded or missing. Alfred Anderson was 18 at the time. 'I remember the silence, the eerie sound of silence,' he said. 'Only the guards were on duty. We all went outside the farm buildings and just stood listening. But there was a dead silence that morning, right across the land as far as you could see. We shouted "Merry Christmas", even though nobody felt merry.' In some parts of the front, the ceasefire lasted several weeks. 'I'll give Christmas Day 1914 a brief thought, as I do every year. And I'll think about all my friends who never made it home. But it's too sad to think too much about it. Far too sad,' he said, his head bowed and his eyes filled with tears.

Note: For more on this amazing moment in history, including a powerfully moving song, click here.




Father-son duo are world class competitors, despite odds
1999-11-29, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/US/9911/29/hoyt.family/

When Rick Hoyt was 15, he communicated something to his father that changed both their lives. "Dad," the mute quadriplegic wrote in his computer after his father pushed him in a wheelchair in a five-kilometer race, "I felt like I wasn't handicapped." Rick, now 37, has had cerebral palsy since birth. But he has always been treated simply as one of the family, included by his now-divorced parents in almost everything brothers Rob and Russell did. "They told us to put Rick away, in an institution, (because) he's going to be nothing but a vegetable for the rest of his life," his father remembers. "We said, 'No, we're not going to do that. We're going to bring Rick home and bring him up like any other child,'" says Dick Hoyt, 59, a retired lieutenant colonel with the Air National Guard. "And this is what we have done." For more than 20 years, Dick has either towed, pushed or carried Rick in a string of athletic challenges including every Boston Marathon since 1981 and, most recently, last month's Ironman Triathlon World Championships in Hawaii. But mental determination and physical stamina tell only part of the Hoyt story. A message of independence and acceptance typed by Rick on his computer complete the picture: "When I am running, my disability seems to disappear. It is the only place where truly I feel as an equal. Due to all the positive feedback, I do not feel handicapped at all. Rather, I feel that I am the intelligent person that I am with no limits. I have a message for the world which is this: To take time to get to know people with disabilities for the individuals they are."

Note: For much more information about the amazing Hoyt family, click here. And for an incredibly eye-opening eight-minute video on the world from the eyes of an amazing autistic woman, click here.




This Bullying Social Experiment Is Incredibly Eye-Opening
2013-12-02, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/02/bullying-experiment_n_4372734.html

No one is immune from bullying. Whether you are the oppressor, the victim or the witness, you are part of a cycle that needs to end. A new video shows just how much power a bystander has. "By watching an act of bullying with the thought of, 'I was going to step in if it kept going,' you may be too late," says a description for [the] video. This video highlights that passive bystanders are as much to blame as the actual bully because they have the capacity to do something. This doesn't necessarily mean directly intervening, the video points out. It could mean getting a more able-bodied person to step in, filming or calling for help. At the end of the video, a group of people ignore the violence -- perhaps because of a diffusion of responsibility, a phenomenon that psychologists say happens when a task is placed before a group of people, but each assumes the other will take action. When everyone has this same thought, however, no one does anything. The hope is that videos like these will help to educate and empower bystanders to help end bullying.

Note: Don't miss the powerful video at the link above. And for an inspiring four-minute video featuring Challenge Day, which was the main force in promoting the movement to stop bullying, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Marvel Comics Introducing a Muslim Girl Superhero
2013-11-06, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/06/books/marvel-comics-introducing-a-muslim-gi...

With most superheroes, when you take away the colorful costume, mask and cape, what you find underneath is a white man. But not always. In February, as part of a continuing effort to diversify its offerings, Marvel Comics will begin a series whose lead character, Kamala Khan, is a teenage Muslim girl living in Jersey City. No exploding planet, death of a relative or irradiated spider led to Kamala’s creation. Her genesis began more mundanely, in a conversation between Sana Amanat and Steve Wacker, two editors at Marvel. “I was telling him some crazy anecdote about my childhood, growing up as a Muslim-American,” Ms. Amanat said. “He found it hilarious.” Ms. Amanat and Mr. Wacker noted the dearth of female superhero series and, even more so, of comics with cultural specificity. The creative team is braced for all possible reactions. “I do expect some negativity,” Ms. Amanat said, “not only from people who are anti-Muslim, but people who are Muslim and might want the character portrayed in a particular light.” But “this is not evangelism,” Ms. Wilson said. “It was really important for me to portray Kamala as someone who is struggling with her faith.” The series, Ms. Wilson said, would deal with how familial and religious edicts mesh with super-heroics, which can require rules to be broken. Ms. Wilson said the series was “about the universal experience of all American teenagers, feeling kind of isolated and finding what they are.” Though here, she adds, that happens “through the lens of being a Muslim-American” with superpowers.

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




UC plants seeds of growth for local farmers
2013-11-04, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/food/article/UC-plants-seeds-of-growth-for-local-farmer...

Emma Torbert, a stone-fruit grower, didn't know what to expect when she got off a bus to tour wholesale food businesses in the Bay Area. By the time she went home to her farm near Davis, her head was filled with possibilities. She and 17 other growers, participating in a University of California workshop, learned that being a small farmer is actually a boon in today's market, where consumers are clamoring for fresh and local foods with a story. The demand is great enough that wholesalers are doing something entirely new - passing up large-scale commercial growers for people like Torbert, who farms only 4 acres. "The trip has been encouraging," said Torbert, 34. "I currently sell to markets in my area, but am interested in expanding. Today, I got the impression that there is a lot of demand." Many shoppers are demanding that their neighborhood retailers carry fruits and vegetables from local farmers instead of huge conglomerates that buy from worldwide growers. In 2009, Mintel, a global marketing research company, found that 1 in 6 consumers made it a point to buy food grown regionally to support the local economy. Shoppers also perceived that food produced relatively close to home was fresher, better tasting and better for the environment, according to the firm. Last year, Mintel found that 52 percent of consumers polled said that it was even more important to buy local fruits and vegetables than organic produce. The tour was organized by the UC Davis Cooperative Extension, the university's Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education Program along with the Agricultural Sustainability Institute.

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




Trekking through mud, rivers and jungle to provide free medical care
2013-11-03, CNN
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/01/world/africa/cnnheroes-bwelle-cameroon-doct...

For 21 years, Georges Bwelle watched his ill father slip in and out of consciousness, traveling to hospitals that weren't equipped to help him. In Cameroon, there is only one doctor for every 5,000 people, according to the World Health Organization. And even if they could see a physician, many Cameroonians couldn't afford it. Two out of five people in the country live below the poverty line, and nearly three-quarters of the country's health-care spending is private. Seeing his father and so many of his countrymen suffer, Bwelle was determined to do something about it. He became a doctor himself, working as a vascular surgeon in Yaounde's Central Hospital. And he started a nonprofit, ASCOVIME, that travels into rural areas on weekends to provide free medical care. Since 2008, he and his group of volunteers have helped nearly 32,000 people. Almost every Friday, he and up to 30 people jam into vans, tie medical supplies to the roofs and travel across rough terrain to visit villages in need. "We are receiving 500 people in each trip," Bwelle said. "They are coming from 60 kilometers (37 miles) around the village, and they're coming on foot." Each of these weekend clinics provides a variety of medical care. Many people are treated for malaria, tuberculosis, malnutrition, diabetes, parasites and sexually transmitted diseases. Others might receive crutches, a pair of donated eyeglasses or free birth certificates -- documentation that's required for school but that many impoverished families simply can't afford. In the evenings, the team will do simple surgeries with local anesthesia.

Note: For more on this inspiring man and how you can help his great cause, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Pet dog Charlie 'can predict toddler's epileptic fit'
2013-10-15, BBC News
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24521541

An Irish family has said their pet dog is helping to protect their three-year-old daughter by warning them when she is about to have an epileptic seizure. The Lynch family, from County Clare, believe their Great Dane, Charlie, can sense changes in their child up to 20 minutes before she has a fit. Brianna Lynch has epilepsy since birth. Her family said Charlie will alert them by walking in circles around Brianna. He also gently pins her against a wall to stop her from falling during a fit. Brianna's condition [can] lead to traumatic seizures, some of which cause her to go into a trance-like state, while others cause violent convulsions during which she is at risk of falling and hitting her head. Brianna's mother, Arabella Scanlan, said Charlie is not a trained "seizure alert dog" but was just a normal, family pet who appears to have developed some kind of special skill through his own instincts. They first noticed it some time ago when the huge Great Dane began to get agitated and walk in circles around Brianna. Minutes later the toddler had an epileptic fit. "Charlie will know about 15 to 20 minutes before she's going into seizure. He'll get ever so panicky and giddy, almost as if you'd think 'this stupid dog is going to knock her over'. But he has never once knocked her over. We kept an eye on this and, sure enough, I went into the yard one day and she (Brianna) was buckled over to the side, on top of him (Charlie). She was actually having a seizure. He stayed with her, he didn't move." Ms Scanlan said that since then, the dog rarely leaves Brianna's side and will gently pin her up against a wall or other surface if he senses she is about to fit. He will guard the child until help arrives.

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




Dairy Queen worker's intervention nets royal treatment
2013-09-19, USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/09/19/dairy-queen-manager-cust...

A Dairy Queen manager who came to the aid of a visually impaired customer is receiving Internet and social media praise for his heroic actions. Joey Prusak said on Sept. 10 [that] one of his regular customers came in to order a sundae. While paying, the visually impaired man dropped some of his money on the floor. "Right then and there I knew when he dropped that $20 bill, game's over, he's not going to know," explained Prusak. "He just kept walking and that's when the lady picked it up and I thought, she's going to give it back 'cause she picked it up so quickly." Prusak then watched as the woman her put the money in her purse. Initially he didn't know what to say, but when the woman reached the counter to place her order Prusak confronted her. He says they went back and forth a bit: She claimed the money was hers. "I said, ma'am I'm not going to serve someone as disrespectful as you, so you can either return the $20 bill and I'll serve you, or you can leave," said Prusak. "And she goes, 'Well it's my 20-dollar bill,' and I go, well then you can leave." The woman left, but was clearly not happy. Prusak ultimately gave the customer who dropped the money $20 of his own money. Other customers saw what happened and one of them emailed Dairy Queen. The email was forwarded to the store's owner, who posted it on a board in the shop. A co-worker was impressed by what happened and posted the message on Facebook, where others found it and shared it. "People started sharing it, pretty soon it's on Reddit," Prusak said. "It's one of the top things on Reddit and all of a sudden it's gone viral."

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




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

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

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




EDF exits US nuclear, focuses on renewables
2013-07-31, Business Spectator/Reuters
http://www.businessspectator.com.au/news/2013/7/31/renewable-energy/edf-exits...

French utility EDF, the world's biggest operator of nuclear plants, is pulling out of nuclear energy in the United States, bowing to the realities of a market that has been transformed by cheap shale gas. Several nuclear reactors in the US have been closed or are being shuttered as utilities baulk at the big investments needed to extend their lifetimes now that nuclear power has been so decisively undercut by electricity generated from shale gas. "The spectacular fall of the price of gas in the US, which was unimaginable a few years ago, has made this form of energy ultra competitive vis a vis all other forms of energy," EDF Chief Executive Henri Proglio told a news conference. EDF agreed with its partner Exelon on an exit from their Constellation Energy Nuclear Group (CENG) joint venture, which operates five nuclear plants in the United States with a total capacity of 3.9 gigawatts. "Circumstances for the development of nuclear in the US are not favourable at the moment," Proglio said. International Energy Agency analyst Dennis Volk said CENG's eastern US power plants were located in some of the most competitive power markets in the country, with high price competition, growing wind capacity and cheap gas. "It is simply not easy to invest in nuclear and recover your money there," Volk said. Proglio said EDF would now focus on renewable energy in the United States. EDF employs 860 people in US solar and wind, and since 2010 its generating capacity has doubled to 2.3 gigawatts.

Note: For more on encouraging energy developments, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




'Bank Of Happiness' Lets Customers Deposit And Withdraw Good Deeds
2013-07-18, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/18/bank-of-happiness_n_3617833.html

When a Massachusetts woman needed help perfecting her English, she posted a simple six-word note online. Three eager fluent speakers willing to teach for free quickly responded to the call. "Hi Mary, totally willing to help via email!" a man named Chris wrote back. That’s how easy it is to get assistance, of nearly any kind, at the Bank of Happiness. Formed five years ago by Airi Kivi, an Estonian-based psychologist, the bank serves as a portal for people around the world to post services they need and those they’re willing to deliver –- completely gratis. No money or credit is ever exchanged. “We were inspired by the clear understanding that there is a gap in the society between humane caring and economic well-being,” Kivi wrote on the Bank of Happiness site. “We were then and are today convinced that the formula of happiness lies in noticing others. We feel that people want to help others, but often don't know how.” But what’s most bolstering to Kivi is that the offers for help, far outweigh the number of ads seeking favors. Some of the most popular services these “bankers” are willing to offer include, IT assistance, listening to a stranger’s problems, financial consulting and dog walking. “Aren’t we just surrounded by the nicest people?,” Kivi wrote on the site. “Happy banking!”

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




The Morality of Meditation
2013-07-07, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/opinion/sunday/the-morality-of-meditation.html

Meditation is fast becoming a fashionable tool for improving your mind. With mounting scientific evidence that the practice can enhance creativity, memory and scores on standardized intelligence tests, interest in its practical benefits is growing. [But] gaining competitive advantage [and] increasing creativity in business weren’t of the utmost concern to Buddha and other early meditation teachers. As Buddha himself said, “I teach one thing and one only: that is, suffering and the end of suffering.” The heightened control of the mind that meditation offers was supposed to help its practitioners see the world in a new and more compassionate way. But does meditation work as promised? To put the question to the test, my lab, led in this work by the psychologist Paul Condon, joined with the neuroscientist Gaëlle Desbordes and the Buddhist lama Willa Miller to conduct an experiment whose publication is forthcoming in the journal Psychological Science. The results were striking. Although only 16 percent of the nonmeditators [responded compassionately to the test situation of aiding a distressed person] the proportion rose to 50 percent among those who had meditated. This increase is impressive not solely because it occurred after only eight weeks of meditation, but also because it did so within the context of a situation known to inhibit considerate behavior: witnessing others ignoring a person in distress — what psychologists call the bystander effect — reduces the odds that any single individual will help. Nonetheless, the meditation increased the compassionate response threefold.

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




Christian group that sought to help gays repress same-sex attraction apologizes, closes down
2013-06-20, Washington Post/Associated Press
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/christian-group-that-helped-p...

The leader of Exodus International, a Christian ministry that worked to help people repress same-sex attraction, has apologized to the gay community for inflicting “years of undue suffering.” He plans to close the organization while launching a new effort to promote reconciliation. “The church has waged the culture war, and it’s time to put the weapons down,” Alan Chambers told The Associated Press on [June 20], hours after announcing his decision at Exodus’ annual conference and posting his apology online. “While there has been so much good at Exodus, there has also been bad,” Chambers said at the conference. “We’ve hurt people.” Based in Orlando, Fla., Exodus was founded 37 years ago and claimed 260 member ministries around the U.S. and abroad. It offered to help conflicted Christians rid themselves of unwanted homosexual inclinations through counseling and prayer, infuriating gay rights activists in the process. Last year, Chambers — who is married to a woman but has spoken openly about his own sexual attraction to men — said he was trying to distance his ministry from the idea that gays’ sexual orientation can be permanently changed or “cured.” Chambers said the board had decided to close Exodus and form a new ministry, which he referred to as reducefear.org. He told the AP that the new initiative would seek to promote dialogue among those who’ve been on opposite sides in the debate over gay rights. “We want to see bridges built, we want peace to be at the forefront of anything we do in the future,” he said.

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




Top 10 Crowdfunding Sites For Fundraising
2013-05-08, Forbes
http://www.forbes.com/sites/chancebarnett/2013/05/08/top-10-crowdfunding-site...

Collaboration on the web is an area of exponential growth. Crowdfunding, or collaborative funding via the web, is one of the standouts for growth in this evolving collaborative economy. There are 2 main models or types of crowdfunding. The first is what’s called donation-based funding. The second and more recent model is investment crowdfunding. Business owners are using different crowdfunding sites than musicians. Musicians are using different sites from causes and charities. Below is a list of crowdfunding sites that have different models and focuses. 1. Kickstarter -- is a site where creative projects raise donation-based funding. These projects can range from new creative products, like an art installation ... to pre-selling a music album. It’s not for businesses, causes, charities, or personal financing needs. 2. Indiegogo -- approves donation-based fundraising campaigns for most anything — music, hobbyists, personal finance needs, charities and whatever else you could think of (except investment). 3. Crowdfunder -- is the crowdfunding platform for businesses, with a growing social network of investors, tech startups, small businesses, and social enterprises (financially sustainable/profitable businesses with social impact goals). 4. RocketHub -- powers donation-based funding for a wide variety of creative projects. 5. Crowdrise -- is a place for donation-based funding for Causes and Charity. They’ve attracted a community of do-gooders and and fund all kinds of inspiring causes and needs.

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