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.

Why is solar booming?
2014-08-01, Time Magazine
http://time.com/3204258/wall-street-goes-green

The clean-power revolution is for real. Wind and solar have gotten much cheaper, less novel and more predictable. Green electricity is no longer avant-garde; it has produced more than half of new U.S. generating capacity this year. Wind has tripled since 2008, while solar is up 1,200%. This is terrific news–for homeowners who reduce their electric bills by going solar, ratepayers whose utilities save them money by buying wind power, and the planet. But there’s a deeper message. People assume the future of clean energy depends on gee-whiz technological innovations: better solar panels and wind turbines, cheaper batteries and biofuels. And we will need those advances in the long term to cut carbon emissions 80% by 2050. But the biggest advances in the near term are likely to be boring financial innovations. The innovation that launched the sunshine revolution was the solar lease, which has helped homeowners and businesses install rooftop systems without having to plunk down tens of thousands of dollars up front. Now they can sign 20-year contracts with no money down to lease panels from installers like SolarCity or Sunrun, then make payments out of the savings on their electric bills. Now we’re moving into the next phase of the renewable revolution. Those 20-year leases look a lot like mortgages, auto loans or other financial instruments that Wall Street routinely packages into securities. And Wall Street has begun to package solar contracts into securities. The market for commercial solar securities has grown from less than $1 billion to $15 billion since 2008.

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Pure Genius: How Dean Kamen's Invention Could Bring Clean Water To Millions
2014-06-16, Popular Science
http://www.popsci.com/article/science/pure-genius-how-dean-kamens-invention-c...

[Dean] Kamen is the closest thing to a modern-day Thomas Edison. He holds hundreds of patents, and his creations have improved countless lives. His current projects include a robotic prosthetic arm for DARPA and a Stirling engine that generates affordable electricity by using “anything that burns” for fuel. The Slingshot, more than 10 years in the making, could have a bigger impact than all of his other inventions combined. Using a process called vapor compression distillation, a single Slingshot can purify more than 250,000 liters of water per year, enough to satisfy the needs of about 300 people. And it can do so with any water source—sewage, seawater, chemical waste—no matter how dirty. For communities that lack clean water, the benefit is obvious, but to realize that potential, the Slingshot needs to reach them first. Which is where Coke comes in: The company is not just a soft-drink peddler; it is arguably the largest, most sophisticated distribution system in the world. That’s important because the scale of the water crisis the world faces is unprecedented. Water seems so abundant it’s easy to forget how many people don’t have a clean source of it. According to the World Health Organization, nearly a billion people lack ready access to safe drinking water, and hundreds of thousands die every year as a result.. Kamen, being Kamen, sees the current goals of the Coke partnership as the first step toward a much larger one. “Fifty percent of all the people in the developing world suffer from waterborne pathogens,” he says. “We’d empty half the beds in all the hospitals in the world if we just gave people clean water.”

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Electric car with massive range in demo by Phinergy, Alcoa
2014-06-04, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/electric-car-with-massive-range-in-demo-by-...

Imagine making the 19-hour, 1,800-kilometre drive from Toronto to Halifax in an electric car without having to stop for a recharge. That's theoretically possible with a special kind of battery being demonstrated this week in Montreal. The battery ... consists of panels made mostly of aluminum. The battery can extend the range of an electric car by 1,600 kilometres when used in conjunction with the vehicle's regular lithium-ion battery. "We hope that this will increase the penetration of electric cars with zero emissions," said Aviv Tzidon, CEO of Phinergy, ... adding that it should put an end to "range anxiety." That kind of anxiety about how far an electric car can go before needing a recharge has often been cited as a reason the market for electric cars is still relatively small. The regular battery range of electric cars now on the market is a few hundred kilometres at most — 135 kilometres for the Nissan Leaf and 480 kilometres for the more expensive version of the Tesla Model S. That makes those cars unsuitable for extended road trips, unless high-voltage fast-charging stations, which are still relatively uncommon, are available along the way.

Note: See a five-minute video presentation of this exciting development. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




Plant Breeders Release First 'Open Source Seeds'
2014-04-17, NPR
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/04/17/303772556/plant-breeders-release-...

A group of scientists and food activists is launching a campaign to change the rules that govern seeds. They are releasing 29 new varieties of crops under a new "open source pledge" that is intended to safeguard the ability of farmers, gardeners and plant breeders to share those seeds freely. The new Open Source Seed Initiative will pass out 29 new varieties of 14 different crops, including carrots, kale, broccoli and quinoa. Anyone receiving the seeds must pledge not to restrict their use by means of patents, licenses or any other kind of intellectual property. Any future plant that is derived from these open source seeds also has to remain freely available as well. Irwin Goldman, a vegetable breeder at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, ... doesn't like the consequences of restricting access to plant genes — what he calls germplasm. "If we don't share germplasm and freely exchange it, then we will limit our ability to improve the crop," he says. Sociologist Jack Kloppenburg, also at the University of Wisconsin, has been campaigning against seed patents for 30 years. His reasons go beyond Goldman's. He says turning seeds into private property has contributed to the rise of big seed companies that in turn promote ever-bigger, more specialized farms. "The problem is concentration, and the narrow set of uses to which the technology and the breeding are being put," he says.

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Iranian killer's execution halted at last minute by victim's parents
2014-04-16, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/16/iran-parents-halt-killer-execution

When he felt the noose around his neck, Balal must have thought he was about to take his last breath. Seven years ago Balal, who is in his 20s, stabbed 18-year-old Abdollah Hosseinzadeh during a street brawl in the small town of Royan, in the northern province of Mazandaran [Iran]. But what happened next marked a rarity in public executions in Iran, which puts more people to death than any other country apart from China. The victim's mother approached, slapped the convict in the face and then decided to forgive her son's killer. The victim's father removed the noose and Balal's life was spared. Balal's mother hugged the grieving mother of the man her son had killed. The two women sobbed in each other's arms – one because she had lost her son, the other because hers had been saved. [The slain boy's father, Abdolghani] Hosseinzadeh said a dream prompted the change of heart. "Three days ago my wife saw my elder son in a dream telling her that they are in a good place, and for her not to retaliate … This calmed my wife and we decided to think more until the day of the execution." Many Iranian public figures, including the popular TV sport presenter Adel Ferdosipour, had called on the couple, who have a daughter, to forgive the killer. Although they did so, Balal will not necessarily be freed. Under Iranian law the victim's family have a say only in the act of execution, not any jail sentence.

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Collective thoughts that heal
2014-03-28, lynnemctaggart.com
http://lynnemctaggart.com/blog/262-collective-thoughts-that-heal

A remarkable study carried out by Harvard University [is] detailed in Dr. Joe Dispenza’s fascinating new book You are the Placebo. In 1981, eight men in their 70s and 80s attended a five-day retreat at a monastery in Peterborough, New Hampshire, organized by Harvard University, where they were asked to pretend that they were 22 years younger than their present age. When they got there, they discovered constant reminders of two decades previously: old issues of Life magazine and the Saturday Evening Post, shows on TV that had been popular in the late 50s, radios playing Perry Como and Nat King Cole. The men were asked to discuss events that had been current two decades before: Fidel Castro’s sudden ascendancy to power in Cuba, Nikita Khrushchev’s stand-off with Eisenhower in a US meeting, homeruns hit by Mickey Mantle and knock-out punches by Floyd Patterson. This carried on throughout the five days of the retreat. After the retreat ended, the researchers took the same physiological measurements they’d carried out at start of the study and discovered that the men actually had grown ‘taller’; they showed improved height, weight and gait, their postured straightened, their joints had become more flexible, their hearing, eyesight, grip strength, memory and general mental cognition had all improved. In fact, by the end of the five days, many of these octogenarians had given up their canes and were playing touch football. Once they’d been reminded of their younger selves, their bodies actually became younger – and all in less than a week. ‘The change wasn’t just in their minds,’ wrote Dispenza, ‘it was also in their bodies.’

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5-Year-Olds Can Learn Calculus
2014-03-05, The Atlantic Magazine
http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/03/5-year-olds-can-learn-ca...

The familiar, hierarchical sequence of math instruction ... actually “has nothing to do with how people think, how children grow and learn, or how mathematics is built,” says pioneering math educator and curriculum designer Maria Droujkova. She echoes a number of voices from around the world that want to revolutionize the way math is taught, bringing it more in line with these principles. The current sequence is merely an entrenched historical accident that strips much of the fun out of what she describes as the “playful universe” of mathematics, with its more than 60 top-level disciplines, and its manifestations in everything from weaving to building, nature, music and art. “Calculations kids are forced to do are often so developmentally inappropriate, the experience amounts to torture,” she says. They also miss the essential point—that mathematics is fundamentally about patterns and structures, rather than “little manipulations of numbers,” as she puts it. It’s akin to budding filmmakers learning first about costumes, lighting and other technical aspects, rather than about crafting meaningful stories. Droujkova ... advocates a more holistic approach she calls “natural math,” which she teaches to children as young as toddlers, and their parents. This approach, covered in the book she co-authored with Yelena McManaman, Moebius Noodles: Adventurous math for the playground crowd, hinges on harnessing students’ powerful and surprisingly productive instincts for playful exploration to guide them on a personal journey through the subject.

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Tiny houses helping with homeless problem in U.S.
2014-02-26, CBS News/Associated Press
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/tiny-houses-helping-with-homeless-problem-in-us

While tiny houses have been attractive for those wanting to downsize or simplify their lives for financial or environmental reasons, there's another population benefiting from the small-dwelling movement: the homeless. There's a growing effort across the nation from advocates and religious groups to build these compact buildings because they are cheaper than a traditional large-scale shelter, help the recipients socially because they are built in communal settings and are environmentally friendly due to their size. "You're out of the elements, you've got your own bed, you've got your own place to call your own," said Harold "Hap" Morgan, who is without a permanent home in Madison. He's in line for a 99-square-foot house built through the nonprofit Occupy Madison Build, or OM Build, run by former organizers with the Occupy movement. The group hopes to create a cluster of tiny houses like those in Olympia, Wash., and Eugene and Portland, Ore. Many have been built with donated materials and volunteer labor, sometimes from the people who will live in them. Most require residents to behave appropriately, avoid drugs and alcohol and help maintain the properties. The tiny house effort in Eugene, Ore., sprung up after the city shut down an Occupy encampment that turned into a tent city for the homeless. Andrew Heben and others worked with the city, which provided them with land for the project. "It's an American success story. ... Now we see in different cities people coming up with citizen driven solutions," Heben said. Ministries in Texas and New York also are developing communities with clusters of small houses.

Note: For lots more on the tiny house movement, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Peanut allergy treatment 'a success'
2014-01-29, BBC News
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25917272

Doctors say a potential treatment for peanut allergy has transformed the lives of children taking part in a large clinical trial. The 85 children had to eat peanut protein every day - initially in small doses, but ramped up during the study. The findings, published in the Lancet, suggest 84% of allergic children could eat the equivalent of five peanuts a day after six months. Peanuts are the most common cause of fatal allergic reactions to food. There is no treatment so the only option for patients is to avoid them completely, leading to a lifetime of checking every food label before a meal. The trial, at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, tried to train the children's immune systems to tolerate peanut protein. Every day they were given a peanut protein powder - starting off on a dose equivalent to one 70th of a peanut. The theory was that patients started at the extremely low dose, well below the threshold for an allergic response. Once a fortnight the dose was increased while the children were in hospital, in case there was any reaction, and then they continued taking the higher dose at home. The majority of patients learned to tolerate the peanut. Lena Barden, 11, from Histon in Cambridgeshire, said: "It meant a trip to the hospital every two weeks. A year later I could eat five whole peanuts with no reaction at all." One of the researchers, Dr Andrew Clark, told the BBC: "It really transformed their lives dramatically; this really comes across during the trial. Experts have warned that the therapy is not yet ready for widespread use.

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When This New Zealand School Got Rid Of Playtime Rules, It Actually Got Safer
2014-01-28, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/28/new-zealand-school-no-rules_n_468186...

One school has found that eliminating rules can actually be a good thing. After Swanson Primary School in New Zealand got rid of rules during recess as part of a study, administrators saw a decline in rates of bullying, injuries and vandalism, as well as an increase in students’ ability to concentrate during class. The [Auckland University of Technology] and Otago University study ... eliminated recess rules in an effort to discover ways to promote active play. As a result, kids were more engaged in their activities. "The kids were motivated, busy and engaged. In my experience, the time children get into trouble is when they are not busy, motivated and engaged. It's during that time they bully other kids, graffiti or wreck things around the school," school Principal Bruce McLachlan [said]. Previously, the students were not allowed to engage in playground activities like climbing trees or riding bikes, McLauchlan [said]. While he says the playground is now more chaotic looking, it is also safer. “What happens is when you let kids do anything they like is that they actually don’t go and purposefully hurt themselves,” McLauchlan said.

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Mama Hope eases, lifts lives in African villages
2014-01-05, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/living/article/Mama-Hope-eases-lifts-lives-in-African-v...

[Nyla] Rodgers discovered that her mother had lifted an entire village by giving $1,500 to 10 women to start an entrepreneurial collective. Rodgers knew right then that she would dedicate her life to picking up where her mother left off. Rodgers spent hours talking with Kenyan elders about the needs of Kisumu, and came back to the United States determined to get them the running water, health clinics and schools they asked for. She wrote a letter to everyone she knew, and collected $30,000 to build a clinic in her mother's name. Two years later, in 2009, she started a nonprofit, Mama Hope, with the motto "Stop the Pity." She structured Mama Hope along a "Batman model," where the hero is unknown. Once she finds out what a certain neighborhood needs, she flies home, gets on the computer, puts on the gala cocktail dress and drums up the money. Then she sends it to an African nonprofit that manages the project, using all locally supplied materials and labor. She shows up with Mama Hope members and helps build the hospital, school or poultry farm. "People think we are just really nice volunteers," she said. "And that's how it should be. It's not about us; we are catalysts, we don't need applause and cheers." Since then, Mama Hope (www.mamahope.org) has completed 34 projects in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania that benefit 150,000 people, everything from installing drip irrigation to building schools and bringing water into people's homes that they can access with faucets.

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'Before I Die' walls turn dreams into words
2013-11-29, CNN
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/29/living/before-i-die-walls-book/index.html

After losing a close friend to liver failure, Candy Chang spent a lot of time thinking about how she wanted to live out her days. Contemplating death brought clarity to her life, but she struggled to maintain perspective amid the daily grind. She wondered whether other people went through the same struggle, and what mattered to them. She decided to invite others to share those thoughts by painting a chalkboard on the side of an abandoned house in New Orleans stenciled with the sentence "Before I die I want to ________." What began as an experiment in making a public space into a shared space has become a global art project, with more than 400 "Before I die" walls in 60 countries and 25 languages. It's been quite the journey for Chang, who did not launch the project with plans to expand beyond New Orleans. But it resonated among pockets of passionate people around the globe. "Our public spaces are our shared spaces, and they have a lot of potential to offer us a more valuable and meaningful kind of life. I think about why we came together in the first place. Some of the earliest gathering places were graves and sacred groves. We gathered so we could grieve together and worship together and console one another and be alone together." We asked Chang to [share] the most common themes expressed in the walls. "Abandon all insecurities" "Come to terms with who I am" "Slow down for a moment and maybe even stop" "Find serenity" "Stop being afraid".

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Are we all psychic? Scientists believe that animals - including humans - have a collective consciousness
2013-11-19, Daily Mail (One of the UK's largest-circulation newspapers)
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2509971/Are-PSYCHIC-Scientists...

Why do people think about someone right before they call, for example, or ‘have a feeling’ something is about to happen before it does? It may be due to something called collective consciousness - a term used by certain scientists to describe the practice of humans, and animals, sharing behaviours and ideas with each other telepathically. The "Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon", for example, was an idea put forward by South African zoologist and ethologist Lyall Watson and his scientific author colleague Lawrence Blair in 1975. During the 1950s, macaques on the island of Koshima learned to wash sweet potatoes and explicitly passed this skill onto younger members of the group. This behaviour then spread and was observed on neighbouring islands among groups of macaques who had never [come] into contact with each other. [Watson and Blair] chalked this up to the monkeys sharing a collective consciousness, often referred to as a ‘shared mind’ or ‘hive mind’, in which the practices were shared telepathically. More recently ... blue tits ... taught themselves [to] break into milk bottles and drink the cream from the top. Similar groups of the same [non-migratory] species [later] exhibited the same skills in other countries throughout Europe and Asia. A science journal in 2010 published [the results of experiments] by Professor Daryl Bem, a physicist from Cornell University, that [indicated] humans have similar psychic abilities supposedly seen in the birds and monkeys. Professor Bem carried out nine different experiments involving more than 1,000 volunteers and all but one came down on the side of these so-called psychic theories.

Note: For a most astounding and moving documentary on a woman named Anna Breytenbach who communicates directly with animals, click here, or watch the three-minute trailer at this link. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Mich. middle school football team conspires for touching touchdown
2013-10-26, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mich-middle-school-football-team-conspires-for-to...

Between classes, they schemed and conspired. For weeks, the football players at Olivet Middle School in Olivet, Mich., secretly planned their remarkable play. "Everyone was in on it," says Nick Jungel. "But the coaches didn't know anything about it," Parker Smith says. "We were, like, going behind their back." We've never heard of a team coming up with a plan to not score. "It's just like to make someone's day, make someone's week, just make them happy," Justice Miller says. The play -- which was two plays, actually -- happened at a home game earlier this month. The first part of their plan was to try to get as close to the goal line as possible without scoring, even if it meant taking a dive on the one-yard-line, which it did. The crowd was not happy. "But us kids knew, hey, we got this, this is our time, this is Keith's time," Parker, the quarterback, says. Keith Orr is the little kid in the brown jacket. He's learning disabled, struggles with boundaries -- but in the sweetest possible way. Because of his special nature, it's no surprise that Keith embraces his fellow football players. What is surprising is how they have embraced him. "We thought it would be cool to do something for him," Parker says. "Because we really wanted to prove that he was part of our team and he meant a lot to us," adds Nick. "Nothing can really explain getting a touchdown when you've never had one before," says Justice. Which brings us to part two of their play. If you didn't see Keith, it's because they were so protective of him, but he was in the middle of the rush. When they crossed the goal line, Keith says it was "awesome."

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




An end to hunger could be a Buffett away
2013-10-22, USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/markets/2013/10/22/warren-buffett-son-fig...

Howard G. Buffett has seen the face of hunger up close. He has the pictures, taken from his own camera, and a new book, 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World, to prove that hunger is as abundant in some places on Earth as food is plentiful in a suburban American ShopRite. Buffett, the 58-year-old son of billionaire investor and fellow philanthropist Warren Buffett, knows the haunting stare of the undernourished. He has seen the look in the long lines snaking around a soup kitchen in Decatur, Ill. In the "hollow and tortured" eyes of a mom holding her emaciated and dying 12-year-old son in drought-stricken Ethiopia. In Totonicapan, Guatemala, where an 11-year-old girl named Maria was draping freshly picked corn over the rafters of her metal roof to keep it away from rodents. [Buffett] spends a lot of his time in poor, inhospitable places around the globe armed with seeds and hope in a quest to help people who have little or nothing to eat. 40 Chances ... chronicles his first steps on this long journey in 40 essays that feature the hungry, those like him helping the hungry, and the places where people fight for their survival one morsel at a time. He is fighting a 40-year war against hunger. But he carries a camera instead of a gun. Seeds instead of bullets. He also comes armed with money, $3 billion [from] the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the organization funded by his famous dad back in 2006.

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'Solar suitcase' saving moms, babies during childbirth
2013-10-13, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/28/health/cnnheroes-stachel-solar-power/index.html

Dr. Laura Stachel watched as physicians performed an emergency cesarean section. What happened next stunned her. "The lights went out," Stachel recalled, "and I said, 'How are they going to finish?' " Fortunately, Stachel had a flashlight with her, and the doctors were able to use it to complete the surgery. But during that two-week trip in 2008, she witnessed countless other times when the lives of mothers and babies were at risk simply because of a lack of reliable electricity. With the help of Hal Aronson, her husband and a solar energy educator, Stachel worked to find a solution. He drew up designs for a solar electric system to provide a free source of power to the state hospital in northern Nigeria where Stachel had conducted her research. Each time Stachel would return to Africa, she came with one or two new "solar suitcases" assembled by her husband. Today, the solar suitcase includes two solar panels that are mounted on a clinic's roof and connected to high-quality LED lights. Once fully charged, it can provide light for up to 20 hours. The kit also contains headlamps, a fetal Doppler to monitor a baby's heart rate and a cell phone charging unit. "We got to something that was really rugged, simple to use, portable and that we knew would really work in harsh environments," Stachel said. It also spread to other countries after Stachel and Aronson started a nonprofit, We Care Solar. Since 2009, the kits have been helping health-care workers save lives not only in Nigeria but in facilities throughout Africa, Asia and Central America.

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Glenn Paige's simple idea: a 'nonkilling' world
2013-10-11, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/2013/1011/Glenn-Paige-s-si...

After a flash of inspiration Glenn Paige wrote a book on 'nonkilling,' and now his concept is gaining momentum worldwide. Paige, a former political science professor, established the Center for Global Nonkilling and inspired a worldwide movement. "The impact of the teachings of Prof. Glenn Paige is enormous," [says] Bishop Mabwe Lucien of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God churches in Congo. "They have transformed the region." Paige, a cherub-faced retired political science professor [lives] half a world away in Honolulu. His influential work began far from African villagers in 2002, when he published his book. In it he describes a "nonkilling world" as one without killing, threats to kill, or conditions conducive to killing – and one in which there is no dependence on killing or the threat of killing to produce change. Paige posted his book on the Internet, giving it away free of charge in a version that anyone can download from the website of the Center for Global Nonkilling. The big reason for its rapid spread is the nonkilling concept itself, Paige says. In his view, "The logic of killing is running out of steam." Within five years the book was translated into 15 languages, including Arabic, Russian, Hindi, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. Today it is available in 30 languages. The book has begun to influence academic thinking across numerous disciplines. Paige has encouraged scholars to question the "assumption that killing is an inescapable part of the human condition and must be accepted in theory and practice." That paradigm shift has already resulted in books on nonkilling in such fields as anthropology, economics, engineering, geography, history, linguistics, and psychology.

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Mindfulness in Politics
2013-09-06, DailyGood
http://www.dailygood.org/story/508/mindfulness-in-politics-michael-edwards

The movement for “mindfulness meditation” is growing, but can it break the modern political gridlock? Congressman Tim Ryan [wants] everyone to develop greater “mindfulness”, through simple forms of meditation and other practices that focus our attention and help us listen to each other. Elected to the House of Representatives at the tender age of 29, the Democrat from Ohio spoke out repeatedly against the policies of President George W. Bush on Iraq, the economy and other issues. But then so did many others. What makes Ryan stand out is his conviction that the USA can be transformed – not just “tinkered with”, as he puts it in A Mindful Nation, the book he published in 2012. Practicing mindfulness may not get everyone on the same page in detailed policy terms, he believes, but it could help to find more common ground between different views and break the political gridlock. In this sense the personal is always political. There’s an upbeat tone in Ryan’s approach that seems out of place with the realities of Washington DC: “Strip away the materialism, the marketing, the media and the technology and our fundamental nature is revealed,” he writes, “joyous, generous and courageous.” Still, given that US politics is soaked through with cynicism, “gotcha” tactics and manipulation, even admitting that you meditate, let alone publicly recommending it to others, is a courageous thing to do. And who knows, the “quiet revolution” of mindfulness might even work.

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Alfredo Moser: Bottle light inventor proud to be poor
2013-08-12, BBC News
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23536914

Alfredo Moser's invention is lighting up the world. In 2002, the Brazilian mechanic had a light-bulb moment and came up with a way of illuminating his house during the day without electricity - using nothing more than plastic bottles filled with water and a tiny bit of bleach. In the last two years his innovation has spread throughout the world. It is expected to be in one million homes by early next year. So how does it work? Simple refraction of sunlight, explains Moser, as he fills an empty two-litre plastic bottle. "Add two capfuls of bleach to protect the water so it doesn't turn green [with algae]. The cleaner the bottle, the better," he adds. Wrapping his face in a cloth he makes a hole in a roof tile with a drill. Then, from the bottom upwards, he pushes the bottle into the newly-made hole. "An engineer came and measured the light," he says. "It depends on how strong the sun is but it's more or less 40 to 60 watts," he says. The inspiration for the "Moser lamp" came to him during one of the country's frequent electricity blackouts in 2002. "The only places that had energy were the factories - not people's houses," he says, talking about the city where he lives, Uberaba, in southern Brazil. "It's a divine light. God gave the sun to everyone, and light is for everyone. You can't get an electric shock from it, and it doesn't cost a penny." Moser has installed the bottle lamps in neighbours' houses and the local supermarket. While he does earn a few dollars installing them, it's obvious from his simple house and his 1974 car that his invention hasn't made him wealthy. What it has given him is a great sense of pride.

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Selfish traits not favoured by evolution, study shows
2013-08-02, BBC News
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23529849

Evolution does not favour selfish people, according to new research. This challenges a previous theory which suggested it was preferable to put yourself first. Instead, it pays to be co-operative, shown in a model of "the prisoner's dilemma", a scenario of game theory - the study of strategic decision-making. Published in Nature Communications, the team says their work shows that exhibiting only selfish traits would have made us become extinct. The eminent mathematician John Nash showed that the optimum strategy was not to co-operate in the prisoner's dilemma game. "For many years, people have asked that if he [Nash] is right, then why do we see co-operation in the animal kingdom, in the microbial world and in humans," said lead author Christoph Adami of Michigan State University. The answer, he explained, was that communication was not previously taken into account. Prof Andrew Coleman from Leicester University explains that this new work suggests that co-operation helps a group evolve. "The two prisoners that are interrogated are not allowed to talk to each other. If they did they would make a pact and be free within a month. But if they were not talking to each other, the temptation would be to rat the other out. Being mean can give you an advantage on a short timescale but certainly not in the long run - you would go extinct." Crucially, in an evolutionary environment, knowing your opponent's decision would not be advantageous for long because your opponent would evolve the same recognition mechanism to also know you, Dr Adami explained. This is exactly what his team found, that any advantage from [selfishness] was short-lived.

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