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Inspiring News
Excerpts of Highly Inspiring News Articles in Major Media



Below are one-paragraph excerpts of highly inspiring news articles reported in the major media. Links are provided to the original inspiring news articles on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, click here. These wonderfully inspiring excerpts are listed with the most inspiring news articles first. If you've visited before and want to see the inspiring news most recently posted to the website, click here. For an abundance of other highly inspiring resources, click here. May these inspiring news articles inspire us to find ever more ways to love and support each other and all around us to be the very best we can be.

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.

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.




Pulling children out of Nepal's prisons
2012-03-15, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/15/world/cnnheroes-basnet-nepal-prisons/index.html

Pushpa Basnet doesn't need an alarm clock. Every morning, the sounds of 40 children wake her up in the two-story home she shares with them. All of these children once lived in Nepal's prisons. This 28-year-old woman has saved every one of them from a life behind bars. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world. When no local guardian is available, an arrested parent often must choose between bringing their children to jail with them or letting them live on the streets. "It's not fair for (these) children to live in the prison because they haven't done anything wrong," said Basne. "My mission is to make sure no child grows up behind prison walls." Since 2005, she has assisted more than 100 children of incarcerated parents. She runs a day care program for children under 6 and a residential home where mostly older children receive education, food, medical care and a chance to live a more normal life. Basnet decided to start a day care to get incarcerated children out from behind the prison walls. "When I started, nobody believed in me," Basnet said. "People thought I was crazy. They laughed at me." But Basnet was undaunted. She got friends to donate money, and she rented a building in Kathmandu to house her new organization, the Early Childhood Development Center. Two years later, Basnet established the Butterfly Home, a children's home where she herself has lived for the past five years. While she now has a few staff members who help her, Basnet is still very hands on. "We do cooking, washing, shopping," she said. "It's amazing, I never get tired. (The children) give me the energy. ... The smiles of my children keep me motivated."

Note: Check out the Early Childhood Development Center website at www.ecdcnepal.org and see how to help. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




The Hippie Serving Peace and Breakfast
2010-12-08, New York Times
http://movies.nytimes.com/2010/12/08/movies/08saint.html

A portly, bearded, 74-year-old hippie clown, born Hugh Nanton Romney but better known as Wavy Gravy, he has been sending ripples of good will that have gently lapped around the fringes of American culture for more than 50 years. The subject of Michelle Esrick’s doting documentary portrait, “Saint Misbehavin’: The Wavy Gravy Movie,” he is first seen practicing his morning prayers at his home in the Berkeley branch of the rural California commune known as the Hog Farm. “May all beings have shelter; may all beings have food,” he intones before an altar crowded with iconography, both holy and comical. “Bless this day as it transpires and help me be the best Wavy Gravy I can muster.” Given his nickname by B. B. King at the Texas International Pop Festival in 1969, Wavy Gravy, who physically resembles an older, shaggier Robin Williams, is the real thing: an authentic unreconstructed hippie idealist living the communal life, doing good works and advocating peace, love, and laughter, in the guise of a clown. The movie looks back to his roots as a Greenwich Village poet, traveling monologuist and, among numerous projects, organizer of the Phantom Cabaret with Tiny Tim and Moondog. Along the way he forged connections with everyone who was anyone in the 1960s counterculture, including Lenny Bruce, Bob Dylan, Ken Kesey and the Grateful Dead. The person who emerges is a man who has long transcended rancorous political debate by embodying a holy fool. The Hog Farm became a touring hippie caravan invited to provide security at the first Woodstock festival, where the group ran a free kitchen that provided breakfast for thousands.

Note: For an engaging interview with this inspiring man, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Izhar Gafni invents a cardboard bicycle that may revolutionize transportation
2012-12-07, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/2012/1207/Izhar-Gafni-inve...

Izhar Gafni smiles and shakes his head in wonder when asked about the whirlwind of events that have taken place since news of his revolutionary cardboard bicycle first made international headlines a few weeks ago. As an amateur cycling enthusiast, Gafni was inspired to create a bicycle using common cardboard following a visit four years ago to a local cycling store, he says. "We were all chatting in the store, and somehow started discussing how someone had built a canoe out of cardboard," he recalls. "It was this canoe that was sitting in the back of my head when it suddenly struck me: Why not make a bicycle out of cardboard, too?" Even though friends and experts warned him that it could not be done, Gafni refused to give up, growing ever more determined to take on what appeared to be an impossible challenge. "There is really no knowledge of how to work with cardboard except for using it to make packages," he explains, describing how he started to explore the material, which is essentially made from wood pulp, folding it in a variety of ways like origami and adding a mixture of glue and varnish to get it to the strength he desired. "It is still a work in progress, and we are still looking at how to create a design that can be mass-produced," says Gafni, who ... hopes to sell the bicycle to markets in Africa in the near future. "There is no doubt that cheap bikes at $20 a pop could really transform the lives of people living in poor countries who need to walk ... to get to a clinic for medical treatment or find work," says Karin Kloosterman, founder and editor of the Middle East's premier environmental news website, Green Prophet.

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




A good Samaritan travels the freeway
2008-07-28, Boston Globe/Los Angeles Times
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/07/28/a_good_samaritan_travel...

Christin Ernst was in a fix. An errant screwdriver punctured her tire on a San Diego freeway, leaving her stranded. That is when Thomas Weller - also known as the San Diego Highwayman - arrived in his monstrous white search-and-rescue vehicle, complete with emergency lights flashing. A surprised Ernst watched as Weller slapped on her spare, inflated it and handed her a card. It reads: "Assisting you has been my pleasure. I ask for no payment other than for you to pass on the favor by helping someone in distress that you may encounter." She was lucky. Because of wallet-busting fuel prices, Weller has cut back his good Samaritan runs to once every three days. Weller's aging rescue rig, which weighs more than 5,600 pounds, is a world-class gas-guzzler. "I sit home on the front porch a lot," he said. "It's killing me." Weller started his volunteer highway rounds in 1966. Now 60, he figures he has helped more than 6,000 motorists. Mostly, he helps people whose vehicles are out of gas, or have a flat tires or overheated engines. For those, he carries gas, water, compressed air, and jacks capable of lifting an ambulance or a low-rider. Weller estimates the rig has gone 600,000 miles - the odometer broke 10 years ago. To make a living, he has been a roofer, car repair manager, and security guard. These days, he fixes cars for a select group of customers. He said his job provides enough money for his modest lifestyle. It also covered his daily drives - until gas prices went up.

Note: For a great CBS video on this good Samaritan, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




National Child Abuse Prevention Month
2013-04-08, Chicago Tribune
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/northbrook/community/chi-ugc...

America is a country where all of us should be able to pursue our own measure of happiness and live free from fear. But for the millions of children who have experienced abuse or neglect, it is a promise that goes tragically unfulfilled. National Child Abuse Prevention Month is a time to make their struggle our own and reaffirm a simple truth: that no matter the challenges we face, caring for our children must always be our first task. Realizing that truth in our society means ensuring children know they are never alone -- that they always have a place to go and there are always people on their side. Parents and caregivers play an essential part in giving their children that stability. But we also know that keeping our children safe is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors and the broader community. All of us bear a responsibility to look after them, whether by lifting children toward their full potential or lending a hand to a family in need. Together, we are making important progress in stopping child abuse and neglect. So this month, let us stand up for them and make their voices heard. To learn more about ending child abuse and how to get involved, visit www.ChildWelfare.gov/Preventing. Now, Therefore, I, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, ... do hereby proclaim April 2013 as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month with programs and activities that help prevent child abuse and provide for children's physical, emotional, and developmental needs.

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




A small foundation learns how to make a big difference in juvenile justice
2013-04-05, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/Change-Agent/2013/0405/A-s...

Tackling the world’s most vexing social problems is a challenge for even the biggest foundations but much more daunting for small ones. Nonetheless, it is possible for small foundations to bring about large-scale change. At the Tow Foundation ... we learned this when we decided to take on one such problem—our state’s failing juvenile-justice system. The United States leads the world in incarcerating young people. Every year, juvenile courts handle an estimated 1.7 million cases in which a youth is charged with a delinquency offense. That’s about 4,600 delinquency cases a day. Over 70,000 juvenile offenders are not living in their homes on a typical day but are held in group homes, shelters, and other juvenile-detention facilities. An estimated 250,000 youths are tried, sentenced, or incarcerated as adults every year across the country. Most of the young people prosecuted in adult court are charged with nonviolent offenses. With just two staff members, we decided to focus our grants on local organizations that were working to change how the courts treated young people. Some 300 grants and $12 million later, we can confidently say we have gotten an excellent return on our investment. When the Tow Foundation first started examining the situation, Connecticut’s system was one of the worst in the country, with deplorable conditions of confinement. Two influential reports released in recent weeks have called Connecticut a national leader in reducing the number of young people who are placed in detention facilities and prisons.

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




Major US supermarkets to boycott GM salmon
2013-03-20, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/mar/20/major-us-supermarkets-boyco...

A number of US supermarket chains pledged on [March 20] not to sell genetically modified salmon, in a sign of growing public concern about engineered foods on the dinner table. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in the final stages of deciding whether to allow GM salmon on to the market. If approved, AquaBounty Technology's salmon would be the first genetically engineered animal to enter the food supply. The GM salmon is the first [of some 30 species] of genetically engineered fish under development, including tilapia. Researchers are also working to bring GM cows, chickens and pigs to market. However, those plans could be blocked by Wednesday's commitment not to sell genetically engineered seafood from national grocery chains including Trader Joe's, Aldi and Whole Foods, as well as regional retailers. Between them, the chains control about 2,000 outlets. Campaigners said they represent a growing segment of the population that is concerned about GM food, and willing to pay higher prices for healthier foods. Critics of GM salmon say the FDA has not conducted proper oversight of the fish, which are raised from eggs hatched in a facility in Prince Edward Island, Canada, and grown to maturity in tanks in a remote area of Panama. They say there is insufficient data to back up AquaBounty's claims its salmon can grow to maturity twice as fast as wild salmon. They also dispute the company's claims that there is no increased risk to people with allergies.

Note: For an excellent summary of the dangers posed by genetically-engineered organisms in the food supply, click here. To sign a petition against GM salmon, click here. For information on a recently passed law which grants Monsanto immunity from prosecution for planting dangerous GM crops, click here.




Go Malala! First Day Back at School
2013-03-19, The Daily Beast/Newsweek
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/03/19/gordon-brown-malala-returns-...

Malala Yousafzai has gone to school today for the first time since she was shot last October. Then, the 15-year-old Pakistani girl was left for dead by the Taliban, a punishment inflicted on her simply for wanting to be educated. Malala’s journey back from a hospital bed to the classroom is not only an inspirational story of courage triumphing over all the odds but a story of determination and, indeed, of destiny: a signal to the world that nothing—not even bullets and death threats—can now stand in the way of every girl’s right to education. Yesterday Malala, who spent months in hospital recovering from neck, face, and head injuries, met teachers at her new school in Birmingham, England. But around the world there are 32 million girls who will not be joining Malala at school today, unable to go to school because they are prevented from doing so or because there is no school to attend. Of the 700,000 children not at school in their home province of Khyber Pakhtunkwha (KPK), 600,000 are girls. Until we provide both the resources and security for them and others to travel securely to school and feel safe from the Taliban while there, then many of Pakistan’s schools will remain closed, and literally millions of Pakistani girls will be denied an education. Some, perhaps as many as 10 million girls each year, will be taken out of school because they are forced into child marriages against their will. Other girls, perhaps as many as seven or eight million school-age girls, will become domestic laborers, sent to sweatshop factories or to languish in the fields and farms.

Note: After many years of U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, the U.S. government has failed to put any significant pressure on the government to change the policy there. Does anyone in government really care? For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on abuse of women and girls, click here.




Safe2Tell program lets kids play it safe
2010-10-19, Denver Post
http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_16373212

Kids help resolve such issues as bullying, violence and suicide threats, the director of Safe2Tell told Chatfield High School students. "You're the solution to your own problem," said Susan Payne, urging students to be proactive about reporting trouble when they see it. The state program allows young people to anonymously report potentially dangerous and life-threatening situations. Since Safe2Tell launched in the 2004-05 school year, there have been 2,782 reports from 158 cities in 58 counties. The reports resulted in 393 investigations, 282 school-disciplinary actions and 67 arrests. The program's website also credits Safe2Tell with 200 suicide preventions. "I think a lot of kids would feel intimidated to say something normally," said [senior] Ellie Roberts. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said Safe2Tell, a nonprofit organization that partners with his office as well as law enforcement and various advocacy groups, gives young people a way to combat the problems they face before those problems escalate to such serious levels. "Safe2Tell has been a tremendous asset to schools and local law enforcement," Suthers said. "The success of this program should underline for educators and the public that bullying, harassment and all the other problems facing youth today can be prevented when we give kids the resources to ask for help." Young people can report problems on issues of bullying, drugs, violence and other dangerous activity by phone; at the Safe2Tell website, safe2tell.org; or by text message.

Note: Programs like this around the world are giving children a safe way to expose child abuse, bullying, and much more. Because of this, children growing up now will almost certainly be much more psychologically and emotionally healthy overall than preceding generations. For more on this inspiring trend, click here.




Couple hopes their voluntourism films inspire others
2013-01-01, Marin Independent-Journal (Marin Co, CA's leading newspaper)
http://www.marinij.com/lifestyles/ci_22265061/muir-beach-couple-hopes-their-v...

When [Steve and] Joanie Wynn stumbled upon Roadmonkey Adventure Philanthropy, a fledgling business started by a former New York Times war correspondent, she thought, here's a chance to do something different — document six women volunteering at a school for AIDS orphans in Tanzania while also enjoying a trip abroad and scaling Mount Kilimanjaro. The experience was "life-changing." [The] couple returned with a lot more than a sense of adventure and some great footage; they discovered a new purpose and passion. They launched Journey for Good, a website that lists voluntourism opportunities in hopes of inspiring others to participate. Their documentary, "A Journey for Good: Tanzania," which aired on public TV stations around the country, garnered four Emmy nominations and two Telly Awards. Now they're in talks with KQED-TV to turn "Journeys for Good" into a series. The Wynns and their 9-year-old son, Ryan, ... left for Cambodia on Dec. 26 with Globe Aware to document their second voluntourism trip together. Their focus is not only on the projects, but also on the people who volunteer — what motivated them, how it changed them. "Our goal is to show people that this is a great way to travel differently," she says. "You can still go and experience a different culture, a different country and have an even richer and deeper experience by working side-by-side with local people." Voluntourism has been one of the fastest growing forms of travel, according to VolunTourism, which follows the industry.

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




Like a Skyline Is Etched in His Head
2009-10-28, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/28/nyregion/28about.html

In a helicopter above [New York City], Stephen Wiltshire of London looked down at the streets and sprawl. He flew for 20 minutes. Since then, working only from the memory of that sight, he has been sketching and drawing a mighty panorama of the city, rendering the city’s 305 square miles along an arc of paper that is 19 feet long. He is working publicly in a gallery at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. “I always memorize by helicopter,” he said, pausing from detailing the corners of a street on the Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg Bridge. Mr. Wiltshire sees and draws. It is how he connects. Until age 5, he had never uttered a word. One day, his kindergarten class at a school for autistic children in London went on a field trip. When they came back, he spoke. “He said, ‘Paper,’ ” his sister, Annette Wiltshire, said. “The teacher asked him to say it again. He said it. Then they asked him to say something else, and he said, ‘Pen.’ ” With pen and paper in hand, he drew what he had seen that day. In time, a clever teacher taught him the alphabet by associating each letter with a place he had drawn — “a” for Albert Hall, “b” for Buckingham Palace, and so on. Now 35, he has already drawn eight major cities after flyovers. He has his own Web site and gallery. By unpacking in exquisite detail the riches that he absorbs in a glimpse, Mr. Wiltshire has built a bridge to the world that had once been cut off to him.

Note: For an intriguing five-minute film on Stephen Wiltshire, click here. For a wealth of information about other people with mind-boggling capabilities, click here.




Grandmother helping Chicago kids 'off the block'
2011-04-07, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/04/07/cnnheroes.latiker.roseland.youth/index.html

In Roseland, one of Chicago's most dangerous neighborhoods, many residents stay off the streets to protect themselves from rampant gang violence. But one grandmother opened her door and invited gang members to come inside. "They say I'm a nut because I let kids into my home who I didn't even know," said Diane Latiker, 54. "But I know (the kids) now. And I'll know the new generation." Since 2003, Latiker has gotten to know more than 1,500 young people through her nonprofit community program, Kids Off the Block. "I invited them into my living room," she said. "They all started saying: 'I want to be a doctor. I want to be a rapper. I want to be a singer.' They didn't want to be out here running up and down the street. They wanted to be involved in something." Latiker told them her house was open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They could come over for food, or homework help, or just to talk about their hopes, dreams and fears. Kids Off the Block was born. "We've had six gangs in my living room at one time. ... But that was the safe place. And you know what? They respected that." As Latiker began to see positive change in many of the kids, she quit her job as a cosmetologist to focus on them full-time. She set up tutoring sessions with teachers and retired educators. She provided job interview training and opportunities to play football, basketball and soccer. Latiker and volunteers also started taking the kids on field trips to museums, movies, skating rinks, water parks and professional sports games.

Note: For lots more on this amazing woman and her great work, click here.




Man Celebrates 65th Birthday by Giving Away Free Money
2012-07-13, Yahoo! News
http://shine.yahoo.com/work-money/man-celebrates-65th-birthday-giving-away-fr...

Doug Eaton wanted to celebrate his birthday on June 11 in a big way, so he turned to his friends for ideas [and] ended up marking the day with random acts of kindness, including handing out free money to people passing by. "I asked a bunch of my friends ... what should I do on my 65th and I got a whole long list of stuff," he told KFOR-TV. "And one of my friends said, 'Why don't you do 65 random acts of kindness?'" So that's exactly what he did, spending 65 minutes standing on the corner of NW 39th Street and May Avenue in Oklahoma City, handing out $5 bills to people who passed by. From a distance, Eaton looked a bit like any other panhandler holding a sign at a street corner. But instead of a plea for money, his sign read: "I have a home… and a car… and a job. Do you need a few bucks for some coffee?" Many people murmured "I can't believe this" or "bless you" as he handed them the cash. Others were reluctant to take his money, and he had to tell them "It's OK, it's just a blessing" and explain that this was his way of celebrating his milestone birthday. "This day has been one of the biggest blessings of my recent life," he [said]. "I don't know if I can wait until another birthday to do this again. But what if it became a habit? Or what if everyone or a lot of people did their birthday number of random acts of kindness on their birthday? How good would that be?"

Note: For lots more highly inspiring articles from the major media, click here.




Living Seed company takes root from heirloom seeds
2012-03-28, San Francisco Chronicle
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/27/DD9P1NDH6T.DTL&ao...

Two entrepreneurs are hoping to take gardening back to a time when an abundance of plant diversity was the norm. Matthew Hoffman and Astrid Lindo grow, source and sell seeds of rare and heirloom edibles. "What's amazing is 100 years ago, everybody saved their own seed," Lindo said. By 1983, the 408 varieties of peas cultivated on American farms some 80 years earlier had dwindled to 25. Sweet corn saw a drop from 307 to 12 varieties. Hoffman undertook intensive training in New Mexico at the first-ever seed school taught by Bill McDorman, one of the veterans of the contemporary North American seed-saving movement. His enthusiasm was infectious; within a few months, Lindo decided to ... immerse herself in the fledgling business. The couple talked with experienced seed growers and farmers, researched catalogs, and scanned gardening forums and blogs online. And then they dug in and began growing their own seed. McDorman, director of Native Seeds/Search, a Tucson organization focused on conserving the genetic diversity of crops ... is effusive in his praise of the couple. "These young kids are way smarter than we were," he remarked. "Matthew and Astrid are indicative of what's coming, a whole new wave." The couple have ... a lively Twitter feed, a blog and a Facebook page as well as a YouTube channel with instructional videos on seed-saving techniques. The company also donates seeds to school garden programs, urban garden programs and correctional facilities.

Note: Learn more at www.livingseedcompany.com. Read the blog at this link and check them out on twitter:@LivingSeedCo; Facebook: www.facebook.com/LivingSeedCompany; and YouTube: bit.ly/wR0P3B




Shine a Light: The Suitcase That’s Saving Women’s Lives
2012-01-12, NationalGeographic.com
http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/01/12/shine-a-light-the-suitcase...

In the fight against maternal mortality in the developing world, a rugged, portable “Solar Suitcase” is providing reliable electricity to clinics in 17 countries where healthcare workers previously struggled to provide emergency obstetric care by the light of candles, flashlights and mobile phones. The Solar Suitcase powers medical LED lights, headlamps, mobile phones, computers and medical devices. Healthcare workers using the Solar Suitcase report greater facility and ease in conducting nighttime procedures. Improved lighting allows health workers to identify and treat complications such as obstetric lacerations and hemorrhage, nurses to locate and administer intravenous medication, and emergency Caesarean sections to be performed 24 hours a day. Solar-powered mobile phones allow on-call doctors to be alerted when obstetric emergencies require surgery. With augmentation, the solar suitcase powers blood bank refrigeration, permitting life-saving transfusions to occur without delay. An estimated 358,000 maternal deaths occur worldwide. Reducing childbirth deaths depends, in part, on providing adequate emergency obstetric care. However, a lack of health facility power translates to an inability to perform life-saving care.




Santa gets help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers’ layaway accounts
2011-12-15, Washington Post/Associated Press
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/at-kmart-stores-santa-gets-help-anonym...

The young father stood in line at the Kmart layaway counter, wearing dirty clothes and worn-out boots. With him were three small children. He asked to pay something on his bill because he knew he wouldn’t be able to afford it all before Christmas. Then a mysterious woman stepped up to the counter. “She told him, ‘No, I’m paying for it,’” recalled Edna Deppe, assistant manager at the store in Indianapolis. “He just stood there and looked at her and then looked at me and asked if it was a joke. I told him it wasn’t, and that she was going to pay for him. And he just busted out in tears.” At Kmart stores across the country, Santa seems to be getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers’ layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn’t afford, especially toys and children’s clothes set aside by impoverished parents. Before she left the store Tuesday evening, the Indianapolis woman in her mid-40s had paid the layaway orders for as many as 50 people. On the way out, she handed out $50 bills and paid for two carts of toys for a woman in line at the cash register. “She was doing it in the memory of her husband who had just died, and she ... wanted to make people happy with it,” Deppe said. The woman did not identify herself and only asked people to “remember Ben,” an apparent reference to her husband.




Are We Getting Nicer?
2011-11-24, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/24/opinion/kristof-are-we-getting-nicer.html

It's pretty easy to conclude that the world is spinning down the toilet. Despite the gloomy mood, the historical backdrop is stunning progress in human decency over recent centuries. War is declining, and humanity is becoming less violent, less racist and less sexist — and this moral progress has accelerated in recent decades. To put it bluntly, we humans seem to be getting nicer. That's the central theme of an astonishingly good book just published by Steven Pinker, a psychology professor at Harvard. It's called The Better Angels of Our Nature. [Pinker] acknowledges, "In a century that began with 9/11, Iraq and Darfur, the claim that we are living in an unusually peaceful time may strike you as somewhere between hallucinatory and obscene." Still, even in a 20th century notorious for world war and genocide, only around 3% of humans died from such manmade catastrophes. In the 17th century, the Thirty Years' War reduced Germany's population by as much as one-third. Wars make headlines, but there are fewer conflicts today, and they typically don't kill as many people. Many scholars have made that point, most notably Joshua S Goldstein in his recent book, Winning the War on War: The Decline of Armed Conflict Worldwide. Look also at homicide rates, which are now far lower than in previous centuries.

Note: For more great research showing that long-term, we are becoming nicer and more civilized, click here.





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