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, read this webpage. These wonderfully inspiring excerpts are listed with the most inspiring news articles first. You can also explore the news articles listed by order of the date posted. For an abundance of other highly inspiring material, see our Inspiring Resources page. 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.

Volunteering May Be Good for the Heart in More Than One Way
2013-06-27, Mercola.com
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/27/volunteering.aspx

Volunteering is a simple way to help others, but it’s also a powerful way to help yourself. Beyond the good feelings you’ll get from donating your time, and the potential to develop new, meaningful relationships with people in your community, volunteering has a significant impact on your physical health, including a boost to your heart health. New research from Carnegie Mellon University, scheduled to be published in the journal Psychology and Aging, followed more than 1,000 adults between the ages of 51 and 91. Those who volunteered for at least 200 hours a year were 40 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who did not. Research shows volunteering can cut your overall mortality risk by 47 percent, may lower your risk of depression and anxiety, and even boost your psychological well-being. The type of volunteer work appeared to be irrelevant. Rather, it was the amount of time spent doing it that mattered. The benefits are particularly pronounced among older adults, a population that tends to slow down once retirement hits. Social interaction, and the stress relief it can provide, is likely one major reason why volunteering has a beneficial effect on blood pressure, as it’s a well-known fact that stress elevates blood pressure. Blood pressure aside, volunteering is not only a boon for your heart health. It’s likely that one reason volunteering is so beneficial is simply because it keeps you active and on your feet. Instead of resigning yourself to your couch, choosing to volunteer adds many hours of non-exercise activity to your life – a key to optimal health.

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




'A way out of the landfill': Paraguay kids play Mozart with violins made from trash
2012-12-17, NBC News/Associated Press
http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/17/15965768-a-way-out-of-the-landf...

The sounds of a classical guitar come from two big jelly cans. Used X-rays serve as the skins of a thumping drum set. A battered aluminum salad bowl and strings tuned with forks from what must have been an elegant table make a violin. Bottle caps work perfectly well as keys for a saxophone. A chamber orchestra of 20 children uses these and other instruments fashioned out of recycled materials from a landfill where their parents eke out livings as trash-pickers, regularly performing the music of Beethoven and Mozart, Henry Mancini and the Beatles. Word is spreading about these kids from Cateura, a vast landfill outside Paraguay's capital where some 25,000 families live alongside reeking garbage in abject poverty. The youngsters of "The Orchestra of Instruments Recycled From Cateura" performed in Brazil, Panama and Colombia this year, and hope to play at an exhibit opening next year in their honor at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Ariz. "We want to provide a way out of the landfill for these kids and their families. So we're doing the impossible so that they can travel outside Paraguay, to become renowned and admired," said Favio Chavez, a social worker and music teacher who started the orchestra. Paraguayan documentary filmmaker, Alejandra Amarilla Nash ... and film producer Juliana Penaranda-Loftus have followed the orchestra for years, joining Chavez in his social work while making their film "Landfill Harmonic" on a shoestring budget. The documentary is far from complete. But last month, the filmmakers created a Facebook page and posted a short trailer on YouTube and Vimeo that has gone viral, quickly getting more than a million views altogether.

Note: For an inspiring 12-minute video of the amazing landfill harmonic orchestra, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Drugs in Portugal: Did Decriminalization Work?
2009-04-26, Time Magazine
http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1893946,00.html

Portugal [in] in 2001 became the first European country to officially abolish all criminal penalties for personal possession of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. At the recommendation of a national commission charged with addressing Portugal's drug problem, jail time was replaced with the offer of therapy. People found guilty of possessing small amounts of drugs are sent to a panel consisting of a psychologist, social worker and legal adviser for appropriate treatment (which may be refused without criminal punishment), instead of jail. The recently released results of a report commissioned by the Cato Institute ... found that in the five years after personal possession was decriminalized, illegal drug use among teens in Portugal declined and rates of new HIV infections caused by sharing of dirty needles dropped, while the number of people seeking treatment for drug addiction more than doubled. "Judging by every metric, decriminalization in Portugal has been a resounding success," says Glenn Greenwald, an attorney, author and fluent Portuguese speaker, who conducted the research. "It has enabled the Portuguese government to manage and control the drug problem far better than virtually every other Western country does." Compared to the European Union and the U.S., Portugal's drug use numbers are impressive. Following decriminalization, Portugal had the lowest rate of lifetime marijuana use in people over 15 in the E.U.: 10%. The most comparable figure in America is in people over 12: 39.8%. Proportionally, more Americans have used cocaine than Portuguese have used marijuana.

Note: For an inspiring interview with a sociologist who serves on one of the drug commissions in Portugal, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Newly Released Tim DeChristopher Finds a Movement Transformed by His Courage
2013-04-22, Yes! Magazine
http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/tim-dechristopher-peaceful-uprising-movemen...

Tim DeChristopher, who was released from federal custody yesterday, is best known as the man who disrupted an auction of pristine public lands. But there’s more to his story than his role as “Bidder 70.” Yesterday, after 21 months in federal custody, climate activist Tim DeChristopher approached the pulpit at his church in Salt Lake City, Utah, as a free man. The First Unitarian congregation rose in uproarious applause, tears streaming down more than a few faces. “It’s good to be home,” DeChristopher told the crowd. During his sermon, he said that he had never expected to change the oil and gas industry alone. “But I thought that I could change people like you, and I knew people like you have a lot of power.” What often gets overlooked in this folk hero tale of a man who went to jail for his principles is that DeChristopher didn't want to be the only hero. And so he became one of the most consistent and strongest voices for direct action and civil disobedience in the movement, urging environmental groups to use personal sacrifice as means of becoming more effective. By showing that people who don’t hold positions of authority can successfully confront injustice, his example helped to build the climate-justice group Peaceful Uprising, changed the tactics of the nation’s most established environmental organizations, and helped shape the mass climate movement, which turned out nearly 50,000 people on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in February.

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




Readers Join Doctor’s Journey to the Afterworld’s Gates
2012-11-26, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/26/books/dr-eben-alexanders-tells-of-near-deat...

For years Dr. Eben Alexander III had dismissed near-death revelations of God and heaven as explainable by the hard wiring of the human brain. He was, after all, a neurosurgeon with sophisticated medical training. But then in 2008 Dr. Alexander contracted bacterial meningitis. The deadly infection soaked his brain and sent him into a deep coma. During that week, as life slipped away, he now says, he was living intensely in his mind. He was ... guided by “a beautiful girl with high cheekbones and deep blue eyes” on the wings of a butterfly to an “immense void” that is both “pitch black” and “brimming with light” coming from an “orb” that interprets for an all-loving God. Dr. Alexander, 58, was so changed by the experience that he felt compelled to write a book, Proof of Heaven, that recounts his experience. He knew full well that he was gambling his professional reputation by writing it, but his hope is that his expertise will be enough to persuade skeptics, particularly medical skeptics, as he used to be, to open their minds to an afterworld. Having trained at Duke University and taught and practiced as a surgeon at Harvard, he knows brain science as well as anyone. And science, he said, cannot explain his experience. “During my coma my brain wasn’t working improperly,” he writes in his book. “It wasn’t working at all.” [Proof of Heaven] rose instantly to No. 1 on The New York Times’s paperback best-seller list and is there again for next week. The publisher has printed nearly one million copies, combined hardcover and paperback, to be snapped up at airports and as stocking stuffers at big retailers like Target. Another 78,000 digital copes have been sold.

Note: As of now, Dr. Alexander's book has been the New York Times #1 bestseller for 23 weeks. For an inspiring online lesson which dives deep into near-death experiences (and the possibility of reincarnation) using solid, reliable sources, click here. For other inspiring articles on near-death experiences, click here.




How letters from strangers saved a teen's life
2013-03-08, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57573381/how-letters-from-strangers-sav...

"There are a lot of kids out there that suffer depression and anxiety," said seventh-grader Noah Brocklebank. And not many are willing to talk about it on national television. Noah is okay with people calling him depressed -- mainly because, over the past couple years, he's been called worse. "Like 'fat,' 'ugly,' 'annoying,' 'loser,'" he recalled. Noah's mother Karen says the bullying, combined with his underlying depression, ultimately led to the night of January 26. That night, her son posted a clear warning on the Internet -- a picture of his arm all cut up and a note that read: "Day of scheduled suicide, February 8th, 2013, my birthday." It was to be his 13th birthday. "I just felt like everything was worthless," said Noah. "My life was terrible. I had no one." After that, Noah ended up in the hospital for eight days. And while he was in there, as his doctors assessed his mental health, his mother came up with a plan to improve his vision --- a plan for Noah to see more clearly how much he matters, how much he's loved, and that there really is life beyond seventh grade. So she asked some friends on Facebook to put all that in a letter. What happened next is a remarkable testament to both the power of social media and the kindness of strangers. Noah has received thousands of letters from every continent on the planet, including Antarctica. The sheer volume alone has brightened up his home a million watts. As for how this changed him, Noah said: "I was focused on the bad side of the people, like the bullies. Then I realized there are caring people out there that can be my friends."

Note: For a deeply moving four-minute video clip from an Emmy-award-winning documentary on bullying, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Pee power! African teens create urine-fueled generator
2012-11-08, CNET
http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57547296-1/pee-power-african-teens-create...

Four teenage African girls have come up with a urine-powered generator ... which they claim generates one hour of electricity from one liter (about a quart) of urine. The pee-powered product made its debut at Maker Faire Africa in Lagos, Nigeria. Urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which separates out the hydrogen. The gas cylinder pushes hydrogen into a cylinder of liquid borax, which is used to remove the moisture from the hydrogen gas. This purified hydrogen gas is pushed into the generator. The girls will probably be famous chemists one day, in any case, but they aren't the first to propose urine (or more solid human and animal waste) as a possible alternative fuel. Last year, in one example, researchers from Ohio University came up with their own technology for extracting hydrogen from urine. Doing so, they say, requires less power than plucking it from water, as hydrogen can be separated more easily from the ammonia and urea chemical compounds present in pee. The four African teens likely are the youngest researchers yet to dabble in pee as power. Skepticism aside, can we all just agree that the foursome should be lauded for their efforts to find alternative power sources on a continent that could really use them?

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




'Bank of Bob' finances $25 startups
2013-02-07, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Bank-of-Bob-finances-25-startups-42610...

For years, writer Bob Harris enjoyed a unique opportunity - traveling to some of the most luxurious hotels in the world on behalf of ForbesTraveler.com. But, as he bounced from one five-star palace to another, he felt uneasy about the inequality of the industry: The people who build these places don't get to see or experience them. He decided he would somehow give back his salary from the decadent escapes he'd had. That's when he discovered Kiva, the San Francisco crowdfunding site that enables individuals to offer $25 loans to entrepreneurs in the developing world. Harris began lending via Kiva.org. Then, some friends joined in, building a community of lenders they called, aptly, Friends of Bob Harris. Over the last three years, they've collectively lent more than $3 million. In 2011, Harris decided to go meet some of the entrepreneurs and write about his travels, microfinance and Kiva's impact. That took him to a dozen countries - Bosnia, Nepal, Cambodia, Kenya and more - and resulted in a book: The International Bank of Bob: Connecting Our Worlds One $25 Loan at a Time. Recently, he spoke with The Chronicle about his travels and what he learned. Q: Did you ask the entrepreneurs point blank about ... what did they think of the lending criteria? A: I did get feedback on what ... changes they wanted. They wanted longer grace periods; a longer length of time between getting the loan and their first payment so that they could think more about long-term investments; they wanted a version of "revolving credit." I never once heard [complaints] about the interest rate.




Conscious Capitalism ready for spotlight
2013-01-26, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/business/bottomline/article/Conscious-Capitalism-ready-...

Conscious Capitalism Inc. [is] an organization that came to public attention ... with the publication of a book with the same title and the controversial comments made by its author, Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey. Not the capitalism that's been "hijacked by the 'story-of-me,' " explained the organization's CEO, Doug Rauch. "It should be the story of us. "Us" as in employees, customers, investors, surrounding communities, the environment - also known as "stakeholders" - to whom business leaders owe an obligation over and above the bottom line and mere shareholder value. These are not new ideas - they've been expressed by a number of business leaders, including Nobel Peace Prize-winner Muhammad Yunus, founder of the microlending Grameen Bank ... and pushed by organizations like San Francisco's Business for Social Responsibility. Still, Conscious Capitalism - registered trademark - has rounded up a number of corporate chieftains in addition to Mackey, including those running Patagonia, The Container Store, Southwest Airlines, Motley Fool, Zappos, Herman Miller, Gibson Guitars and Nordstrom. POSCO, the giant South Korean steel company, is a major financial contributor. Up to now, the 6-year-old nonprofit has been operating mostly under the radar, but with a $1 million annual budget - funded by individual and corporate contributions and revenue from conferences - Conscious Capitalism appears ready to spread its wings.




The inspiring heroism of Aaron Swartz
2013-01-12, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/12/aaron-swartz-heroism-suic...

Aaron Swartz, the computer programmer and internet freedom activist, committed suicide on [January 11] in New York at the age of 26. Much of Swartz's tragically short life was filled with acts that are genuinely and, in the most literal and noble sense, heroic. He became something of a legend in the internet and programming world before he was 18. His path to internet mogul status and the great riches it entails was clear, easy and virtually guaranteed: a path which so many other young internet entrepreneurs have found irresistible, monomaniacally devoting themselves to making more and more money long after they have more than they could ever hope to spend. Swartz had little interest in devoting his life to his own material enrichment, despite how easy it would have been for him. He committed himself to the causes in which he so passionately believed: internet freedom, civil liberties, making information and knowledge as available as possible. Critically, Swartz didn't commit himself to these causes merely by talking about them or advocating for them. He repeatedly sacrificed his own interests, even his liberty, in order to defend these values and challenge and subvert the most powerful factions that were their enemies. Nobody knows for sure why federal prosecutors decided to pursue Swartz so vindictively. I believe it ... was waged as part of ... the war over how the internet is used and who controls the information that flows on it - and that was his real crime in the eyes of the US government: challenging its authority and those of corporate factions to maintain a stranglehold on that information.

Note: For a video showing the inspiring activism of this young man, click here. This video shows why this courageous man was likely targeted to stop him from empowering others. Please spread the word.




The Science of Heaven
2012-11-18, The Daily Beast/Newsweek
http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/11/18/the-science-of-heaven.html

On the morning of Nov. 10, 2008, I awoke with the early symptoms of what proved to be an extremely severe case of bacterial meningitis. As I wrote here three weeks ago, and as I narrate in my book Proof of Heaven, over the next several hours my entire cerebral cortex shut down. Yet in spite of the complete absence of neural activity in all but the deepest, most primitive portions of my brain, my identity—my sense of self—did not go dark. Instead, I underwent the most staggering experience of my life, my consciousness traveling to another level, or dimension, or world. Brain activity and consciousness are indeed profoundly tied up with one another. But that does not mean that those bonds can’t be loosened, or even cut completely. Modern physics is pushing us [to believe] that it is consciousness that is primary and matter secondary. Totally objective observation remains a simple impossibility. And while in our ordinary earthly life we miss this fact completely, it becomes much more apparent in near-death experiences, when the body and brain cease to mediate our encounter with the larger reality and we encounter it directly. Make no mistake: consciousness is a total mystery. We simply do not know what it is. My seven-day odyssey beyond my physical body and brain convinced me that when the filter of the brain is removed, we see the universe clearly for the first time. And the multidimensional universe revealed by this trans-physical vision is not a cold, dead one, but alive with the force that, as the poet Dante wrote some 600 years ago, “moves the sun and other stars.”

Note: The author of this article, Dr. Eben Alexander, has been a neurosurgeon for the past 25 years. His engaging, best-selling book on this life-changing experience is Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife. For video interviews and other information on Dr. Alexander, click here. For other highly inspiring resources and stories related to near-death experiences, click here.




Kim Peek, Inspiration for ‘Rain Man,’ Dies at 58
2009-12-27, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/27/us/27peek.html

In 1988, the film “Rain Man,” about an autistic savant played by Dustin Hoffman, shed a humane light on the travails of autism while revealing the extraordinary powers of memory that a small number of otherwise mentally disabled people possess, ostensibly as a side effect of their disability. It never would have been made if [Barry] Morrow had not had a chance meeting with Kim Peek, who inspired him to write the film. Mr. Peek, who was dismissed as mentally retarded as a child and later misdiagnosed as autistic, led a sheltered life, with few people outside his family aware of his remarkable gifts. Mr. Peek was not autistic — not all savants are autistic and not all autistics are savants — but he was born with severe brain abnormalities that impaired his physical coordination and made ordinary reasoning difficult. He could not dress himself or brush his teeth without help. He found metaphoric language incomprehensible and conceptualization baffling. But with an astonishing skill that allowed him to read facing pages of a book at once — one with each eye — he read as many as 12,000 volumes. Even more remarkable, he could remember what he had read. Almost all documented savants — people with an extraordinary depth of knowledge and the ability to recall it — have been restricted in their expertise to specific fields like mathematics, chess, art or music. But Mr. Peek had a wide range of interests and could instantly answer the most arcane questions on subjects as diverse as history, sports, music, geography and movies.

Note: For a fascinating 10-minute film on Kim Peek, click here. For a wealth of others with mind-boggling capabilities, click here.




Bodybuilder, 93, with winning muscles
2012-10-28, BBC News
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20048675

At 93, Dr Charles Eugster cuts a dapper figure in his navy suit and matching silk handkerchief and tie. But he looks just as good in the Lycra gym suit he has on underneath, ready to spring into action like a nonagenarian superhero. This former dentist took up bodybuilding just six years ago, aged 87, yet looks very at home surrounded by the whirring fitness machines. His reasons for picking up weights in his 80s are simple. "The idea is to turn the heads of the sexy young 70-year-old girls on the beach," he says. He now works out three to four times a week, often for two hours at a time, with his regime varying depending on his goals. Sometimes this involves a "heavy session of muscle building or rowing on the lake". And his vigorous training has clearly paid off. At a recent championship he achieved 57 dips, 61 chin-ups, 50 push-ups and 48 abdominal crunches, each in 45 seconds. Dr Eugster is no stranger to competitions. Since starting his bodybuilding training he has won several world titles for fitness and picked up many rowing medals. For 30 years while working long hours as a dentist he didn't manage to exercise regularly and began to realise his body wasn't what he wished it to be. "I'm extremely vain and I noticed I was getting fat," he said. "In my opinion anybody can do it. But obviously it is like trading in your old car for a new one. Ageing has become something for me, an enormous pleasure, a delight, a joy."

Note: For two amazing one-minute videos of a highly inspiring 86-year-old gymnast, click here.




Child Prodigy Writes Opera at Age 7
2012-10-23, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/10/child-prodigy-writes-opera-at-a...

Alma Deutscher is already an accomplished musician; she’s mastered the piano and the violin. Now she can add composing her own opera to the list — and she’s only seven years old. Like so many other child prodigies, she plays beautifully. But what sets her apart is her ability to write, and improvise, classical music. Deutscher can sit at the piano and create music that sounds as if it had been written for her. Robert Gjerdingen, professor of music theory and cognition at Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music, ... has been helping the Deutscher family teach Alma in a classic style that encourages her ability to improvise. “Usually prodigies excel in reproducing music, not in creating it.” The young musician hails from the country town of Surrey, England, and has always showed a passion for the arts. “It was striking that when she was about three, she heard a lullaby by Richard Straus,” says her mother, Janie Deutscher. “And she came to us and said, ‘How can music be so beautiful?’ She was so struck by the beauty of it.” For her most recent project, Alma composed a seven-minute opera called ‘The Sweeper of Dreams.” She woke up one morning with a musical theme in her head and with the help of her father, who is also an amateur musician, she recorded the theme on the piano. She later fashioned the theme she recorded into a seven-minute “mini-opera” for a competition held by the English National Opera, which praised her work. “Normally when I try to think of ideas, it doesn’t come,” she said. But “when I’m improvising, then I have lots of ideas.”

Note: For deeply inspiring reports from major media sources, click here.




Can babies teach school kids not to bully?
2011-12-21, Toronto Star (One of Toronto's leading newspapers)
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1105553--porter-can-babies-teach-scho...

Teacher Raya patrols a group of giggly kindergarten students, looking each so deeply in the eye that many squirm and bashfully reach for her toes. Her father carries her in his arms. Raya is not quite five months old. She’s teaching them about being kind and how to talk about their feelings so that later, they don’t terrorize each other. Teacher Raya, as they call her, is a “volunteer” with Roots of Empathy, [Canada's] oldest and largest anti-bullying program. Kids in 900 classrooms around the province [of Ontario] are taking similar lessons from similarly beautiful babies. So are kids in New Zealand, Seattle, the Isle of Man. . . It’s such a simple concept: if kids learn to empathize with babies — the most vulnerable humans — then their antennae for kindness will be turned on. Put another way, once they learn to worry about a baby’s feelings, they’ll start to worry about everyone’s. Since kindergarten teacher Mary Gordon launched it 16 years ago, the program’s effects have been analyzed by dozens of academics. Most of them conclude the program fosters “pro-social behaviour” and dampens aggression. A Manitoba study published earlier this year concluded the program cut student fights in half immediately and continued to “promote optimal social contact” three years later. It’s one thing to legislate against bullying, as Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has done with his Safe Schools Act. It’s quite another to stop kids from tormenting each other in the first place (the province has provided about $2 million annually [for] Roots of Empathy since 2009).

Note: For deeply inspiring reports from major media sources, click here.




Detroit’s Good Food Cure
2012-09-06, Yes! Magazine
http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/its-your-body/the-good-food-cure

Weekend mornings are the busiest days of the week at D-Town Farm. That’s when up to 30 volunteers from across Detroit come out to till the earth and tend the crops at the seven-acre mini-farm on the city’s west side. “One of our goals is to present healthy eating to people,” says Malik Yakini, Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN), which runs D-Town. “We think that healthy eating optimizes a good life generally. A diet close to nature allows the human body to function the way it is supposed to function.” D-Town is set in one of the city’s greenest areas, a former tree nursery in the 1,184-acre River Rouge Park. It’s ... about a mile upriver from the Brightmoor, a formerly devastated neighborhood that boasts no fewer than 22 community gardens. The Detroit City Council granted use of the land to DBCFSN in 2008. Nowhere in the United States has urban agriculture taken root as prolifically as in Detroit. This gardening renaissance has been growing for over two decades since the Gardening Angels, a group of southern-born African-Americans, began growing food and passing their agricultural knowledge on to another generation. There are more than 1,200 community gardens in Detroit—more per square mile and more per capita than in any other American city. DBCFSN’s goals include empowering African-Americans within the food system and providing fresh, healthy foods in an area where access is not a given. Detroit was among the communities declared food deserts by researcher Mari Gallagher in 2007.

Note: For deeply inspiring reports from major media sources, click here.




FBI says violent crime fell 4 percent last year; but has long downward trend hit bottom?
2012-06-11, Washington Post/Associated Press
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/fbi-says-violent-crimes-rep...

The number of crimes reported to police dropped again last year compared with 2010. Last year marked the fifth straight year of year-to-year improvement for the number of violent crimes reported to authorities. It was the ninth consecutive year of declines for property crimes, according to preliminary FBI data for 2011. The FBI says murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault all went down in 2011. Violent crime decreased in all four regions: 4.9 percent in the Midwest; 4.7 percent in the West; 4.5 percent in the South and 0.8 percent in the Northeast. There was, however, an increase in murder in the Midwest — 0.6 percent — and an 18.3 percent jump in murder in cities with populations of less than 10,000. In the property crime category, motor vehicle theft dropped 3.3 percent, and larceny-theft decreased 0.9 percent. However, burglary offenses increased 0.3 percent, rising 3.2 percent in the Northeast, 1.3 percent in the Midwest and 0.7 percent in the West. The preliminary data is based on information the FBI gathered from 14,009 law enforcement agencies around the United States.

Note: This article is a great example of how the media consistently downplay any good news about the massive drop in crimes over the past 20 years. The entire article fails to mention the inspiring news that violent crime rates are now less than 1/3 what they were in 1994. That's awesome! For lots more on this inspiring news and the media's penchant for playing it down, click here.




How Psychedelic Drugs Can Help Patients Face Death
2012-04-22, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/magazine/how-psychedelic-drugs-can-help-pat...

Charles Grob [is] a psychiatrist and researcher at Harbor-U.C.L.A. Medical Center who [has administered] psilocybin — an active component of magic mushrooms — to end-stage cancer patients to see if it could reduce their fear of death. When the research was completed in 2008 ... the results showed that administering psilocybin to terminally ill subjects could be done safely while reducing the subjects’ anxiety and depression about their impending deaths. Grob’s interest in the power of psychedelics to mitigate mortality’s sting is not just the obsession of one lone researcher. Dr. John Halpern, head of the Laboratory for Integrative Psychiatry at McLean Hospital in Belmont Mass., a psychiatric training hospital for Harvard Medical School, used MDMA — also known as ecstasy — in an effort to ease end-of-life anxieties in two patients with Stage 4 cancer. And there are two ongoing studies using psilocybin with terminal patients, one at New York University’s medical school, led by Stephen Ross, and another at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, where Roland Griffiths has administered psilocybin to 22 cancer patients and is aiming for a sample size of 44. “This research is in its very early stages,” Grob told me earlier this month, “but we’re getting consistently good results.” Grob and his colleagues are part of a resurgence of scientific interest in the healing power of psychedelics.

Note: For fascinating reports from major media sources on the beneficial uses of psychedelics, click here.




Teen Locked in Autistic Body Finds Inner Voice
2009-08-06, ABC News 20/20
http://abcnews.go.com/2020/MindMoodNews/story?id=8258204

Something extraordinary happened to Carly Fleischmann, a severely autistic 14-year-old who, unable to speak, was once written off as mentally deficient. "It is hard to be autistic because no one understands me. People look at me and assume I am dumb because I can't speak." There are experts and skeptics who believe that nonverbal people like Carly are incapable of thinking or writing. Her words may never have been found if not for the relentless determination of her family, who never gave up on her. Carly's story is how one child found her way out of the dense forest that is autism, and how her experience may unlock the mysteries of this baffling disorder. In the beginning, Carly's delays prevented her from walking and sitting up, but as she grew, it became painfully clear that Carly couldn't speak. But then one day, three years ago, when Carly was 11, she was working with two of her therapists when she started to feel sick. Unable to communicate what she needed, she ran to a computer and began to type for the first time. First she typed the word "H-U-R-T" and then "H-E-L-P" and then she threw up. Her therapists were shocked: They had never specifically taught her those words, and they wondered where she had learned them. Carly's typing showed them that there was a lot more going on inside her head than they had thought. For the first time she was able to communicate independently. After nine years of intensive therapy, and not much to show for it, Carly was finally emerging out of her silent, secret world.

Note: For an inspiring and eye-opening ABC News video showing this amazing girl's story, click here.




'The Loving Couple' review: interracial pioneers
2012-02-14, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/02/13/DDB21N64OU.DTL

It took until 2000 for Alabama to repeal the last remaining law in the country banning "mixed marriages" despite a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1967 declaring all such legislation unconstitutional. At the time of that ruling, 16 states banned interracial marriage. The landmark decision, Loving vs. Virginia, came about because a young couple in Virginia's rural Caroline County decided to get married. In Nancy Buirski's stunning documentary "The Loving Couple," ... the love of two people and their steadfast refusal to bow to a 1924 law they ... believed was unfair brought an end to one of the most heinous holdovers of the Jim Crow era in American history. Richard Loving was a taciturn guy with a crew cut whom one of his lawyers would uncritically describe as a "redneck." In June 1958, he and Mildred Jeter, a sweet-faced young woman of African American and American Indian ancestry, traveled to Washington, D.C., to get married. After they got married, the local Virginia sheriff arrested them for breaking the commonwealth's 1924 Racial Integrity Act. The couple's yearlong sentence was suspended on the condition that they leave the state and never return. In 1963 - the same year as the historic civil rights march on Washington - two young American Civil Liberties Union attorneys appealed the Lovings' conviction in Virginia state court. Eventually, the case wound up at the Supreme Court and, in a unanimous 1967 decision authored by Chief Justice Earl Warren, the court ruled in the Lovings' favor.

Note: Remember that 200 years ago most people still supported slavery. 100 years ago most men believed women did not deserve the right to vote. 50 years ago interracial marriage was considered by many a sin. Over the long term, humanity is growing ever more tolerant and compassionate.





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