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.

'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".

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




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.




Free Mobile App Lets Users Send and Receive Love Around the World
2013-04-23, MarketWatch/Wall Street Journal
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/free-mobile-app-lets-users-send-and-receive-...

Want to make the world a better place? Do you believe the power of love can transform the world? LovePowerup ... makes sending love to anyone who needs it as simple as the swipe of a finger. The goal: bring about world peace. LovePowerup users can send love around the globe to people who request love. They can also ask for a little love when they need a lift, and someone in the world will send them love. LovePowerup creator Matt Fortnow was inspired by a quote from Jimi Hendrix, who told his fans, "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." "I've always been inspired by Jimi's message and wanted to figure out a way to utilize current technology to increase the power of love in the world," Fortnow explains. "LovePowerup helps us realize we are not isolated individuals; we're all interconnected. The more we feel that connection with others around the world, the sooner we will know peace." Fortnow was moved to create LovePowerup after recovering from a serious illness, where compassion and love from his doctor played a key role. A former entertainment attorney, Los Angeles-based Fortnow has had other good ideas. Fortnow is now focused on LovePowerup and other projects promoting a better world.

Note: 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.

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




Camp Kesem may be 'Cancer Camp,' but most kids want to come back for s'more
2013-06-22, San Jose Mercury News (Silicon Valley, CA's leading newspaper)
http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_23499114/camp-kesem-may-be-cancer-camp-but-most

Camp Kesem, which gets its name from the Hebrew word for "magic," is a transformative experience for most of the campers, who spend a week between Woodside and La Honda, amid the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains. "A lot of them resist it before they come," said camp director Heather Paul, "and then they get here and find out it's not a cancer camp." Unlike other camps, which often forbid phone calls to and from parents, Camp Kesem has a hotline specifically for that purpose. "For a lot of them, the homesickness can be intense," Paul said, "especially if the parent was recently diagnosed." There had long been camps for children suffering from cancer and other life-threatening diseases, but until Stanford University's Hillel organization started Camp Kesem 13 years ago, there was almost no place for kids from families stricken with the disease to turn when they needed a break from watching their parents' suffering. "Kesem is a little haven where everyone understands and supports each other," said 15-year-old Juliane Bombosch, of San Bruno, whose mother was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Juliane this year is attending her fourth Kesem, and among the 120 campers and 75 counselors -- all undergraduate volunteers from Stanford -- are many who keep coming back until they exceed the age limit. There are 37 Kesems nationwide, with another five expected to be available next year, but because cancer is expensive, the camps remain free of charge -- and fundraising is a constant challenge.

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




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.

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




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.

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




Why This 73-Year-Old Is a Gang's Worst Nightmare
2013-01-14, DailyGood
http://www.dailygood.org/more.php?n=5540

Watts is famous for its gangs. But it's also famous for its dreamers, like the Italian immigrant Sabato Rodia, who spent three decades building the ten-story tall Watts Towers from discarded scrap metal, broken glass, and ceramic tiles. Mix Rodia's ambition with a pragmatism about the hardships facing the neighborhood, and you get 73-year-old Milicent "Mama" Hill, a former LAUSD school teacher who's turned her living room into a makeshift community center. Kids in Watts need a safe place to go after school. They need someone who's going to ask them about their homework and give them a hug. And so, at an age when most people retire and relax, Hill opened Mama Hill's Help and started her second career as the entire block's mentor and mother. Over the last decade, nearly 3,000 kids have come through her door. And the kids seem to thrive under her watchfulness, even though they don't always smile when she orders them to clean up their trash. Mama Hill estimates she's known—or at least known of—2,000 children who've died, an impossible-sounding number that becomes believable only after hearing the matter-of-fact way she describes their shootings, many of them random and all of them senseless. "Hurt people hurt other people," is Mama Hill's mantra. She claims that if you watch a person closely, you can see what age they were wounded. Pain stunts people. The first thing she asks a new child when they sit down for their initial one-on-one conversation is, "Who hurt you?" They might not want to answer at first, but eventually they always do.

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




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.

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




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.

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




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.





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