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Inspiring News Articles
Excerpts of Highly Inspiring News Articles in Major Media


Below are one-paragraph excerpts of highly inspiring news articles from the major media. Links are provided to the original inspiring news articles on their media websites. If any link fails, read this webpage. The most inspiring news articles are listed 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.



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.


Every sunrise a painting: Brain-tumor survivor’s daily ritual
2012-02-01, MSNBC Today
http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/46155422/ns/today-today_people

No two sunrises are ever the same. Each day’s spectacle in the sky is altered by particles in the atmosphere, the tilt of the Earth, the lengths of different waves of light. Debbie Wagner knows this better than almost anyone else. With earnest devotion, she has risen in the darkness more than 2,200 times so she could observe and paint the sunrise. She’s rarely missed a morning since December 2005. “As a brain-tumor survivor, I lost so many of the loves I had, like reading and writing and mathematics,” said Wagner, 56, who had two cancerous, pear-sized tumors removed from her brain in separate surgeries in 2002. “My visual journal became essential to my attitude for the day. When I look at a sunrise, it represents a new beginning. I’m just so happy to be here another day and see my kids do different things and go to dinner with my husband. I suppose that’s the addiction of it — it puts me in a state of mind focused on gratitude. You go through this mourning-type period of sadness, and then you realize that you’re a different person and you have to redefine,” Wagner said. “My husband jokes, ‘Well, I’ve gotten to be married to two different women without having to get divorced!’ ” Her brain tumors and surgeries may have robbed Wagner of much, but they also gave in unexpected ways: She said she wound up experiencing a heightened visual perceptiveness and an irresistible pull toward art. “I started painting pretty much right away, maybe five or six months after my surgeries,” she said. “It just happened. I had to express myself.”

Note: To learn more about artist Debbie Wagner and see additional examples of her sunrise paintings, visit her website. And for lots more inspiring new articles like this, click here.


Marathon Mom: Pregnant Woman Finishes Race, Delivers Baby
2011-10-10, ABC New
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Moms/marathon-mom-pregnant-woman-amber-miller-fi...

Amber Miller accomplished two monumental feats this weekend. Days from her due date, the 27-year-old joined 45,000 other runners to participate in Sunday's Bank of America Chicago Marathon and then gave birth to a baby girl named June hours later. Miller, an avid runner, said she signed up for the 26.2-mile race before finding out she was pregnant. She said she never expected to finish the race. "I was having a conversation with my parents and said, 'You know what? I have no plans of actually finishing,'" she told reporters at Central DuPage Hospital this morning. "I was planning on running half, skipping to the end, then walking across the finish line." But Miller and her husband started running, and just kept going. They ran part of the race and walked the second half as her contractions started. It took the couple 6.5 hours to finish. She said she grabbed something to eat and the two headed to the hospital. "It was very interesting hearing people's reaction," Miller said about crowds watching an extremely pregnant woman among the runners. "I've been running up to this point anyway, so I'm used to it." At 7 pounds, 13 ounces, baby June entered the world at 10:29 p.m. Sunday, just hours after her parents crossed the finish line.


An audience with Koko the 'talking' gorilla
2011-09-17, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/8765172/An-audience-with-Koko-the-t...

She knows more than 2,000 words, has friends in high places and loves cats and old films. But in her 40th year, Koko the ‘talking’ gorilla seeks a new challenge – a baby. Koko ... was taught American sign language when she was about a year old. Now 40, she apparently has a working vocabulary of more than 1,000 signs and understands around 2,000 words of spoken English. Forty years on, the Gorilla Foundation’s Koko project has become the longest continuous inter-species communications programme of its kind anywhere in the world. Over the years Koko has inadvertently become a poster child for the gorilla conservation movement. There are several subspecies of gorilla, and today, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, all are either endangered or critically endangered. There are thought to be more than 700 mountain gorillas left in the wild; just under 17,000 eastern lowland gorillas, 10,000 western lowland gorillas, and only 200-or-so Cross River gorillas. All are in sub-Saharan Africa and are threatened by either the illegal trade in bushmeat, loss of habitat due to logging and agricultural expansion, or disease. Some conservationists believe stories like Koko’s ... could be the answer.

Note: For an amazing video of an elephant who has been trained to be an artist, click here.


‘Where Children Sleep’
2011-08-04, New York Times
http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/04/where-children-sleep/

It was a small room, at the top of the house. For a time, it was home to tropical fish. Later, two pet mice slept there, in a home made of fruit crates. The walls of the room were covered with posters of Madonna and Duran Duran. Then it was the Rolling Stones. Then Jimi Hendrix. This was the childhood bedroom in Oxford, England, of James Mollison, 37, a documentary photographer. He had the luxury as a boy of adapting his bedroom to reflect his changing interests. Mr. Mollison’s new book, Where Children Sleep, had its origins in a project undertaken for a children’s charity several years ago. As he considered how to represent needy children around the world, he wanted to avoid the common devices: pleading eyes, toothless smiles. His subjects came from Boy Scout troops and sumo wrestling clubs. They were introduced through friends of friends. Mr. Mollison posed his young subjects — more than 200 of them — in front of blank white backgrounds for their portraits, leaving their bedrooms to do the talking. More than 50 pairings are in the book, which has a glow-in-the-dark cover (a nod to the glow-in-the-dark stars on so many childhood ceilings). As much as the project is about the quirkiness of childhood, it is, more strikingly, a commentary on class and on poverty. But the diversity also provides a sense of togetherness. Everybody sleeps. And eventually, everybody grows up.

Note: Don't miss the moving photo essay at this link. It will only take you a minute or two, yet is quite moving. And for other highly inspiring news articles, click here.


Schools chief forgoes $800k in pay
2011-08-29, Boston Globe/Associated Press
http://articles.boston.com/2011-08-29/news/29942045_1_school-board-first-year...

Some people give a bit back to their community. Then there’s Fresno County School Superintendent Larry Powell, who is giving back $800,000, his compensation for the next three years. Until his term expires in 2015, Powell will run 325 schools and 35 school districts with 195,000 students, all for less than a starting California teacher earns. “How much do we need to keep accumulating?’’ asks Powell, 63. “There’s no reason for me to keep stockpiling money.’’ Powell’s generosity is more than just a gesture in a region with some of the nation’s highest rates of unemployment. As he prepares for retirement, he wants to ensure that his pet projects survive California budget cuts. And the man who started his career as a high school civics teacher, who has made antibullying his mission, hopes his act of generosity will help restore faith in the government he once taught students to respect. Powell’s answer? Ask his board to allow him to return $288,241 in salary and benefits for the next three and a half years of his term. He technically retired, then agreed to be hired back to work for $31,000 a year - $10,000 less than a first-year teacher - with no benefits.


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