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



Below are one-paragraph excerpts of highly inspiring news stories reported in the major media. Links are provided to the original stories on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These inspiring news stories are listed with the stories most recently posted to the website listed first. You can explore the same list with the most inspiring stories listed first. See also a concise list providing headlines and links to a number of highly inspiring stories. May these 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.


Note: This comprehensive list of inspiring news stories is usually updated once a week. See also a full index to revealing excerpts of key news articles on several dozen engaging topics.

Beyond Charity: Turning The Soup Kitchen Upside Down
2014-09-20, NPR
Posted: 2014-11-10 09:54:33
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/09/20/349859645/beyond-charity-turning-...

If you've ever volunteered in a soup kitchen, you know the feeling of having served others. But what about those on the other side of the food line? Are they getting what they need most? Robert Egger, the founder of DC Central Kitchen, didn't think so. He set out to train homeless people on the streets of Washington, D.C. — many of whom were drug addicts cycling in and out of a life of crime — how to cook and earn a food handler's license. The goal was to help them trade addiction and crime for stable employment in restaurants and other food enterprises. Egger's kitchen got its start turning surplus and donated food into meals that are provided to homeless shelters and other nonprofits. Later, DC Central Kitchen opened an arm that operates much like a private company, selling high-quality meals to schools and 60 corner stores in low-income neighborhoods of the city. Today ... it delivers 5,000 meals each day to local nonprofit organizations and another 5,000 meals to schools. It operates a culinary job-training program that trains 80 people each year, and gets many of its supplies from small, local farms. Sixty percent of its funding is revenue that it earns from sales. "This idea of everyone side by side — it's a powerful image," says Egger. "The president of the United States, someone from the shelter, a kid from Wilson High School — we're Washingtonians, side by side. This is the power of community!"

Note: The DC Kitchen model has been adopted by organizations around the country, and inspired The Campus Kitchens Project, where students help recover food that might be wasted and prepare meals for people in need in their communities.




Debt campaigners tear up student loans
2014-10-22, BBC News
Posted: 2014-11-03 01:31:58
http://www.bbc.com/news/business-29505582

An activist group (is) buying and cancelling other people's student debts. Rolling Jubilee has purchased and abolished $3.8m (£2.35m) of debt owed by 2,700 students. Debts can be bought and sold in the financial marketplace. But student debt, which has spiralled to an estimated $1.2 trillion (£619bn), is not usually as available to buy as other debts. In this speculative secondary market, third parties buy debt for a fraction of its original cost. These debt campaigners are buying debts and then writing them off. Laura Hanna at Rolling Jubilee says, "We wanted to question the morality around repayment. Your debts are on sale. They are just not on sale to you." Ms Hanna says ... the way that selling education as a commodity reinforces inequality. The group is hoping to show students that if they work together, they can renegotiate their debt. Student debt can pursue people all through their working lives and into retirement. Officials giving evidence to a US Senate committee said this could mean that student debt repayments could be deducted from retired people's social security benefits. John Aspray, national field director at the United States Student Association (USSA), said recent changes in law mean people in medical or gambling debt can declare themselves bankrupt - but to do so for student debt ... is very difficult. "Opportunities for renegotiating are very well hidden."

Note: Rolling Jubilee's website has a counter where you can see how many millions of dollars in burdensome debt have been eliminated by their inspiring strategy.




Are these glimpses of the after-life?
2014-10-19, Daily Mail
Posted: 2014-11-03 01:29:38
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2799385/glimpses-life-brain-surgeon-t...

Neurosurgeon Dr Eben Alexander was convinced out-of-body experiences were hallucinations — until he went into a coma himself and had what he now believes was a glimpse of heaven. Dr Alexander, who has taught at Harvard Medical School, reveals many others have also seen what he described. Dr. Alexander: A near-death experience will change your life in more ways than one. It means you have survived a serious illness or a major accident, for one thing. But the aftermath ... can be even more significant. For me, it was as if my old world was dead and I had been reborn into a new one. Coping with that is hard: how do you replace your old vision of the universe? Many people are going through similar versions of what I went through, and the stories I have heard from other near-death experience witnesses give me courage every day. They are a constant corroboration of everything that was revealed to me — how we are loved and cherished much more than we can imagine, how we have nothing to fear and nothing to reproach ourselves for. If you have never seen yourself as a spiritual person, and perhaps did not even believe in God, this new dimension to your understanding has an even greater impact. One of the most extraordinary things about my own glimpse of heaven was that, back in this world, no one was aware of the transformation that I was undergoing. All the monitors and sensors and computers could detect no activity: my brain was flat-lining. New knowledge like this changes us for ever. We evolve into someone fresh.

Note: Learn a lot more about Dr. Alexander on this webpage. Explore an abundance of inspiring resources on near-death experiences.




Pilot Inspires Compton Kids to Dream Big
2013-02-26, Huffington Post
Posted: 2014-11-03 01:26:59
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/toan-lam/pilot-inspires-compton-ki_b_2765543.html

Robyn Petgrave, founder of Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum (TAM), is using aeronautics to get at-risk youth in Compton off the streets and into the air -- educating, inspiring and empowering them to soar high and reach their dreams. Starting at age eight, kids who stay out of trouble, get good grades and have positive attitudes earn the privilege to fly planes. "I talked to the kids about staying away from drugs and gangs, communicating, using aviation as a real life application of math and science, and working hard in school and life. As I noticed that some of them listened and followed through, I realized that I wanted to help kids succeed using aviation as a magnet to keep kids off the streets for a living," Petgrave said. The kids were drawn to TAM because of the planes, but it's clear that they're just a vehicle that gets the kids in the door and cockpit. Petgrave says there's a tremendous amount of responsibility when you fly a plane, life skills that can be transferred from the air and to the streets. High five to Robyn and his crew for taking these amazing kids under his wing and catapulting them past the sky's limit. What a great way to use his power and fueling the dreams of these bright kids and challenging them to soar to new heights.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




Humble delivery man becomes reluctant hero after dramatic fire rescue
2014-10-22, CNN News
Posted: 2014-11-03 01:23:36
http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/22/us/mysterious-hero-identified

It is sheer panic in the woman's voice on the cell phone video as the flames shot out of the windows of the wood frame home: "There's a man in there!" The next sound on the video is a loud explosion. "We gotta get the dad," screams the woman. The explosion forced two men who were trying to reach the trapped man away from the home. Seconds later, a man in a blue Los Angeles Dodgers cap jogs out with a 73-year-old man slung over his shoulder. "I didn't see him," says Beth Lederach, the woman who recorded the dramatic weekend fire and rescue on her cell phone. In the seconds before the explosion ... you can see the man in the blue cap calmly walk towards the burning home, flames nearing 20 feet high. "He calmly walks in there, calmly. Then here he comes, carrying the dad," recalls Lederach. Then he vanished. For 48 hours, the Fresno fire department and local reporters hunted for the mysterious hero. Who was he? Why would he dive into a burning home, save a man and then not stay long enough for even a simple "thank you"? It appeared the man would never be found. But in this age, social media has a way of making sure all secrets are uncovered. Tom Artiaga groaned as the reporters starting banging on his door. "I didn't want the glory," he says sheepishly, wearing the same blue Dodgers cap. "We have to help each other out. We kill each other. We fight. We gotta help each other out. I don't feel like a hero. If it was someone else, I'd help them, too."

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




Bridging the Clothing Divide
2012-10-13, New York Times
Posted: 2014-10-27 20:32:01
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/03/clothing-the-poorest-for-surv...

One of the most glaring oversights in the field of development is the lack of attention to clothing. Countless organizations work on food, energy, education, health care, economic opportunity — but beyond disaster relief efforts, you hear little about the need for clothes. In India, this makes no sense. In 1998, the Guptas started an organization, Goonj (meaning “echo”), to redistribute (clothing) where it was most needed. They wanted to find a way to address the problem systematically — to craft a permanent, rather than an episodic response, to what they considered a non-natural, perpetual disaster. Goonj has found a way to assist villagers that moves beyond the stigma of charity. The model is grounded in the Indian concepts ... advocated by Gandhi and his disciple Vinoba Bhave. “The whole chain is full of respectful links. Not many supply chains are full of respect.” Today, Goonj operates collection centers in nine Indian cities and provides about two million pounds of materials, mostly clothes, but also utensils, school supplies, footwear, toys and many other items. It will assist about a half a million people in 21 states this year. Goonj also takes pains to see that its materials actually reach the intended recipients. They carefully vet N.G.O. partners and do follow-up visits. If that is impossible, they require that photographs be taken to show the distribution of goods. Gupta said. “It’s a tough game to deal with local police and government officials and tax officers. But we have a zero bribe policy.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




Kalamazoo Cop Pulls Over Choking Woman, Saves Her Life
2014-08-14, Huffington Post
Posted: 2014-10-27 20:28:52
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/14/cop-saves-choking-woman_n_5677448.html

What started as a routine traffic stop on Saturday turned out to be a life-saving moment for one Michigan woman. At the time the unidentified driver was pulled over, she was choking. And the officer who stopped her saved her life in a scene caught on his dashcam, which you can see [on the webpage at the link] above. "For the first second or so I thought she might be trying to just get out of a ticket and then I realized she was in legitimate respiratory distress, so I tried to dislodge the item from her throat by just hitting her on the back," Officer Jason Gates said at a press conference, according to MLive.com. "When that didn't work, I got her out and I used the Heimlich for the first time in my nine-year police career and it worked," he said. With three hard abdominal thrusts, Gates dislodged a piece of sausage and bun, WOODTV reported. When she could breathe again, the grateful driver cried and hugged the officer. He did not give her a ticket. "Most of the times, traffic stops are a negative for people, but it's something we have to do," Gates was quoted as saying. "It does keep people safe, not only in slowing people down and keeping traffic safe, but in rare instances like this.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




Nobody Should Die From Diseases We Know How To Treat
2014-10-22, Daily Good
Posted: 2014-10-27 20:23:48
http://www.dailygood.org/story/864/poem-from-haiti-sriram-shamasunder

Nobody should die from diseases we know how to treat. Currently in all areas of the world over 50,000 people die daily from diseases we can treat. One component of getting good care in very poor places is to have the human capacity and training to deliver good care. Two UCSF Physicians have started a project called the HEAL initiative that aims to address health workforce in resource poor communities. HEAL initiative works at sites domestically and internationally, from Navajo Nation in New Mexico to Liberia and Haiti and India to both improve the quality of care, support and train local health professionals. The work that is about health care but is also beyond health care. It is about solidarity and justice. A simple home visit can shape the way anyone thinks about health. The community health workers sit with patients and discuss what ails them on many levels. When someone can't pay for medicines or health care, what other costs may be suffocating their budget? On arrival to the house, the family structure is revealed, how many people are staying under one roof, what material makes up that roof, straw or tin or concrete? Does the patient own his/her own land? Are there crops rising up from the soil or is the land barren? On one home visit we came across this grandmother (who) inspired this poem Towards Flooding Homes with Dignity. To witness this solidarity and movement towards health as a human right is to witness something precious becoming conferred as a right.

Note: The moving poem Towards Flooding Homes with Dignity is included in the complete article summarized above. Learn more about HEAL from this initiative's website.




Positive Post-it Day held to encourage Airdrie teen's anti-bullying campaign
2014-10-09, CBC News (Canada's public broadcasting station)
Posted: 2014-10-27 20:18:20
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/positive-post-it-day-held-to-encourage-...

A southern Alberta city got a little brighter today after hundreds of neon Post-it notes with inspiring hand-written messages started popping up at homes, shops and offices in Airdrie. The movement was started by a local high school student trying to fight off a bully. Caitlin Prater-Haacke had been sent a message on Facebook telling her to kill herself. Instead of replying to the message, Prater-Haacke took out a marker and some small pads of paper. She decided to fight back by posting positive messages on every locker in her school. "Little simple messages like, 'You're beautiful' [and] 'You shine bright like a diamond,'" she said. But officials at George McDougall High School didn't like the idea and told her it was littering, which didn't sit well with the community. City council then declared Oct. 9 as Positive Post-it Day. "What's come out of it is 100 times better," said Prater-Haacke, adding she can't believe the support she has received. The school is now filled with the sticky notes, and this time the school says the colourful messages can stay. But it wasn't just among students, as other Airdrie residents also embraced the movement. "I think it put a smile on everyone's face this morning and I think it gave them that little bit of extra oomph for the morning to get them going," said resident David Jones. The campaign has taken off online.

Note: Watch an inspiring two-minute video about Caitlan's movement. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




Wind Power Blows Away Coal and Gas in Nordic Countries
2014-10-17, Scientific American/Reuters
Posted: 2014-10-20 18:46:16
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/wind-power-blows-away-coal-and-gas-...

Wind power is blowing gas and coal-fired turbines out of business in the Nordic countries, and the effects will be felt across the Baltic region as the renewable glut erodes utility margins for thermal power stations. Fossil power plants in Finland and Denmark act as swing-producers, helping to meet demand when hydropower production in Norway and Sweden falls due to dry weather. The arrival of wind power on a large scale has made this role less relevant and has pushed electricity prices down, eroding profitability of fossil power stations. "Demand for coal condensing power in the Nordic power market has decreased as a result of the economic recession and the drop in the wholesale price for electricity," state-controlled Finnish utility Fortum said. Nordic wholesale forward power prices have almost halved since 2010 to little over 30 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh) as capacity increases while demand stalls on the back of stagnant populations, low economic growth and lower energy use due to improved efficiency. "The Nordic system price will likely more often clear well below the production cost for coal fired power production," said Marius Holm Rennesund Oslo-based consultancy THEMA. "This will, in our view, result in mothballing of 2,000 MW of coal condensing capacity in Denmark and Finland towards 2030," he added. Adding further wind power capacity at current market conditions could lead to power prices dropping towards as low as 20 euros per MWh, the marginal cost for nuclear reactors, Rennesund said.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of key energy news articles from reliable major media sources. To learn about new energy technologies, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our New Energy Information Center.




Moral Courage & The Story of Sister Megan Rice
2014-10-01, Daily Good
Posted: 2014-10-20 18:40:23
http://www.dailygood.org/story/857/moral-courage-and-the-story-of-sister-mega...

The Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oakridge, Tennessee, is supposed to be impregnable. But on July 28th 2012, an 84 year-old nun called Sister Megan Rice broke through a series of high-security fences surrounding the plant and reached a uranium storage bunker at the center of the complex. She was accompanied by Greg Boertje-Obed (57) and Michael Walli (63). The trio ... sat down for a picnic. When the security guards arrived they offered them some bread. Two years later, Rice, Walli and Boertje-Obed were sentenced to federal prison terms of between three and five years, plus restitution in the amount of $53,000 for damage done to the plant - far in excess of the estimates produced at their trial. When questioned about her actions at her trial by Judge Amul Thapar, Rice told him that her actions were intended to draw attention to the US stockpile of nuclear weapons that she and her co-defendants felt was illegal and immoral. They also wanted to expose the ineffectiveness of the security systems that were supposed to protect these weapons from theft or damage. “We were acutely mindful of the widespread loss to humanity that nuclear weapons have already caused,” wrote Rice afterwards in a letter to her supporters, “and we realize that all life on earth could be exterminated through intentional, accidental or technical error. Our action exposed the storage of weapons-making materials deliberately hidden from the general public.” All three defendants were found guilty of “sabotage of the national defense.” Just before they were sentenced, Rice made a statement to the court which ended like this: “We have to speak, and we’re happy to die for that. To remain in prison for the rest of my life is the greatest honor that you could give me. Please don’t be lenient with me. It would be an honor for that to happen.”

Note: If you would like to receive copies of Sister Rice’s letters to her supporters, please email nukeresister@igc.org. Mailing addresses for Sister Rice and her co-defendants can be found here and here. You can also sign a petition requesting their pardon.




Hemp fibres 'better than graphene'
2014-08-13, BBC News
Posted: 2014-10-20 18:33:59
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28770876

"People ask me: why hemp? I say, why not?" said Dr David Mitlin of Clarkson University, New York, who describes his device in the journal ACS Nano. "We're making graphene-like materials for a thousandth of the price - and we're doing it with waste. ... the leftover bast fibre - the inner bark - typically ends up as landfill. "You can do really interesting things with bio-waste. We've pretty much figured out the secret sauce of it," said Dr Mitlin. The trick is to tailor the right plant fibre to the right electrical device - according to their organic structure. "With banana peels, you can turn them into a dense block of carbon - we call it pseudo-graphite - and that's great for sodium ion batteries," he explained. "But if you look at hemp fibre its structure is the opposite - it makes sheets with high surface area - and that's very conducive to supercapacitors." Mitlin's peer-reviewed journal paper ranks the device "on par with or better than commercial graphene-based devices". "They work down to 0C and display some of the best power-energy combinations reported in the literature for any carbon. Fully assembled, their energy density is 12 Wh/kg, which can be achieved at a charge time less than six seconds. "Obviously hemp can't do all the things graphene can," Dr Mitlin concedes. "But for energy storage, it works just as well. And it costs a fraction of the price – $500-1,000 a tonne."

Note: For more about the amazing properties of graphene, read this CNN News Article.




Globetops gives old laptops a new home – and a new purpose
2014-05-29, Christian Science Monitor
Posted: 2014-10-20 18:24:09
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/Change-Agent/2014/0529/Glo...

Becky Morrison never knew her love of African dance and a friend’s old laptop would help change the world. Becky, 33, is a producer who works on big budget projects like the NFL’s Sunday Night Football and Hollywood blockbuster movies. She’s also a professional West African dancer. Over the years she’s built a community of close friends in Guinea. During one of her trips, her friend Sekou Sano, the Ballet Merveilles’s artistic director, made a request: Rather than bring t-shirts or other small gifts, he asked if Becky could bring a laptop. Shortly before her next trip to Guinea, Becky posted a request on Facebook for old laptops. Within minutes she had 10 responses. So Becky founded Globetops, an organization that refurbishes donated laptops and sends them to worthwhile applicants throughout the world. It was through Globetops that Becky discovered just how much an old laptop can change a life while at the same time, reducing the amount of E-waste that ends up in landfills. In addition to receiving the laptop, Globetops recipients receive a “Golden Ticket” for training at a local “hub.” The hubs offer a free course in basic computing skills, web browsing, setting up an e-mail address and Microsoft Office, and graduates receive a certificate upon completion of the course. Certificates are a big deal in Guinea, Becky says. And after a long happy life, when the laptop no longer works, the hub will arrange for responsible disposal. The hubs are also the center of Globetops’ ambition to grow their footprint and introduce sustainable practices beyond just computers. Right now Becky is working to create a worldwide, grassroots infrastructure to move a wide variety of goods. “I’m starting at laptops but it could be cell phones or [even] shoes. We have enough stuff in the world,” Becky says, “It’s just not in the right places.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




Seed money sprouts change for tiny non-profits
2014-03-23, CBS News
Posted: 2014-10-20 18:08:59
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/seed-money-sprouts-change-for-tiny-non-profits/

Ari Nessel ... made a fortune in Dallas real estate. Nessel's unusual quest: giving away $1,000 a day, every day for the rest of his life, to someone trying to make a difference. Instead of writing a big check to an established charity, he chooses someone just getting started to receive his daily thousand-dollar donation. [He] created a foundation he calls the Pollination Project. He sent out his first check January 1st last year, and has selected a new recipient each day since. He gave away his 447th grant this morning -- that's $447,000 and counting. In the past year-and-a-half, he's awarded grants in 42 different states and in 50 countries. "My experience is that transformation happens on the fringes and in the micro areas and the individuals, and doesn't happen on the large scale. It happens through all these people coming together in communities, and those communities coming together in larger communities. And so it becomes a movement." Kazu Haga is trying to start a movement with the $1,000 he got from the Pollination Project. Haga trains prisoners and at-risk students to embrace nonviolence. "One of the reasons why we continue to come into county jails and prisons is because we know that if the violence is ever going to decrease in our communities, it's your voices that's going to help create that change," Haga said. He conducts weekly workshops at the San Bruno County Jail. Ivan Montgomery, one of Haga's students, says the training has changed him: "I'm practicing on being better than I was. I know one thing is for sure: I'm never going to be the same person I was when I walked in these doors." When asked what difference the Pollination Project has made, Haga replied, "As small as the grant may be, it's really meaningful when we're starting off." For Ari Nessel, these small investments are earning big returns.

Note: Explore the inspiring work being done by The Pollination Project. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




First hint of 'life after death' in biggest ever scientific study
2014-10-07, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2014-10-13 15:46:30
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/11144442/First-hint-of-life-a...

The largest ever medical study into near-death and out-of-body experiences has discovered that some awareness may continue even after the brain has shut down completely. Scientists at the University of Southampton have spent four years examining more than 2,000 people who suffered cardiac arrests at 15 hospitals in the UK, US and Austria. And they found that nearly 40 per cent of people who survived described some kind of ‘awareness’ during the time when they were clinically dead before their hearts were restarted. One man even recalled leaving his body entirely and watching his resuscitation from the corner of the room. Despite being unconscious and ‘dead’ for three minutes, the 57-year-old social worker from Southampton, recounted the actions of the nursing staff in detail and described the sound of the machines. “We know the brain can’t function when the heart has stopped beating,” said Dr Sam Parnia, a former research fellow at Southampton University ... who led the study. “But in this case, conscious awareness appears to have continued for up to three minutes into the period when the heart wasn’t beating, even though the brain typically shuts down within 20-30 seconds after the heart has stopped. The man described everything that had happened in the room." Of 2060 cardiac arrest patients studied, 330 survived and of 140 surveyed, 39 per cent said they had experienced some kind of awareness while being resuscitated. One in five said they had felt an unusual sense of peacefulness. Some recalled seeing a bright light. 13 per cent said they had felt separated from their bodies.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring near-death experience news articles and explore other fascinating resources on this most vital topic.




A Doctor Who Helps Patients – At Any Cost
2007-01-26, CBS News
Posted: 2014-10-13 15:44:25
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/a-doctor-who-helps-patients-8212-at-any-cost/

By salary standards, Bob Paeglow may be the least-successful doctor in America. He's got thousands of patients, but not one country club membership. His family lives in the worst neighborhood in Albany, N.Y. Fortunately, Paeglow didn't go into medicine for the money. He went into it — pretty late in life — because he kept having a vision of himself in old age he didn't like: "That the world was no better because I was a part of it than if I'd never been born." At the age of 36, Bob gave up his career as a quality control technician, went to medical school and set out to improve the quality of the planet. He opened his office in a neighborhood where most doctors wouldn't open their car door, and welcomed in all the people mainstream medicine would rather ignore. Paeglow takes absolutely no salary and survives mostly on donations. But even when people give him money, he usually plugs it right back into the practice. Every penny he makes goes back to his patients in one way or another. Does that make him the least-successful doctor in America? Or the most? If you would like to donate ... go to [Dr. Bob's website].

Note: For more, see this inspiring man's website. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




Changing Minds in Senegal to Protect Girls From Genital Cutting
2013-05-09, PBS
Posted: 2014-10-13 15:42:14
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/molly-melching/

Molly Melching didn’t think she had much more than curiosity — and a love of the French language — when she ventured off soon after college for Senegal. It turns out that this product of a conservative Midwestern Lutheran upbringing may have brought exactly the qualities and experiences needed to help engineer one of the most sweeping shifts in social norms and behavior in history. Her organization, Tostan, has helped 6,400 (and counting) communities in Senegal and seven other African nations abandon the practice of female genital mutilation, one that about 3 million girls endure each year and one that governments, aid agencies and missionaries have tried to end for centuries. Melching’s story from Danville to Dakar is chronicled in a book to be released April 30: “However Long the Night: Molly Melching’s Journey to Help Millions of African Women and Girls Triumph.” When she began what would become Tostan, which means “breakthrough” ... her goal was simply to provide basic health information, things like germ transmission and infection. She had no intention of broaching the sensitive and extremely taboo subject of genital cutting. That cause was championed by her Senegalese colleagues and friends, newly armed with health information and driven in at least one compelling case — a “cutter” named Oureye — by her own guilt. The message is “we know you love your daughters and would never want to harm them,” she says. People cannot be shamed into behavior modification, Melching insists. They need good scientific information to make their own decisions. It’s a simple powerful lesson that applies to just about any development endeavor, one she hopes the book will help spread widely.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




Cure for Type 1 diabetes imminent after Harvard stem-cell breakthrough
2014-10-09, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2014-10-13 15:40:40
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/11151909/Cure-for-Type-1-diab...

A cure for diabetes could be imminent after scientists discovered how to make huge quantities of insulin-producing cells, in a breakthrough hailed as significant as antibiotics. Harvard University has, for the first time, managed to manufacture the millions of beta cells required for transplantation. It could mean the end of daily insulin injections for the 400,000 people in Britain living with Type 1 diabetes. And it marks the culmination of 23-years of research for Harvard professor Doug Melton who has been trying to find a cure for the disease since his son Sam was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a baby. “We are now just one pre-clinical step away from the finish line,” said Prof Melton. The stem cell-derived beta cells are presently undergoing trials in animal models, including non-human primates, where they are still producing insulin after several months, Prof Melton said. The team at Harvard used embryonic stem cells to produce human insulin-producing cells equivalent in almost every way to normally functioning cells in vast quantities. A report on the work is published in the journal Cell.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




CrowdMed wants to bring crowdsourcing to medicine
2014-05-10, Star Tribune/San Jose Mercury News
Posted: 2014-10-08 20:41:53
http://www.startribune.com/business/258540431.html

What Wikipedia has done for knowledge, a San Francisco company called CrowdMed is betting it can do for medicine. Send your symptoms and a nominal fee to CrowdMed.com, and dozens of medical professionals, students and average Joes will “crowdsource” — that is, share their knowledge and expertise — to help diagnose what’s wrong with you. The company isn’t out to replace your family doctor, but instead take advantage of the reach of social media to tap into an age-old medical practice: seeking second opinions. Or, in this case, hundreds of them. At the UC-Berkeley/UC-San Francisco Joint Medical Program, Dr. Amin Azzam, director of the “problem-based learning” curriculum, wants to use CrowdMed “to push the boundaries of how we train medical students.” Instead of teaching first- and second-year students with “pretend patients,” as is done now, Azzam is proposing adding CrowdMed’s cases to the curriculum. “They might even be more motivated to learn because it’s a real patient,” he said. Within 90 days of a consumer putting a case online, CrowdMed’s algorithm generates a list of the most probable diagnoses submitted by its “medical detectives,” along with their explanations. Patients are asked to give those suggestions to their physicians for consideration. Once it’s confirmed that the suggestions were helpful, the patients are refunded their $50 deposit and the detective who made the correct diagnosis gets his or her reward.

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Federal prison population drops for 1st time in decades
2014-09-23, San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press
Posted: 2014-10-08 20:40:25
http://www.sfgate.com/nation/article/Federal-prison-population-drops-for-1st-...

The federal prison population has dropped in the last year by roughly 4,800, the first time in several decades that the inmate count has gone down. In a speech Tuesday in New York City, Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department expects to end the current budget year next week with a prison population of roughly 215,000 inmates. It would be the first time since 1980 that the federal prison population has declined during the course of a fiscal year. The crime rate has dropped along with the prison population, Holder said, proving that “longer-than-necessary prison terms” don’t improve public safety. “In fact, the opposite is often true,” he said. The Bureau of Prisons accounts for roughly one-third of the Justice Department budget, and the prison population has exploded in the last three decades as a result of “well-intentioned policies designed to be 'tough’ on criminals,” Holder said. In August 2013, for instance, he announced a major shift in sentencing policy, instructing federal prosecutors to stop charging many nonviolent drug defendants with offenses that carry mandatory minimum sentences. More recently, the Justice Department has encouraged a broader swath of the prison population to apply for clemency, and has supported reductions in sentencing guideline ranges for drug criminals that could apply to tens of thousands of inmates. “We know that over-incarceration crushes opportunity. We know it prevents people, and entire communities, from getting on the right track,” Holder said. Holder also said that there should be new ways for the government to measure success of its criminal justice policies beyond how many people are prosecuted and sent to prison.

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