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


Below are one-paragraph excerpts of highly inspiring news stories from the major media. Links are provided to the original stories on their media websites. If any link fails to function, click here. The inspiring news story summaries most recently posted here are 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.

Dare To Be 100: Ecstasy Then Agony
2016-06-28, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/walter-m-bortz-ii-md/dare-to-be-100-ws-100-ecs_...

The last weekend of June every year for 37 years has been given over to the running of the Western States 100 Mile Trail Run, the premier endurance running race in the world. It starts [in] Squaw Valley and ends ... in Auburn, California, 100 miles distant with a cumulative altitude gain of 15,000 feet and a 22,000 foot descent. The lead runners take about 16 hours to finish. In comparison running a marathon is trivial. Thirty seven years ago my wife Ruth Anne and I created prizes for the oldest male and female finishers as a celebration of the human potential. 3500 masochists apply, 350 gain a lottery start, 280 finish, the ultimate goal is to finish under 24 hours which is rewarded by a silver buckle, the second prize is finishing under 30 hours and a bronze buckle. Last year, 2015, was Ruth Anne’s last hurrah. Her Alzheimer’s disease was brutal, she scarcely knew what was going. She died three weeks later, but she was there to join in the ecstasy as Gunhild Swanson became the first woman over 70 years of age to win a buckle. This year the joint was jumping as 72-year-old Wally Hesseltine hoped to be the oldest ever finisher. He made the finish in thirty hours and one minute. I presented our awards to the oldest female and male as usual. But I gave an extra shout out to Bruce Labelle, 60 years of age who finished nobly just as he had 35 years before. Any youngster can do the 100 mile race and keep it up once or twice, but for a 60-year-old to keep it up for 35 years should be celebrated and emulated.

Note: Watch a 12-minute video of 72-year-old Wally Hesseltine's attempt to complete 100 miles in 30 hours. Wow!!!


Study reveals plants 'listen' to find sources of water
2017-04-11, Phys Org
https://phys.org/news/2017-04-reveals-sources.html

A study led by The University of Western Australia has found plants have far more complex and developed senses than we thought with the ability to detect and respond to sounds to find water, and ultimately survive. In the study "Tuned in: plant roots use sound to locate water" ... UWA researchers found that plants can sense sound vibrations from running water moving through pipes or in the soil, to help their roots move towards the source of water. The study also revealed that plants do not like certain noises and will move away from particular sounds. Lead researcher Dr Monica Gagliano ... said water was a basic need for a plant's survival, and the study showed that sound plays a significant role in helping plants cater to this need. "We used the common garden pea plant ... as the model for our study and [gave] it a choice of two directions for the growth of its roots. "We then exposed the plant to a series of sounds, including white noise, running water and then a recording of running water under each tube, and observed its behaviour. The plants could tell where the source of the water was and their root systems grew towards that source. "The plant could actually tell when the sound of running water was a recording and when it was real and that the plant did not like the recorded sound." When moisture was readily available in the soil, the plant did not respond to the sound of running water. "From this we begin to see the complexity of plant interactions with sound in using it to make behavioural decisions," Dr Gagliano said.

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


Why Deep Breathing May Keep Us Calm
2017-04-05, New York Times
https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/well/move/what-chill-mice-can-teach-us-...

The mind and body regulate breathing and vice versa at the cellular level. More than 25 years ago, researchers ... discovered a small bundle of about 3,000 interlinked neurons inside the brainstems of animals, including people, that seem to control most aspects of breathing. They dubbed these neurons the breathing pacemaker. Recently, a group of scientists ... began using sophisticated new genetics techniques to study individual neurons in the pacemaker. They eventually identified about 65 different types of neurons ... with a unique responsibility for regulating some aspect of breathing. For the newest study... researchers carefully disabled [a] type of breathing-related neuron in mice. Afterward, the animals at first seemed unchanged. But when the mice were placed in unfamiliar cages, which normally would incite jittery exploring and lots of nervous sniffing - a form of rapid breathing - the animals instead sat serenely grooming themselves. “They were, for mice, remarkably chill,” says Dr. Mark Krasnow, a professor of biochemistry at Stanford who oversaw the research. It turned out that the particular neurons in question showed direct biological links to a portion of the brain that is known to be involved in arousal. This area sends [directs] us to wake up, be alert and, sometimes, become anxious or frantic. In the mellow mice, this area of the brain remained quiet. The implication of this work ... is that taking deep breaths is calming because it does not activate the neurons that communicate with the brain’s arousal center.

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


Truckers Take The Wheel In Effort To Halt Sex Trafficking
2016-07-13, NPR
http://www.npr.org/2016/07/13/484801054/truckers-take-the-wheel-in-effort-to-...

Sex trafficking wasn't a major concern in the early 1980s, when Beth Jacobs was a teenager. If you were a prostitute, the thinking went, it was your choice. Jacobs thought that too ... until [a] violent pimp forced [her] to work as a sex slave. The awareness of sex trafficking has changed a lot since then. Just last year, an old motor home parked at a truck stop caught the eye of trucker Kevin Kimmel. "I saw a guy go in it," Kimmel says. "And then I saw what I thought was a young girl peek out and be abruptly pulled back from the window." Kimmel called the police - and ended weeks of ... forced prostitution for the victim. Kylla Lanier says that Kimmel's actions "epitomizes the mission" of her group, Truckers Against Trafficking. She founded the group with her mother and three sisters a few years ago. "Trafficking happens everywhere," Lanier says. "It's happening in homes, in conference centers, at schools, casinos, truck stops, hotels, motels, everywhere. You know, it's an everywhere problem, but truckers happen to be everywhere." And these days TAT stickers, wallet cards and posters - showing a phone number for a sex trafficking hotline - are becoming ubiquitous in the trucking industry. TAT teaches drivers to try to spot sullen, hopeless-looking children, teens and young adults. Jacobs managed to escape her life of forced prostitution. Now she counsels other survivors and works with TAT. Calls to the hotline [promoted by TAT] have freed hundreds of trafficking victims.

Note: Watch this inspiring video to see how these truckers are saving lives.


Historic deal to protect Canada rainforest from logging
2016-02-01, Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-canada-environment-rainforest-idUSKCN0VA2NC

British Columbia on Monday unveiled a historic agreement to protect a massive swath of rainforest along its coastline, having reached a deal that marries the interests of First Nations, the logging industry and environmentalists after a decade of often-tense negotiations. Under the agreement, about 85 percent of forest within the Great Bear Rainforest would be protected. The Great Bear Rainforest is one of the world's largest temperate rainforests and the habitat of the Spirit Bear, a rare subspecies of the black bear with white fur and claws. It is also home to 26 Aboriginal groups, known as First Nations. The Great Bear rainforest ... covers 6.4 million hectares of the province's coast. More than half its surface is forest, including 2.3 million hectares of old growth. In the 1990s, frustrated over what they saw as destructive forestry practices ... First Nations partnered with environmentalists to fight back against logging companies, blockading roads and protesting. By the early 2000s, environmental groups and industry players ... had started talks. At the same time, the government began negotiating with the Coastal First Nations. The final agreements [come] nearly two years after a landmark Supreme Court decision that granted title to a vast swath of British Columbia's interior to the Tsilhqot'in First Nations, who had gone to court to stop logging in their traditional lands. That decision has bolstered First Nations across the province, who now have a legal precedent for fighting development.

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


Tony Robbins says this daily habit makes him successful
2017-03-30, CNBC
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/30/tony-robbins-says-this-daily-habit-makes-him-s...

Tony Robbins won't be jumping on the meditation craze any time soon. Instead, the energetic entrepreneur ... engages in a series of mindfulness and breathing exercises that he says "prime" him to be more grateful throughout the day. Simply put, "priming" is the concept that experiences, no matter how seemingly inconsequential, impact our perceptions of the world around us. If it's so easy to change the ways we see the world around us, Robbins wondered, why not prime ourselves to more readily experience gratitude? Robbins achieves this with a simple daily routine that he breaks into three three-minute segments: 1. He focuses on something very simple that makes him feel grateful, like the wind in his face or a child's smile. 2. He devotes three minutes to prayer. During this time he "sends energy" to his family, coworkers and others. 3. He completes "three to thrive," taking the final three minutes of his routine to identify three results he's committed to achieving. While he sometimes repeats a step or continues the routine for a longer period of time, the whole circuit takes less than 10 minutes - something, he says, that should be manageable for anyone in any phase of life or career. In addition to preparing him for the day, Robbins says setting aside a few minutes to focus on gratitude has long-term results as well. The two emotions that cause individuals to make poor investing or life choices are anger and fear. Gratitude can help alleviate the effects of both.

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


Meet the Boy Who Believes He Was Lou Gehrig in a Past Life (His Mom Is Convinced, Too)
2017-03-21, People Magazine
http://people.com/books/meet-the-boy-who-believes-he-was-lou-gehrig-in-a-past...

Cathy Byrd’s 2-year-old son, Christian Haupt, was a baseball prodigy who spent countless hours pitching and hitting balls. In her new memoir, The Boy Who Knew Too Much, Byrd shares an ... improbable story that even she had trouble believing at first: She claims that Christian was the reincarnation of baseball legend Lou Gehrig, who played for the Yankees nearly a century ago. Byrd had not believed in reincarnation. But she says she began to explore it based on the statements Christian makes about Gehrig’s life. Still too young to read, and not exposed to any baseball lore from his non-baseball-fan family, Byrd writes that Christian shared baseball history he could not possibly have known. When Christian sees a photo of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, Byrd says that her son declared: “they didn’t talk to each other.” Byrd discovers it was true. “There was no reasonable explanation ... I found myself straddling the great divide between logic and intuition,” writes Byrd, a practicing Catholic. “The concept of reincarnation was diametrically opposed to my rational thoughts and my religious beliefs, yet my heart was telling me not to ignore what Christian was ... trying to tell me.” Byrd also seeks help along the way from [professor] Jim B. Tucker, M.D., author of Return to Life: Extraordinary Cases of Children Who Remember Past Lives. It was during a meeting with Tucker that Christian delivers the ... news that he chose Byrd to be his mother when she was born. When Tucker asks Christian when he picked Byrd, [he replied], “In the sky.”

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


All-black orchestra aims to widen music choices of African-Americans
2017-03-19, Atlanta Journal-Constitution (A leading newspaper of Atlanta, Georgia)
http://www.ajc.com/lifestyles/all-black-orchestra-aims-widen-music-choices-af...

Orchestra Noir is an all-black orchestra founded by Atlanta resident Jason Ikeem Rodgers less than a year ago. Rodgers has worked with various orchestras in North America and Europe for years, receiving several awards. But the idea for Orchestra Noir didn’t come while he was on a stage. It came ... while attending an Emerging 100 of Atlanta event with his now-fiancée. Rodgers began to reflect on the black middle class in Atlanta. “I was really shocked because being from the projects [in North Philly] and growing up rough, there was a different demographic here,” he said. “At that moment ... I said we need an orchestra here in Atlanta that reflects that demographic.” The group’s website emphasizes they aren’t striving to be a traditional orchestra. Instead Orchestra Noir strives to raise “the invisible curtain and [bring] classical music to diverse, younger audiences that is relevant and respectful of their community.” “In orchestral music, sometimes we forget the heritage that goes into it. We forget that you can play R&B [and] hip-hop with an orchestra,” Rodgers said. The orchestra has come a long way since launching with 25 musicians last March during a performance at Studio No. 7, now nearly double in size. A 44-piece orchestra will perform in concert alongside ... Bryan-Michael Cox on March 31. Cox, who has nine Grammys ... said he was looking for a way to blend his work as a songwriter, producer and DJ when the orchestra approached him with the idea to collaborate.

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


UK breaks solar energy record on sunny March weekend
2017-03-28, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/28/uk-solar-energy-march-ele...

Last weekend’s sunny weather was not only good for beers, barbecues and bees, but also drove solar power to break a new UK record. For the first time ever, the amount of electricity demanded by homes and businesses in the afternoon on Saturday was lower than it was in the night, because solar panels on rooftops and in fields cut demand so much. National Grid, which runs the transmission network, described the moment as a “huge milestone”. The company sees the solar power generated on the distribution networks – or local roads of the system – as reduced electricity demand. The sunshine meant that solar power produced six times more electricity than the country’s coal-fired power stations on Saturday. Duncan Burt, who manages daily operations at National Grid, said: “Demand being lower in the afternoon than overnight really is turning the hard and fast rules of the past upside down.” Electricity demand usually peaks around 4pm to 6pm at this time of year. The solar industry hailed the landmark. A spokeswoman for the Solar Trade Association said: “This milestone shows the balance of power is shifting, quite literally, away from the old centralised ‘coal-by-wire’ model into the hands of householders, businesses and communities all over the UK who want their own clean solar power.” Solar power installations grew dramatically in 2014 and 2015. An independent report, commissioned by the STA, found the UK’s power network could handle four times more solar capacity than there was today.

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


Why Fair Trade Matters Even More in An Unequal World
2017-03-30, Triple Pundit
http://www.triplepundit.com/2017/03/fair-trade-matters-even-unequal-world/

We live in a time of massive, unprecedented trade: Goods, information and money all flow across borders almost seamlessly (people, of course, are another matter). While this new era of trade has brought immense prosperity to many ... this transfer of commodities tends to benefit only a tiny sliver of the global population, and the trade system has yet to address this. Those who farm cocoa, palm oil, or soy profit little from global commodity prices or access to new markets – instead, they are often forced to sell for less or be forced out of the market. This applies to workers as well, such as the hundreds of thousands working on palm oil plantations in Indonesia, the majority of whom are contract laborers who see few benefits from the multibillion-dollar palm oil trade. The Fair Trade movement started as a response to this global trade paradigm that focused too much on profits and not people. Their goal was to tilt the balance toward farmers and workers, if even just a bit, ensuring they got a decent living. The Fair Trade model proved successful, but it still only operates at the margins. Those of us living in well-off communities can afford the higher premiums of Fair Trade coffee, chocolate and tea, but the vast majority of people ... cannot. This means that, despite the growth of Fair Trade, inequality is getting worse overall. Fair Trade needs to become more than a niche – it needs to grow into the norm, a true alternative. And all of us – the media, companies, and, yes, the 1 percent, all need to play our role.

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


In an extraordinary new book, a top scientist reveals... the amazing anti-ageing power of kindness
2017-03-19, Daily Mail (One of the UK's most popular newspapers)
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4329810/The-amazing-anti-ageing-pow...

We’re all wired for kindness. We act kindly because we know instinctively it’s the right thing to do, and believe the world could do with more kindness. A network of relationships sustained by kindness can benefit us all, both physically and psychologically. It can slow the effects of ageing too. People under stress tend to be more prone to infections and disease. As we get older, the immune system weakens. But studies have shown that both giving and receiving kindness boosts the immune system. A positive attitude to life’s stressors helps us recover faster from illness and strengthens our ability to fight off disease. Kindness can even slow the formation of wrinkles. Groups of unstable molecules called free radicals produce something called oxidative stress in the body, which causes nasty physiological reactions, including hardening of the arteries and memory loss. It also leads to visible signs of ageing. But being kind produces a substance called oxytocin, often known as the ‘love hormone’, as we make more of it when we feel love, share positive contact and have sex. The less oxytocin we have, the more free radicals we get. A study at the University of California, Riverside, [asked] volunteers ... to perform five acts of kindness a week for six weeks. These included donating blood, paying for someone’s parking or visiting an elderly relative. Using established measurements of happiness, psychologists found those who performed the kind acts became happier, while a control group who didn’t, well, didn’t.

Note: The above article was adapted by Alison Roberts from the book "The Five Side Effects Of Kindness" by Dr David Hamilton. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The Man Who Planted Trees: A Conversation with David Milarch
2017-03-23, Daily Good
http://www.dailygood.org/story/1549/the-man-who-planted-trees-a-conversation-...

Twenty some years ago David Milarch hovered above the bed, looking down at his motionless body. Years of alcoholism had booted him out of his life. An inexplicable cosmic commandment would return him to it. His improbable charge? To clone the world's champion trees - the giants that had survived millennia and would be unvanquished by climate change. Experts said it couldn't be done. Fast-forward to today, and Milarch is now the keeper of a Noah's Ark filled with the genetics for repopulating the world's most ancient trees. Founder of the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive he is on a mission to restore the lungs of the planet. "Spend a couple of days in an old-growth forest, you'll come out different from when you went in. Those trees affect our physical, mental and especially our spiritual bodies. And I do believe that anyone, everyone can learn to communicate with them," [said Milarch]. "98% of the old-growth forests in the US are gone. We didn't even study those trees. We didn't know what they did for the quality of life on earth - the water, air, shade. In Jim Robbins’ book, "The Man Who Planted Trees," he writes about the new science of trees and what roles they play for all living things on earth. #1. Trees talk to all the other trees, not only in the forest, but also over great distances. #2. Trees feel and register pain, and they express that pain, and other trees pick it up #3. There are critically important aerosols that come out of the needles and leaves of trees that prevent endemic diseases from spreading over the planet.

Note: Read or listen to the full version of this amazing interview with Milarch here. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of inspiring news articles on near-death experiences.


Texas woman helps homeless man build a new life
2017-03-13, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/texas-woman-uses-facebook-to-change-homeless-mans...

For three years, Victor Hubbard stood on a street corner - rain or shine - waiting for his mom to come back and get him. Every day, residents of Kemah, Texas, passed the man. Ginger Sprouse ... was admittedly one of those people. She probably saw Hubbard at least four times a day. Each time, she wondered why he was there. One day, in late December, she finally decided to roll down her window and ask. Hubbard began to talk about his history, explaining that his mom left him, he’s been battling mental illness and he doesn’t have a place to live. Sprouse felt for the man, and decided to share his story with the world - on a Facebook page called “This is Victor.” Slowly but surely, the page started to take off. Dozens of people volunteered to help the man, and Sprouse led the charge. She cooked meals, washed clothes, helped him set up appointments with a mental health professional and welcomed him into her home. “I’m so overwhelmed by the compassion by people,” said Sprouse, as others volunteered to help. A few days later, she created a GoFundMe page, encouraging people to donate to help the “sweet, gentle man” get back on his feet. Within two months, Hubbard received more than $14,700 in donations. Fast forward three months later, nearly 9,000 people now follow “This is Victor” on Facebook to receive updates on his progress. He recently landed a job as a cook in Sprouse’s [food service company]. He can’t help but wear a big smile on his face. “She came around and she kind of saved me,” Hubbard [said].

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


Meet 'Sesame Street's' muppet with autism
2017-03-20, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/20/entertainment/sesame-street-julia-autism/

The newest resident of "Sesame Street" has orange hair and a fondness for her toy rabbit. She also has autism. Julia has been a part of the "Sesame Street" family via its storybooks and was so popular that the decision was made to add the character to the TV series. "I think the big discussion right at the start was, 'How do we do this? How do we talk about autism?,'" one of the show's writers, Christine Ferraro, told "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl. Over the almost five decades "Sesame Street" has been on the air, it has established a reputation for inclusion with its characters. Joan Ganz Cooney, one of the founders of the Children's Television Workshop which developed "Sesame Street," said it has also not been afraid to deal with real life issues. Julia's debut episode will deal with what autism can look like. The brain disorder can make it difficult for people with autism to communicate with and relate to others. The character of Big Bird talked to Stahl about his first interaction with Julia in which she ignored him. "I thought that maybe she didn't like me," he said. "Yeah, but you know, we had to explain to Big Bird that Julia likes Big Bird," the Elmo character added. "It's just that Julia has autism. So sometimes it takes her a little longer to do things." Ferraro hopes that along with educating viewers about autism the new character will settle in as a part of the neighborhood. "I would love her to be not Julia, the kid on Sesame Street who has autism," the writer said. "I would like her to be just Julia."

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


University of the People offers MBA with no tuition charge
2016-03-15, Financial Times
https://www.ft.com/content/157edd72-ea0e-11e5-888e-2eadd5fbc4a4

In a world of rising tuition fees and mounting student debt, California’s University of the People has started offering an ultra low-cost MBA, it said on Tuesday. The online programme - open to 100 applicants in its first term this September, with capacity expected to expand subsequently - will carry a $200 end of course assessment fee for each of the 12 courses. This would take the total cost to about $2,400 for the qualification, about one-thirtieth of what an average MBA might cost in the US. There are no tuition fees or textbook costs. Developing what UoPeople’s founder Shai Reshef called the “the world’s most cost-effective MBA” was a natural progression for the Pasadena-based institution. Students can expect to complete the course in 15 months on a full-time basis but part-time students have to finish within five years. The MBA is accredited by the Distance Education and Accreditation Commission, a private non-profit organisation. UoPeople has offered undergraduate degrees in business administration or computer science, without tuition fees, to 3,000 students from 180 countries around the world. Its online programmes have a $100 charge for each course exam, taking the total a student can expect to pay for a bachelors degree to about $4,000. The university runs with the support of 4,000 volunteers from other universities and makes use of open-source technology. It has a programme in place that is supported by global foundations and corporations ... to help students who are unable to meet its charges.

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


She Lost a Daughter, Today She Shelters 800 Girls
2017-03-17, Daily Good
http://www.dailygood.org/story/1542/she-lost-a-daughter-today-she-shelters-80...

A cradle outside a home in Lucknow may look strange for passersby but for orphaned and abandoned girls, it ensures love, warmth and motherly care. Dr Sarojini Agarwal, now 80 years old, is ‘Maa’ to the scores of girls and young women who live at Manisha Mandir (as the destitute home is called) ... where she raises her adopted daughters. Her [own] eight-year-old daughter Manisha died in a road accident in 1978. “I was lamenting the loss of one when there were so many other Manishas, homeless and unloved, looking for a mother. Perhaps I could give them a loving home,” she recalls. Manisha Mandir was set up in 1985. The first girl she adopted was a deaf and mute child whose mother, a divorcee, had died while giving birth. Other girls followed – some who were found abandoned, others given up as unwanted while some others were picked up from the streets by Agarwal. A few also found their way out of brothels. Dr Agarwal also began hanging a crib ... near the gate of her home. Here, people could leave abandoned newborns, instead of leaving them on the streets. Over the years, Manisha Mandir has changed addresses a few times and is now housed in a sprawling, three-storey home. The abandoned and orphaned girls taken in by Manisha Mandir stay at the home till the age of 17-18 and are then encouraged to take up a job. Till date, close to 800 girls have stayed at the home and many of them have made their mark as bank managers, teachers and principals, while others have married into good families.

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


'Acquired savant' Derek Amato becomes musical prodigy after hitting his head hard diving into shallow end of pool
2012-06-07, New York Daily News
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/acquired-savant-derek-amato-musical-...

Derek Amato is one of just 30 “acquired savants” worldwide. Each discovered an inexplicable ability that was unleashed after an incident. Amato was 40 years old [when he hit his head hard after diving into the shallow end of a pool]. “I remember the impact being really loud. I knew I was hurt badly,” he described in a Science Channel documentary. He was taken to the hospital with a serious concussion, and suffered some memory loss and hearing loss. After the accident, Amato visited a friend who had a keyboard and felt inexplicably drawn to the instrument. He sat down to play and beautiful, fully structured, original music flowed from his hands. He played until 2 a.m. “I could not only play and compose, but I would later discover that I could recall a prior played piece of music as if it had been etched in my minds eye,” [Amato said]. Though he had dabbled in the guitar before, he’d never touched a piano. Rare cases like this open up a whole new realm of scientific exploration, as scientists investigate how this can happen. The big question is: do we all have this superhuman ability built in, if we could just tap into it and release it? Amato [reported] that though he still gets painful migraines and has lost 35% of his hearing, it’s well worth it. Amato left his corporate job and became a professional musician.

Note: Watch a fascinating video of Derek's story.


In world first, Iceland to require firms to prove equal pay
2017-03-08, Chicago Tribune/Associated Press
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-iceland-equal-pay-20170308-...

Iceland will be the first country in the world to make employers prove they offer equal pay regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or nationality. The government said it will introduce legislation to parliament this month, requiring all employers with more than 25 staff to obtain certification to prove they give equal pay for work of equal value. While other countries, and the U.S. state of Minnesota, have equal-salary certificate policies, Iceland is thought to be the first to make it mandatory for both private and public firms. The North Atlantic island nation, which has a population of about 330,000, wants to eradicate the gender pay gap by 2022. Equality and Social Affairs Minister Thorsteinn Viglundsson said "the time is right to do something radical about this issue. Equal rights are human rights. We need to make sure that men and women enjoy equal opportunity in the workplace. It is our responsibility to take every measure to achieve that." Iceland has been ranked the best country in the world for gender equality by the World Economic Forum, but Icelandic women still earn, on average, 14 to 18 percent less than men. In October thousands of Icelandic women left work at 2:38 p.m. and demonstrated outside parliament to protest the gender pay gap. Women's rights groups calculate that after that time each day, women are working for free. The new legislation is expected to be approved by Iceland's parliament. The government hopes to implement it by 2020.

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


The people who refuse to grow old
2015-01-26, BBC
http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20150126-the-people-who-refuse-to-grow-old

Russian photojournalist [Vladimir Yakovlev] started his Age of Happiness project in 2011, documenting people around the world who defy our expectations of ageing. Yakovlev has just published a book based on his project. Called How I Would Like To Be When I Am 70?, it features 30 people who refuse to age appropriately, including a 75-year-old surfer, a 103-year-old marathon runner and a 79-year-old porn star. “It started as a very personal project,” says Yakovlev. “I was over fifty, I wanted to find out what can I expect in the future and most importantly to what extend I can affect whatever will be happening to me.” Duan Tzinfu changed the way he lived when he spotted a group of people exercising in a Beijing park. “These were people much older than him who did the splits with ease. Duan couldn't even bend over without a big sigh,” says Yakovlev, who photographed him in July 2011, at the age of 73. “After 50 years of working at a glass factory ... Duan could barely walk.” But Duan joined the group, practising stretching and breathing exercises ... and now, aged 76, can perform moves that would challenge much younger people. Yakovlev has travelled to nine countries for his project, including France, Italy and India. Yakovlev describes the attitude that seems to link many of his subjects. “Pat Moorehead, a skydiver, celebrated his 80th birthday by making 80 skydives in a row, non-stop. He says: ‘Happiness is just a choice, a life-style. I think that is true – about happiness ... and about staying young as well.”

Note: Don't miss the beautiful photos from this incredible project at the link above. These elders will astonish and inspire you.


Denmark reduces food waste by 25% in five years with the help of one woman
2017-02-28, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/denmark-reduce-food-waste-25-...

Never underestimate the power of one dedicated individual. A woman has been credited by the Danish Government for single-handedly helping the country reduce its food waste by 25 per cent in just five years. Selina Juul, who moved from Russian to Denmark when she was 13 years old, was shocked by the amount of food available and wasted at supermarkets. She told the BBC: “I come from a country where there were food shortages, we had the collapse of infrastructure, communism collapsed, we were not sure we could get food on the table”. Her organisation, Stop Spild Af Mad – which translates as Stop Wasting Food – made all the difference and is recognised as one of the key drivers behind the government’s focus to tackle food waste. Ms Juul convinced Rema 1000, the country’s biggest low-cost supermarket chain, to replace all its quantity discounts with single item discounts to minimise food waste. The retailer wasted about 80 to 100 bananas every day. However, after the supermarket put up a sign saying "take me I’m single", it reduced the waste on bananas by 90 per cent. In the past five years Denmark has become one of the leading European countries in the fight against food waste. Last year, a charity in Copenhagen opened Denmark’s first ever food surplus supermarket, which sells products at prices 30 to 50 per cent cheaper than usual retailers. Wefood is hoping to help reduce the 700,000 tonnes of food waste Denmark produces every year.

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