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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.

Women nurture saplings and earn income while reforesting Pakistan
2016-01-25, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/Change-Agent/2016/0125/Wom...

Robina Gul has swapped her needle for a trowel. Gul is growing some 25,000 saplings of 13 different species crammed into the small courtyard of her two-room house in Najaf Pur, a village of around 8,000 people. "It gives me immense pleasure to look after the saplings as this has changed my whole life," said Gul, 35. She set up the nursery at her home in March last year under an agreement with the provincial forest department, [which] provides around a quarter of the start-up cost for poor households to set up a tree nursery, with a subsidy amounting to 150,000 rupees ($1,429.93) each over a year. "I am now getting over 12,000 rupees per month (from the subsidy), just by looking after the saplings in my home," Gul said. "I have also acquired the skills I need to grow different seedlings, and this will help me earn enough even after the project is wound up." The provincial government is planning to spend 21 billion rupees ... on a project called the "Billion Tree Tsunami." The goal is to plant 1 billion trees in degraded forest areas and on private land. The initiative aims to boost local economic development in a way that uses natural resources sustainably. Outsourcing nurseries to the private sector, including widows, poor women, and young people ... provides the government with saplings to plant, as well as green jobs. At the same time, illegal logging has been almost eliminated in the province following strict disciplinary action against some officials who were involved.

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


Is it possible to be fat and fit? At 250 pounds, distance runner Mirna Valerio provides an inspiring example.
2015-07-01, Runner's World
http://www.runnersworld.com/runners-stories/ultra

“People always say to me, ‘Anyone who runs as much as you do deserves to be skinny.’ Of course, what they're really saying: ‘If you do all this running, why are you still so fat?’” Early that morning [Mirna] Valerio had led a three-mile group run around the campus of Rabun Gap-Na-coochee School in the nearby town of Rabun Gap, where she serves as Spanish teacher, choir director, and head coach of the cross-country team. She's about to start her second run of the day. Every run, every race, every traverse of a mountain trail, every gym workout, Valerio begins by taking a photo. “To prove that I was out here,” she explains. Later, she will post the photos on ... her blog, Fat Girl Running, in which she both writes of the joys of the running life and thoughtfully, humorously, and sometimes angrily rebuts her doubters, who can't believe that a self-described fat person might discover - or deserve - this kind of joy. With a BMI ... above the National Institutes of Health-established line defining obesity, Valerio, a marathoner, ultramarathoner, and trail runner, has emerged as ... a living argument that it's possible to be both fit and fat. “I'm pretty much in love with my body,” she writes. “Sometimes I get disappointed or angry with it, but like any long-term, committed relationship, it usually comes right back to love and respect.” By making peace with her obesity - or, more accurately, by fighting her disease to a kind of enduring, vigorously active truce - Valerio draws kudos from a formerly skeptical medical community.

Note: Read another great piece on this inspiring woman.


A backpack to help S.F.’s homeless deal with hardships
2015-10-23, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/A-backpack-to-help-S-F-s-homeless-deal-...

Homelessness isn’t backpacking. It’s not military marching. But there are aspects of those things that can make a big difference to a penniless drifter. [Philanthropist Ron Kaplan] had a backpack designed specifically for the homeless. He brought 400 of them to hand out for free in San Francisco ... at the the city's one-stop-aid Navigation Center on Mission Street. Earlier in the week they handed out 600 backpacks in Hayward, Oakland and Berkeley. This was the 44th city they’ve come to since the pack - called Citypak - was invented with High Sierra Sport Co. in 2012. This sturdy, waterproof, multi-pocketed and security-conscious contraption is ... dignity, acknowledgment, freedom and engagement all rolled into one black bag. “I had found that every shelter in America gives out food, clothing, toiletries and the rest, but then homeless people put them in big black trash bags and say goodbye,” Kaplan said. “So I thought, why not create something that gives them more dignity, that helps them as they try to get their lives together?” Fitting tight to the back, with well-padded straps, the pack is made for hours of comfortable carrying. In a bottom pocket is a waterproof, military-style poncho that covers the entire person and backpack. “We’re always getting suggestions to make adjustments, so it’s changed as we go,” Kaplan said. “When I first started doing this, I thought I would just make about 200 and walk around Chicago handing them out,” he said. “Now, by the end of this year we will have given out 22,500 all over the country.”

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


GlaxoSmithKline to 'drop patents in poor countries for better drug access'
2016-03-31, BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/health-35933692

Pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline has said it wants to make it easier for manufacturers in the world's poorest countries to copy its medicines. The British company said it would not file patents in these countries. GSK hopes that by removing any fear of it filing for patent protection in poorer countries it will allow independent companies to make and sell versions of its drugs in those areas, thereby widening the public access to them. Sir Andrew said he hoped Africa would benefit most from the move. In accordance with international guidelines set out by the United Nations and World Bank, the company has drawn up a list of 50 countries with a combined population of about 1 billion people, where it has said it will not file for patents. The company has said it also wants to put all its future cancer drugs into a Medicines Patent Pool in an effort to address what it described as "the increasing burden of cancer in developing countries". The patents pool was established in 2010 and has proved successful in accelerating access to treatments such as HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis C through voluntary licensing arrangements, which allow generic versions of GSK's drugs to be made and distributed in poorer countries. Expanding the pool to include cancer drugs will "add to the wider contribution GSK makes to improve access to effective healthcare around the world", the company said.

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


Charity ‘Store’ For The Homeless Gives Customers So Much More Than Just Clothes
2014-01-15, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/15/charity-store-homeless_n_4604419.html

The Street Store, which opened on Tuesday in Cape Town, is a charity pop-up “shop” consisting simply of cardboard posters, each hung with clothing items and accessories. Everything is free for the taking for the neighborhood’s homeless. The clothing ... is all donated, and everything is up for grabs. There are assistants on site to help “customers” select items as they browse, and anything they choose to take will be wrapped up for them before they go. It’s a true retail experience, with all the variety, leisure, freedom and dignity we love about shopping. “It makes it easy to make donations as it is hosted in a public area, but it also dignifies the receiving process,” Kayli Levitan, one of the The Street Store organizers. “Instead of feeling like they’re having old clothing thrown at them, the homeless get to have a full shopping experience. They can browse through the clothes, we’ll help them find an outfit they like, it’s wrapped up and off they go.” And it’s not only Cape Town’s homeless population that can benefit. The beauty of The Street Store’s concept is that it can be replicated anywhere. All you need to do is print out The Street Store artwork from the website to make your own posters, add your own logo and find a public space (along with proper approvals from local government). “We realized that homelessness and poverty isn’t a uniquely Capetonian problem. It isn’t even just a South African problem,” Levitan said. “It’s world-wide.” And now we all just have one more way - one very easy way - to help

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


Forget Nutraloaf—Prisoners Are Growing Their Own Food
2016-03-24, Yes!
http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/forget-nutraloaf-prisoners-are-growin...

Scanning a prison menu is a bleak task. Common food items range from nutraloaf - a mishmash of ingredients baked into a tasteless beige block - to, rumor has it, road kill. The substandard quality of food at some correctional facilities has led to protests and hunger strikes. But some states, along with correctional authorities and prison activists, are discovering the value of feeding prisoners nutrient-rich food grown with their own hands. Prison vegetable gardens, where inmates plant and harvest fresh produce to feed the larger prison population, are on the rise in correctional facilities from New York to Oregon. In addition to being a cost-effective food source, the gardens are seen as a way to save money on healthcare for prisoners struggling with diabetes, hypertension, and other ailments. But the gardening itself provides opportunities for personal growth, as inmates learn how to plant, raise, and harvest crops. It also functions as a method of rehabilitation in what is often a deeply stressful environment. “Inmates are sent to prison as punishment, not for punishment,” says Tonya Gushard, public information officer for the Oregon State Correctional Institution (OSCI) in Salem. The OSCI has run a garden program at its facility since 2008. Between 2012 and 2015, Oregon state prisoner-gardeners raised more than 600,000 pounds of produce for nearly 14,000 inmates. The potential savings for taxpayers in health costs from providing inmates with high-quality food cannot be overstated.

Note: Watch an inspiring video on how meditation has become a path of freedom to many imprisoned for violent offenses. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Cattle rancher's wife goes vegan: "Every marriage has its issues"
2016-03-04, CBS
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cattle-ranchers-vegan-wife-turns-ranch-into-anima...

Shortly after they got married six years ago, Tommy's wife Renee just started hanging out with the livestock. Tommy warned her ... "Renee, don't name those cows." But she didn't listen. Then she started singing to them, too. And before long, the rancher's wife had turned into a rancher's worst nightmare - a vegan, who couldn't stomach so much as living with a cattle rancher anymore. "He was just going to get out of the business or our marriage was going to be over," Renee explained. Tommy agreed. "It wasn't working. And I said, 'I'm going to sell the whole herd.' She goes, 'Well, if you're going to sell the whole herd anyway, why don't you just sell 'em to me?' What Tommy didn't know was that Renee had been secretly posting a blog called "Vegan Journal of a Rancher's Wife." She attracted thousands of followers. Through those contacts, Renee was able to raise $30,000 - enough for a hostile takeover. And here's where this story gets good. After his wife raised the money, Tommy did something rare for a rancher, or any man for that matter - he put aside his ego and reconsidered a core belief. He stopped eating meat, liked how he felt, and now works for his wife and the Rowdy Girl Vegan Farm Animal Sanctuary. As best we can tell, it's the only cattle ranch conversion in the country. So now that he's changed for Renee, is there anything Tommy would change about his wife? "I can't think of a thing," he said. And there is everything you need to know, to stay married forever.

Note: Watch the touching video of this at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Morgan Freeman trades playing God for exploring 'The Story of God'
2016-01-06, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-tca-morgan-freem...

“Playing God is simply a matter of learning a script. It didn’t require research beyond that,” Freeman deadpanned during National Geographic’s panel for “The Story of God with Morgan Freeman”. The project, a collaboration among Lori McCreary, James Younger and Freeman, who all serve as executive producers, is an exploration of religion across the globe and the function of God in any given society. The team previously collaborated on Discovery’s “Through the Wormhole.” As for why the three turned to matters of religion in their latest offering: “We were driven to make this by seeing all of the misunderstanding and difficulties centered around religion in the world today. We were motivated to say, ‘Let’s go there and see what religions have in common,” said Younger, adding, “What we found is a remarkable commonality between religions.” However, the series found itself stymied by the limitations of trying to carve such a complex subject down to six hour-long installments, ultimately being limited to focusing just on the “big five” according to Freeman, the three Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam and Judaism) as well as Buddhism and Hinduism. When asked what they would ask the Divine given the opportunity, they didn’t hesitate. McCreary wondered, “What’s the key to unifying us all as Your children?” while Freeman opted for a more pointed, “What do You think now?” But it was former scientist Younger who opted for the most universal question of all: “Why?”

Note: Don't miss the great, five-minute clip of "The Story of God." And check out the excellent resources we've compiled on near-death experiences.


This Supermarket Offered A Dad Of 3 A Job After He Was Busted Shoplifting
2016-03-18, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tesco-supermarket-malaysia-offers-shoplif...

A 31-year-old man was handed a job, instead of being handed over to the police, after he was busted stealing food from a Tesco supermarket in Malaysia. The father of three, who asked to remain anonymous, had fallen on hard times. He quit his contract job to take care of his young kids after his wife went into a coma during childbirth, local newspaper The Star reported. The man, who’s also mourning the death of the couple’s baby, had moved with his kids into a relative’s house due to his lack of income. One afternoon, after he and his 2-year-old son went to visit his wife at the hospital, they passed a Tesco. “After walking for more than an hour, we went to the food section and I grabbed the pears, apples and a few bottles of drinks,” he told The Star. The price of the items equalled 27 Malaysian ringgit (about $6.50). The man was caught on his way out. Initially, the store’s general manager, Radzuan Ma’asan, was going to call the authorities. But after an interrogation, he was so moved by the man’s story, he offered him a job instead - and some cash. “The man’s situation really touched our hearts. We visited his relative’s house. It was so empty and poor,” Ma’asan told The Star. Tesco was recently in the news for another charitable act. The supermarket giant announced last week that all its U.K. stores will donate its unsold food to charity.

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


A former gangster morphs into a lawyer who helps troubled kids
2016-03-17, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/2016/0317/A-former-gangste...

When David Lee Windecher comes to court, he cuts a striking figure. Once known as “Red,” a notorious North Miami gangster, Windecher has come a long way. The drug dealer and larcenist who had been arrested 13 times by his 20th birthday ... has morphed into one of Atlanta’s hottest young lawyers. Only four years into his law career, [he] uses his own gripping memoir – “The American Dream: HisStory in the Making” – to give troubled kids a road map to putting their adolescent mistakes in the rearview mirror. His message: Too many Americans – prosecutors, citizens, and even gangsters themselves – buy into a myth that youths are a lost cause. Those sentiments were cemented into law in the 1980s and ’90s. “Second chances come hard,” he says. “The problem is that everyone, even the gangsters, looks at the worst, not the potential in other people. But the fact is, you are not a victim of circumstance. You have a choice.” It took watching his brother and two sisters turning to gang life, finding faith in a higher power, and meeting an aspiring FBI agent ... for Windecher to see that there was a way out. He was also shaken by a poem titled “The Monument,” about how God gives each person a unique set of problems to resolve. It says, “no one else may have the blessings that these problems will bring you.” In 2011, Windecher secured an internship with the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office, [where] in the juvenile division ... he began to strengthen the county’s diversion programs aimed at keeping first-time offenders out of long-term detention.

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


5 Prisons Improving Life on the Inside
2016-03-14, Yes!
http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/life-after-oil/5-prisons-improving-life-on-...

For the roughly 2.2 million people incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails, daily life is often violent, degrading, and hopeless. But what if our approach to those behind bars were constructive, rather than destructive? Four-legged companions ... share living quarters with Fulton County Jail inmates as part of the Canine CellMates program in Atlanta. Believing all inmates have a capacity for good is what inspired [Susan Jacobs-Meadows] to found the program at the jail 2 1/2 years ago. More than 100 inmates have participated, and Jacobs-Meadows says it is extremely rare for an inmate to reoffend after completing the program. Since 2009, inmates at Washington’s Stafford Creek Corrections Center ... have planted more than 1.5 million flowers as environmental stewards in the Sustainability in Prisons Project’s Prairie Conservation Nursery Program, [which] also offers the potential for college credit. Solitary confinement at Oregon’s Snake River Correctional Institution used to mean a concrete cell, no bigger than a parking stall. Prisoners spent about 23 hours a day there. [This] often provoked aggressive behavior from prisoners. So guards tried an experiment: Send inmates back to nature or, more accurately, bring nature to them. The Blue Room, implemented in April 2013, immerses inmates in nature for an hour by playing videos of arid deserts, lush forests, and open oceans as they sit in a chair alone, imagining roaming the wide open spaces before them. The room ... has been credited with a reduction in reported incidents of violence.

Note: Read more on these and other creative programs bringing hope and useful skills to prisoners at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


General Mills to label GMOs on products across the country
2016-03-18, USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/03/18/general-mills-to-label-gmos-on...

General Mills said Friday that it will start labeling its products that contain genetically modified ingredients in response to a law going into effect in Vermont later this year. The maker of Cheerios, Yoplait and Betty Crocker joins Campbell Soup as one of the few major consumer product companies to adopt labeling amid a contentious debate in Congress about whether identifying GMOs - genetically modified organisms - should be voluntary. In a blog post, General Mills argued for a national standard for GMO labeling but said that in the meantime, the company will start labeling certain products that contain GMOs. The decision comes as ... food producers prepare to comply with a Vermont law that will require GMOs to be identified starting July 1. General Mills said that it's more cost effective to adopt the practice across the country in order to keep prices from rising for customers. The labels will start hitting grocery stores over the next several weeks and customers can expect thousands of packages to be updated with new language. General Mills also launched a tool that lets customers search for products that contain GMOs, which includes Betty Crocker frosting, Chex cereal and Nature Valley bars. The fight over GMO labeling has been fraught with the question of whether GMOs are safe to consume. Genetically engineered foods, like corn and soybeans, have been part of the U.S. food supply since the 1990s.

Note: Other major companies are also saying they will start labelling GM foods in the US, as reported in this article in the UK's Guardian. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Chocolate is brain food. Who knew?
2016-03-04, Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, California's leading newspaper)
http://www.sacbee.com/news/nation-world/national/article64059457.html

In the mid 1970s, psychologist Merrill Elias began tracking the cognitive abilities of more than a thousand people. The goal: to observe the relationship between people's blood pressure and brain performance. There was never an inkling that his research would lead to any sort of discovery about chocolate. And yet, 40 years later, it seems to have done just that. The questionnaire gathered all sorts of information about the dietary habits of the participants, [which] revealed an interesting pattern. "We found that people who eat chocolate at least once a week tend to perform better cognitively," said Elias. "It's significant - it touches a number of cognitive domains." The findings ... come largely thanks to the interest of Georgina Crichton, a nutrition researcher. What's going on? Crichton can't say with absolute certainty. Nor can Elias, who says he expected to observe the opposite effect - that chocolate, given its sugar content, would be correlated with stunted rather than enhanced cognitive abilities. But they have a few ideas. Nutrients called cocoa flavanols, which are found naturally in cocoa, and thus chocolate, seem to have a positive effect on people's brains. Chocolate, like both coffee and tea, also has methylxanthines, plant-produced compounds that enhance various bodily functions. A lot of previous research has shown that there are, or at least could be, immediate cognitive benefits from eating chocolate. But rarely, if ever, have researchers been able to observe the impact of habitual chocolate eating on the brain.

Note: The study, from the science journal Appetite, can be found here. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Penguin travels every year to visit man who rescued him
2016-03-11, CBC (Canada's public broadcasting system)
http://www.cbc.ca/news/trending/dindim-o-lindo-pinguim-1.3487668

Ever since a 71-year-old Brazilian man rescued a struggling penguin, he's been receiving regular visits from his feathered friend. Joao Pereira de Souza, a retired bricklayer, lives ... just off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. In 2011, he spotted a starving Magellanic penguin drenched in oil on the beach near his house. Naming the penguin Dindim, Pereira de Souza fed him every day until he was strong enough to leave, according to a video from the University of Rio de Janeiro. But the penguin refused to go. Pereira de Souza decided to row a boat out into the water and drop Dindim off to encourage him to swim home. But when he rowed back to shore, he found the penguin waiting for him. "He stayed with me for 11 months and then, just after he changed his coat with new feathers, he disappeared," Pereira de Souza told TV Globo, a Brazilian TV network. Magellanic penguins regularly swim thousands of kilometres a year to breeding spots on the coast of Argentina and Chile. From time to time, penguins show up in warmer Brazilian waters. Many of Pereira de Souza's friends thought that when Dindim finally left, that was it for the human-bird friendship. But a few months later, Dindim returned and found Pereira de Souza. He visits for about four months, a ritual kept for the last five years. "He arrives in June and leaves to go home in February, and every year he becomes more affectionate," Pereira de Souza told TV Globo. De Souza appears to be the only person who can get near Dindim. If others try, he pecks them or waddles away.

Note: Don't miss a video on this incredible friendship. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Yuval Roth gives Palestinians a lift so they can get medical care in Israel
2016-03-10, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/2016/0310/Yuval-Roth-gives...

Yuval Roth woke at the crack of dawn to drive his large, white van from his home on Israel’s Mediterranean coast to Checkpoint 300, the main passageway leading from Palestinian­controlled Bethlehem to Israeli-controlled Jerusalem. Over the past decade, Roth has made it his daily business to transport Palestinians needing medical treatment from army checkpoints to Israeli hospitals. “These encounters break down barriers,” Roth says. “Everything the Palestinians knew about us, and everything we knew about them, simply disintegrates.” [In 1993] Roth’s brother, Ehud, was kidnapped [and killed] by a Hamas cell in the Gaza Strip. Roth decided to mobilize his pain in the cause of education. He joined ... a nonprofit group comprising bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families. He began sharing his personal story with Israeli high school students, alongside a Palestinian counterpart. In late 2005, a Palestinian member of the group asked Roth for a favor: Could Roth drive his sick brother from a checkpoint on the Palestinian-occupied West Bank to Rambam Hospital in Haifa, Israel. Soon, another Palestinian approached Roth, requesting a ride ... for a Palestinian seeking a bone marrow transplant. “Things began to snowball,” Roth says. “I sent out a call for help online, and that’s how a group of volunteers started to form.” In late 2009, [a $10,000] donation forced Roth to register The Road to Recovery as a nonprofit group. Today it has some 400 active Israeli volunteers.

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


Justin Trudeau Sends Heartfelt Card To Man Who Got Homophobic Note
2016-03-14, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/justin-trudeau-card-gay-man_us_56e6d059e4...

When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heard about a gay man receiving a hate-filled Valentine, he sent him a moving message of support. Degas Sikorski, a man from Edmonton, Canada, was working for Party City but had not received a shift in months. When he went into work on Valentine’s Day, he noticed his supervisor had made personalized gifts for everyone on staff. When Sikorski looked at his, the openly gay employee noticed ... something nasty: "FA**** YOU ARE NOT GETTING SHIFTS FOR A REASON," was written in black marker on Sikorski's Valentine. Furious, Sikorski's mother, Shelley, posted a picture of the slur on Facebook. A manager at a local Starbucks saw the post and offered Sikorski a job, so that he could quit Party City. Sikorski accepted. Yet, a new job wasn’t the only love Sikorski received thanks to his mother’s post. Edmonton Centre MP Randy Boissonnault eventually saw it as well. He is also openly gay and felt compelled to show his support. "I texted my team ‘Please find a very nice Valentine’s card and bring it to the House,’" Boissonnault told Global News. Boissonnault signed the belated Valentine and got other members of parliament to sign it as well. Trudeau also wrote an inspiring message: “Dear Degas, Know that your friends outnumber the haters by the millions and I’m one of those friends.” A picture of Trudeau signing the card was included in a belated Valentine for Sikorski, which was hand-delivered to him last Saturday by Boissonnault himself.

Note: Don't miss the video of this moving story at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Morocco is producing solar power at night
2016-03-11, CNN
http://money.cnn.com/2016/03/11/technology/solar-power-electricity-morocco-ou...

Springing up on the edge of the Sahara desert are rows of curved mirrors as far as the eye can see. They're part of what could become the biggest solar power plant in the world. Morocco is investing about $2.6 billion on the construction of the Ouarzazate complex, which forms the heart of a $9 billion strategy to harness one of the country's greatest natural resources - sunshine. When completed in 2017, it will cover an area nine times the size of New York's Central Park and generate enough electricity to power about one million households. Morocco has been developing solar and other sources of renewable power for years. It has just set itself the ambitious target of meeting just over half the nation's electricity needs from renewable power by 2030. Morocco is using solar technology that operates very differently from traditional solar panels, which use photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight directly into electricity. The Ouarzazate complex uses large curved "mirrors" that track the sun like flowers and channel radiation to generate steam inside a network of tubes. The steam drives a central turbine that generates electricity, which flows into the national grid for use by Moroccan homes and businesses. Perhaps most impressive is that the complex can continue to operate after the sun sets. Heat from the system can be stored for hours in tanks filled with molten salts. That allows steam to be generated for hours and keep turning the turbine at night.

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


Bhutan's dark secret to happiness
2015-04-08, BBC
http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20150408-bhutans-dark-secret-to-happiness

Citizens of one of the happiest countries on Earth are surprisingly comfortable contemplating a topic many prefer to avoid. Is that the key to joy? On a visit to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, I found myself sitting across from a man named Karma Ura, [confessing] something very personal. Not that long before, seemingly out of the blue, I had experienced some disturbing symptoms: shortness of breath, dizziness, numbness in my hands and feet. I feared I was having a heart attack. So I went to the doctor, who ran a series of tests and found... “Nothing,” said Ura. Even before I could complete my sentence, he knew that my fears were unfounded. I was not dying. I was having a panic attack. “You need to think about death for five minutes every day,” Ura replied. “It will cure you.” “How?” I said, dumbfounded. “It is this thing, this fear of death ... is what is troubling you.” “But why would I want to think about something so depressing?” “Rich people in the West, they have not touched dead bodies, fresh wounds, rotten things. This is a problem. This is the human condition. We have to be ready for the moment we cease to exist.” In Bhutanese culture, one is expected to think about death five times a day. The Bhutanese may be on to something. In a 2007 study, University of Kentucky psychologists [concluded] that “death is a psychologically threatening fact, but when people contemplate it, apparently the automatic system begins to search for happy thoughts”. Death is a part of life, whether we like it or not. Ignoring this essential truth comes with a ... cost.

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


Messy Works: How to Apply Self-Organized Learning in the Classroom
2015-10-07, NPR
http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/10/07/messy-works-how-to-apply-self-organi...

Sugata Mitra’s “Hole in the Wall” experiment has garnered a lot of attention since it first begun in 1999 and won a TED prize in 2013. It demonstrated that a group of students working together, motivated by a deep question and with access to a computer, could produce amazing results. Cleveland is a world away from Delhi, but Dora Bechtel says many of her students at Campus International School remind her of the Indian children she observed in videos about the Hole in the Wall experiment. Recently, Bechtel has been experimenting with Self-Organized Learning Environments, or SOLEs, in her elementary school classes. In a classroom SOLE, Bechtel asks her students a “messy question,” something that doesn’t have just one right answer, then sets them loose to research the question in small groups. Students choose who they work with, find their own information, draw their own conclusions and present their findings to the whole class. It can be a bit chaotic, but Bechtel says that’s often good. The method has students asking questions and taking ownership in a whole new way. As any teacher knows, finding challenging work for such a varied class of learners is extremely difficult. But because the SOLE is so open-ended, more advanced students are helping struggling students and kids access information in whatever way they can. The SOLE Cleveland website ... has question suggestions for teachers just getting started, arranged by grade level and subject.

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Copia, Food Runners recover leftovers to feed the hungry
2016-03-04, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Copia-Food-Runners-recover-leftov...

Komal Ahmad was a UC Berkeley undergrad when she encountered a homeless man begging for food. Something compelled her to stop and invite him for lunch. He scarfed up the food. In between bites, he told her his story: He’d just returned from a second tour of duty in Iraq but hadn’t yet received his benefits. He had been evicted, had no money and hadn’t eaten in three days. Right across the street was the Berkeley dining hall, which she knew threw out thousands of pounds of food. “This is dumb; we can fix this,” she recalls thinking. Five years later, Ahmad, 26, is leading Copia, a company seeking to apply a Silicon Valley playbook to food recovery - retrieving surplus food for donation to nonprofits feeding the hungry. The problem is vast. About 35 million tons of food are wasted in the United States every year ... even while 1 in 6 people go hungry. Hundreds of local groups nationwide, largely run by volunteers, already pick up surplus food to feed the needy. In San Francisco, nonprofit Food Runners has been active for almost 30 years and has spawned similar efforts on the Peninsula and and elsewhere. Supporting the local efforts, Congress passed a Good Samaritan Food Donation law in 1996 to protect food donors from liability if products given in good faith cause harm. Copia is refining its approach in the Bay Area, picking up leftovers from tech companies, Super Bowl parties, Stanford Hospital and others for same-day delivery to nonprofits.

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