Violent Crime Lowest in Decades, Coming Energy Abundance, Transforming Schools
Inspiring News Articles
November 28, 2014
Hi awesome friends,
Below are key excerpts of inspiring news articles with great information on the US violent crime rate hitting the lowest level in decades, the coming energy abundance powered largely by solar energy, transforming schools by turning education upside down, and more.
Each inspiring excerpt is taken verbatim from the media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails, click here. The key sentences are highlighted in case you just want to skim. Please spread the inspiration and have a great one!
Special note: Watch an incredible video of an amazing woman with no arms who can eat with chopsticks, thread a needle, and much more. Watch a fun, touching video on a movement called Prank it forward. Read an informative article on how the US 2014 election results may not be what they seem. Watch a great TED Talk on how an online game can give you 10 extra years of life.
Quote of the Week: "Help me to look with the eyes of love upon each beautiful manifestation of life, no matter how much it's physical or emotional manifestation may not match my description of beauty. Help me to evoke beauty and divinity in every being and every experience I encounter. And in so doing, may I evoke ever more infinite love in myself to be shared with all."
FBI: Violent crime drops, reaches 1970s level
November 10, 2014, Chicago Tribune
U.S. violent crimes including murders fell 4.4 percent in 2013 to their lowest number since the 1970s, continuing a decades-long downturn, the FBI said on Monday. The law enforcement agency's annual Crime in the United States report showed the country had an estimated 1.16 million violent crimes last year, the lowest number since 1.09 million were recorded in 1978. All types of violent crimes were lower, with murder and non-negligent manslaughter off 4.4 percent to 14,196, the lowest figure since 1968. Rape was down 6.3 percent and robbery fell 2.8 percent, the Federal Bureau of Investigation data showed. The violent crime rate last year was 367.9 for each 100,000 in population, down 5.1 percent from 2012. The rate has fallen every year since at least 1994, the earliest year for readily accessible FBI data, and the 2013 figure was about half the 1994 rate. Property crimes fell 4.1 percent ... the 11th straight yearly decline. In an analysis, the non-profit Pew Charitable Trusts said the drop in crime coincided with a decline in the prison population, with the number of U.S. prisoners down 6 percent in 2013 from its peak in 2008. Thirty-two of the 50 states have seen a drop in crime rates as the rate of imprisonment fell, Pew said. California notched the largest drop in imprisonment rate over the five-year period, at 15 percent, and crime was down 11 percent. The state has been under court order to reduce prison overcrowding, and voters last week approved an initiative that reduced sentences for some crimes.
Note: Why isn't this inspiring news being broadcast widely by the media? And why hasn't the FBI website updated their data on this since 2010? The police and media appear to consistently downplay the huge drop in violent crime since 1994. According to the FBI's own statistics, violent crime has currently dropped to 1/3 or less what it was in 1994. See the revealing FBI graphs and charts here, here, and here. Yet some of these charts have now been removed and mention of this huge decrease downplayed. The obvious reason is that a large decrease in crime might cause people to want to decrease police and FBI budgets. More here.
The coming era of unlimited – and free – clean energy
2014-09-19, Washington Post blog
In the 1980s, leading consultants were skeptical about cellular phones. The handsets were heavy, batteries didn't last long, coverage was patchy, and the cost per minute was exorbitant. The experts are saying the same about solar energy now. They say that solar is inefficient, too expensive to install, and unreliable, and will fail without government subsidies. They too are wrong. Solar will be as ubiquitous as cellular phones are. Futurist Ray Kurzweil notes that solar power has been doubling every two years for the past 30 years – as costs have been dropping. He says solar energy is only six doublings – or less than 14 years – away from meeting 100 percent of today's energy needs. By Kurzweil's estimates, inexpensive renewable sources will provide more energy than the world needs in less than 20 years. In places such as Germany, Spain, Portugal, Australia, and the Southwest United States, residential-scale solar production has already reached "grid parity" with average residential electricity prices. In other words, it costs no more in the long term to install solar panels than to buy electricity from utility companies. The prices of solar panels have fallen 75 percent in the past five years alone and will fall much further as the technologies to create them improve and scale of production increases. By 2020, solar energy will be price-competitive with energy generated from fossil fuels on an unsubsidized basis in most parts of the world. Within the next decade, it will cost a fraction of what fossil fuel-based alternatives do. Despite the skepticism of experts and criticism by naysayers, there is little doubt that we are heading into an era of unlimited and almost free clean energy.
Note: This article also points out how some big energy companies and the Koch brothers are lobbying to stop alternative technologies from flowering. Read through a rich collection of energy news articles with inspiring and revealing news on energy developments. And explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Turning Education Upside Down
October 9, 2013, New York Times Blog
Three years ago, Clintondale High School, just north of Detroit, became a "flipped school" – one where students watch teachers' lectures at home and do what we'd otherwise call "homework" in class. Teachers record video lessons, which students watch on their smartphones, home computers or at lunch in the school's tech lab. In class, they do projects, exercises or lab experiments in small groups while the teacher circulates. In the fall of 2011, Clintondale flipped completely – every grade, every class. "On average we approximated a 30 percent failure rate," said Green. "With flipping, it dropped to under 10 percent." Graduation rates rose dramatically, and are now over 90 percent. College attendance went from 63 percent in 2010 to 80 percent in 2012. Flipping also changes the distribution of teacher time. In a traditional class, the teacher engages with the students who ask questions – but it's those who don't ask who tend to need the most attention. The biggest effect of flipping classrooms is on the students at the bottom. "It's tough to fail a flipped class, because you're doing the stuff in here," said Rob Dameron, the head of the English department. "I used to have about a 30 percent failure rate in English. Now, out of 130 kids, I have three who are failing – mostly due to attendance problems." Flipped classrooms require more creativity and energy from the teacher. "Lots of teachers who aren't really good teachers are resistant to this – they like to build time into the day when kids are working to do their taxes or catch up on email.".
Living Simply in a Dumpster
September 11, 2014, The Atlantic
Tucked behind the women's residence halls in a back corner of Huston-Tillotson University's campus in Austin, Texas, sits a green dumpster. Were it not for the sliding pitched roof and weather station perched on top, a reasonable person might dismiss the box as "just another dumpster"–providing this person did not encounter the dean of the University College Jeff Wilson living inside. Until this summer, the green dumpster was even less descript than it is now. There was no sliding roof; Wilson kept the rain out with a tarp. The goal was to establish a baseline experience of the dumpster without any accoutrements, before adding them incrementally. Not long ago, Wilson was nesting in a 2,500 square foot house. Now he says almost everything he owns is in his 36-square-foot dumpster, which is sanctioned and supported by the university as part of an ongoing sustainability-focused experiment called The Dumpster Project. "We could end up with a house under $10,000 that could be placed anywhere in the world," Wilson said at the launch, "[fueled by] sunlight and surface water, and people could have a pretty good life." Wilson, known around town as Professor Dumpster, recounted in another recent interview that he now owns four pairs of pants, four shirts, three pairs of shoes, three hats, and "eight or nine" bow ties. He keeps all of this in cubbies under a recently installed false floor.
Note: The article above includes many amazing photos of Wilson's unconventional home. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
These 14 Teenage Inventors Built a Glove That Translates Sign Language–and Other Tech Solutions
November 11, 2014, Yes! Magazine
These 16 individuals under 20 have all invented solutions that have somehow eluded those who can legally drink. Many of these kids were inspired by simple necessity. Others were driven by compassion. Some of them were just doing science fair projects. Eesha Khare: This 18-year-old from Saratoga, California, was still in high school when she invented a battery that can be charged in 20 seconds. It also lasts 10 times as long as a standard battery. Ryan Patterson: The inability to communicate with most hearing people makes life difficult for deaf persons. Knowing this, Colorado-born Ryan invented a glove that translates sign language. It's simply a golf glove that uses sensors, a radio frequency transmitter, and a microcontroller to interpret hand movements. He was 17. Why didn't anyone else think of this? Raquel Redshirt: Growing up in New Mexico's Navajo Nation, Raquel experienced poverty so extreme that her family and neighbors often couldn't afford electricity, making it near impossible to cook anything. So at 16, she discovered a way to make solar-powered ovens using the simple materials collected around the area. Working with old tires, aluminum foil, shredded paper, and dirt, she made these usually expensive ovens for the people in her community. Have you built any ovens for your neighbors lately?
Note: Why aren't some of these inventions being hailed and promoted widely in the media? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Obama administration endorses treaty banning torture
November 12, 2014, Washington Post
The Obama administration has formally endorsed provisions of an international treaty banning torture and cruel treatment of prisoners held by the United States. In a statement Wednesday to a U.N. treaty-monitoring committee in Geneva, Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski said, "We believe that torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment are forbidden in all places, at all times, with no exceptions." State Department legal adviser Mary E. McLeod affirmed to the committee that the definition covers all areas under U.S. jurisdiction and territory. McLeod also reaffirmed that no statement made by a person as a result of torture is admissible in any legal proceeding. The ... issue is likely to reemerge in the United States with the release of a lengthy summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee's classified report on the detention and interrogation program that was put in place following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The release has been held up in a dispute between the committee majority and the CIA over portions of the report the intelligence agency believes should remain secret. In her remarks to the committee, McLeod said that "in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, we regrettably did not always live up to our own values. As President Obama has acknowledged, we crossed the line and we take responsibility for that."
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Could this be the next medicinal marijuana?
October 31, 2014, CNN News
Imagine discovering a plant that has the potential to help alleviate post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts and paralyzing anxiety. That's what some believe ayahuasca can do, and this psychedelic drink is attracting more and more tourists to the Amazon. War vets are seeking it for PTSD. Former Marine Lance Cpl. Ryan LeCompte organizes trips to Peru for war veterans, like himself, who are seeking ayahuasca as a possible treatment for PTSD and other emotional and mental trauma suffered after multiple combat deployments. "Ayahuasca is a way to give relief to those who are suffering," says LeCompte, who says many veterans are not satisfied with the PTSD treatment they receive when they return from combat. Libby ... is one of the veterans who accompanied LeCompte to Peru to try ayahuasca for her PTSD diagnosis, which includes sexual trauma while on active duty. She says antidepressants made her more suicidal. "I would like to wish not to die all the time," she said, when asked why she was seeking ayahuasca. "I want that to go away." Those of have tried ayahuasca say that any benefits - like with other drugs or medicine - must be combined with therapy. There are efforts to study the medicinal benefits of ayahuasca, explains Rick Doblin, executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies. "At a time when drug policy is being reevaluated ... how ayahuasca should be handled in a regulatory context is really up in the air," Doblin said.
Note: Watch the full CNN documentary on an ayahuasca ceremony in Peru. For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about mind altering drugs from reliable sources.
A Father's Letter To His Five-Year-Old Daughter
November 12, 2014, Daily Good
Tom Attwater is dying of a brain tumor, but he isn't worried about his cancer. Instead, he is trying to save his 5 year-old daughter from her own. He has vowed to raise approximately $820,200.00 for her cancer treatment, even if he wouldn't be around to see her go through it. Now Tom is almost half way to his fundraising target. Tragically his deadline is short as his latest scans show his brain tumour is growing. He says: "These days people make bucket lists, and the very top of mine – the one that matters most – is raising money to make sure Kelli gets the medical help she might need." Tom is dedicated to leaving a legacy behind for her, as well as this touching letter: Darling Kelli, I'm so sorry I will not get to see you grow up as I so want to. Please don't blame people or the world for this. A lot of life is simply luck and mine is running out. I wish I had the words to make you feel better. I wish I didn't have cancer and you didn't have to see me in pain as you often do now. I wish so many things were different but they are not. Most dads and daughters have decades to chat around the kitchen table, their hands warmed by mugs of coffee, as the dad dishes out advice and their girls no doubt roll their eyes. We don't have that time. But while your old dad is still around I thought I'd try to give you some life advice.
Note: Read the all of Tom Attwater's inspiring letter to his daughter in the article above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Quaker Project Offers Inmates Alternatives to Violent Actions
August 11, 1996, New York Times
Alternatives to Violence Project is a conflict-resolution workshop for inmates with a history of violent behavior at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. It is a program started by the Quakers in 1975 and still has strong Quaker involvement from meetings around the county. Each month the program conducts workshops at the prison for some of the most violent offenders in the New York State prison system. "Quakers have been involved in prison ministry for a long time because the founders like George Fox were incarcerated for civil disobedience," said Fred Feucht, 65, a Quaker from the Purchase Meeting and an outside coordinator for the project at the prison. Although the program is steeped in the nonviolent beliefs of the Quakers, most of the volunteers are not Quakers and believe that people need to learn conflict-resolution skills to avoid violence. "We grew out of the Quakers but we reached outside for most of our leaders," Mr. Feucht said. "A lot of our inside leaders are Muslims." Inside, leaders are inmates who have completed the ... workshops and now work as volunteers to conduct and administer the program. Volunteers in the project advocate that violence is the basic cause for people being incarcerated. Many remain involved with the program outside prison, and a group of former project facilitators formed a support group called the Landing Strip. With tougher sentencing laws today, repeat violent offenders may never be freed. For many graduates of the program, it is seen as a last chance.
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