Archive
We add new items monthly so if you read a piece of grateful news on a reliable website, please send us a link.


horsesIt’s Chinese New Year! Everybody welcome the Year of the Horse

The horse is the seventh of the twelve animal signs in the Chinese zodiac calendar and those born in this year are believed to have a gift for communication and public speaking. » Full Story


smiling girl with light brown hair and bracesValerie Weisler takes on bullying with the Validation Project

The Validation Project aims to put a worldwide end to bullying. The project, founded by 15-year-old Valerie Weisler, helps youths 13 to 25 change the world one person at a time. » Full Story



Woman in hat with children playing in backgroundLeslie Hawke helps Roma children get an education

Leslie Hawke was already middle-aged when she arrived in Romania for the first time. Thirteen years later she is still there, running a nongovernmental organization she cofounded and continuing her work helping severely impoverished children in Romania succeed in school. » Full Story


grand canyon with a person sitting on the edgeGrand Canyon May Be Older (And Younger) Than You Think

In recent years geologists have hotly debated the age of the Grand Canyon. Research now shows that although the Grand Canyon as a whole is relatively young, they say, a couple of sections are ancient. 
» Listen to or read the story



CVS store frontCVS Caremark pharmacies to halt tobacco sales

The move will cost the company about $2bn in annual revenue but, "Tobacco products have no place in a setting where healthcare is delivered," CEO Larry Merlo said, "It’s the right thing to do.” » Full Story


tiny white dot in blue spaceTake Four Minutes To Reflect On Your Place In The Cosmos

So it's New Year's Eve again and that means resolutions — resolutions to stop this and resolutions to start that. Maybe just looking at where we are from a different perspective is all we need…It may not help you with your New Year's resolutions, but it will fill you with a sense of pure wonder.
» See the photo and video.


Boy helping out in the kitchen with his parentsRaising Children With an Attitude of Gratitude

Giving thanks is no longer just holiday fare. A field of research on gratitude in kids is emerging, and early findings indicate parents' instincts to elevate the topic are spot-on. Concrete benefits come to kids who literally count their blessings. » Full Story


Black cow in forgroung, several others behindDefying Japan, Rancher Saves Fukushima’s Radioactive Cows

Angered by what he considers the Japanese government’s attempts to sweep away the inconvenient truths of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Masami Yoshizawa has vowed to protect hundreds of abandoned cows from the government’s kill order. » Full Story


people passing dishes around at a big dining room tableBay Area's Steep Housing Costs Spark Return To Communal Living

It's no secret rents have skyrocketed in the San Francisco Bay Area, fueled by tight housing stock and the latest tech boom. But some young professionals have turned the situation into an opportunity with a return to communal living, or "co-living," as it's now called. » Listen to the Story


statue in a museumSaving Relics, Afghans Defy the Taliban

Every piece of antiquity that is restored to the halls of the bombed, pillaged and now rebuilt National Museum of Afghanistan sends a message of defiance and resilience.
» See the video.



grey-haired Nelson MandelaNelson Mandela, South Africa’s Liberator as Prisoner and President, 
Dies at 95

We are grateful for this great leader who became an international emblem of dignity and forbearance. 
» Read and watch many tributes here.



Young black man in a wheel chair picking up a ball with a robotic armHow Could A Group Of College Kids Do This To An Incoming Freshman? Because They're Geniuses.

17-year-old Dee has Brittle Bone disease, and luckily hooked up with a class of engineering students at Rice University who designed him a robotic arm. »See the video.


Mother with toddler on the subwary readingWith One Photo, The Average Commute Becomes Super Special

On an NPR photo assignment, Jabali Sawicki found his subject and that “All the noise and chaos of the subway and commute (had) died down. And all that was left was a mother and her son reading." » Full Story



A woman in a head scarf rings a bellA Messy Sort of Gratitude: Giving Thanks For Radiation

With thoughts of nuclear bombs and the Fukushima disaster, it is no surprise that most of us have a deep unease about radiation. Barbara King, however, is grateful for the fractional doses she received in her cancer treatment.
» Full Story



spiral and calligraphy that says Gratefulness, bu Chungliang Al HuangOn Thanksgiving, understanding what gratitude requires

E.J. Dionne Jr. from the Washington Post writes that gratitude creates an obligation to repay our debts by repairing injustices and reaching out to those whom luck has failed. » Full Story


 

People helping typhoon victims - photo by Janice Chua-GoPhilippine typhoon: Trying to help after Haiyan

Even as attention is focused on major national and international aid efforts, stories are emerging from across the Philippines of ordinary people who are trying to help those affected by the typhoon. » Full Story
For various ways you can help, see this site.



White-haired man getting a tower of coffees to go.Coffee for a smile

Dan Dewey has spent $10,000 of his own money to buy coffee for cancer patients at Michigan hospitals. He brings more to the patients and staff than just coffee. All he wants in return are smiles.
» Full Story and Video



Female cartoon character with boots, a yellow lightning bolt on her chest and a huge fist.Marvel Comics debuts female Muslim superhero

Move over Black Widow and step aside She-Hulk: Marvel Comics is introducing a new superhero - a 16-year-old Muslim-American girl named Kamala Khan, to reflect the growing diversity of its readers.
» Full Story



Restored red-brick Victorian house - photo Tony Cenicola/NYTImesRevivals Victorian, Gothic and Civic

Newburgh, N.Y., Seeks Renewal Without Gentrification. The new arrivals are not replacing lifelong residents to open artisanal mayonnaise shops; instead they are joining the community.
» Full Story


photographer posing 2 people with big camera in the foregroundPhotographer Puts Two Strangers Together For Intimate Photographs, and The Results Are Surprising

Photographer Richard Renaldi takes random people he meets and asks them to pose in pictures together as if they were family members, friends or lovers.  This unorthodox recipe for truly magical moments speaks volumes about both art and humanity. » Full Story and Video


Group of black women in a green field.- photo UNHCR/Brian Sokol

Angelique Namaika finds strength in God to help the displaced in the Congo

Sister Angelique Namaika – a nun working in the Congo – has helped transform the lives of more than 2,000 women and girls forced from their homes and abused by the Lord's Resistance Army. » Full Story



Man talking to a customerDebt collector thrives with simple strategy: kindness

TULSA, Okla. - Nurse Lori Factor from Tecumseh, Okla., could be any one of the 35 million Americans who owe money to a collection agency. The only difference is that Lori loves her debt collector, CFS-2.  It looks like any other collection agency -- but if you listen in on the calls, you realize it's not.  » Full Story and Video


the sign How To Bounce Back From Failure -- Over And Over Again

Our ability to deal with failure and rejection has a hand in determining how successful and happy we are. One of the seven habits of highly resilient people -- and ways that you can improve your own ability to cope with challenges – is to be endlessly grateful.
» Full Story


 

Men in hard hats watching huge robot move solar panelsA Staff of Robots

If all goes well with the robots that Alion Energy have designed, executives expect that they can help bring the price of solar electricity into line with that of natural gas by cutting the cost of building and maintaining large solar installations. » Full Story


 

Dr. Jim Olson and patientTreating Kids' Cancer With Science And A Pocket Full Of Hope

In the past twenty years, or so, Dr. Jim Olson has cared for hundreds of children with brain cancer. His compassionate interaction with families, coupled with his ground-breaking research for better cancer treatment, bring us many reasons for gratefulness. » Full Story and Video


Woman planting bok choiNew Roots: Growing Good from the Ground Up

The New Roots program connects refugees from Somalia, Uganda, Mexico and others who are building new lives in the United States with the land, tools and training they need to grow healthy, fresh food for their families and communities. » Watch Video


workers going into temporary housing Months After Storm, Mennonites Stay and Rebuild

Within days of Hurricane Sandy’s arrival in New York, Frank Hoover started coordinating vans full of Mennonites to repair homes ravaged by the storm. Since then, over 1,300 Mennonites have come into the city to help.
» Full Story


Spaceship out in space with blue earth in backgroundVoyager probe 'leaves Solar System'

Launched in 1977, Voyager was sent initially to study the outer planets, but then just kept on going. Today it is almost 19 billion km (12 billion miles) from home. “This is the first time we've begun to explore the space between the stars," said chief Nasa Scientist Ed Stone about this historic milestone. » Full Story


smiling bald man with a white beard and glasses - Oliver SacksThe Joy of Old Age. (No Kidding.)

Oliver Sacks, author and professor of neurology, is nearly 80. Despite a scattering of not-so-minor medical and surgical problems, he feels glad to be alive. Rather than thinking old age is a grimmer time of life, he tells why he feels free and happy. » Full Story


Young woman - Maggie Doyne - with 6 orphan childrenMaggie Doyne went from high school graduate to surrogate mother of 40 in Nepal

At age 19, Maggie Doyne founded a school and orphanage in a remote village in Nepal. Maggie believes that it’s essential to maintain a youthful, idealistic, and optimistic attitude in order to accomplish something seemingly impossible.  » Full Story


Ithaca mayor Svante Myrick stands on the Ithaca CommonsColleges Help Ithaca Thrive in a Region of Struggles

The city, led by a young mayor with an idealist’s approach, has a reciprocal relationship with Cornell University and Ithaca College that has created thousands of jobs. » Full Story


Woman on top of mountain with blue sky behind herRaha Moharrak: First Saudi woman to conquer Everest and break taboos

Moharrak, who had been raised by her parents to aim for greatness, wanted to test her limits and that also meant challenging her culture. Her triumph on Everest is the latest in a growing number of milestones for women in Saudi Arabia.  » See Video and Story


cyclists in the darkCyclists Take Nighttime Ride Through Moscow's History

The cyclists use FM radio to hear historians and architects talk about sights along the route. Beginning at midnight and lasting until roughly 5 a.m., this year's ride wound through the south of the city, far from Red Square, and was dedicated to the Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky.  » Full Story


Woman talking to a puppetNew Sesame Workshop film helps children of jailed parents

Melissa Dino was struck by the lack of resources for children with an incarcerated parent. She is now in charge of a Sesame Workshop production - 30-minute documentary - aimed at helping families.
» Full Story


Dark men wearing red eye-patchesOne Man's Quest To Make Medical Technology Affordable To All

David Green is a man on a mission to drive down the cost of medical devices and health services. His strategy is to minimize the cost of technology, production and distribution so he can push prices to the lowest possible level...and make sight and hearing or even life itself affordable to poor people.
» Full Story


two swimmers dressed as mermaids arch away from each other.The Last Mermaid Show

Floridians cherish their state’s cultural inheritance of quirky roadside attractions just as much as Disney and the other shiny new super parks of Orlando. In Weeki Wachee Springs - a town with a population of four - “live mermaids” in all shapes and sizes carry on a long tradition of underwater shows. » Full Story


John F. KennedyKennedy’s Finest Moment

In a speech focusing on civil rights in June 1963, President Kennedy made a plea for national unity behind what he, for the first time, called a “moral issue,” asking each citizen to examine his or her conscience, recognizing that none of us is free until all of us are free.   
» Full Story


looking through a chain link fence at a highway under constructionHighway Expansion Encourages More Than Just Driving

US 31 is an average highway. But not for long. Work has begun on an upgrade for it that will incorporate a special fast lane for high-occupancy vehicles, bus rapid transit service, an electronic toll system for single-occupant cars and a bike path.  » Full Story


thousands of people doing yoga on the streetTimes Square takes yoga time-out on summer solstice

New York's Times Square, one of the world's busiest crossroads, came to a standstill to allow yoga enthusiasts to mark the summer solstice. 
» Full Story



male prisoners with eyes closed meditatingPrison Non-Violence Program

For most of its 160 year history, San Quentin has been known as a tough place to do hard time. But over the past two decades, this has begun to change. Thanks to thousands of engaged citizens in the surrounding community, a growing number of innovative programs aimed at reducing violence and recidivism are having an impact. One of those programs – GRIP - was started by Jacques Verduin. » See Video


Man listening‘Provoking Peace’ in Indonesia

Is it possible for Indonesia's Muslim majority to coexist with Christians and other religious minorities without an authoritarian hand on the tiller? The answer is clear: Yes. A brave group of local community leaders, Muslim and Christian alike, who have helped heal the wounds of war and today act as the first responders of harmony when the fragile peace looks threatened. » Full Story


green northern lightsSeeing The (Northern) Light: A Temporary Arctic Retirement

Instead of retiring all at once years from now, Winston Chen and his family decided to take one year of retirement early and spend it more than 3,000 miles away from Boston, on a small granite island jutting from the Norwegian Sea north of the Arctic Circle. One year that helped them find unexpected riches, personal and professional.  » Read, look, and listen


planting fruit trees in a playgroundTasty, and Subversive, Too

Fruit looms large in the California psyche. Since the 1800s. Now a cheeky trio of artists have turned fruit trees into cultural symbols as well. The group, known as Fallen Fruit, recently planted what is being billed as the state’s first public fruit park in an unincorporated community. » Full Story


Family of adopted children and older parentsFilling Up an Empty Nest

RETIRING from work? Then it might be time to think about raising a family. Some brave older adults are turning the idea of retirement on its head by choosing to adopt children — this when many of their peers are traveling, socializing, taking up intellectual or entrepreneurial pursuits, or just plain relaxing.  » Full Story


black ballet dancers dancingBallet Returns to Harlem

In 2004, the Dance Theater of Harlem, crippled by $2.3 million debt, was forced to put its company on hiatus. This April, the dance company reopens.  » See Video



woman listening to a doctor and it says on the screen:  An Empathy Video That Asks You To Stand in Someone Else's Shoes

This video is about human connection. When we relate to those around us by understanding their back stories and their circumstances, we improve the way we work, the way we live, and the way we take care of one another.  » See Video


Two students huggingOpening Up, Students Transform a Vicious Circle

Mr. Butler’s mission is to help defuse grenades of conflict at Ralph J. Bunche High School, the end of the line for students with a history of getting into trouble. He is the school’s coordinator for restorative justice, a program increasingly offered in schools seeking an alternative to “zero tolerance” policies like suspension and expulsion.  » Full Story


Young dark-haired girl and her blond step-motherUkraine's youngest HIV campaigner

Ukraine is suffering from one of Europe's worst Aids epidemics but most people with HIV have no access to the drugs that would enable them to lead normal lives - a fact that Liza Yaroshenko, age 14, is keen to point out. 
»Full Story


eels art by Rachell SumpterWhy I Count Glass Eels

Akiko Busch counts eels in a nearby stream.  This is called citizen science, loosely defined as scientific research in which amateurs help experts gather data. This work teaches him that our sense of place is derived from everything we know — along with everything that causes us to wonder. » Full Story



Lots of dancers in a group in the CongoOne Billion Rising

Imagine 1 billion women and those that love them dancing. Imagine them taking up space, expanding their borders and possibilities, expressing the depth of our desire for peace and the end of violence against women and girls. See here how women all over the world danced to raise consciousness on February 14, 2013.  » Full Story


fingers reading along a page of a bookBeating Illiteracy at Any Age

WW II veteran Ed Bray kept the secret of his illiteracy for 80 years. Now, at the age of 89, has read his first book.
  » See Video



Indian forest - by Cea - http://www.flickr.com/photos/centralasian/6849798334/Indian Man Single-Handedly Plants A 1,360 Acre Forest In Assam

Jadav "Molai" Payeng has dedicated his life to the upkeep and growth of the forest. Accepting a life of isolation, he started living alone on the sandbar as a teenager -- spending his days tending the burgeoning plants. It paid off. » Full Story


Lung transplant operation - photo by Eric Kayne for The New York Times‘Bloodless’ Lung Transplants Offer Hint at Surgery’s Future

Ms. Tomczak needed a lung transplant and insisted for religious reasons that her transplant be performed without a blood transfusion. Her doctor agreed to this, and his landmark surgery showed that limiting transfusions in general could result in fewer complications for many other patients as well.
» Full Story



old bearded man in a turban101 Year-old runs his last race

Fauja Singh ran his last race, a 10K, at the Hong Kong Marathon. He says the secret to running does not depend on training technique or a special diet, but on his pure love of the sport.  » See Video


drawing of a man and woman reaching out to each otherThat Loving Feeling Takes a Lot of Work

What is the trick to long-lasting relationships?  While some divorces/breakups are clearly justified, experts say many severed relationships seem to have just withered and died from a lack of effort to keep the embers of love alive. A slew of research-tested actions and words can do wonders. » Full Story


snakeYear of the Snake: The Serpent Behind the Horoscope

On February 10 people all around the world rang in the Lunar New Year with paper lanterns and firecrackers. At the heart of it all sits the snake, a slithery reptile feared for its sharp fangs and revered for its undeniable charm. What are the parallels between the Zodiac sign and the real deal?  » Full Story


Adult woman Pahn Thi Kim Phuc stands at podium with photo of her as a child after the bomb.‘A girl in the picture' shares her life story of survival

Phan Thị Kim Phúc, known as "the girl in the picture", global peace ambassador, shared her story of survival from the war 40 years ago. From Kim’s powerful message of forgiveness, peace and reconciliation, the Kim Foundation International was formed to help heal war wounds suffered by innocent children and restore hope and happiness to their lives. » Full Story


Geechee Dan singing in subway stationOn a Stage Shared With Trains, a Voice to Stir the Soul

From his shopping cart, which he had packed with two amplifiers, CDs of his music for sale and a plastic tip bucket, Geechee Dan, who is 72, started to sing. His voice turned the platform of the A, C and E trains into a musical nightspot. » Full Story


Bowl with red and yellow flowers - photo by Rosemarie PrimaultGratitude expressed differently in India

Every community on earth may have their own way of being polite and expressing their gratitude. What is polite and gracious in the West might be quite the opposite in India. Abhijit Sunil, an Indian graduate student at Southern Methodist University in Texas, writes about these cultural differences of gratitude.  » Full Story


Young Leonard CohenHallelujah! The rise and rise of Leonard Cohen’s once-forgotten classic

“This song starts not just under the radar, but completely off the radar," says author Alan Light. Now i with over 360 recordings later, it has become one of the most famous tracks in modern music.  » Full Story


Girl in red flowered scarf reads a bookReading from her hospital bedside, Taliban-shooting victim Malala, 15, defies the extremists who oppose female education

The inspiring teenager is now starting to recover - and began by thanking her supporters around the world for their 'inspiring' well-wishes. Her message came as thousands of people have called for her to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for her demand for women's education in Pakistan. » Full Story


middle-aged white man in glasses hugs students leaving his classWright’s Law

Jeffrey Wright uses wacky experiments to teach children about the universe, but it is his own personal story that teaches them the true meaning of life.
» Watch Video


People walking in Stockholm Central StationThe Power of a Hot Body

Diane Ackerman writes about a promising new green - “almost chartreuse” - trend in renewal energy sources: capturing excess body heat on a scale large enough to warm homes and office buildings in a perpetual cycle of mutual generosity.
» Full Story


3 people sitting on ice and snowThe coolest music in the world: Listen to Siberian ice drummers use frozen Lake Baikal as an incredible musical instrument

A group of Siberian percussionists have become an internet hit with an exhibition of ice drumming on frozen Lake Baikal. In minus 20C, they found by pure chance that the one metre thick ice has a distinctive and haunting rhythm all of its own.
» Full Story


candle vigilSandy Hook teachers heroic in facing down gunman

What the teachers and principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School did for the children in their care could win a soldier in a war zone a Purple Heart. "They responded as we all hope we might respond in such terrifying circumstances -- with courage and with love, giving their lives to protect the children in their care," President Obama said. » Full Story


a page of the Dead Sea ScrollsGoogle Launches Dead Sea Scrolls Online Library

More than six decades since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls — and thousands of years after they were written — Israel on Tuesday put 5,000 images of the ancient biblical artifacts online in a partnership with Google. » Full Story


cartoon of a man walking over big rolls of paper with How You Can Be a Smarter Giver This Holiday Season

You don't need to be a millionaire to be charitable. Here are a few ways to give without breaking the bank—and to make sure your donation ends up in the right hands.  » Full Story


field of sunflowers with the sun shining on them6 Simple Rituals To Reach Your Potential Every Day

Becoming and staying productive isn't about hard-to-follow programs or logging your every move in an app. It's about self-care. Here are daily to-dos to get you started.
» Full Story


Dorothea Day talking with people around a tableIn a Hero of the Catholic Left, a Conservative Cardinal Sees a Saint

Dorothy Day, a fiery 20th-century social activist who protested war, supported labor strikes and lived voluntarily in poverty as she cared for the needy. Day has found a seemingly unlikely champion in New York’s conservative archbishop, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, who has breathed new life into an effort to declare the Brooklyn native a saint. » Full Story


man hugging little boy in a storm shelterGratitude pays big dividends

One of the central findings to emerge from psychological science is that certain human emotions serve socially adaptive functions.  In the case of gratitude, the evidence couldn’t be more clear or timely. In the face of disaster, few psychological mechanisms can do more to benefit an individual’s or a society’s ability to thrive.  » Full Story


black labrador carrying a packageThe Canine Bucket Brigade

Rescued in Louisiana during hurricane Katrina and now 7 and living in New York in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Midnight the Dog became a link in the bucket brigade that brought water to marooned residents in the West Village. » See Video


man in jacket on a farmJose Mujica: The world's 'poorest' president

It's a common grumble that politicians' lifestyles are far removed from those of their electorate. Not so in Uruguay. Meet the president - who lives on a ramshackle farm and gives away most of his pay. » Full Story


man in room with teacher on video screensCollege of Future Could Be Come One, Come All

There is a large movement happening with the potential to transform higher education. Already, a handful of companies are offering elite college-level instruction — once available to only a select few, on campus, at great cost — free, to anyone with an Internet connection. » Full Story


Blond woman in dreadlocks  smilingAnne Lamott Distills Prayer Into 'Help, Thanks, Wow'

Novelist and memoirist says prayer is about getting outside of your own self and hooking into something greater than that very, very limited part of our experience here. It is about asking for guidance, offering gratitude and expressing wonder. » Full Story


Tiffany Jones - girl with long red hair smiles. Remarkable Woman: Tiffany Jones

First she raised money to help HIV-affected children in Ethiopia. Now she spends her summers with them. The word "volunteer" is not part of the Amharic language. About the closest one can get is bego fekadegna, which means "willing generous person." Willing and generous she is! » Full Story


closeup of a waspScientists discover wasps which 'could eradicate pests'

Researchers have discovered a new type of wasp which could be the solution to eradicating pests, saving the farming industry millions of pounds. Biologists at the University of Hull are studying hundreds of parasitic wasps, which they believe could be used to protect food crops instead of expensive pesticide. » See Video


obelisk part of Sagan walkVisualizing Vastness

Built in honor of Carl Sagan, the Cornell astronomer, author and science communicator, the Sagan Planet Walk - a scale model of the solar system … five billion times smaller than the real thing - offers lessons that reach far beyond astronomy. It’s a case study in visualizing vastness. » Full Story


Photo - Edlib News Network, ENN. The rebels hope to put a civilian council in charge and believe such moves could help pave the way for a secular, democratic Syria.In A Ravaged Syrian Village, Planning For The Future

Syrian-American activist Mouaz Moustafa says it appears as if pro-Assad soldiers set fire to every house in Khirbet al-Joz they could and burned much of the farmland around the small village for good measure. But, he adds, "I think I was more sad than they were. They had hope, and they were so excited that their village was back, and they said, 'We're going to rebuild, we're going to fix everything,' and to have civilian leadership." » Full Story


Dark matter distribution simulationDark energy camera snaps first images ahead of survey

The current theory holds that 73% of the Universe is dark energy, 23% is dark matter, and just 4% the kind of matter we know well. The highest-resolution camera ever built has begun its quest to pin down the mysterious stuff that makes up the majority of our Universe. » Full Story


workers in the dark subway construction siteThe Once and Future Dream of New York

Do you ever think about all the people who work underground to build the subways we ride every day? Spend some time with the workers in New York's newest 2nd Avenue construction site. » See Video


Danielle Gletow, founder of One Simple Wish, stands next to a wall of thank-you notes. The Trenton, N.J., nonprofit helps foster children.Danielle Gletow lends a helping hand to children in foster care

Danielle's wish to help resulted in her creation of One Simple Wish, a nonprofit organization that connects foster children and vulnerable families with potential donors who grant their wishes online or at the organization's Ewing, N.J.-based "Wish Shop." » Full Story


organs being developed in laboratoryA First: Organs Tailor-Made With Body’s Own Cells

Doctors are building and implanting “bioartificial” organs - so far, relatively simple, hollow organs like bladders and windpipes. But scientists around the world are using similar techniques with the goal of building more complex organs: livers, kidneys, and even hearts. » Full Story


 Two workers create an embankment in Stakmo, Ladakh, India, that will contain an artificial glacier.Artificial Glaciers Water Crops in Indian Highlands

Chewang Norphel, an engineer from Skara, noticed that a small stream in his backyard was moving too quickly to freeze, while the sluggish trickle of water beneath the grove was not and remained frozen. Over the next several years, Norphel worked to create an irrigation system that functioned using the same simple natural principle. » Full Story


man running with 2 prosthetic legsThe Soul of the Olympics

It’s a whole lot easier to be sappy than cynical about the Olympics according to Frank Bruni: “Because for all their flaws and frustrations, they’ve been a phenomenal spectacle. More than that, they’ve been a phenomenal inspiration.” From Gabby Douglas to Epke Zonderland to Michael Phelps to Oscar Pistorious – each had a dream and a story that touched our hearts. » Full Story


orange truck door with a sweet potato on it.Saving Lives In Africa With The Humble Sweet Potato

A regular old orange-colored sweet potato might not seem too exciting to many of us. But in parts of Africa, that sweet potato is very exciting to public health experts who see it as a living vitamin A supplement. Bbiofortification is part of a new approach to improving nutrition among the world's poor might actually work. » Listen and read here


tall white man holding a child and talking to anotherScott Neeson left Hollywood to save children rooting in Cambodia's garbage dumps

After seeing these children while on a movie location, Neeson turned his back on his highly-paid career as a superstar’s agent. Instead, he dedicated himself full time to a new mission: to save hundreds of the poorest children in one of the world's poorest countries. » Full Story


woman with 2 men at a computerCollective Intelligence: Number of Women in Group Linked to Effectiveness in Solving Problems

Research at MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, and Union College documents the existence of collective intelligence among groups of people who cooperate well, showing that such intelligence extends beyond the cognitive abilities of the groups' individual members, and that the tendency to cooperate effectively is linked to the number of women in a group.
» Full Story


shadow of spaceship on ground with white mountain in distanceIn pictures: NASA rover's Martian adventure

After an eight-month journey the spaceship Curiosity descended down to the surface of Mars and immediately started taking photos and sending them back to us here on earth. Nice to begin to know our neighbors.
» See Photos

Related video: How to Get to Mars (from the 2006 IMAX movie Roving Mars.

Happy sad facesDon’t Indulge. Be Happy.

HOW much money do you need to be happy? Think about it. What makes you comfortable? A “comfortable standard” varies across individuals and countries, but additional income doesn’t buy us any additional happiness on a typical day once we reach that comfortable standard. » Full Story


woman in scarf runningLondon 2012 Olympics: Saudi Arabian women to compete

The Saudi authorities lifted a ban on women from the Gulf kingdom competing in the Games last month. Sarah Attar will compete in the 800m and Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani in the judo competition. » Full Story


small house in backyardIn the Backyard, Grandma’s New Apartment

What is a new alternative to a nursing home or moving in with family in close but perhaps unsafe conditions? The “granny pod”! A prefabricated state-of-the art apartment, built right in your daughter’s back yard. » Full Story


Emiliana Simon-ThomasGreater Good Science Center: On the fine art of gratitude

Since 2001 the good people at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center have taken it upon themselves to study the fine art of gratitude. And now the Center is poised to administer funding — to the tune of close to $6 million — for a series of studies as part of a project called Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude. » Full Story


black woman with very short natural hairBlack Women’s Transitions to Natural Hair 

Black women are black women who are “transitioning” — cutting off their chemically straightened hair and embracing their natural kinky afro texture. They are not saying their motivation is to combat Eurocentric ideals of beauty. Rather, this is a movement characterized by self-discovery and health.

» Full Story & Video


group jogging on mountain roadCaballo Blanco’s Last Run: The Micah True Story

A prize fighter turned long distant runner, Micah True, or “Caballo Blanco,” became deeply taken by the Tarahumara Indians. He started the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon that includes and benefits Tarahumara runners. After the most recent race, Micah went missing in the Gila Wilderness.

» Full Story


Young black man looking right into the cameraThe Scars of Stop-and-Frisk

By his count, before his 18th birthday, Tyquan Brehon had been unjustifiably stopped by the police more than 60 times. The practice of stop-and-frisk has become increasingly controversial. More voices are being heard by the victims of this racial profiling, like Tyquan’s in this video. » Full Story & Video


hand holding a ballParalyzed Man Regains Hand Function after Breakthrough Nerve Rewiring Procedure

A 71-year-old man who became paralyzed from the waist down and lost all use of both hands in a 2008 car accident has regained motor function in his fingers after doctors rewired his nerves to bypass the damaged ones in a pioneering surgical procedure. » Full Story


man's hand holding baby tortoise120 Giants Found Living With 86-Year-Old Man

Some kind of nerve, ferocity and stubbornness got 86-year-old Brendon Grimshaw to buy an island in the Indian Ocean, replant it with 16,000 trees, grasses and then lure a bunch of giant - and baby - tortoises to live with him. » Full Story


2 women in skarves hugging in front of a glittering doorwayThis Prom Has Everything, Except for Boys

Hamtramck High School’s female Muslim students conform to religious beliefs forbidding dating, dancing with boys or appearing without a head scarf in front of males. This year, however, Tharima Ahmed, 17, thrilled many by organizing the first all-girl fundraising prom. » Full Story


several people at a table repairing thingsAn Effort to Bury a Throwaway Culture One Repair at a Time

Thirty groups have started Repair Cafes across the Netherlands, where neighbors pool their skills and labor for a few hours a month to fix everything from holey clothing to old coffee makers, deciding that helping people fix things was a practical way to prevent unnecessary waste.
» Full Story


woman balancing with crossed legsWorld's oldest yoga teacher Tao Porchon-Lynch at 93

After a hip replacement Tao Porchon-Lynch proved to her doctor that she could do anything she wanted. He said it was a miracle. She said, “miracles are seeing that which is already inside of you. » See Video


picture of the starsPicture captures a billion stars

Ten years in the making, scientists have produced a colossal picture of our Milky Way Galaxy. It is built from thousands of individual images acquired by two UK-developed telescopes operating in Hawaii and in Chile.  » Full Story

Lovely smiling woman - Rachel Robingson -  with grey hair with photo of Jackie RobinsonKeeper Of The Flame

It's been 65 years since Jackie Robinson smashed the color barrier, nearly 40 since his death. Rachel Robinson—closing fast on 90, still effecting social change through the Jackie Robinson Foundation, providing scholarships, mentoring, leadership training and more for underserved populations. » Full Story


Basketball player leaning her forhead against the wall.  Other players stand behindSentenced to Basketball

They have not won a basketball game since 2006, but that is not the point –“It’s all about the growth of these kids,” says Coach Tonya Lutz.  Carroll Academy, a school operated by a Tennessee juvenile court, uses sports to help teenagers stay out of trouble.» See video  


Fair woman with curly red hairLyn Lusi, healer of Congo, dies 3/17/2012

Lyn and her husband, Jo, set up a hospital called HEAL Africa to train young Congolese doctors. But eventually it became more famous for the care of many victims of sexual violence. It was Lyn’s mission to heal not just of the person but the whole community, teaching villagers to bind up wounds, support each other and provide for themselves.
» Full Story


cartoon of a brain and someone speaking 2 languagesWhy Bilinguals Are Smarter

It use to be considered that a second language hindered a child’s academic and intellectual development. Now, researchers are finding out, that it is a blessing in disguise. It forces the brain to resolve internal conflict, giving the mind a workout that strengthens its cognitive muscles. » Full Story


old photo of a dark-haired woman in a white shirt, bow tie and skirt.The Mighty Mathematician You’ve Never Heard Of

Albert Einstein called her the most “significant” and “creative” female mathematician of all time.  This month marks the 130th anniversary of Amalie Noether's birth, and this article will show you just why she deserves that title.
» Full Story


intricate drawing of thousands of birdsIn 'Birds,' Sis Makes A Dream World For Grown-Ups

The Conference of the Birds by 12th century Persian poet Farid Ud-Din has the timeless theme of how you want someone to solve all your problems, but in the end you realize you must solve them yourself. This new illustrated book by Peter Sis brings this story to new life in the 21st Century. » Full Story


wind turbinesTop 5 nations that use renewable energy

Solar, wind, tidal and geothermal energy made up only 1.3 percent of total global energy use in 2011, but that's up 15.5 percent from the previous year. Here are the top five countries which are making use of renewable energy. » Full Story


Mt. KilimanjaroSaudi climbers scale Kilimanjaro for cancer center

Prince Muhammad Bin Fahd, Emir of Eastern Province Saturday honored a team comprising five Saudi girls and young men who raised the Saudi flag atop the highest mountain in Africa to raise awareness for cancer. » Full Story

12 of 60 people involved in kidney donation chain60 Lives, 30 Kidneys, All Linked

"Chain 124" required lockstep coordination over four months among 17 hospitals in 11 states. And this chain, saving 30 lives, all started with one donor who gave the initial kidney, expecting nothing in return. » Full Story


2 home care workers talking to woman in wheelchairA Shift From Nursing Homes to Managed Care at Home

Faced with soaring health care costs and shrinking Medicare and Medicaid financing, nursing home operators are closing some facilities and embracing an emerging model of care that allows many elderly patients to remain in their homes and still receive the medical and social services available in institutions.
» Full Story


Woman with long blond hair - Dr. Jessie GaetaMass. doctor's prescription for homelessness

It wasn't until I had just a couple of patients housed," said Dr. Jessie Gaeta, "that I saw this turnaround in their health. Basically I was seeing that if I could write a prescription for keys to an apartment that that was going to do more to improve the health of the patient sitting in front me than the prescription I can write for anything else." » See video


where once was rubble, now green plants over hillsidePost-tsunami 'eco' vision for Japan's restart

All along the once picturesque coast of northeastern Japan, the devastation wrought by the tsunami in March has also made way for a new step forward: the opportunity to rebuild using the latest sustainable technologies that would reduce dependency on coal and nuclear energy.  » Full Story


5 women standing in a fieldIntimate portrait of Mexico's Mennonite community

A new book of photos shows women within the isolated Mennonite communities in Nuevo Ideal, in the state of Durango, and La Onda, in Zacatecas, Mexico. In the 21st Century, Mennonites still live as though they were in the 19th, with their beliefs in non-violence, simplicity of life, and the message of Christ. » See video


Dillma RusseffSeven women who shaped the world in 2011

Women played some significant roles this past year, from making peace to crafting economic policy in the midst of a crisis. Read about Dilma Rousseff, the president of Brazil, and six others who shaped 2011.  » Full Story


river through the desert - courtesy of Arriyadh Development AuthorityA Wadi Runs Through It.

Treated for years as a dump and a sewer, the wadi has been the focus of a 10-year-long restoration project. In November 2010, it became one of the few environmental engineering projects to win an Aga Khan Award for Architecture, and it has won over plenty of fans in the Saudi capital. » Full Story


drawing of an old woman sittiing in a chair writing advice - by Yvetta FedorovaAdvice From Life’s Graying Edge on Finishing With No Regrets

Most of us learn valuable lessons about how to conduct a successful and satisfying life. But for far too many people, the learning comes too late to help them avoid painful mistakes and decades of wasted time and effort. Enter an invaluable source of help: practical advice from more than 1,000 older Americans from different economic, educational and occupational strata. » Full Story


Darkhaired woman talking to bespectackled young man.Navigating Love and Autism

Because they have a hard time grasping what another is feeling — a trait sometimes described as “mindblindness” — many assumed that those with such autism spectrum disorders were incapable of, or indifferent to, intimate relationships. But Jack and Kirsten are taking this journey of discovery and working hard to succeed. » Full Story


blue jelly fish Edith Widder's New Crusade

The marine biologist Edith Widder has spent a career studying bioluminescent sea creatures. Now she is using the phenomenon to fight pollution.  » See video


smiling man holding up a tiny computer chipRaspberry Pi: Rise of the $25 computer

British group Raspberry Pi aims to inspire young programmers with a computer so inexpensive that schools could hand them out to students free of charge.
» Full Story


young bespectacled man talking inside a small post officeAmerica's disappearing post offices

The post office has long been a core part of almost every community in America. Evan Kalish is trying to visit as many as possible before they disappear. So far he has collected post marks at more than 2,700 post offices across the US.
» See video


factory producing a length of blue clothTrendy threads from waste

The environmental impact of the global textile industry is hard to overstate. One-third of the water used worldwide is spent fashioning fabrics. Pratibha Syntex could lead in the next textile wave: low-waste, recycled cotton. » Full Story


woman sitting with a goatIn the Company of Animals, Healing for Humans

The Gentle Barn is a six-acre ranch in Santa Clarita, Calif. The facility heals and rehabilitates abused farm animals and invites visitors with emotional and physical challenges to interact with them. Bonding with animals is a life-changing experience for many. » Full Story


a hand offering a flower with mountains in background.  From uthealthleader.orgGrateful-ology: Science & Research on Gratitude

“Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic,” wrote John Henry Jowett. If you start practicing grateful living now, your marriage could improve, you might be exercising more, feel less depressed, sleep better, have a healthier heart, more life satisfaction, and increase your chances of living longer. » Full Story


Tara the elephant with Bella her canine friend standing under her.On the Road: Elephant loses man's best friend

For nearly a decade, Tarra the elephant had been best friends with a dog named Bella -- a mutt who wandered onto sanctuary grounds and into the heart of the gentle giant. Steve Hartman has a sad update to a story of compassion between the most unlikely of friends. » Watch video
(See the earlier story about this truly inspiring friendship.)


Girl sitting with head bowedYour Life: Gratefulness brings difficulties into focus

Life brings challenges, uncertainties, disappointments, losses and heartaches. What gratitude does for is in the midst of those times is to shape our attitude in a way that enables us to survive, keep living and even grow from the experience. » Full Story


3 Nobel prize winnersNobel Peace Prize recognises women rights activists

This year's Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded jointly to three women - Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman of Yemen. They were recognised for their "non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work".  » Full Story


Woman looking up at light-filled bottle in the ceilingCoke Bottle Lights Up Filipino's Lives

In rural Manila where homes are often built so close to each other that they have no windows or natural light, an innovation called the "Solar Bottle Bulb" is illuminating the lives of many Filipino's. » See the Video


huge live oak - photo by Katherine Wolkoff for The New York TimesGertie's Ghost

Bokara Legendre, a student of Tibetan Buddhism, says she saw a sort of cosmic opportunity in her mother’s bequest to her, a chance to “change the karma” of an estate once cultivated by slaves and used by her parents as a hunting playground. She discovered, however, that some legacies aren’t so easy to exorcise. » Full Story


Guatemalan women weaving fabricA parish turns to manufacturing

Unemployment in the U.S. remains highest among minority groups. But what if parishes actually created manufacturing jobs and produced goods in a sustainable, local manner? One did just that: a parish-based workshop that employs members of the local community to produce garments from fabric woven in Guatemala. » Full Story


young colorfully dressed man speaks with a man in a suit at a tableThe Soft Drink Summit

With demonstrations going on all over the U.S., it is good news to know that calm, informative discussions between "sides" can happen and promote understanding.  Here, a stockbroker and an Occupy Wall Street protester face off at a cafe table.  » See the Video


The Bismallah in the shape of a pearFaith in Focus: Bismillah

There is a whole lot of shaking going on. Recently, many of us experienced our first earthquake. Hurricanes rattled windows and blew tree branches about, and washed away whole towns. How do we keep calm and compassionate in the lap of great change and challenge? Cultivating gratitude is one way. » Full Story


Calico cat looks upLost 5 Years, a Colorado Cat Finds Her Way to Manhattan

A calico cat named Willow, who disappeared from a home near the Rocky Mountains five years ago, was found on Wednesday on a Manhattan street and will soon be returned to her family. How she got to New York, more than 1,800 miles away, and the kind of life she lived in the city are mysteries. » Full Story


Golden retreiver sitting on court steps with leash in her mouth.By Helping a Girl Testify at a Rape Trial, a Dog Ignites a Legal Debate

Rosie is a golden retriever therapy dog who specializes in comforting people when they are under stress. Defense lawyers argue that the dogs may unfairly sway jurors with their cuteness and the natural empathy they attract, whether a witness is telling the truth or not, and some prosecutors insist that the courtroom dogs can be a crucial comfort to those enduring the ordeal of testifying, especially children. » Full Story


woman sitting with feeding tube in her noseA healthy Irom Sharmila can espouse the larger cause of her people

Irom Sharmila Charu, also called the “Iron Lady of Manipur” has been on hunger strike since November 5, 2000, for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in her home state. There is not one person in India or the world who would not appreciate Irom Sharmila’s peaceful commitment to her cause and not empathise with her. Yet, her cause has not been able to gain centre stage or strike the collective will of the nation. » Full Story


Boy in a red clown nose - photo by Nicole BengivenoA Family Trade

Throughout New England and parts of upstate New York, a traveling youth circus called Circus Smirkus pitches its tents every summer, inviting one and all. This year the troupe has nine clowns, including Sam Ferlo, 14, who follows in the footsteps of his parents, honoring his father who died last year.
» See Slide Show


Smiling man seated with a saxophoneInstruments Of Good: The Healing Power Of Music

As founder and director of Hungry for Music, a Washington, D.C.-area nonprofit, Jeff Campbell takes in donated musical instruments and gives them to underprivileged young people. He's been doing that for 16 years and has handed out more than 3,500 instruments. » Full Story


The Elwha River - photo by Michael HansonReviving a Habitat

Late this summer, the largest dam removal project in American history will begin with the demolition of two massive hydroelectric dams that block the otherwise pristine flow of the Elwha River in the Olympic National Park in Washington. The dams will be lowered very slowly from top to bottom, in order to do the least damage to the river and the people below.
» See Slide Show


Smiling young woman - Heidi SealsMaking positive changes: Gratefulness a powerful weapon against negative thoughts

At times like this when the economy isn’t so great and basements are flooding once again, it is really easy to become consumed with negative thoughts and attitudes about our personal situations. However, the truth is that there is still so much to be grateful for. » Full Story


Pregant woman getting help - photo by Sven Torfinn In Sierra Leone, New Hope for Children and Pregnant Women

The Sierra Leone government has eliminated fees for pregnant women and children, and now thousands of women - in a country where surgery has been performed by the light of cellphones and flashlights -can afford trained medical staff to oversee pregnancies for the first time. » Full Story


Young man with lego constructionsFor Some With Autism, Jobs to Match Their Talents

Specialisterne (“The Specialists”) is a Danish company that is improving the futures of many families by opening up job opportunities for people with Asperger’s Syndrome and high-functioning autism. Founder Thorkil Sonne created a five-month program to carefully evaluate candidates’ learning and behavior profiles, build their confidence, and prepare them for success.
» Full Story


violinStradivarius Nets $16M for Japan Quake Relief

A Stradivarius violin known as the “Lady Blunt” sold for a record price of nearly $16 million, an amount equivalent to four times the previous record selling price for one of the rare violins. And better still, all of the proceeds will be donated to aid Japan’s relief efforts from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. » Full Story


Young Indian woman looks straight into the cameraPortraits of Commitment

For a week in January, 10 young photojournalists took part in a workshop held during the sixth biennial Chobi Mela Festival of Asian Photography in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Their assignment: A portrait-and-caption profile of someone who is contributing to the common dream of a better community, country or world. The common message? All our dreams have a story. » Full Story


Young woman smiles with childMaggie Doyne Builds Orphanage And School For Kids In Nepal

After graduating from high school, Maggie took a “gap year” and decided she wanted to be of use and wanted to work with kids. When she met some Nepalese orphans, she discovered that a few dollars a day could make it possible for these kids to go to school. Then she realized she wanted to give these kids a real, permanent home. Today, at age 24, she has established an orphanage and a school in Nepal. » Video


elderly Japanese manJapan pensioners volunteer to tackle nuclear crisis

A group of more than 200 Japanese pensioners are volunteering to tackle the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima power station. The Skilled Veterans Corps, as they call themselves, is made up of retired engineers and other professionals, all over the age of 60. They say they should be facing the dangers of radiation, not the young. » Full Story


Life changing month: Mount Madonna student visits H.H. the Dalai Lama, receives Mellennium Scholarship.

smiling young dark-haired woman18 years ago, when Soma Sharan was just 3 days old, she was found abandoned outside of a Hindu temple in the East Indian city of Haridwar. Raised in the Sri Ram Orphanage, Sharan said it was a good life and the people there became her family. So after meeting the Dalail Lama and learning about her scholarship,  Sharan said, "I was given this chance at life," Sharan said. "I don't see doing anything but finding a way to give back."  » Full Story


Elderly woman in a bright blue blouseAt 100, Still a Teacher, and Quite a Character

In 1965, Bel Kaufman published “Up the Down Staircase,” a novel about a new teacher very much like herself.  It was on the NYTimes best sellers list for 67 weeks, but Bel is not one to rest on her laurels.  After long careers as a teacher, speaker and writer, she is still teaching college courses. “I make a living,” she says. » Full Story


Woman - donor's wife - greeting a man - heart recipientDonating Lives

Julio Garcia died unexpectedly in 2010. His widow decided to donate his organs to seven different people. And they recently had the opportunity to thank her in person.  Sebastiao Lourenco, the heart recipient said “I’ll care for (this heart) with affection.”  » See video


Older man with glasses in a labThe Man Who Dreamed He Was A Beetle

A sweet, sweet man died recently and perhaps beetles everywhere, big ones, little ones, speaking many different beetle languages, paused for a second and thought, "Oh, dear. That guy. He was our guy." Tom Eisner loved bugs.  He was among the first scientists to notice that insects communicate not only by touching and dancing, they also send chemical signals.  He unlocked many secrets of his beloved bugs. » Full Story


Young man and woman huggingLove Endures Even Cancer

Gavin Snow found out he had stage 3 melanoma two months before meeting Haley Tanner. Together they have endured the ups and downs of living with a tragic disease.  » See video


Women walk in Djibouti’s Balbala district. Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images/NewscomRunning with sheep

In Djibouti, Rachel Jones' early-morning jogs open up a world of curious encounters.  Most people were used to seeing her run alone, but they had never seen a group of 25 Djiboutian girls and a white woman running down the street – with two sheep.  » Full Story


white man in hat with group of Aftrican children.  Photo by Carlos  Avila GonzalezDoctor finds higher calling when death knocks

After a close call with death on Mount Kilimanjaro, Dr. Frank Artress had an epiphany.  He and his wife decided to leave their comfortable life in California to become bush doctors, dedicated to easing the heartbreak of Africa. » Full Story


Woman standing up by group of teens Gospel for Teens

There's a street in Harlem that comes alive every Saturday with the sound of gospel music. You won't find any church there - just a brownstone full of teenagers and the woman who draws them in. Her name is Vy Higginsen, and she started this project to save Gospel music, but it is saving more than that. » See Video Part 1, Part 2


spoonful of honey Manuka honey 'could help fight superbugs'

Manuka honey could be used to combat some of the most hard-to-treat infections that are resistant to powerful antibiotics, scientists say. » Full Story


Young girls in headscarves outside buildingAfghan women's shelters safe for now

After being threatened by takeover from the Afghan government, women’s shelters in Afghanistan will remain independent for the time being. The February proposal sparked an outcry from women’s organizations and shelter operators throughout the country. » Full Story


group of diverse peopleHelping Yourself by Helping Others

Jeffrey A. Kottler, professor of Counseling at California State University, demonstrates how surprisingly easy it is to discover or create some project that might make a difference in the world. All it takes is one gesture, one action to help someone -- from that effort, other possibilities may grow. » Full Story


young woman with long brown hair sitting at a deskMore College Graduates Take Public Service Jobs

If Alison Sadock had finished college before the financial crisis, she probably would have done something corporate.  Instead, she landed in public service.  She is part of a cohort of young college graduates who ended up doing good because the economy did them wrong. » Full Story


solar panels up on a sunny roofMidsize Solar Installations Grow At Light Speed

As Tim Nilsen steps into one of his barns outside Sacramento, Calif., hundreds of turkeys snap to attention. Turkeys are the name of the game at Nilsen Farms. But his property is also serving up something else — solar energy for about 750 homes in the community. » Full Story


Woman cuddling rabbitEasing the Way in Therapy With the Aid of an Animal

In recent decades, there have been countless stories of animals helping to improve and even preserve the lives of children and adults with all manner of diseases and disabilities. Today psychotherapists are also using therapy animals to facilitate treatment for those with emotional, social and even physical problems. » Full Story


stats drawn on glass Hans Rosling's 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes - The Joy of Stats

Hans Rosling's famous lectures combine enormous quantities of public data with a sport's commentator's style to reveal the story of the world's past, present and future development. This time, plotting life expectancy against income for every country since 1810, Hans shows how the world we live in is radically different from the world most of us imagine. » Full Story


African girls wearing colorful dressesDresses for Africa

After visiting Malawi, Rachel O’Neill noticed that “the girls come last in Africa” and she wanted to do something about it.  Her idea grew into an organization that has made and sent dresses to tens of thousands of girls.  She has been amazed by the overwhelming generosity of the people who have contributed to this effort. 
» Full Story


3 prisoners in white uniforms bow in prayerAt End-Of-The Line Prison, An Unlikely Escape

Deep in the Bible Belt, an ancient Eastern practice is taking root in the unlikeliest of places: Alabama's highest-security prison.  Dr. Ron Cavanaugh, treatment director,  says inmates who go through the course have a 20 percent reduction in disciplinary action.   » Full Story


Man and woman laying irrigation pipesHelping Soldiers Trade Their Swords for Plows

VALLEY CENTER, Calif. — On an organic farm here in avocado country, a group listened intently to an old hand from the front lines.  It was Day 2 of a novel boot camp for veterans and active-duty military personnel, including Marines from nearby Camp Pendleton, who might be interested in new careers as farmers. » Full Story


Two women making fermented teaHow to Choose an Incubator

Imagine one building where tenants receive office space with constant access to other entrepreneurs and experts willing to dole out business advice.  Coined as “incubators,”  there are about 1,200 of them in the United States today. The guide here offers tips on identifying which kind of incubator might be best for you. » Full Story


Woman swimming in a poolCranston East swimmer has been an inspiration to all

Around the country, there are teenagers who have garnered headlines for bullying other students who may be a little different from them.  But this is the story of Haley Howard and her teammates on their swim team — the story of teenagers who have spent the winter celebrating the uniqueness of one of their peers, rather than ridiculing it. » Full Story


male interviewer on ice with old lady in hockey gearThe Greatest Anti-Retirement Video of All Time

Imagine being a mayor of a Canadian city for 31 years and still counting.  Imagine that city being debt-free!  Then imagine that the mayor who plays hockey lives by her words "You have to look after your people" is 88 years old.  » See video


old woman in wheelchair with a baby dollGiving Alzheimer’s Patients Their Way, Even Chocolate

Disregarding typical nursing-home rules, Dementia patients at Beatitudes are allowed practically anything that brings comfort. Research suggests that creating positive emotional experiences for Alzheimer’s patients diminishes distress and behavior problems. » Full Story


olive branchOn Forgiveness

We are in a season traditionally devoted to good will among people and to the renewal of hope in the face of hard times.  How to keep hope alive?  Without a constructive answer to toxic anger, addictive cycles of revenge, and immobilizing guilt, we seem doomed to despair about chances for renewal.  One answer to this despair lies in forgiveness. » Full Story


woman doctor in red headress smiling and supported by another womanUnder Seige in War-torn Somalia, a Doctor Holds Her Ground

Somalia has been at war with itself for 20 years. But for decades — as the government imploded, warlords took over, more warlords came and an Islamist insurgency swept across Somalia — Dr. Abdi has persevered, offering a refuge for thousands of families driven from their homes by relentless street battles. » Full Story


Mother in hospitatl bed with babie on her chestThe Human Incubator

Sometimes, the best way to progress isn’t to advance — to step up with more money, more technology, more modernity. Dr. Edgar Rey in Bogato, Colombia, suggested a radical, yet simple substitution for the many crowded, unsanitary incubators: snuggle the premie babies kangaroo-style with their own mothers. » Full Story


Dad and son reading in bedThank You. No, Thank You

A growing body of research suggests that adults who maintain an attitude of gratitude can improve psychological, emotional and physical well-being. Now, researchers are finding that gratitude brings similar benefits in children and adolescents.  » Full Story


drawing of turbine and waves of windTurbine-Free Wind Power

People argue that wind turbines pose a risk to birds, bats and sensitive habitats like shorelines. Others complain about the noise.  Now there is a new way to draw electricity from the wind that would resolve a lot of these issues: oscillating wind panels.   » Full Story


Crane picking up garbageSwedish city ditches fossil fuels by drawing energy from waste

As befits a region that is an epicenter of farming and food processing, Kristianstad generates energy from a motley assortment of ingredients like potato peels, manure, used cooking oil, stale cookies and pig intestines. » Full Story


Girl with hat and eyes closed concentratingWhy Gratitude Isn't For Wimps

A research team studying the positive effects of daily gratitude says it can change people’s lives—but as Psychologist Robert Emmons says “Far from being a warm, fuzzy sentiment, gratitude is morally and intellectually demanding, it requires contemplation, reflection, and discipline. It can be hard and painful work.”   » Full Story


Pirate in costume and woman describing actionOpera seen through the ears

Coral Arnold loves live theatre, but thought opera just wasn't worth the trouble. But she and other blind opera fans joined the audience for a performance of The Pirates of Penzance.  During the show, two volunteers in an enclosed booth at the back of the theatre described the action on stage via a wireless radio and a small earpiece, and Arnold left the show thrilled.  » Full Story


huge photo on building in the slumAward to Artist Who Gives Slums a Human Face

The TED conference announced its plans to give it's prize to help humanitarian work to the Parisian street artist known as J R, a shadowy figure who has made a name for himself by plastering colossal photographs in downtrodden neighborhoods around the world.  » Full Story

Smiling woman in front of an autumn mural on buildingShe uses paint, brushes, and volunteers to clean up graffiti and build communities

In Philadelphia, Jane Golden oversees the Mural Arts Program, which gets citizens involved in painting over graffiti while celebrating their history and culture.  She oversees the creation of 100 murals yearly. » Full Story


female athlete running with a flagIn Sports, a Boost for Rural Indian Women

In the world of small-town India, rural India, urban middle-class India, few of the women are from socially privileged or wealthy families. Yet, with family support they are training to become successful athletes and attitudes towards them are changing in this traditionally patriarchal society. » Full Story

Young conductor surrounded by kids with violinsMacArthur Fellow an Advocate for Music Education

Violist, violinist, and music educator Sebastian Ruth is among the 23 new MacArthur Fellows for 2010.  He was awarded for providing richly rewarding musical experiences and education for urban youth and their families while forging new roles beyond the concert hall. » Watch video


Youthful-looking old womanLiving to 100 and Beyond

Want to know what it’s like to live to be 100? Eight centenarians share their joys, sorrows, and the overall richness of their long lives.
» Full Story


police sitting with babiesIn Rough Slum, Brazil’s Police Try Soft Touch

Years of hate and mistrust are thawing in some of Rio’s most violent slums. The peace officers -who come in after the military police clear the streets in gun battles - do part traditional policing, part social work. They devote themselves to winning over residents scarred by decades of violence.  » Full Story


Old bald man smilingHe invites suicide jumpers for a cup of tea

Don Ritchie bought his house for the beautiful views it affords of Sydney Harbor and "the Gap," the tall sandstone cliffs that guard the harbor mouth. Rather than simply admiring those views, though, he has spent the past 40 or so years persuading tortured souls not to jump to their deaths.  » Full Story


Old man and teacher surrounded by paper cranesGratitude Takes Flight

It would take two decades for the students of Mrs. Olson's social studies class at Calle Mayor Middle School in Torrance to fully comprehend how their act of kindness would reverberate through the years. In 1989 they sent 1,000 paper cranes to Gerald Felando to help speed along his recovery from cancer.  » Full Story


Rabbi in hat speaking to Palestinian farmer in his carRabbis for Human Rights

The Op-Ed Columnist Nicholas D. Kristof sees how Rabbis for Human Rights are a voice of conscience in the West Bank, protecting Palestinian farmers from some hostile Jewish settlers.  » Watch video


Chocolate chip and cricket cookiesWould You Like Flies With That? Bug Eaters Try to Get Some Buzz

Marc Dennis digs bugs. He's making "chocolate chirp cookies"—with crickets inside—for a coming art festival. For Mr. Dennis, the challenge is convincing those around him that bugs are tasty, and good for you, too—high in protein, low in fat, cheap and good for the environment. » Full Story


designer holding a plastic model with leather cover for a prosthetic leg3-D Printing Spurs a Manufacturing Revolution

A 3-D printer, which has nothing to do with paper printers, creates an object by stacking one layer of material — typically plastic or metal — on top of another. One company is using advances in this technology to create customized prosthetic limbs with "a level of humanity." » Full Story


Several books on a tableA Novel Approach: Free Books For Donations

While most publishers are trying to figure out how to remain profitable these days, the Concord Free Press, has been publishing books and giving them away for free. But customers are asked for something in return: A book in exchange for a donation.  » Full Story


Ramadan decorations in LebanonScenes of Ramadan

From Palestine to India, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, the United States and many other areas, see a series of photos celebrating the first day of Ramadan. » Full Story


Man and Woman contemplating all sorts of things to buyBut Will it Make You Happy?

Read how the Strobels felt caught in a “work-spend treadmill” and how they got out of it. New studies of consumption and happiness show that people are happier when they spend money on experiences instead of material objects, when they relish what they plan to buy long before they buy it, and when they stop trying to outdo the Joneses. » Full Story


man at desk in background with folders of job possibilities in frontBeing Grateful to Have a Job — And Helping Others Find One

After a week of being on vacation, far away from the office and chores at home, Sarah Needleman is glad to be back to her regular routine – and not just because she loves her job. Thinking about others not as fortunate as she provided her with a strong incentive to make a greater effort to help laid-off people secure new positions whenever possible. » Full Story


Two pairs of hands clasping lightlyFirms Help Workers Provide End-Of-Life Care

Juggling a caregiving role with a full-time job is daunting. But it can be even more difficult working during the end stages of a loved one's life. Some companies are exploring end-of-life initiatives to help their employees manage the ultimate transition. » Full Story


man on a canoe just watching the scenery go byOutdoors and Out of Reach, Studying the Brain

For the first time in three days in the wilderness, Mr. Braver is not wearing his watch. “I forgot,” he says. It is a small thing, the kind of change many vacationers notice in themselves as they unwind and lose track of time. But for Mr. Braver and his companions, these moments lead to a question: What is happening to our brains? » Full Story


hand drawing a cartoon of a dogCartoonist Patrick McDonnell

McDonnell says when he sits at the drawing table it is like a meditation; the cartoons are like little prayers to the universe.  In a new collaboration with spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle, McDonnell and his dogs and cats teach us about the here and now. » Full Story


virtual city with blooming trees - Joshus FoutsAl-Andulus 2.0

Since 2003, social medium Second Life's immersive, user-built “virtual world” has attracted some 17 million people from all over our physical world.  In a study called "Digital Diplomacy," it was found that the more time that users invest in their Second Life experiences, the more they come to express high degrees of creativity and understanding of each other. » Full Story


people talking at the View Tube cafeLondon tries next revolution in connectivity: talking, not Tweeting

Theodore Zeldin's 'Oxford Muse' program encourages deep, in-person, one-on-one conversations that promote understanding. Some participants call it 'liberating.' » Full Story


orange car with doors open - photo by Antonio CalanniDriving From Italy To China ... With No Driver

A team of Italian engineers launched what has been billed as the longest-ever test drive of driverless vehicles: a three-month, 8,000-mile road trip from Italy to China, not in search of silk, but to test the limits of future automotive technology.
» Full Audio Story


woman playing piano outside with city scape viewBach and beyond: NYers plink on public pianos

NEW YORK — Amid an urban orchestra of honking cabs, sirens and jackhammers, piano lovers plinked out tunes from Bach's "Minuet in G" to Elton John's "Rocket Man" on the first day dozens of public pianos were placed at New York City landmarks and parks for a public art project. » Full Story


Woman nose to nose with a giant tortoiseElke Riesterer massages humans and other animals

A "citizen of the world" born in Germany, Elke Riesterer believes that elephants, giraffes, tortoises, rhinos, lizards and other sentient beings she tenderly massages at the Oakland Zoo and elsewhere should be engaged as equals. To do otherwise only increases pain and suffering in the world. » Full Story


Black football player in blue uniform kicking ball Soccor Savior

Africa's greatest star, Didier Drogba, didn't single-handedly end his country's civil war, but such is the respect he commands that when he called for Ivorians to look beyond what divided them, the people listened.

» Full Story


women in black headscarves working and laughing togetherWorking to Help a Haven for Afghan Women Blossom

KABUL, Afghanistan — There was in the city an old garden, and in that garden there were trees, and under the trees there were women, free from male scrutiny.  Now this oasis of freedom for women, surrounded by the misogynist desert of the capital city, is undergoing a rebirth. » Full Story

green plant with white flowersThis Is Not a Weed

Plants that spontaneously grow in the city are marvels of adaptation. What can we learn from them? The very characteristics of "invasive, noxious, and weed" plants that most people deride are ones that Del Tredici admires. He calls area with these plants “emergent forests,” valuable ecosystems.

» Full Story


little boy grinning and shaking a handMaking Ezra Frech's Dream Come True

Four-year-old Ezra Frech was born with an indomitable spirit.  He does not let his missing leg interfere with his active life, and says being different is “no big deal.”  When he meets his basketball hero, it’s hard to distinguish one hero from the other. » Full Story


middle-aged blond woman with her arm around an elderly woman.Listening to (and Saving) the World’s Languages

Some experts believe New York is home to as many as 800 languages. In an effort to keep those voices alive, Professor Kaufman has helped start a project, the Endangered Language Alliance, to identify and record dying languages, many of which have no written alphabet, and encourage native speakers to teach them to compatriots. » Full Story


deep in the green woodsLessons From the Lost

In Virginia there are now more missing Alzheimer’s patients than missing children.  Law enforcement officers there are learning how to search for missing persons who may not know they are lost.  » Full Story