Good News

Good News of the Week: UPDATE: ‘Golden Voice’ Ted Williams – Once Homeless Now Giving Back and more

Top 10 Good News Stories of the Week

  1. Man Offers His House to Homeless Family for a Year (Watch)
    Tony Tolbert, a Harvard-educated lawyer in Los Angeles, decided to move into his mother’s home so he could offer his own fully-furnished house to a homeless family of five, and give it to them rent-free for a year.
  2. UPDATE: ‘Golden Voice’ Ted Williams Once Homeless Now Gives Back Do you remember the story two years ago about the homeless man with the golden voice who was discovered pan-handling for change on a cold Ohio street? It turns out, he didn’t fall back into old habits and end up on the street again as some had worried. Williams now helps the homeless and the addicted whenever he can. He maintains an apartment and continues recording voice-overs for Kraft Mac and Cheese commercials.
  3. High School Boy Broadcasts Compliments for Students Having Bad Day To combat bullying and to simply cheer up students at his high school, Jeremiah Anthony set up a Twitter Account a year and a half ago that posts compliments about kids and teachers.
  4. After Fighting To Go To School, Young Pakistani Builds Her Own

    Beyond grade five, Humaira Bachal’s mother hid her daughter’s schooling and endured beatings from her husband when the truth was discovered. Since finishing high school, Humaira, 25, has become a crusader for education going door-to-door asking other fathers to send their daughters to school.

  5. iTube Lab App Detects Allergens in Food
    Do you have a serious food allergy and want to know if there’s any culprits in your cookie? Now there’s an app for that. It will take you 20 minutes to get the answer using a new application developed by UCLA researchers for your smartphone.
  6. Why a German Pilot Escorted a U.S. Bomber to Safety in World War II
    Once in a while, you hear an old war story that restores your faith in humanity. A new book explores the incredible encounter of two WWII pilots in mid-air — a rookie American on his first bombing mission, piloting a crippled aircraft that was missing an engine and a German flying ace who not only saluted, then spared the rookie, but escorted him out of enemy airspace.
  7. High-tech Shack Brings Solar Power to Slums
    An innovative approach to housing is being tested in the windswept slum of Enkanini, in South Africa. The iShack — with rooftop solar panel, outdoor security light and slanted roof for rainwater harvesting — was developed nearby, at the University of Stellenbosch as an initiative of the HOPE Project. (CNN)
  8. Wonderful Love Story to Kick-start the New Year, from Richard Branson
    Sir Richard Branson shares the story of Pankaj Shah, a generous guy who, whenever he eats in restaurants, pays the bill for whichever couple looks most in love. Recently back in Boston for the first time in three years, the manager came over and explained how a couple for which he had previously paid the bill were back in the restaurant. (Virgin blog)
  9. Big Banks Agree to Pay $8 bil To Homeowners After Foreclosure Abuse

    Ten of the major American banks have agreed to pay $8.5 billion after an investigation into the abuse of homeowners during foreclosures on mortgages during the recent housing crisis. According to the Fed, $3.3 billion of the settlement will be direct payments to eligible borrowers and $5.2 billion will go toward other assistance, such as loan modifications and forgiveness of deficiency judgments. Bank of America also agreed to pay Fannie Mae billions of dollars and to buy back billions more in shoddy mortgage. (NPR)

  10. Ten Resolutions The Most Successful People Make And Then Keep

    New Year’s resolutions. Some of us will vow to eat less, exercise more, live in the moment, be more grateful. But what about your New Year’s business resolutions? Here are ten of the most important ones, from one entrepreneur to another… (Forbes)

Video of the Week: Mormons Skip Church for Weeks to Volunteer for Families Flooded by Sandy

Thousands of Mormons volunteered for weeks following Hurricane Sandy, assisting the devastated families in digging out their flooded homes. A beautiful video was made on November 11th, when thousands of these church members cancelled their Sunday services and arrived by air, bus and train from all across the country to help. (Watch With a Box of Tissues!)

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9 Women Secretly Deliver Cakes to Poor People for 30 Years; Plus, Top 10 Good News Stories of the Week!

One update on a story last week: So many people heard about the 9-year-old school lunch blogger after intense media exposure, that she raised £100,000 to feed lunches to thousands of African children… I love this job. Enjoy these news stories, sure to be even better. xxoo Geri
Top 10 Good News Stories of the Week

  1. Healthiest Meal Ever: Scientist-Devised Menu Includes 222 Health Claims

    Food researchers pored over thousands of health claims for various food items and found only 222 that were judged to have basis in scientific fact — and from these they have concocted a menu that is being hailed as the healthiest ever.

  2. Women Secretly Deliver Cakes to Poor Families for Over 34 Years For more than three decades, nine women have been secretly baking and delivering hundreds of pound cakes in the middle of the night to people in Tennessee who could benefit from knowing that somebody out there loves them. They also secretly pay utility bills for widows or single moms in need. In all, they have contributed nearly $900,000 to the happiness of others.
  3. Unemployed Veteran Posts Army Medal on eBay And Gets Huge Bid
    Unable to find a job after he was laid off from his retail position, a former Iraqi vet put an Army medal, received during his 2008-09 deployment, on eBay. There were no bids for days until a news reporter told his story.
  4. ‘Water-less Shower’ Invented by African College Student
    Inspired by a friend who was too lazy to take a shower, a South African university student has won global recognition for an invention that takes the water out of bathing. His product, called DryBath, has wide application in the developing world where basic hygiene is lacking and millions do not have regular access to water.
  5. Bullies Taunting Bus Driver Goes Viral, $600,000 Raised for a Vacation
    A former bus driver, who in her senior years works as a bus monitor, sat patiently through ten minutes of relentless and brutal bullying by middle school kids on her route, as a video camera rolled. The video went viral and an online social media community so sympathized with her that they raised money to send her on a vacation — to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  6. Couple Plans Honeymoon Taking Strangers to Breakfast Across America
    This July, after an Oregon couple walk down the aisle, they will hit the open road on a unique journey from Portland, Ore., to Portland, Maine, taking a leap of faith with dozens of people they have never met. The leap? The new bride and groom will sit down to breakfast with strangers across America and select 50 of those breakfasts to highlight in a book, Breakfast with Strangers: 50 Meals across America.
  7. Find Health and Happiness on a Walk in the Woods Do you want to be happier, healthier, and smarter? I have just the prescription for you: add a daily dose of nature to your routine. Over the past decade, researchers from fields as diverse as biology, psychiatry, horticulture, neuroscience and medicine have discovered countless links between time spent outdoors and cognitive, physical, and emotional improvement.
  8. Tennessee Community Saves Elderly Woman From Eviction
    It was a house she and her late husband built in 1956. Mary Cate Jones had spent the past few weeks packing up memories and preparing for a forced eviction from the home where she lived in Tennessee for 56 years. But after her plight was featured in the local paper last month, donations began pouring in. (Video)
  9. Plasticity Conference Showcases a Green Future for Plastics at Rio+20

    Last week, 50,000 leaders in government, business and the environment gather for the Rio+20 Earth Summit UN conference. What is new this year is a one-day creative break-out session focused entirely on the future of plastics — how to use bio-waste instead of oil to make them, and how to get more of it recycled — including new initiatives in design, packaging, recovery, and reuse.

  10. 20 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity
    An online pop culture editor posted a collection of 20+ heartwarming photos to illustrate inspiring stories of kindness. (Buzzfeed)

Video of the Week: Homeless Shelter Kids Surprised by New Computer Lab Donated by Dell

Covenant House is an L.A. shelter that serves homeless and disadvantaged youth. When the team at Dell found out that the shelter’s computer lab was in desperate need of an upgrade — and still using floppy disks — they donated all new equipment to create a state of the art classroom where the young people can pursue job skills, high school GED diplomas, and entrepreneurial dreams. (Watch the inspiring moment)

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Meditation Research: Mechanisms of white matter changes induced by meditation


Mechanisms of white matter changes induced by meditation

  1. Yi-Yuan Tanga,b,c,1,
  2. Qilin Lub,
  3. Ming Fand,
  4. Yihong Yange, and
  5. Michael I. Posnerc,1

+ Author Affiliations

  1. aDepartment of Psychology, Texas Tech Neuroimaging Institute, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409;

  2. bInstitute of Neuroinformatics and Laboratory for Body and Mind, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116024, China;

  3. cDepartment of Psychology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403;

  4. dInstitute of Basic Medical Sciences, Beijing 100850, China; and

  5. eNeuroimaging Research Branch, National Institute on Drug Abuse-Intramural Research Program, Baltimore, MD 21224
  1. Contributed by Michael I. Posner, May 9, 2012 (sent for review April 6, 2012)


Using diffusion tensor imaging, several recent studies have shown that training results in changes in white matter efficiency as measured by fractional anisotropy (FA). In our work, we found that a form of mindfulness meditation, integrative body–mind training (IBMT), improved FA in areas surrounding the anterior cingulate cortex after 4-wk training more than controls given relaxation training. Reductions in radial diffusivity (RD) have been interpreted as improved myelin but reductions in axial diffusivity (AD) involve other mechanisms, such as axonal density. We now report that after 4-wk training with IBMT, both RD and AD decrease accompanied by increased FA, indicating improved efficiency of white matter involves increased myelin as well as other axonal changes. However, 2-wk IBMT reduced AD, but not RD or FA, and improved moods. Our results demonstrate the time-course of white matter neuroplasticity in short-term meditation. This dynamic pattern of white matter change involving the anterior cingulate cortex, a part of the brain network related to self-regulation, could provide a means for intervention to improve or prevent mental disorders.

9-Year-old Silenced By Politicians Has Changed School Lunches Forever; Plus, Top 10 Good News Stories of the Week!

This week the Summer Solstice brings with it the most light of any day all year (for the Northern Hemisphere), offering great cheer — but, during the same week that Paul McCartney turned 70, which makes me feel very old! The good news is that still-handsome ‘Macca’ looks like he’s 55. (It’s all that vegetarian food.) Glad tidings to him, and all who have a landmark birthday in June. xxoo Geri
Top 10 Good News Stories of the Week

  1. Hiker Finds Stolen Picasso in the Woods
    A hiker in the hills found a Pablo Picasso lithograph worth tens of thousands of dollars missing since teens broke into a California mansion.
  2. 9-Year-old Silenced By Politicians Has Changed School Lunches Forever A new blog started by a 9-year-old in western Scotland shows daily photos of the lunch plates she was being served in her public school. Just started in early May, her lunch photos went viral in days. She had a million viewers within a few weeks; was written up in major magazines; and won the support of TV chef Jamie Oliver, who kicked off school-food reform in England.
  3. Aussies Petition and Secure Historic Marine Protection for Coral Sea
    Pushed by a chorus of 486,900 citizens, the Australian government announced their intention to create the world’s largest marine reserve, a highly protected zone in the Coral Sea stretching almost 200,000 square miles in one of the last remaining ecosystems in the world where populations of large ocean predators – sharks, tunas, and marlin – still thrive.
  4. China Unearths 100 Life-Size Terracotta Warriors
    Chinese archaeologists have unearthed 110 new terracotta warriors that laid buried since 210-209 BC, part of the famed army built to guard the tomb of China’s first emperor. The life-size figures were excavated by archaeologists near the site where in the 1970’s farmers found the first bits of a terracotta army, including chariots with full-size horses.
  5. Brazilian Slum Landfill Turned into Park by Volunteers
    A former landfill in a Rio de Janeiro slum has been turned into a park thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers. People came here to get rid of old refrigerators, stoves, tires and even their dead dogs, said Mauro Quintanilha, a musician and craftsman who started the initiative to create a green oasis out of the pungent garbage dump. (MNN)
  6. ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish’: The Best Quotes From Graduation 2012
    Steve Jobs, Winston Churchill, and J.K. Rowling have all lit fires in the bellies of graduates with their words. Whether or not you’ve walked across that stage, commencement speeches can be helpful, no matter your age. Watch this inspiring homage to college graduation, featuring some of the best moments from the 2012 season on video.
  7. World’s Oldest Body-Building Grandma Shows How to be Healthy, Happy She started body-building at age 71 and begins every day with a ten-mile run. At 75, this Baltimore grandmother has made it her mission to teach others how to to be healthy, happy and prosperous. Age is just a number, Miss Ernie tells the class at her church. (Video)
  8. Surprise Marriage Proposal for Fan at Foster the People Concert
    Will Staney contacted the rock band, Foster the People, via Twitter asking if he could ‘pop the question’ to his girlfriend on their stage during an upcoming show. Mark Foster was happy to oblige, and gave backstage passes to Will and his friends. His girlfriend of two years had no idea why the singer suddenly called out to Will to join him onstage in front of thousands of screaming fans. (Video)
  9. Swimming Off Mogadishu, a Sense of Hope Returns to SomaliaWith almost a thousand newly trained government troops, augmented by thousands of African peacekeepers, Mogadishu, the war torn capital of Somalia, and former jewel of the Indian Ocean, has a newfound sense of liberation these days, since al Qaeda-linked rebels were forced out last year. (Reuters)
  10. Homeless Man Finds $77,000, Gets to Keep it
    A homeless man who stumbled on $77,000 in a city park in a Texan town may now keep the money, the City Council decided last week. (MSNBC)

Video of the Week: Brilliant Mr. Rogers Remix: Garden of Your Mind

When PBS discovered video mash-up artist John D. Boswell on YouTube, they immediately hoped to collaborate. It turns out that Boswell is a huge Mister Rogers Neighborhood fan, and was thrilled to get the opportunity to pay tribute to the Public Television hero. This is the first in a planned series of PBS icons set to be remixed using auto-tune to transform words into musical tones. (Listen and enjoy!)

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