Hero Firefighter Reunited with Boy He Saved

Late last year a Boston firefighter, Lt. Glenn McGillivray, was reunited with 6-year-old Xavier Lara, the boy he caught from the third floor of a burning apartment building.

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Spotlight on Change.org

Change.org is a website that aims to promote social change by the use of online petitions. Its stated mission is to “empower anyone, anywhere to start, join, and win campaigns for social change.” In addition, “millions of people sign petitions on Change.org each month on thousands of issues, winning campaigns every day to advance change locally and globally.” Their top causes range from economic and criminal justice, human rights, education, the environment, animals, health, and sustainable food. Change.org claims over 100 successful campaigns so far. There is power in the people!

Success Story Example

On October 1, 2011 Molly Katchpole, a “22 year old nanny with two jobs” in Washington DC, started a petition on Change.org “asking Bank of America and their CEO Bryan Moynihan to drop its unexpected new $5/month banking fee” for debit card customers. Less than 1 month later, 300,000 signatures were collected and resulted in Bank of America formally announcing to drop the new banking fee. President Barack Obama signed the petition, US Senator Durbin, Illinois responded to Bank of America and the petition on Twitter, and it prompted Congress to “look at legislation for out-of-control banking fees.”

Check it out and see what causes you’d like to be a part of – there are many! Visit Change.org.

Source: http://www.wikipedia.org

What’s Your Personal Mission Statement?

I recently read an article in Glamour magazine written by Bethenny Frankel titled “You Need a Personal Mission Statement.” Upon reading I was inspired to write my own mission statement. After doing some digging to help authenticate my own, I found this very helpful website created by FranklinCovey (a company modeled in part on the writings of Benjamin Franklin, and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, based on Covey’s research). The website offers an easy to use questionnaire system that helps focus your thoughts and pinpoint your goals and desires for your own life. You can choose to do one for yourself and even one for your family. Not only is it fun, but the way the questions are read back to you at the end illuminates a better understanding of who you are and the specifics of what you want for your life. It’s fun to do with your spouse and children too! Click this link: http://www.franklincovey.com/msb/ (“Build Yours Now”)

Bethenny Frankel Says You Need a Personal Mission Statement (Glamour Magazine article)

When I was a contestant on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, I was dying to win. I was sure it would launch my career and save me from failure and poverty, but I only made runner-up—meaning no job, no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It was a low moment: My life wasn’t where I wanted it to be, and the rent was coming due. So I decided I would make chicken salad out of chickensh*t. That I would determine my future. I told myself, You are destined for something special. But no one can do it for you, and no one can save you. You have to save yourself. This became my mission statement, and it meant that whether I was hawking pashminas and trying to be an actress or managing a failing health-food restaurant and testing recipes on the side, I was sticking to my mission to support myself on my terms. I was on track.

We all know that life is about the journey, but having a destination in mind gives a sense of order, structure and, crucially, calm. Plenty of people have a mission statement, even if they don’t call it that. My friend Ellen DeGeneres seems to live by “Be kind. Be unique. Make the impossible happen.”

So think about what you want. It doesn’t matter how you come to it: Meditate, jot down what’s important, go to therapy. Tell everyone or write it on a piece of paper and bury it in the ground. Just live your mission in your own way, and try to see everything you do as a part of it. Then when your job feels like a dead end, you’ll know it’s just a bump. Or if some guy breaks your heart, your mission—having a supportive partner and father for your kids—will remind you that you had been barking up the wrong tree anyway. Set a solid course for yourself. Then embrace everything life hands you—and when in doubt, consult your mission statement. It has the answer.*

Ancient Plants Back to Life After 30,000 Frozen Years

Scientists in Russia have grown plants from fruit stored away in permafrost by squirrels over 30,000 years ago. The fruit was found in the banks of the Kolyma River in Siberia, a top site for people looking for mammoth bones. The Institute of Cell Biophysics team raised plants of Silene stenophylla – of the campion family – from the fruit. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) notes this as the oldest plant material by far to have been brought to life. Prior to this, the record lay with date palm seeds stored for 2,000 years at Masada in Israel.

The squirrels appear to have stashed their store in the coldest part of their burrow, which subsequently froze permanently, presumably due to a cooling of the local climate. “This is by far the most extraordinary example of extreme longevity for material from higher plants,” commented Robin Probert, head of conservation and technology at the UK’s Millennium Seed Bank. “We’d predict that seeds would stay viable for thousands, possibly tens of thousands of years – I don’t think anyone would expect hundreds of thousands of years,” said Dr Probert. “[So] there is an opportunity to resurrect flowering plants that have gone extinct in the same way that we talk about bringing mammoths back to life, the Jurassic Park kind of idea.”

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk

Human Talents… There are SO Many

Photo of the Day

“May you live every day of your life.”
Jonathan Swift

Stanford’s MRI Lab Hosts the World’s First Love Competition

Seven contestants face off in a “love competition,” in which they cram into an MRI machine and “love” as hard as they can for five minutes while being neurochemically examined. It is adorable.

Source: http://www.popsci.com

The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”
—Randy Pausch

A lot of professors give talks titled “The Last Lecture.” Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?

When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave—“Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”—wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because “time is all you have…and you may find one day that you have less than you think”). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.

Randy’s lecture has become a phenomenon. Randy lost his battle to pancreatic cancer, but his legacy will continue to inspire us all, for generations to come.

Source: http://www.thelastlecture.com

Coca-Cola: 100-Year-Old Man Shares the Secret to Happiness (Video)

As Smartphones Get Smarter Will You Get Healtier?

The iPhone 4S's resolution (300 pixels per inch) is on par with most hospital-grade ultrasound monitors, and small screen size won't matter once projection tech takes off.

The iPhone 4S's resolution (300 pixels per inch) is on par with most hospital-grade ultrasound monitors, and small screen size won't matter once projection tech takes off.

The average auto refractor– that clunky-looking device eye doctors use to pinpoint your prescription–weighs about 40 pounds, costs $10,000, and is virtually impossible to find in a rural village in the developing world. As a result, some half a billion people are living with vision problems, which make it tough to read and work.

Ramesh Raskar knew fixing this problem would be tricky. It required a new way of thinking about eye tests–and a new kind of device, one powerful enough to support high-resolution visuals, cheap enough to scale, and simple enough to be used by just about anyone. The MIT professor briefly toyed with stand-alone options, which were complicated and costly. Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out an unexpected savior: his iPhone. “The displays had gotten so good, thanks to people wanting to watch episodes of Lost in high definition,” Raskar recalls. “I was immediately energized.”

By creating an app and attachment for the popular smartphone, Raskar could tap into a huge existing user base and skirt millions in distribution and manufacturing costs. The result: a plastic clip-on eyepiece that uses an on-screen visual test to determine a patient’s “refractive error” (a number doctors then use to dole out prescriptions). When his startup, EyeNetra, begins market testing later this year in Brazil, India, and Mexico–and eventually in the U.S.–its tech will deliver all the functionality of an optometrist’s costly machine for less than $30.

This is the thrilling, disruptive potential of “mHealth,” the rapidly growing business of using mobile technology in health care. Leveraging the wonders of a device that’s fast becoming ubiquitous–two in three people worldwide own a cell phone–a new generation of startups is building apps and add-ons that make your handheld work like high-end medical equipment. Except it’s cheaper, sleeker, and a lot more versatile. Smartphones can already track calories burned and miles run, and measure sleep patterns. By 2013, they’ll be detecting erratic heartbeats, monitoring tremors from Parkinson’s disease, and even alerting you when it’s prime time to make a baby.

Although today’s mHealth market barely tops $2 billion, experts predict that number will skyrocket over the next decade. “Why prescribe a $1,000 test in the hospital when all you need is a heart rate?” asks Leslie Saxon, a cardiologist who heads the University of Southern California’s Center for Body Computing. With inexpensive new technology, she notes, “I could tell a patient to go to the drugstore and buy an ECG [electrocardiogram] sensor for her phone.”

Can we really trust our phones to dispense medical data? That’s the question facing the FDA, which has spent the past year or so putting pioneering mHealth products through rigorous evaluations. “We had to show that our phone-computing platform and display quality were on par with existing devices,” says Sailesh Chutani, CEO of Mobisante, whose ultrasound attachment was sanctioned in January. With this first wave of devices approved and a mobile-specific set of guidelines to be finalized later this year, the FDA expects to streamline its approval process, which should juice the mHealth market.

What Dr. Smartphone Can Do For You (Click to Enlarge)

By Adam Bluestein Prop styling: Wendy Schelah For Halley Resources; Hair And Makeup: Stephanie Peterson | Photo by Dan Saelinger

By Adam Bluestein Prop styling: Wendy Schelah For Halley Resources; Hair And Makeup: Stephanie Peterson | Photo by Dan Saelinger

Source: http://www.fastcompany.com

Top 10 Reasons Coconut Oil is a Miracle of Nature

Coconut oil has a surprising number of health benefits, from relieving stress to bolstering your immune system. It’s rich in the lauric, capric and caprylic acids. These omega three fatty acids give it its antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti fungal properties. It can be used to cook food, moisturize skin, and treat infections. With all of these benefits, it’s hard to imagine why you wouldn’t add coconut oil to your life. Here are the top 10 reasons why coconut oil is a miracle of nature.

1. Improves Your Skin: Coconut oil acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skin, including dry skin. It can treat psoriasis, eczema, rosacea and even wrinkles and protects the skin from sun exposure, skin cancer, and free radical damage.

2. Helps You Lose Weight: Unlike many other common oils, like soy (vegetable) and corn that contain LCT (long-chain triglycerides ) that are typically stored as fat. Coconut oil won’t make you fat. Coconut oil contains MCT (medium-chain triglycerides), which are an easy fuel for the body to burn, without turning to fat. When you add coconut oil into your diet, you’ll feel more full and eat fewer calories over all.

3. Stress Relief: Coconut oil is very soothing so it’s an excellent massage oil for the skin. Applying coconut oil to the head followed with a gentle massage helps in removing mental fatigue. Just the natural aroma of coconuts is extremely soothing thus helping to lower your stress level.

4. Makes Your Hair Grow and Repairs Damage: Coconut oil is one of the best natural remedies for your hair. It helps in the healthy growth of new hair and provides a shiny complexion. It is an excellent conditioner and helps in the re-growth of damaged hair. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing damaged hair.

5. Anti-Aging Properties: The small molecular structure of MCTs allows for easy absorption into your skin giving it a soft, smooth, and supple texture. Coconut oil strengthens your skin’s underlying connective tissues warding off lines and wrinkles and supplies healing and repairing properties. It prevents destructive free-radical formation and limits the damage excessive sun exposure can cause and helps rejuvenate the skin by removing the outer layer of dead skin cells.

6. Improves Healing and Fights Infections: Coconut oil is very effective against a variety of infections due to its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. When applied on scrapes and cuts, coconut oil forms a thin, chemical layer which protects the wound from outside dust, bacteria and virus. Coconut oil speeds up the healing process of bruises by repairing damaged tissues.

7. Improves Digestion: Internal use of coconut oil occurs primarily as cooking oil. Coconut oil helps in improving the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion related problems including irritable bowel syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have anti-microbial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc. Coconut oil also helps in absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

8. Gives you Energy: Because of the healthy omega 3 fatty acids and the fact that it increases the metabolism, most people that switch to coconut oil feel a burst of added energy in their daily life. This is due to those MCT’s and coconut oil is nature’s richest source of them.

9. Prevents Disease: Coconut oil has been shown to prevent liver, kidney and gall bladder disease. It improves our ability to absorb important minerals needed by our bones, thus warding off osteoporosis. With its ability to increase insulin production and control blood sugar, coconut oil helps prevent and treat diabetes. Also, 6-7% of the fatty acids in coconut fat are a MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) called capric acid. Capric acid is formed into monocaprin in the human body which has been shown to have antiviral effects and is being tested for effects against herpes, chlamydia and other sexually transmitted bacteria.

10. Great for the Heart: Comprised of about 50% lauric acid, coconut oil helps control high cholesterol, high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. The saturated fats in coconut oil do not have harmful properties of those contained in other vegetable oils.

Source: http://www.organicjar.com

How to Get a $106,000 College Education for Free

Image courtesy of Flickr user elycefeliz.

Image courtesy of Flickr user elycefeliz.

How would you like to go to a private liberal arts college that will give you a full-ride tuition for four years? Sounds crazy? Well, it’s true. Antioch College in Yellow Spring, Ohio, is waiving the tuition for all its students, who enroll in the next three years. The value of the free tuition for the current year is $26,500. The scholarship, based on that price, makes each scholarship worth at least $106,000. Some students, who file financial aid applications, will capture an even greater price break. If they qualify, they may get to skip the room and board charges or pay a reduced price.

Why so generous?

Obviously, it’s unheard of for a college to offer free tuition to its all students. There is, however, an explanation for the generosity. Antioch is crawling out of the grave. Antioch College, which was originally founded by abolitionists in 1850, shut its door in 2008 after years of decline. Terrible management decisions, among other reasons, led to the closure, but tremendous financial support from dedicated alumni, who were appalled at the closure, led to its rebirth.

Antioch welcomed 35 students into its inaugural freshmen class in 2011 and it hopes to welcome another 65 to 75 students in the fall. The school’s goal is to have about 300 students attending the school by 2015. “We are a 160-year-old start-up institution with a lot of history,” says Cezar Mesquita, Antioch’s dean of admission and financial aid. The college wants to make an investment in hard-working, engaged students, “who can help restart this great institution.”

Antioch had always been known for its work cooperative program and that tradition has returned. All students will have numerous work opportunities during their four years that include, local, national and international experiences. At this point, the school offers 12 areas of concentration ranging from environmental and health sciences to languages and social sciences. The inaugural class, which hailed from states throughout the country, had an average unweighted high school GPA of 3.56 and an average ACT score of 27, which is roughly the equivalent of a 1250 on the SAT.

If you’re a high school senior, there is still time to apply! Antioch’s admission deadline is Feb. 15.

NOTE: This post on Antioch College generated so much interest that it crashed the school’s server last week. If you can’t reach the website, try the school’s Facebook page.

Source: http://www.cbsnews.com

“Fun is good.” – Dr. Seuss


Caregiver Reveals Top 5 Regrets of the Dying

Bronnie Ware is a writer and songwriter from Australia who spent several years caring for dying people in their own homes. She is the author of book, entitled The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. It is a memoir of her own life and how it was transformed based on the regrets of the dying people she cared for. For more information, please visit her website at www.bronnieware.com or her blog at www.inspirationandchai.com.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence. By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocrity. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result. We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying. It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again. When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying. Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

The True Meaning of Frienship

Friends stick together when times are tough.

Friendship is when people know all about you, but like you anyway.

Regardless of size,

How much money you have,

Shape,

Color,

Species,

Or age.

Real friends wont let you do stupid things… alone.

Real friends keep an eye out for you.

They are there when you are feeling down.

Friends are your eyes when you can’t see.

True friends are forever.