Photos of the Day




A Farm Grows in Brooklyn—On the Roof

Harvesting lettuce at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s 20,000-square-foot vegetable garden atop McCormick Place West, courtesy CBG

Harvesting lettuce at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s 20,000-square-foot vegetable garden atop McCormick Place West, courtesy CBG

“Five years ago, there were virtually no rooftop farms,” Steven Peck, founder and president of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, told National Geographic. “Now they are starting to appear across the globe… as fossil fuels become more expensive and the number of urban dwellers continues to rise, urban farming will help feed the population without increasing the cost and pollution of food transport.”

Rooftop farming was born out of the green-roof movement, in which building owners partially or completely cover roofs with vegetation atop special waterproof membranes. Green roofs use plants and flowers to provide insulation, create a habitat for local wildlife, help control runoff, put more oxygen into the atmosphere—and provide a welcome, verdant break from urban drabness.

Rooftop farms take the green-roof concept a step further, with plots that provide fruits and vegetables for local residents and the chance for urban volunteers to become part-time farmers. “There is nothing more rewarding than sitting down at the end of a good day of working with our hands, watching the sun set over a healthy, productive farm, and enjoying some freshly picked vegetables as a team,” said Anastasia Cole Plakias, vice president and founding partner of Brooklyn Grange, the world’s largest rooftop farm.

The grange covers 2.5 acres (one hectare) on two buildings in New York City. More than 50,000 pounds of organically cultivated produce are grown there annually, for sale to local restaurants and at the grange’s own farm stand. Chicken coops and more than 30 beehives round out the urban farming experience.

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Giving Your Ideas Some Legs: Study Finds Walking Improves Creativity

Walking to Improve Running460

Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple, was known for his walking meetings. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has also been seen holding meetings on foot. And perhaps you’ve paced back and forth on occasion to drum up ideas.

A new study by Stanford researchers found support for the intuitive urge to move. Creativity levels in people rose by an average of 60 percent if they walked instead of staying seated.

The study, co-authored by Marily Oppezzo, a Stanford doctoral graduate in educational psychology, and Daniel Schwartz, a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Education, found that walking indoors or outdoors similarly boosted creative inspiration. The act of walking itself, and not the environment, was the main factor. Across the board, creativity levels were consistently and significantly higher for those walking compared to those sitting.


Blind People Describe Beauty As ‘Joy,’ ‘Truth,’ And ‘Feeling Alive’

Happy Earth Day!

In 1970, surrounded by polluted water and air, 20 million Americans observed the first Earth Day. The movement’s leader, Sen. Gaylord Nelson, with the support of 2000 colleges and 10,000 public schools, persuaded U.S. politicians that environmental legislation had a substantial constituency. Within two years, we saw the passage of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, establishment of the EPA, the ban on DDT, and the reduction of lead from paint. Today Earth Day is celebrated annually around the globe.

10 Ways to Show Love to Someone With Depression


1. Help them keep clutter at bay.

When a person begins spiraling into depression, they may feel like they are slowing down while the world around them speeds up. The mail may end up in stacks, dishes can pile up in the sink, laundry may go undone as the depressed person begins to feel more and more overwhelmed by their daily routine and unable to keep up. By giving your loved one some extra help sorting mail, washing dishes or using paper plates and keeping chaos in check in general, you’ll be giving them (and yourself) the gift of a calm environment.

2. Fix them a healthy meal.

Your loved one may do one of two things when they are in a depressed state. They may eat very little, or they may overeat. In either case, they may find that driving through a fast food restaurant or ordering a pizza online is just easier than fixing a meal. Eating like this, or neglecting to eat will only degrade your partner’s health, causing her to go deeper into her depression. Help your loved one keep her body healthy, and her mind will follow. This is a great article that talks about the “Brain Diet” which can help the symptoms of depression, and this article talks about how our modern diet could contribute to the recent rise in depression.

3. Get them outside.

The benefits of getting outside for a depressed person are huge. And it is possibly the last thing on earth they’ll want to do. Take them to be somewhere in nature. Pack a picnic and lie in the sun, take a leisurely hike, or plant a garden. Sunshine increases Vitamin D production which can help alleviate depression.

4. Ask them to help you understand what they’re feeling.

If your loved one is able to articulate what they are going through, it will help them and you better understand what you are dealing with, and may give insight into a plan of action. Also, feeling alone is common for a depressed person and anything that combats that feeling will help alleviate the severity and length of the depression.

5. Encourage them to focus on self-care.

Depressed people often stop taking care of themselves. Showering, getting haircuts, going to the doctor or dentist, it’s all just too hard, and they don’t deserve to be well taken care of anyway in their minds. This can snowball quickly into greater feelings of worthlessness since “Now I’m such a mess, no one could ever love me”. Help your loved one by being proactive. Tell them “I’m going to do the dishes, why don’t you go enjoy a bubble bath?” can give them the permission they won’t give themselves to do something normal, healthy and self-loving.

6. Hug them.

Studies show that a sincere hug that lasts longer than 20 seconds can release feel-good chemicals in the brain and elevate the mood of the giver and receiver. Depressed people often don’t want to be touched, but a sincere hug with no expectation of anything further can give them a lift.

7. Laugh with them.

Telling a silly joke, watching a comedy or seeing a stand up comedian will encourage your loved one to laugh in spite of themself. Laughing releases endorphins and studies show can actually counteract symptoms of depression and anxiety.

8. Reassure them that you can handle their feelings.

Your loved one may be feeling worthless, angry and even guilty while they are depressed. They may be afraid that they will end up alone because no one will put up with their episodes forever. Reassure them that you are in the relationship for the long haul and they won’t scare you away because they have an illness.

9. Challenge their destructive thoughts.

A depressed person’s mind can be a never-ending loop of painful, destructive thoughts. “I’m unlovable, I’m a failure, I’m ugly, I’m stupid.” Challenge these untruths with the truth. “You’re not unlovable, I love you. You aren’t a failure, here are all the things you’ve accomplished.”

10. Remind them why you love them.

Look at pictures of happy times you’ve had together. Tell them your favorite things about them. Reminisce about your relationship and all the positive things that have happened, and remind them that you love them and they will get through this.


To Make You Smile…

The Fear Zone

Ever felt the fear? I know I have. Sometimes I feel like it’s a relative I know well. Although this video is intended to advertise, John Assaraf always inspires with his insight, encouragement and knowledge. John’s 5 tips for overcoming the fear zone:

  1. Become aware of the fear.
  2. Take responsibility for the negative thoughts.
  3. Re-frame your experience; understand that your brain is feeling overwhelmed and trying to return to something familiar. Take it one step at a time, one moment at a time, one day at a time.
  4. Ride the emotional wave, but don’t buy into it.
  5. Retrain your brain to push yourself through the fear.

“The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out … and do it.” –Susan J. Jeffers 


The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out … and do it.



Kakenya Ntaiya: A Girl Who Demanded School

This TED Talk is one of the most powerful speeches I have ever heard. Some of it is hard to hear, so bear that in mind if children are nearby, but it is worth it beyond measure. Kakenya Ntaiya is an inspiration to say the least.

“I want to challenge you to be the first, because people will follow you. Be bold! Stand up! Be fearless! Be confident!” –Kakenya Ntaiya

Perfectly Timed Photos



Feb. 09, 2012 - Birmingham, England, United Kingdom - This is the incredible photo of an otter seeking guidance by praying. This once in a lifetime snap was taken by Hertfordshire based photographer Marac Andrev Kolodzinski. Marac had to wait over two hours in the freezing cold before he captured the divine moment. .(Credit Image: © Marac Kolodzinski/Caters News/










white-humpback-whale-albino-migaloo(albino whale)

Unique Festival Lets Artists Trade Their Work for Healthcare

painting_a_mural-ThirteenOrgVideoMore than 100 musicians, painters and performers took part this year in the second annual “O+” Festival in Kingston, New York. Named for the blood type, the festival allows artists to barter their works and performances for health care in the form of back adjustments, blood work, dental fillings and eye exams.

Kingston dentist Thomas Cingel initially came up with the idea as a way to lure artists upstate. Dr. Cingel settled in the Hudson Valley for its natural beauty, yet missed the big city’s music scene. In May 2010 he emailed a Brooklyn indie band, promising them dental services in exchange for playing a Kingston show. From there, the idea has grown.

Treatments will include everything from basic physicals to orthopedic work. If an artist needs a more serious procedure, caregivers will schedule follow-up appointments. “Artists should not be falling through the cracks,” said Dr. Art Chandler III, director of hospitalists at Columbia Memorial Hospital in Hudson, N.Y., and overseer of the festival’s clinic. “They contribute so much to what makes a community worth living in.”



Thought for the Day


Man’s Best Friend From the Very Beginning




Inspiring Videos

I. Good Karma Can Save Your Life

A Thailand television commercial tells a moving story about a shopkeeper who gives to others without hope of return. The three-minute film was made by TrueMove H, the cellular company.

II. GoPro: Fireman Saves Kitten

Thought for the Day

tree-clip-art-14“However you may be, serve yourself as your own source of experience. Throw off discontent with your nature, forgive yourself your own ego, for in any event you possess in yourself a ladder with a hundred rungs upon which you can climb to knowledge… You have it in your hands to achieve the absorption of all you experience – your experiments, errors, faults, delusions, passions, your love and your hope… Only when you grow old will you come to realize how you have given ear to the voice of nature.”Nietzsche 

UBC Professor Expanding Nutritional Program to a Quarter-Million Rwandan Children

Judy McLean, an assistant professor in UBC’s faculty of land and food systems, with a Rwandan mother and her children. UNICEF and the government of Rwanda have invited a professor from the University of B.C. to expand a 12-month nutritional pilot study involving 1,100 children into a national program for nearly half a million toddlers aged six months to two years.

Judy McLean, an assistant professor in UBC’s faculty of land and food systems, with a Rwandan mother and her children. UNICEF and the government of Rwanda have invited a professor from the University of B.C. to expand a 12-month nutritional pilot study involving 1,100 children into a national program for nearly half a million toddlers aged six months to two years.

UNICEF and the government of Rwanda have invited a professor from the University of B.C. to expand a 12-month nutritional pilot study involving 1,100 children into a national program for nearly half a million toddlers aged six months to two years.

“I presented the results in June to the government of Rwanda and the implementing partners and we were able to show a significant improvement in hemoglobin and significant decrease in the prevalence of anemia in kids who received micro-nutrient powders,” said Judy McLean, an assistant professor in UBC’s faculty of land and food systems. “Now, Rwanda wants to scale up to most of the country. I just got the email this morning,” she said earlier this week.

Malnutrition among young people in the tiny central African nation of 11 million is widespread, especially anemia, which affects 70 per cent of Rwandan children, said McLean. The staple diet of rural Rwandans consists of potatoes and bananas, with few nutritious vegetables and little or no meat. Anemia in small children can permanently affect brain development, cognition and growth. The solution costs a little more than a penny per day, about $6.75 per child for the 18-month program. Community health workers provide nutritional counseling and training to parents, a program developed in the field during the past three years by McLean and a team of students from UBC’s International Nutrition Group.

With instruction, mothers mix a small sachet containing powered micro-nutrients — vitamins and minerals, especially iron — into their child’s food every second day. The sachets are manufactured in India for about 2.5 cents each. “The packet is about the size of an artificial sweetener,” she said. “They are fortifying their food at home because they don’t buy fortified foods, like we buy.”

Popular in the developed world, infant cereals, such as the well-known Canadian creation Pablum, are fortified with iron and a variety of vitamins. “These are the first foods we give our children. But poor, subsistence farmers don’t have access to these products,” she said.

About 40,000 Rwandan children in six districts have started the micro-nutrient program during the past year, including the children in the pilot study. McLean is returning to Rwanda in October to create a plan to scale up the program for all children in the target age group in 10 more districts, to a total of 250,000 children. “My goal is to reach all the kids in this age range in Rwanda,” she said. “That’s the age range when the prevalence of anemia is the highest and (the children) have the most to gain. We see the improvement, mothers see it, the kids are more active. We had a really positive response.”

Funding is being sought from the Dutch government for the expansion, while the government of Rwanda has signaled its intention to incorporate the program into its universal health care system. It was an audience with then-Rwandan health minister Richard Sezibera three years ago that opened the door for McLean’s pilot project. “I had long had this idea in my head that this needed to happen in Rwanda, and I knew I had to get to the highest office possible,” said McLean. “(Sezibera) gave the approval and then (UNICEF) was able to support me.”

McLean has subsequently started similar initiatives in Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Zambia and Laos, and hopes to expand to countries across sub-Saharan Africa.


Boy Author Raises $400K for Sick Friend

Friendship_is_so_chocolate_barLast year, while in first grade, Dylan Siegel’s best friend was diagnosed with a rare illness called glycogen storage disease type 1B, a rare liver disorder that doesn’t have a cure.

Dylan, six-years-old at the time, was determined to do something about that. To the surprise of his parents, he wrote a book. “Chocolate Bar” the book has since exploded, with t-shirt sales and a website helping to raise money. The book costs $20 with all proceeds going toward finding a cure. “Chocolate Bar” has now raised an incredible $400,000, to the delight of researchers studying the disease.

“He’s raised more money for this disease than all the medical foundations and all the grants combined,” said Dr. David Weinstein, who studies and treats patients with the disease at the University of Florida. “Ever.”

With the money, Weinstein already has hired new staff.

For more info visit


Amazing Street Art







Things to See

Leshan China, Buddha

Leshan China (Buddha)

Odle Mountains, Italy

Odle Mountains, Italy

Antelope Canyon, USA

Antelope Canyon, USA

Birdseye View

Ever wished to be a bird, if only just for a minute?