Monday, January 31, 2011

Thanks! ...

I'm sorry for not posting last week, but as I said in an email, I've been swamped with school. And that's just one class. Tonight I start the first of three concurrent classes.

So in advance of what promises to be a very busy semester, I've decided to stop updating the blog. It's not that I think it's a not worthwhile thing to do. There were so many days where I managed to pick up my own spirits looking for stories.

But despite what it may look like, this does actually take me a while to do. :) So I hope you've all enjoyed reading my updates, and I'm sorry if I've disappointed anyone. If you found this blog after this post, I encourage you to read the archives. There are some good stories in there (and I can say that because I didn't write them!).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

More found than lost...

The title that immediately sprang to mind for today's blog was "Lost and Found." But then I thought about it, and the three stories I have today are more about found than lost. Which, when you ponder further, is definitely the cooler side of those opposites.

The YouTube video above came from Yahoo! News. Todd Bieber, a film-making New Yorker, found a canister of black and white film in Brooklyn's Prospect Park after the last blizzard. Out of curiosity, he developed the negatives and found a trove of exceedingly good images, seemingly taken by two men here in the US on vacation. Bieber made a video to post online in hopes of finding the men who lost the film.

Recently there was a spate of weird fish and bird deaths in the southeastern United States. I never found out if they decided on a recent for the mysterious genocide, but I was heartened by another Yahoo! story, one highlighting the discovery of a new species of crayfish in Tennessee. The sucker literally crawled out from under a rock and is five inches long, which is like twice the size of "normal" crayfish.

And now from something new to something very, very old. PhD candidate Brian Schubert found 34,000-year old bacteria living inside salt crystals. The crystals, dug up for climate research from Death Valley years ago, apparently grow very quickly and trap whats around them. The microorganisms suspended themselves in hibernation in the fluid inside the salt crystals but got right back to work reproducing and functioning after being released from the salt.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Medical miracles and reunions...

There's a pleasing symmetry to today's stories. Well, pleasing to me, since I'm a nerd. : ) There is a story about a reunion, a story about a medical miracle, and a story about a reunion between a doctor and her medical miracle. I'm beginning to see why the Mayans thought 2012 would be the end of the world with what seems like more than the usual chaos reigning lately. But, as always, I'm finding little stories here and there that help keep a positive light shining.

Global conflict has been happening for centuries, but the last round - Iraq and Afghanistan - seems like it will never end. But thanks to Tostitos and the USO, some families got a break from it. Eight children were reunited with fathers they thought were still in Iraq during the halftime show of the BCS college football national title game. The Philadelphia Daily News reports the mothers were in on it, but the kids thought they had just won tickets and field passes to the game. Their fathers were hidden behind a banner until the big reveal, and the looks on the kids faces could have softened the hardest heart. I'm tearing up just thinking about it.

Something else that made me tear up this morning was a story from Yahoo!'s home page about Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. According to Yahoo! she made a Herculean effort to open her eyes on Wednesday, to see her husband and three close friends. Her friends were talking about taking her out for a pizza and a beer when she recovered from her injuries when she started opening her eyes and reaching out for her husband. Her surgeon thinks she has a "101 percent chance of recovery."

Something that has been slow to recover is the island of Haiti. It's now been just over a year since the earthquake that leveled much of the Caribbean nation. Elections were marred by violence and then a cholera epidemic broke out. Talk about apocalypse. But CNN International reported on a doctor volunteering in Haiti during the initial earthquake who recently reunited with a baby girl who has made a miraculous recovery of her own. "Baby Jenny" survived four days buried in rubble without anything to drink and with severe head trauma and her chest caved in. Dr. Karen Schneider, on the island with the Sisters of Mercy, had just started a nap after a 30-hour shift when Baby Jenny was brought in. Schneider did her level best and then sent the child to the US for further care and had always wondered what happened to her.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year's news...

This is about the time of year when new Congressmen and Congresswomen are sworn into office. I've seen a few stories on our local guys' and gals' swearings-in when I accidentally happen to catch the nightly news. So I thought it might be appropriate to use today's blog to post a couple nice stories about the government before this whole new crop has a chance to do any damage, err, affect change.

Yahoo! posted a story on the lieutenant governor of my old state, Tim Murray. He and his wife were driving through a town outside Boston when they spotted a mini-van on fire. Murray pulled over and sprang into action, pulling children from the van. He almost got punched by their grandma for his efforts, but luckily everything turned out fine.

While too young to run for office herself, two year-old Charlotte English is old enough to make a video go viral. The little girl is shown here in this MSNBC video naming different past presidents and quoting their most famous bon mots. She gets extra points for simply getting "Gorbachev" out of her mouth.

And this last story is not about the government, but I didn't want to wait until next week to post it. I love it. Another video gone viral, this time highlighting a golden-voiced homeless man in Columbus, Ohio. Drugs, alcohol and "a few other things" had sent Ted Williams into the street. A chance video interview, according to MSNBC, with a Columbus Dispatch under an overpass on Ohio's I-71 revealed Williams' honeyed speaking voice and led to a second chance for the ex- radio announcer. He has been offered lots of voicework and even a home by the Cleveland Cavaliers. But what excites him the most is the invitations to do the morning talk shows in New York has given him the opportunity to visit his 92 year-old mother in Brooklyn for the first time in years.