There is a lot of doom and gloom in the news. It can get anyone down, but this list serves as the perfect counterpoint. Only stories that inspire, uplift, or amuse can be found here. Alternatively, we can also bewilder, bemuse, and befog you with our offbeat list.
This week, we are inspired by the acts of children. Hundreds of students gathered to say goodbye to a beloved neighbor. Others put on a memorable play that got Hollywood talking. One fought bravely and saved his sister from a criminal. And the youngest one of all worked diligently to overcome the debilitating condition she was born with.
Hundreds of students from the town of Comox, British Columbia, gathered in front of Tinney Davidson’s house to give a final goodbye to the elderly woman who had spent the last 12 years waving at them as they went to school.
In 2007, Tinney Davidson and her late husband, Ken, moved into a house near Highland Secondary School. Consequently, they saw a lot of pupils pass by their window every morning on their way to school. The couple started waving at them as a way to give them a cheerful boost early in the day. Soon enough, the students began waving back.
Tinney has kept up this practice for 12 years. Now, however, the 88-year-old is moving into an assisted living home. The schoolchildren did not want her to go without giving her a proper send-off. Over 400 students brought flowers and signs and crammed together on Tinney’s front lawn for one last wave.
A month ago, we talked about a small, underfunded drama club from a New Jersey high school that had put on an amazing play based on the movie Alien. Among other accolades, its popularity led to director Ridley Scott donating $5,000 so the school could put on an encore performance.
That show took place last Friday, just in time to honor the movie’s 40th anniversary. The students were surprised with a few scholarship bonuses as well as an unexpected appearance from Sigourney Weaver.
Alien: The Play garnered plenty of attention due to its elaborate sets and costumes achieved with a shoestring budget. This time, Ellen Ripley herself was in the audience. After the show, she went backstage to commend the starstruck students on their performances.
The night got even better thanks to the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. The college gave each member of the cast and crew a $1,000 scholarship to its summer camp. Furthermore, all graduating seniors received a $10,000 college scholarship.
A parrot named Freddy Krueger is back safely at the zoo in the Brazilian city of Cascavel following a few adventures that would make John McClane proud.
Freddy first came to the zoo four years ago. His owner at the time was a gangster, and the Amazona aestiva bird had been injured following a shoot-out between police and criminals in his drug den home. The animal had been hit in the beak and blinded. He had also suffered burns to the feathers on his head. His appearance was what led to the “Freddy Krueger” moniker.
About a month ago, Freddy was attacked by a snake. Fortunately, the reptile was nonvenomous. Although the bird bled a lot, he survived. A few days after he recovered, Freddy was stolen by armed thieves.
His incarceration did not last long. Two days after being stolen, he had returned home. Zookeepers found the bird by a tree near his cage. Although they are not sure how Freddy escaped, the fact that they saw drops of blood near him suggests that he fought his way out.
Zoo veterinarian Ilair Dettoni finds this plausible because Freddy is “a bit of a wild one.” However, it is also possible that his maimed facial features were his lucky break because the thieves could not sell him. So they simply let him go.
One young boy’s bravery and quick thinking saved his sister and him from an attempted kidnapping.
Nita Coburn from Middletown, Ohio, had to drive her daughter to the Atrium Medical Center. Also in the car were her two great-grandchildren, Skyler and Chance. As Coburn was helping her daughter get in a wheelchair, a man jumped behind the wheel of her car and drove off with the kids still in the back seat.
The great-grandmother tried to open the door, but the driver slammed it shut. Through the window, she could see that the man had taken hold of 10-year-old Skyler. The great-grandmother refused to let go of the handle, and as the car picked up speed, she was dragged several meters before finally losing her grip.
The distraction allowed Chance to act. The eight-year-old managed to break the hold of the kidnapper, grab his sister, and open the door. The children tumbled out of the car together. The whole dramatic event was captured on surveillance footage from a camera outside the hospital.
The criminal didn’t make it far. Officers arrested 24-year-old Dalvir Singh a few blocks away.
A chance encounter brought together the family of an organ donor and the recipient of his heart.
In 2016, 21-year-old Donovan Bulger from Belleville, Illinois, passed away following an accident. He was an organ donor, and his organs helped the lives of several people.
Last Sunday, Donovan’s siblings attended the St. Louis Cardinals game for Transplant Awareness Day. In honor of their brother, they all wore neon green T-shirts with his face on them.
They had huddled together for a group photo when they were approached by a woman. She wanted to know if they were Donovan’s family. She was also at the game with her family, including her father, John Sueme. His life had been saved when he received Bulger’s heart.
What followed was a “hug fest and cry fest.” The two families had previously written each other, but according to guidelines, they did not share any identifying information.
The Bulgers had included some pictures of Donovan. Sueme’s daughter, Catherine, recognized one of them on the shirts that they were wearing. The Bulgers each took turns hugging and pressing their ears to John Sueme’s chest so they could hear Donovan’s heart beat one more time.
According to a study published in Nature Communications, scientists from the Charles Perkins Center at the University of Sydney found a potential antidote for the venom of the Australian box jellyfish, generally regarded as the most venomous marine animal in the world.
People who get stung by the creature can expect excruciating pain and skin necrosis. If the venom dose is large enough, they can suffer from cardiac arrest and die within minutes. This new antidote could block the symptoms if it is applied to the skin no later than 15 minutes after the sting.
Researchers developed the treatment using the gene-editing technique known as CRISPR. Basically, they took human cells and eliminated a different gene each time. Afterward, they added the venom from the box jellyfish to see how the cells reacted.
This trial and error revealed to researchers that the toxin does most of its damage when it interacts with cholesterol. Therefore, their antidote is based on cyclodextrins, a family of drugs that absorb the lipid. As the venom has far fewer cells to kill, it also causes less pain.
The good news is that the drugs are already available and labeled safe for humans. They have been previously tested on human cells and on live mice. Now scientists have begun work on a topical application for people. The bad news is that they do not know yet how effective it would be against a severe sting and if it would be capable of preventing a heart attack.
A 4.4-ton teddy bear named Xonita has been officially recognized by Guinness World Records as the largest teddy bear on the planet.
The residents of the town of Xonacatlan, Mexico, took over three months to stitch together the giant, 20-meter-long (65 ft) stuffed toy. The bear was displayed inside a football stadium as part of the town’s Children’s Day festivities.
An adjudicator from Guinness was on hand to certify the record. They needed over five hours to measure the teddy bear and make sure that it was indeed a record holder. Now, Xonita has overtaken the previous champion which measured a “meager” 16.7 meters (55 ft) and was the creation of Dana Warren from Kansas.
An Irishman was at the right place at the right time to save two elderly US tourists who accidentally drove their rental car into the sea off the coast of Valentia Island.
On Monday afternoon, Mike Moriarty was enjoying a pint at the pub of the Royal Hotel in Knightstown. A woman approached him and said that she thought she had seen something going into the water off a nearby slipway. The man investigated and noticed a small silver car sinking nose-first with two people trapped inside.
As it happened, Moriarty was perfectly suited for this rescue mission as he normally works on a yacht in Malta. The 21-year-old jumped into the water and tried to open the driver’s door. But he couldn’t do it because it was already submerged and the pressure differential was too great.
Instead, he opened the back door and allowed the water to enter the car. This repositioned the vehicle and equalized the pressure. Moriarty was then able to open the front door and evacuate the two passengers. The tourists were shaken up but otherwise uninjured.
This week, Mikah Meyer completed his three-year quest of visiting every single National Park Service (NPS) site in the United States in honor of his late father.
Over the last few years, Meyer has driven, hiked, flown, and sailed all over the country. He has visited 419 landmarks managed by the NPS, which consisted of parks, monuments, memorials, battlefields, preserves, lakeshores, and rivers deemed culturally or historically significant.
He was inspired to do so by his father, who died when Meyer was 19 years old. His dad always envisioned that he would make this road trip after retirement, but he never got the chance.
Meyer finished his journey on Monday with a visit to the Lincoln Memorial. There, he was joined by friends, family, and complete strangers who followed his trip on social media.
At age 33, Meyer is the youngest person of the approximately three dozen people recognized by the National Park Travelers Club to have visited every NPS site. Many of his fellow travelers waited for him at the Lincoln Memorial, ready to congratulate him and share stories of their visits.
A pediatrician from St. Petersburg, Florida, used the ultra-popular kids’ song “Baby Shark” to help her two-year-old patient learn to walk.
Harper suffers from severe spina bifida. It restricted her movements to the point where she was once unable to walk. Although Harper is just two years old, multiple surgeries have left her apprehensive of every new trip to the hospital. Dr. Michelle Schultz knew she had her work cut out for her if she was to gain Harper’s trust.
Dr. Schultz believes that improvisation is essential for successful rehab because each child is different. Fortunately, she found the perfect motivator to bond with Harper and get her to do her exercises. It was “Baby Shark,” the children’s song which is among YouTube’s most watched videos of all time at over 2.7 billion views.
This original therapeutic approach works very well. Whenever the doctor starts singing, Harper knows it is time to hit the treadmill. She can now walk and play around with her big brother. Her newfound abilities have also made her friendlier and more confident. Her parents say that Harper enjoys walking up to strangers just to say “hi.”