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The Weekly Good News Round-Up

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I had my first experience with the Latin rite mass last Sunday and found it to be quite life-changing. For non-Catholics out there, until Vatican II made significant changes to the mass, all Catholic services were performed in Latin. I was invited to go with a friend. I spent most of it confused. But the life-changing part came during the homily, which was spoken in English. The priest reminded us that marinating in bad news will make us all crazy. I felt called out as not only a consumer of bad news but a proliferator of it as well.

According to VeryWellMind.com, psychologists have known that bad news has detrimental effects on mental health for a while.

People who read and watch the news are more likely to have mental health problems like anxiety and depression. With 2020 being the mother of all bad news years, the pandemic info overload is affecting our sleep cycles and more.

Compounding this stress is the constant stream of news about COVID-19 that we are exposed to on a daily, hourly, and even minute-by-minute basis. “Unfortunately, a lot of the news we consume today isn’t so much reporting as it is a way of keeping people addicted to the news cycle,” says licensed psychologist, Logan Jones, PsyD.

Because sensational headlines get more attention, Jones says media outlets often end up focusing on disaster reporting—and rarely any positive news.

It’s absolutely true that journalists are taught to put bad news out front. The first rule I learned in journalism school is “If it bleeds it leads.” I’m guilty of this. I was trained to do it by professors who know this business. Data proves you’re more likely to read a sensational negative story than a less sensational positive story. Both the reader and the journalist bear some responsibility for this cycle. If people were more likely to read good news, we would probably print more of it.

But which one of us should try to break the cycle first? That priest reminded me that it’s my responsibility. “If we were to take our modern world seriously, we would all go stark raving mad,” he quoted philosopher Marshall McLuhan. “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.” Starting around 28 minutes in you can hear his excellent homily. “The constant barrage of tragedy and pain that we get via the media outlets is numbing and dumbing us and desensitizing us to the misery and sin of other human beings.”

In the spirit of lighting a candle in the darkness instead of cursing its existence, I am going to start collecting and sharing good news every week that will uplift our spirits instead of depress and sadden them—call it personal penance for my part in spreading misery via regular news programming. Every Friday I’m going to give my VIP audience a wrap-up of only positive news stories that will take your blood pressure (and mine) down a notch. I hope you’ll do your part and take a few minutes to meditate on the goodness of others around you and feel love for your neighbor who is made in the image of God (despite their political party) in opposition to the multitudinous forces surrounding us trying to divide us and stir up strife. There are things that all of humanity can celebrate and I aim to find them.

Week of February 1-5 Good News Round-Up

4-year-old Discovers Dinosaur Footprint on Beach

This natural world we are blessed with is a constant source of wonder and joy. Four-year-old Lilly Walker of Wales made an exciting discovery while out for a walk with her family that has archeologists thrilled.

Get outside! You never know what might happen!

Chunk TV

This video has been circulating a while but it’s one of my favorites.   What happens when a sympathetic gardner finds out that voracious groundhogs have been eating all his vegetables? He plants them their own garden, installs a picnic table, a water fountain, and some cameras and Chunk TV is born. There are scores of these videos of groundhogs named Nibbles and Chunk (and some babies too) going to town on crunchy veggies.

Loyal Dog Checks on Owner in Hospital Every Day

From Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey

dog named “Boncuk” has been waiting in front of a hospital in the Black Sea province of Trabzon where its owner has been getting treatment for a week.

“The dog comes here every day at around 9 in the morning, waits until the evening, and then leaves. It never comes inside, but waits for its owner [outside],” said Muhammet Akdeniz, a security at the hospital.

The owner of the dog, Cemal Şentürk, was transferred to the hospital by ambulance on Jan. 14 after falling ill. Boncuk followed the ambulance until the hospital where its owner was taken. Since then, it has been waiting for him outside.

“Every time we took Boncuk back home, it found a way to leave the house and come back to the hospital,” said Aynur Egeli, the daughter of Cemal Şentürk.

Şentürk said he was very happy to see Boncuk. “Sometimes I opened my window and called him by his name,” said Şentürk.

Snowflakes Photographed at Highest Resolution Ever

The Smithsonian Magazine reports that photographer Nathan Myhrvold is doing groundbreaking work:

Now, nearly two years in the making, Myhrvold has developed what he bills as the “highest resolution snowflake camera in the world.” Recently, he released a series of images taken using his creation, a prototype that captures snowflakes at a microscopic level never seen before.

You can see an interview with him about his project on YouTube here. His photographs can be seen on the Smithsonian Magazine website linked above. For those of you who aren’t clicking through, here’s a lovely compilation of microscopic images of snowflakes by other snowflake photographers. Beauty surrounds us all the time if we have the awareness to look for it.

GameStop Winners Donating Massive Winnings to Charity

I reported several stories on the upset on Wall Street last week, and continuing into this week, where retail traders communicating on Reddit drove the price of GameStop through the roof, outsmarting hedge funds who sold GME stock short. Some of these traders made big money and are paying it forward. Hunter Kahn used some of his winnings to donate thousands of dollars worth of Nintendo Switch consoles to Children’s Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis.

Chamath Palihapitiya, one of the early executives at Facebook and currently the CEO of Social Capital, donated all of his GME winnings of half a million dollars to Barstool Sports Fund which sends monetary support to small businesses that have suffered losses due to government-imposed lockdowns.

The news is not all bad. Come back next week for more!