We live in somewhat challenging times, so having something wholesome to read about can brighten any dull day. And history is full of such feel-good facts - the kind that can make you cry, but in a good way. Studies suggest that shedding a few tears is cathartic. Crying releases endorphins and makes you feel better, and eases pain inside you. So be ready to shed a tear or two, because there is still plenty of sweetness to go around in the world, whether from humans or other animals.
Here are some uplifting facts to get us through the tough times. Plus, it's always helpful to learn something new that can add a little spring to every step. Just knowing that the world is a more wholesome place than we thought is good enough.
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One Man Returned To The Fukushima Exclusion Zone For The Animals
In 2011, an earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit the Fukushima prefecture in Japan. This led to the worst nuclear disaster in the world, after Chernobyl. The nuclear power plant of Fukushima Daiichi leaked radioactive material, leading authorities to evacuate most of the prefecture.
Less than six miles from the plant, Naoto Matsumura also fled with his parents, only to return later. A fifth-generation rice farmer, Matsumura could not abandon the animals on his farm. He admitted that initially, he was fearful to come back. But when he saw the animals remaining healthy, he knew he had made the right decision.
Matsumura still lives in the partially abandoned city of Tomioka. Today, he cares not only for his own animals but also the farm animals and pets of residents who never moved back. He has also rescued many from a half-feral state. Researchers said he may get sick after 30 to 40 years, but because he was in his mid-50s at the time (and now in his 60s), Matsumura said he couldn't care less.
We know of Sir J.M. Barrie as the man who created Peter Pan. From then to now, we've seen plenty of adaptations of the forever boy come to life in TV series, movies, and more books. In 1920, Barrie bequeathed the copyright of Peter Pan to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London. And there could not be a more perfect gift.
Barrie passed in 1937, so in 2007, the 70-year exclusivity on the Peter Pan copyright was up. Without the funds, the hospital could have been in a dire situation. But as one good deed deserves another, Barrie's kindness found a like mind in former British Prime Minister Jim Callaghan.
Urged on by his wife, Audrey, who was a chairwoman of the Great Ormond Street Hospital, Callaghan got to work. Together, they successfully campaigned to uphold the copyright in the UK, well beyond its expiration date. So in the UK at least, Peter Pan and his Neverland friends are still raising monies for children in need.
In 1903, Marie Curie and her husband Pierre won the Nobel Prize. They had discovered the elements radium and polonium, along with another researcher. In 1911, she won another Nobel, but by this time, Curie was a widow. Later, after an affair with a married fellow scientist, she fell out of favor with the public.
But when World War I broke out, Curie tried to help the French government by getting her gold medals melted. When the bank would not do the deed, she donated all her prize money and bought war bonds. But even this was not enough for her, and despite all odds, Curie invented the use of X-rays as we know them today. No one at the time would believe that she, a mere woman, could actually do something for science.
So Curie made a mobile X-ray unit (pictured) that she drove to the battlefield to prove how it could help injured soldiers. It was this research that finally felled her in 1934, as she had a habit of carrying lethal doses of radioactive material in her pockets. At the time, no one knew the danger the glow brought with it.
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A Customer Split Lottery Ticket Winnings With A Waitress, Despite The Windfall
When you're a waitress and a customer offers to split a lottery ticket, you should agree. This is what police detective Robert Cunningham offered longtime waitress Phyllis Penzo - a chance to win half the lottery with neither knowing what lay in store for them. Because Cunningham was a regular at Sal's Pizzeria in Yonkers, NY, where Penzo worked, she accepted. She even helped Cunningham choose the numbers for his entry in the New York State Lotto Competition.
On April Fool's Day 1984, Cunningham called Penzo to inform her they had won $6 million. Like the straightforward guy he was, he reminded her she'd get half of it, as promised. So for the next 21 years, the Cunninghams as well as the Penzo family split $285,715 annually. Their story later became the premise of the 1994 movie, It Could Happen To You, starring Nicolas Cage and Bridget Fonda.
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Like Humans, Orca Grandmothers Dote On Grandkids
Studies show that orca (killer whale) females undergo menopause. These nonreproducing toothed whales then experience the "grandmother effect," like humans. Orca females stop breeding between the ages of 30 and 40, but live much longer. Once they can no longer breed, they help raise the calves of their children.
In fact, they are the only nonhuman species where nonreproducing females help rear the grandchildren. Studies also show that orca grandmas use their experience to help their families, like guiding everyone to their favorite meal, Chinook salmon. This leads to a healthier family, on the whole. So even in orcas, grandmas know best.
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Nervous Racehorses Get A Goat Companion To Calm Them Down
Much like jockeys, horses tend to get stressed out during derbies, possibly because the human levels of stress start to bother them. So how do you calm nervous racehorses and still keep them fit enough for the upcoming race? You get them companion goats.
The sociable goats are happy to be around the horses, playful even. For the horses, the goats are almost like security blankets; having the goats around takes their mind off the upcoming race. Plenty of reputable horse trainers swear by this trick, and they churn out winners. So it seems the goats work.