Monday, August 02, 2010

Feel Good Stuff

1. Happy News
Did you hear about the pizza deliveryman who saved a life? How about the Haitian dancer who was given a prosthetic leg after hers was lost in the earthquake?
These stories and many others are often lost in the flood of sad/frightening/depressing/violent news that proliferate the internet. Culled from popular news sites and submitted by citizen journalists, the stories on Happy News are just that.
The site's credo says it all: "We believe virtue, goodwill and heroism are hot news. That's why we bring you up-to-the-minute news, geared to lift spirits and inspire lives."
2. Gives Me Hope
Along the lines of popular sites like FMyLife, but about 65,000 times more uplifting, Gives Me Hope (GMH) offers user-submitted true stories of kindness and generosity. The stories are sentimental and, at times, almost heartbreakingly sweet.
"It was my first day back to school after being hospitalized for chemo," one user writes. "I had lost all of my hair, and was embarrassed. When I walked in, everyone was bald -- the popular kids, people I didn't know, my friends, the teachers. Everyone. Their kindness GMH."
How can you not love the world after reading that?
3. 1000 Awesome Things
1000 Awesome Things is a blog, updated every weekday, that enumerates the little things in life that make us happy. It's a reminder that even the smallest of feats, like "#936 Perfect parallel-parking on the first try" or "#572 Learning a new keyboard shortcut" are a reason to smile.
The site was launched in June 2008 and has been counting down from 1,000 ever since. Now at post number 449, the site is so popular that creator Neil Pasricha even released "The Book of Awesome Things" in April. When asked what will occur when he reaches number 1, Pasricha said, "Something very awesome will happen."
4. PostSecret
This secret-sharing site might be the perfect outlet to release that secret you've been harboring. Every Sunday founder Frank Warren posts a handful of secrets that people have anonymously mailed him on postcards.
Sometimes it can do a world of good to know someone shares your fears, dreams, hopes and failures. PostSecret inspired a reader from England to write, "Your site is truly inspirational. I'm left feeling full of compassion for my fellow human beings -- we're the same the world over."
The secrets range from touching ("I'm not that tough. My parents just couldn't pay for medical insurance"), to cryptic ("Law school changed me"), to downright shocking ("Everyone who knew me before 9/11 believes I'm dead.").
Warren uses the site as as a platform to support Hopeline, an organization that fights suicide.
5. Cute Baby Fix
We've seen a lot of baby videos in our day. Maybe too many. But goshdarnit, they still leave us grinning every time. This site is dedicated to cute baby videos and pictures and will let you watch a breakdancing baby take down celeb-baby Justin Bieber or marvel at how even a lame picture of baby feet is so freaking cute.
But if a site full of bug-eyed newborns is too much for you, stick with these classic YouTube videos: 3-year-old Ha Youngwoong strumming his guitar while singing "Hey Jude" or this toddler laughing hysterically at torn-up newspaper.
6. Christian the Lion
OK, so this isn't a website. But it's a video so amazing it'll have you believing anything is possible. The backstory: John Rendall and Anthony Bourke bought Christian, a lion cub, from Harrods in 1969 and raised him in their London home. Several years later, they set the lion free to live in the wilds of Africa.
A year later, against the advice of experts, the pair was determined to locate Christian. They traveled to Kenya to find him, and their reunion was recorded on film. Really, you just have to watch it -- it's truly inspirational. (If you want to see the video with Whitney Houston singing in the background, click this link instead.)
You can read the full story at the Born Free Foundation site.
7. Today's Big Thing
Make Today's Big Thing your new home page and you won't be inundated with depressing stories. Instead, you'll see the latest funny videos and creative pictures the internet has to offer in arts, entertainment, sports and more -- the real "news" people will be talking about at work tomorrow.
Don't be the last person to see this old man dancing to Lady Gaga or watch Zach Anner's hilarious Oprah audition tape, because even though it's no Russian spy ring, it's still news. Kind of.
8. ZooBorns
Already know about the puppies of, the kitten in a bottle at or the LOL cats at I can has cheez burger?
Yes, it's true -- nothing gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling quite like pictures of baby animals. The site is an ongoing collection of animal births at zoos and aquariums around the world. You'll feel like a 12-year-old girl when you find yourself forwarding pics of a yawning orangutan (OMG so cute!!!!).