By Tas Anjarwalla, Special to CNN
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(CNN) — Our world, and the internet, are full of bad news that makes it easy to be a Negative Nancy.
With oil disasters, wars, criminal misdeeds and corporate scandals clogging our news feeds, it’s no wonder people prefer to spend their web time scanning Facebook and catching up with shows on Hulu.
“Nowadays it seems all we see and hear on the news are negative events,” wrote Domonique Burke, a blogger for Skirt.com. “I’m sorry, but I don’t want to hear about bad things happening in the world all the time…Where are the positive, uplifting stories? The stories that make us want to better our own lives after hearing them?”
Well, these stories do exist — you just have to know where to find them.
Despite its haters and trolls, the massive realm of the internet still has enough bright spots to improve any dark mood. Here are eight websites that feature positive and uplifting stories for people like Burke. Or you.
Who knows? They may even help renew your faith in the goodness of the human experience. Enjoy:
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.”
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?
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!!).
- An estimated 1,100 people have died so far as a result of flooding
- Pakistani Red Crescent says 2.5 million people in northwestern Pakistan affected
- Officials fear an outbreak of gastro conditions due to lack of drinking water
Destroyed bridges, roads hampering rescue efforts in flood-hit areas
(CNN) — As the relief effort in flood-hit Pakistan intensified Monday, officials were bracing themselves for an outbreak of disease among the millions affected by the country’s worst deluge in 80 years.
Rushing floodwaters and mudslides triggered by monsoon rains have engulfed large swathes of northwestern Pakistan since Thursday, killing an estimated 1,100 people as entire communities were swept away or cut off.
Now government officials are concerned a lack of drinking water is spreading conditions such as cholera and gastroenteritis in affected areas such as the Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Agence France-Presse reported.
“We estimate that about 100,000 people, mostly children, have been hit by cholera and gastro diseases,” Syed Zahir Ali Shah, health minister for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, was quoted by AFP as saying.
“Our priority is to first evacuate them to safe areas and then provide them with medical treatment,” he added.
But the rescue and recovery efforts could become more complicated as weather officials predict more monsoon rains starting Monday.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department said Sindh, Punjab, Kashmir, eastern parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and eastern parts of Balochistan would receive more monsoon rains. Areas along the Indus River would be badly affected due to extremely high flood conditions.
Tens of thousands of people remain trapped on rooftops and in higher areas trying to escape rising floodwaters, according to the United Nations.
“We’ve got the government sending boats and helicopters to try to reach people and bring them to safety at the same time as trying to deliver emergency relief,” said Nicki Bennett, a senior humanitarian affairs officer for the U.N.
Damaged roads and bridges have made rescuing stranded residents difficult, she said, noting that even a U.N. warehouse where the organization stores food, blankets, soaps and bucks is partially underwater.
The Pakistani military, which has deployed dozens of helicopters and boats across the region, said 25 bridges have been destroyed and some 36 miles (58 kilometers) of road washed away in Swat and Shangla districts.
Despite these difficulties, senior commanders in the region told reporters that tens of thousands of people had been rescued from Shangla, Peshawar, Noshera and Charsada.
Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon late Sunday authorized $10 million in emergency aid. This follows an earlier pledge by the United States to send helicopters, boats, pre-fabricated bridges and water-filtration units. The European Union and China have also committed to provide humanitarian aid.
A Pakistani Red Crescent official told CNN that the number of people affected by the floods has risen to nearly 2.5 million people, with infrastructure receiving major damage.
Rushing water also has washed away thousands of acres of crops, government buildings, businesses, schools, bridges and homes, officials said.
CNN’s Reza Sayah, Nazneen Akbari and Matiullah Mati contributed to this report.