Compiled by Marian Head

Universal Delights

Just in case you missed the "Powers of 10" email that's been circulating (no, not the one about your comp plan), here's why and how to view it. Why: It is breathtakingly spectacular. Successively smaller views of our universe (by powers of 10) take us from the Milky Way millions of light years away to a single tree in Tallahassee Florida, and then further to the microscopic world of cells and beyond.

Molecular Expressions, a project of the Florida State University Research Foundation, features magnificent photos that explore the world of optics and microscopy using as models everyday delights such as ice cream, and technology like superconductors. "We are going where no microscope has gone before," says their welcoming web site introduction.

About the Power of 10 project, contributors Matthew J. Parry-Hill, Christopher A. Burdett and Michael W. Davidson, from the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State, say, "Some phenomena that scientists want to observe are so tiny that they need a magnifying glass, or even a microscope. Other things are so far away that a powerful telescope must be used in order to see them. To learn more about the relative sizes of things, visit our Perspectives: Powers of 10 activity site."
Treat yourself today! Molecular Expressions Home Site:


Doing Good By Doing Well

Charities are increasingly earning income to support their missions. From the Dunkin' Donuts in downtown Newark to Auntie Anne's pretzel shops at the Denver International Airport, nonprofits are providing job training for their social service clients and goods for the members of their community.

"Why lease space out to an entrepreneur to come in, make the profit, and then leave the community with the money?" says Raymond M. Codey, director of development for New Community Corporation, an economic-development group that runs businesses to provide job training to local residents and generate revenue to support its social programs. Among the businesses are Nathan's Famous, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, all franchises.

Franchise companies are beginning to experiment with expanding their markets through joint ventures with nonprofits. While it is sometimes "strictly business," other times the franchiser becomes a contributor, donating the franchise or waiving royalty payments.

Franchisers will be looking carefully at the results of two studies being conducted by the International Franchise Association Educational Foundation. Their goal is to identify the factors that make some charity franchises thrive while others struggle, and then to implement the best practices in the real world to test their efficacy.

With network marketing sometimes referred to as a "personal franchise," it may be worthwhile to follow this trend with charities who want to do good by doing well financially.



The Good News

Since 1999, HeroicStories has been passionate about restoring faith in humanity, one story at a time. Offering free e-mailed stories of gallant actions by ordinary people, HeroicStories reaches 34,000 subscribers in 106 countries.

Stories are typically about little generosities that make a huge difference. One was about a driver who noticed that a car's headlights went out on the highway at night; he chose to turn on his brights and light the driver's way for over an hour to her exit, then turned around to drive back to his original destination.

Reader after reader compliments HeroicStories for giving them the positive news to balance the media's mostly negative news.

A reader from Georgia says, "I absolutely believe that the positive stories you publish have made me a better person. Reading...the many stories written by people who have had their entire lives turned around by a kind word or gesture, has made me much more aware as to how I treat the people around me."

Get the good news at:


Voting: An Age-Old Privilege

At 94, Doris "Granny D." Haddock is leading a voter registration team traveling the US to encourage women to vote in November's election. According to the volunteer center, American Town Hall, "Doris is taking over the jobs of working women--just long enough for them to register to vote. She is doing this in the hope of setting an example to inspire other retired women to visit worksites and restaurants and stores with registration forms in hand, to make it easy for working women to register to vote."

Doris is no neophyte to the grassroots political scene. With her husband Jim, she helped stop the planned atmospheric testing of hydrogen bombs in Alaska in 1960, saving a fishing village at Point Hope. On January 1, 1999, she began a walk across the US to demonstrate her passion for campaign reform. Fourteen months, 3200 miles and four pairs of shoes later, she was joined by several dozen members of Congress who walked the final miles with her to the cheering crowds of thousands at the US Capitol.

During her long walk, she faced physical challenges and was hospitalized for pneumonia. Of the risks she took on her walking campaign, she said, "I was prepared to die as part of this journey, if need be. It would be preferable to sitting at home, wishing I had continued. We're all dying, and we might as well be spending ourselves in a good cause."

During a recent two-day walk across St. Petersburg, Florida (February 2004), she handed out registration forms from the little red wagon she pulled behind her. She polished a bumper at a car wash while a young worker filled out a form; at night she connected with workers at fast food restaurants. At a University of South Florida voter registration rally, she spoke:

"I am very happy to be here. At my age I am happy to be anywhere! That is an old joke. In fact, I am trying hard not to be an old joke--not to be a stereotype of whatever it is that a 94 year-old woman is supposed to be in America. I am trying hard to make every day of my life mean something--to make every step of my day take me toward a world that is ever so slightly better because I had the privilege of living in this time, in this nation, this world."

Sources: and