13 year old Jibil Muhammed Faris has been hailed a hero by local fire service after saving 2 young children after a hoverboard/segway thingy/whatever exploded at his friends’ house. As the hoverboard exploded he led his friends to a safer room whilst the house filled with flames and smoke, keeping a cool head and reassuring his younger friends. The saddest part of this story is the fact that a few days after the explosion the house was burgled, as Jibil put it; “It’s just wrong because when somebody’s been kicked down already and they get kicked down even more and they have even less – they have nothing now.” too right.

To be honest, the little dude does a much better job of explaining what happened here, he also does a decent job of shutting Eamonn Holmes down too. It’s fair to say this is my new favourite kid.

 


Four members of a paramusical ensemble are using new technology to create music with their minds. The  members are unable to speak or move, however, The University of Plymouth, alongside the Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability, have developed this new technology which reads EEG signals from the brain.

The paramusicians wear an EEG cap and are shown a screen, on the screen are 4 options of musical phrases to choose from. Each musical phrase has a flashing, coloured light associated with it and the musician picks one of the phrases by concentrating on the flashing colour. The EEG cap picks up not only signals relating to which flashing light has been selected, but also how intense the brain waves are, which can be used to denote volume, for example.

Once a phrase is selected it is then shown to a person playing an instrument on a separate screen for them to play.

Now it took me a while to get my head around that, and I’m not sure how well I’ve explained it, but it’s a pretty nice thing to hook up for these guys and music therapy can be a huge help for people with various disabilities so we’re fully on board with ideas like this. Check out the BBC’s report below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Ecosia is a web-based social enterprise with such a positive ethos that you’ll be ditching Google in no time. Just like the Californian conglomerate, they earn money from companies that pay to appear at the top of the results page. However, unlike Google (who last year earned a ridiculous $67.39 billion from advertisement revenue alone!), Ecosia guarantee at least 80% of their profits will go directly towards planting trees.

 

Since inception in December 2009, Ecosia has helped plant over 3.5 million trees through the donation of around £2.2 million to partner organisations, such as the Belgian charity Entrepreneurs Without Frontiers. They are currently focussing on reforestation in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso, which suffered a devastating drought in the 1970s.

 

As well as being good for the climate, tree planting has had a great impact on the quality of people’s lives in this area of north west Africa. They can once more graze cattle and plant crops over a much wider area, and local women are employed to collect seeds that are stored for future projects. In some areas the average income has doubled and as a result the number of children enrolled in primary education has increased ten fold.

 

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Once you make Ecosia your default search engine, you’ll be informed how many trees your searches have helped plant via a small icon in the corner of the screen. In 2009 a spokesman from the World Wildlife Fund said: “If only 1% of global internet users accessed Ecosia for their web searches, we could save a rainforest area as big as Switzerland each year.” Why not help make this awesome idea happen?

 


Throughout January there has been, and will continue to be, a “pay-as-you-feel” pop-up cafe on Matilda Street in Sheffield. The cafe is a collaborative project between the student and graduate run Foodhall Sheffield and Camerados, an organisation that helps to develop small businesses with vulnerable people, the project has also had input from SASS (Sheffield Alcohol Support Service) and the Samaritans.

Photo 15-01-2016, 2 14 34 pm

Foodhall are a “freecycling” organisation ran by students and graduates, they collect surplus and unused donations from places including supermarkets, restaurants, cafe’s etcetera, and with the food that would have otherwise gone to waste they make meals and serve them in their cafe. The system helps reduce food wastage, which is still a massive problem especially in the Western world, as well as providing hot meals for people who may not have been able to afford to eat otherwise. The “pay-as-you-feel” system works exactly as it says, there are jars left on the tables around the cafe and people can leave as much or as little money as they feel. They are currently based in a disused warehouse space and all of the furniture has been donated, freecyled or upcycled.

Donated Games

Donated Games

As mentioned earlier, Camerados help people who are experiencing difficult times such as addiction, domestic violence, homelessness, mental health issues, to set up “micro-businesses” based on their particular skill sets and also the local market. The turnover is rapid as it is a 6 day programme ran over 5 weeks and helps to develop self esteem and team-working skills as well as providing experience and, in the most successful cases, jobs.

Blankets & Hot Water Bottles

Blankets & Hot Water Bottles

There are several slightly “radical” ideas that Camerados are looking at in the form of some slightly thought provoking questions such as;

What if Scouts worked in prisons? What if prostitutes looked after my kids? What if homeless people helped bankers through their tough time? What if Samaritans ran Starbucks?

Camerados

Camerados

This last question is what brought about the Pop-up cafe. The thought process is that, during a crisis or a difficult time in, most people go to meet friends or family in either a pub, bar or cafe and chat about what’s going on in their lives. So, along with the guys at Foodhall, they decided to set up a “comfort spot” where people can go for cheap food, hot drinks, music, games and things to entertain their kids. Throw in some super friendly staff who are on hand to chat or help out or just to listen and not judge and you’ve got an idea of what it’d be like if Samaritans ran Starbucks.

Foodhall Sheffield

Foodhall Sheffield

The menu changes daily depending on what food has been donated but is always of a high standard and I can personally vouch for it’s deliciousness as I’ve been in several times since it has been open both as a volunteer and as a customer.

Foodhall Sheffield

Foodhall Sheffield

After spending a few days helping out it soon became abundantly clear how much of a fantastic project this is, from watching a homeless lady who hadn’t played piano since school play a duet with Maff, founder of Camerados (Click here for video), to receiving little notes like this…

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…it’s obvious that the cafe is having a positive impact on the Sheffield’s local population.

The cafe is still in need of volunteers and donations as it will be running Tuesday-Saturday 10am-3pm until Saturday 30th January so if anyone would like to get involved please get in touch at any of the links below…

Foodhall Links: Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Camerados Links: Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram


The Holywood couple, Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher have donated $1million (£670,000) to two charities helping the situation in Syria.

£335,000 has gone to Save The Children to go towards measles vaccinations for Syrian children and the same amount has gone to the International Rescue Committee to help fund education, health care, shelter and sanitation for refugees in Syria and nearby countries.

More than 11 million people have been displaced from their homes since an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in 2011 while more than 250,000 people have been killed.

David Milliband, who runs the International Rescue Committee said;

“Sacha and Isla’s donation is a great expression of humanity, and a challenge to do more for the most vulnerable. I hope it is an example to many others seeking practical ways of making a difference during the Christmas and new year season.”



Earlier in December a couple found a squirrel by the road that had probably been hit by a car and seemed to be in a bad way. Having previously rescued a squirrel before the couple decided to take him in and rehabilitate him.

Reddit user carefree_dude, or Chris as he’s known in real life, posted this to Reddit:

“About a week ago, my wife found this squirrel at the side of the road twitching. He likely got hit by a car, and suffered major head trauma. She took him home. He couldn’t eat, drink, walk, or really do anything. We were eventually able to get him to drink via a syringe. We reached out to a wildlife rehabilitater, who gave us some medicine to give him to help with the head trauma. Now, after 6 days on the medicine, He’s doing a lot better. He’s able to hold food on his own. He still needs help drinking. He can walk, but not very well. He often keeps his head to the side. We are still caring for him, though he will likely never be able to be released again. He may not be able to live a wild life, but if he continues to recover, we can help him live a good life.”

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Thanks to the couple’s efforts the little guy, who has been named Mittens, seems to be much healthier.

“My wife was playing with him near the tree, and he acted interested in it,” Chris told The Dodo, “We decided to let him wander, and he went right to the tree.”

 Since the tree won’t be around for much longer Chris has decided to build Mittens an enclosure and put a real tree in there with him. This enclosure and rescue may be the first of many; “We love animals, and have a habit of rescuing ones in need. We’ve had many rescue animals in the past,” Chris said. “We want to someday open a wildlife rehabilitation center.”

 


If you hadn’t already noticed, we love Chance The Rapper here at Hantu and Rad Times. The dude just gets better and better, and this latest instalment in his life/career is no exception.

Chance has joined forces with Detroit based social enterprise The Empowerment Plan. This non-profit employs previously homeless people living in shelters to sustainably manufacture long, waterproof, self heating coats that also turn into sleeping bags to be distributed amongst the cities rough sleepers.

Let’s just go over that again incase you missed it. They employ previously homeless people, they provide currently homeless people with a warm, waterproof, self heating coat, and that coat can then be turned into a sleeping bag or rolled up into a tote bag.

EMPWRCoats1

Each coat costs around $100 to manufacture, and Chance has set up a crowdfunding page for people to donate money to the cause. Since launching the Warmest Winter initiative a couple of days before Christmas, the page has raised close to $60,000, and is running until January 13th. The aim is to raise $100,000 to make 1000 coats to distribute around Chicago’s homeless.

Chance is using various incentives to try to get people to donate including tickets to his shows, tickets for Chicago White Sox and tickets to Chicago Bulls games. As well as hopefully distributing 1000 coats around the city, The Empowerment Plan also hopes to set up a factory in Chicago to carry on the good work.

Biggups Chance each and every time.


So it’s getting to the end of the year and if you were to take a look back at the headlines of 2015 you could be forgiven for thinking that the whole world is on a steep and slippery descent into chaos, with no hope of things getting better any time soon. However, this is Rad Times, not Sad Times, and we’re here to spread positivity. With that in mind, Twitter recently released their vital statistics for the year, and amongst the hashtags, trolls and celebrity gossip there was a lot of reason to be hopeful this year.

The top 10 most influential moments on twitter are as follows:

  1. #JeSuisCharlie & #PrayForParis
  2. #BlackLivesMatter
  3. #HomeToVote, #LoveWins & #MarriageEquality
  4. #RefugeesWelcome
  5. #IStandWithAhmed
  6. National Elections
  7. #FIFAWWC
  8. #PlutoFlyBy
  9. #TheDress
  10. @Caitlyn_Jenner Joins Twitter

Ok so you might be wondering what “most influential moments” means in real terms, and rightly so! It could just be a list curated by Twitter to make us feel good about ourselves. However, according to heads at Twitter, these are the events that received the most engagement in 2015. Twitter didn’t do this, we did. So give yourselves a good old pat on the back.

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After the Paris attacks it would have been easy for people to have fallen into the classic pit of ignorant Islamophobia and fear, instead we stood in solidarity and refused to be intimidated. Across the proverbial pond, the Black Lives Matter movement became the focal point for a discussion in America that has been way overdue, whilst legalisation of gay marriage in various countries sparked messages of love and congratulations the world over.

img via The Telegraph

img via The Telegraph

With the rise of parties like UKIP and the tensions around border control and immigration policy increasing, it is heartwarming to see the #RefugeesWelcome hashtag in the top 5. If you missed the whole #IStandWithAhmed story, he was a young kid who brought a homemade clock into school then got arrested after teachers thought it was a bomb in what appeared to be a case of blatant racial profiling. The hashtag once again displayed solidarity with Ahmed and celebrated his creativity and ingenuity.

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Twitter may not have existed when the New Horizons spacecraft left earth in 2006 but the whole world came together to watch and discuss as it flew within 7,750 miles of Pluto’s surface and captured these incredible images displaying a newfound global interest and love for science and engineering.

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Except for perhaps that infuriating dress, each of those top 10 moments shows humanity’s tendency towards solidarity and our penchant for tolerance and equality. Not only that but the top 10 reveals engagement for events that, up until this year, may not have even shown up on most peoples’ radars, like the Women’s World Cup or the National Elections. I’m gonna go ahead and call that progress.

To be honest there have been several times throughout this year where I’ve just wanted to stop the world and get off, and I’m sure many others have felt the same. In fact the constant barrage of negative news stories was entirely why I decided to start up this blog, to spread a bit of positivity, but this list has provided a bit of hope for me about the future of the world and humanity and I hope it does for you too.

Here’s to a positive 2016. Stay Rad.

Check 2015 on Twitter here.