Meet Kinsale, Ireland's Sophie Healy-Thow, Émer Hickey, and Clara Judge—all 16 years old and all probably smarter than you. They entered the 2014 Google science fair (co-sponsored by National Geographic, Scientific American, Virgin Galactic, and LEGO) and rose to the top of more than 5,000 entries from 90 different countries. They won because their science project is not, say, a solar system made out of styrofoam balls. No, their project, in their words:

...succeeded in showing statistically that two strains of Rhizobium bacteria can significantly accelerate the rate of crop germination (+40% for r.leguminosarum and 28% for r.japonicum; (p<0.0001). R.japonicum also increased the subsequent dry mass of barley by 70% (p<0.0001). We believe that the biochemical mechanism that produced the noted improvements is triggered when flavonoids from the crops prompt the release of lipochitooligosaccharides which catalyse accelerated seed growth.

Well, assuming your head didn't explode from trying to read that, the long and short of it is that it's a major agricultural breakthrough, proving that mixing certain types of bacteria with crops will result in larger yields and help with the ongoing fight against global hunger. For their efforts, all three will get a $50,000 scholarship and an all-expense paid trip to the Galapagos Islands ... Discuss

The Trouble With 'Being a Voice for the Voiceless'

Speaking out for injustice is a good thing, but how can you speak for the oppressed before you listen to them? Read More

Kickstarter co-founder Perry Chen has launched a new website that operates under a pretty interesting premise: A single dollar can make a difference. Here’s how Dollar a Day works. Every day, the site features a new nonprofit organization helping people around the world. When you sign up to be a part of the site, each day, they will deduct a single dollar from your account (you can register with a credit or debit card), and give it to the daily selected organization. Even though each individual user is giving just a dollar, collectively, each day, the entire user base will be supporting a new organization. You can go here to learn more, and sign up for their free daily email that tells about each day’s nonprofit ... Discuss

A new Living Planet Index report from the London Zoological Society and the World Wildlife Foundation says the world’s populations of wild animals are an average of half the size they were in 1970. The index tracked the populations of more than 10,000 representative populations of species from 1970 to 2010 and showed a bigger decline than previously thought (prior studies estimated that populations had declined by 30 percent). The report sites human consumption—and the resulting habitat loss—as the main reason for the decline. According to the report, there are only 3,000 tigers left in the wild today, as opposed to 100,000 a century ago. And Elephant populations in West Africa are living on about 7 percent of their historic land due to deforestation. You can check out the full report here for more information and ways to get involved to slow the decline ...


Justice Isn't Just an Action. Justice Is a Way of Life.

Living a just life takes a deliberate, radical change of habit. Read More

4 Lies We Tell Ourselves About Christian Persecution

We've become experts at directing our attention away from a real, horrible problem. Read More