Outbreaks of Pronoia in Nature

Rats are actually pretty compassionate

In a simple experiment, researchers at the University of Chicago sought to find out whether a rat would release a fellow rat from an unpleasantly restrictive cage if it could. The answer was yes.

The free rat, often hearing distress calls from its compatriot, learned to open the cage and did so with greater efficiency over time. It would release the other animal even if there wasn’t the payoff of a reunion with it. Astonishingly, if given access to a small hoard of chocolate chips, the free rat would usually save at least one treat for the captive – which is a lot to expect of a rat.

More Evidence of the Conspiracy to Commit Kindness

Random strangers helping people pay their medical bills

Launched in 2008, IndieGoGo.com enables its users to share their causes and solicit donations from complete strangers. The more than 40,000 campaigns its helped launch have ranged in scope, but the health stories typically center on the same theme. The patients face crippling conditions and can’t afford the care they need.

“I think health care issues and personal health campaigns make sense, because our health care system can be very expensive sometimes,” IndieGoGo founder Slava Rubin told The New York Times. “Sometimes people just need to try a different direction to get funded what they need to get funded.”

You Know How Good It Feels to Be in Beautiful Places?

The most beautiful college libraries in the world

Colleges and universities are understandably quite proud of their libraries, which can be a selling point for prospective students and donating alumni alike, and they often become the most well-designed and beautifully adorned buildings on campus. To that end, and perhaps to inspire your studies a bit, we’ve collected a few of the most beautiful college and university libraries in the world, from Portugal to France to Boston.

People You Don’t Know and Have Never Heard of Are Working to Fix Things

Top 11 Social Innovators Saving The World In 2011

McKinsey & Company’s Social Innovation Video Contest highlights innovators who are confronting the world’s greatest challenges and gives participants the chance to publicize their organization and encourage involvement.

After receiving nearly 150 videos from 30 different countries, the contest has narrowed down its top entries to just 11.

Of course, when the range of innovations include issues such as sanitation and water distribution, to education and green energy — the real challenge might be choosing just one winner.

The Conspiracy to Make Things Better Just Keeps Growing

The Top Ten Solutions to the World’s Biggest Problems

Eight leading economists, including five Nobelists, were asked to prioritize 30 different proposed solutions to ten of the world’s biggest problems. The proposed solutions were developed by more than 50 specialist scholars over the past two years and were presented as reports to the panel over the past week.

Millions of Heroes

Some of 2011′s Many Heroes

When it comes to the tragedies that defined this year — from Jared Loughner’s shooting rampage to the tornadoes that ravaged Joplin — the stories of ordinary citizens who decidedly risked their own lives for others were often just as compelling as the news itself. Beyond such life-risking tales, there were heroic animal stories that defied reason and others in the public eye who quietly inspired others. Read 11 such stories of heroic inspiration that show the invaluable power of selflessness.

Practical Miracles Are Quite Possible

German Village Produces 321% More Energy Than It Needs!

Ok, those Germans are just showing off now. Not only has the nation announced plans to shut down all of its nuclear power plants and started the construction of 2,800 miles of transmission lines for its new renewable energy initiative, but now the village of Wildpoldsried is producing 321% more energy than it needs! The small agricultural village in the state of Bavaria is generating an impressive $5.7 million in annual revenue from renewable energy.

Pronoiac Pranks Are Good Medicine

Improv Everywhere: The shared experience of absurdity. Bizarre, hilarious, and unexpected public scenes that bring people together.

Charlie Todd causes bizarre, hilarious, and unexpected public scenes: Seventy synchronized dancers in storefront windows, “ghostbusters” running through the New York Public Library, and the annual no-pants subway ride. At TEDxBloomington he shows how his group, Improv Everywhere, uses these scenes to bring people together.