Sometimes it can feel like a lot of what we hear is bad news. Well, we're going to hear next about some stories that inspire. All month, we've been collecting stories on NPR.org about good things Americans are doing, how they're working together to improve their communities.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
We call it Participation Nation. You've told us about a California doctor who turned a two-room free clinic into a community health center.
GREENE: A writing program to help young people in Maine become storytellers.
Families often pull together to help finance a college education, with parents and grandparents chipping in or co-signing loans. And now, a SmartMoney report finds the U.S. government withholding money from Social Security recipients who've stopped paying on federal student loans.
At 40, Julie Sanders is a mother of three from Portland, Ore. But when she was 16, Sanders belonged to a white supremacist group — and one night in 1988, she witnessed a murder. Since then, she's kept the event a secret from most of her friends and family.
Before she sat down to talk about the incident with her friend Randy Blazak at StoryCorps, Sanders says, she had rarely talked about her past at all. She started out by recalling what her life was like in her teen years.
In 1991, a man named Stephen Mobley robbed a Domino's pizza in Hall County, Ga., and shot the restaurant manager dead.
Crimes like this happen all the time, but this particular case became a national story, in part because Mobley seemed so proud of his crime. After the robbery, he bragged about the killing and had the Domino's logo tattooed on his back.
But there was another reason Mobley's case became famous.
A school of Blue Tang fish swimming together off the Caribbean island of Bonaire. It has long been assumed that the schooling behavior of fish evolved in part to protect animals from being attacked by predators.
Credit Gabriel Bouys / AFP/Getty Images
Starlings fly over the Piazza Venezia as night falls in Rome.
By tricking live fish into attacking computer-generated "prey," scientists have learned that animals like birds and fish may indeed have evolved to swarm together to protect themselves from the threat of predators.
"Effectively, what we're doing here is we're getting predatory fish to play a video game," says Iain Couzin, who studies collective animal behavior at Princeton University. "And through playing that game, through seeing which virtual prey items they attack, we can get a very deep understanding of as to how behavioral interactions among prey affect their survival."