How One Small Act of Kindness Inspired a Big One

A Small Act was a documentary in competition at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and it tells an amazing story. 25 years ago, Hilde Back, a Swedish woman of modest means, sponsored an impoverished Kenyan boy so that he might attend school, for just $15 per term. They hardly knew one another, and rarely corresponded, but the boy, Chris Mburu, never forgot the kindness of his sponsor. Her gift allowed him to complete school, and he went on to Harvard Law School and finally the UN, where he became a human rights lawyer. That's when he decided to start a scholarship fund for kids like him in Kenya -- and he names it after Hilda, his modest benefactor, who couldn't be more surprised that her donation had such an amazing effect. But the story doesn't stop there -- when election violence rocks Kenya, Chris is faced with a whole new challenge; in a land where basic necessities are often a challenge to obtain, education is still the primary concern, because as Chris himself acknowledges, it's ignorance that most often breeds violence.

Check out the trailer, which is really touching --

Anyone interested in donating to the Hilde Back Education Fund should check out their website.

A Very Brief History of Chamber Pots

Some of the oldest chamber pots found by archeologists have been discovered in ancient Greece, but portable toilets have come a long way since then. Whether referred to as "the Jordan" (possibly a reference to the river), "Oliver's Skull" (maybe a nod to Oliver Cromwell's perambulating cranium), or "the Looking Glass" (because doctors would examine urine for diagnosis), they were an essential fact of life in houses and on the road for centuries. In this video from the Wellcome Collection, Visitor Experience Assistant Rob Bidder discusses two 19th century chamber pots in the museum while offering a brief survey of the use of chamber pots in Britain (including why they were particularly useful in wartime).

A Tour of the New York Academy of Medicine's Rare Book Room

The Rare Book Room at the New York Academy of Medicine documents the evolution of our medical knowledge. Its books and artifacts are as bizarre as they are fascinating. Read more here.


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