5 Much-Needed Good News Stories Of 2014, Because It Wasn't All Doom And Gloom And Rand Paul

As we approach the end of 2014, it's time to look back on all that's transpired this past year. From life-threatening diseases to the emergence of a new international enemy to a society cracking from deep-seated racial tension, this past year has been plagued with terrifying new developments and historical crises. However, amid the darkness, a handful of good news stories of 2014 also had plenty of moments of positivity — when humanity came together to help one another, when we honored those who deserve it the most, and when technological advancements broke new ground.

When looking back at the year's biggest news stories, a few will surely top the list: the Ebola outbreak, the rise of ISIS, Russia's annexation of Crimea, and the Ferguson shooting and subsequent unrest. Each of these have had and will continue to have far-reaching impact on the world well beyond this year, and they're each a reminder that the world is far from perfect. Diseases can run rampant, racism exists, and new enemies can spring up from the ashes of past battles. In fact, it's rare for positive events to have the same significant, historical implications, at least in the news.

But 2014 was also full of hopeful moments that deserve to be highlighted too. Since being reminded of the world's problems is inevitable in wrapping up a year, let's take this moment to remember all the good that happened in 2014.

Saved From the Antarctic Ice

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Late last year, research ship carrying 52 passengers got stuck in the thick Antarctic ice after almost two months at sea. In January, after 10 days, the Australian rescue vessel Aurora Australis was able to break the ice and rescue the passengers from the Akademik Shokalskiy ship and a rescue helicopter from the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long transported them to safety. French and American icebreakers had also attempted to help break the ship free, and the Russian crew members of the Shokalskiy were also instrumental.

After being saved, the passengers came up with a way to thank the Australian, Chinese, and Russian crews that helped to save their lives. They created a mosaic with personal messages and drawings, scanned it digitally, and sent it to their rescuers.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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One of the most viral stories of the year was undoubtedly the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Once it caught on, millions of people doused themselves in ice water in order to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The challenge even became popular with celebrities, who helped to perpetuate the activity. By the end of August, the ALS Foundation had received $100 million in donations from more than 3 million donors — that's 35 times more than the $2.8 million the organization received in the same time period the previous year.

Philae Lands on a Comet

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In November, the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission successfully landed a spacecraft on a comet for the first time in history. After a tense seven-hour descent, scientists at mission control erupted into celebration when the Philae probe finally touched down on the comet.

Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA’s Director General, said in a statement:

With Rosetta we are opening a door to the origin of planet Earth and fostering a better understanding of our future. ESA and its Rosetta mission partners have achieved something extraordinary today

Malala and Kailash Win Nobel Peace Prize

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On Wednesday, Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway. At 17, Malala is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient in history. She was awarded the prestigious prize for championing for girls' education and rights in Pakistan, a cause that made her the target of the Taliban, who tried to assassinate her when she was only 15.

Kailash received the prize for his work as a children's rights advocate. As an activist who has fought against child labor for more than three decades, Kailash's work has helped form international guidelines on child labor.

New Apple Goodies

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And then we have the bright, shiny things that arrived in our lives this year. The iPhone 6 made news before it even came out, when people started lining up outside the Apple store more than two weeks before the device was officially released. Two versions were offered, including the iPhone 6 Plus, which features the largest iPhone screen to date at 5.5. inches.

Along with the new smartphone, Apple also unveiled its highly anticipated Apple Watch, the company's first smartwatch, which is scheduled to be released in early 2015.

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