50 Things That Will Make You Say "Wow!"

Welcome to our rousing roundup of awe-inspiring people, places and things that bowled us over, choked us up and lifted our spirits high.

29. Up on the Roof

A new start-up called BrightFarms wants to bring farmers' market produce to your grocer—by building a farm nearby or even on the store's roof. The company's pilot greenhouse in Pennsylvania grows about 500,000 pounds of produce for several stores; by 2015, BrightFarms plans to open at least seven more farms across the country (including three on rooftops). But it's not all about carbon footprints, says Paul Lightfoot, the company's CEO: "Just wait till you try our tomatoes."
—Lindsay Funston

30. The Finisher

Last spring accountant (and Marathon Goddess) Julie Weiss of Santa Monica ran her 52nd marathon in 52 weeks to raise money for pancreatic cancer research after losing her father to the disease. "I was so overwhelmed when it was all over," she says, "by emotion, pride, and the love from everyone I met along the way. I felt like I was a mirror, showing people that you can push through anything."
—Arianna Davis

Click to enlarge the image

31. The Tiniest Sculptures You've Ever Seen

When Connecticut carpenter Dalton M. Ghetti was a boy in Brazil, he sharpened his pencils with a pocket knife—a skill he now applies to the miniature still lifes he carves on the ends of number 2 pencils using a razor blade and a sewing needle (but no magnifying glass—"at least not yet," he says). "They're a meditation," says Ghetti, who can take years to complete a single piece and refuses to sell his work. "I don't do it for the money; I do it for the simple pleasure it brings me." (

Click to enlarge the image

32. Fit to Be Tied

A third-generation dandy whose father and grandfather wear three-piece suits for no particular reason, Moziah "Mo" Bridges says that dressing up makes him feel "like an important person." As a 9-year-old, Bridges was inspired by the bow ties being worn by singers like the Jonas Brothers, so he asked his grandmother to teach him to sew. Now he makes bow ties in a dizzying array of vintage fabrics, ginghams, tweeds, silks, and satins, selling them online and at boutiques throughout the South. Explains Bridges, "My family helps sew, because I have to go to school." (
—Jeryl Brunner

33. Have a Heart

Scientists are currently growing the following in labs: bladders, ears, tear ducts, coronary arteries, blood vessels, urethras, a wind pipe, cartilage, heart valves, fully functioning rat kidneys, and a nose for a man who lost his to skin cancer. Up next: human kidneys, livers, and—the holy grail—a heart. Explains Anthony Atala, MD, director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, "We take a tiny piece of the failing organ, tease out the cells, multiply them, place them on a scaffold model, put it in an ovenlike device, and in four to six weeks have a brand-new organ that can be implanted with zero risk of rejection." To which we say: Wow.
—Emma Haak

34. Cheese Whizzes

Crafted by a French cheesemaker, a cheesemaking instructor, a biochemistry professor, and vegan chef Tal Ronnen, White Alder is silky and pungent, with a delicate, bloomy rind. Surprisingly, it hails not from a cow or goat but from almond and macadamia nuts. It's part of a new dairy-free-cheese line called Kite Hill, crafted and aged using traditional French cheesemaking techniques.
—Bonnir Tsui

The Skinny

The MelaFind, which looks like a hair dryer fit for Darth Vader, is a skin scanner that has been shown to detect 98.3 percent of melanomas on the spot. Using technology originally developed by the Department of Defense to target missiles, the device creates a three-dimensional model of a mole and compares it with 10,000 other nevi; in less than a minute, your dermatologist knows whether to be worried. (Currently in more than 150 doctors' offices around the country, with more shipping this year.)
—Emma Haak