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The spread of malaria is one of the most significant threats to people—particularly children—in the developing world. Manu Prakash, a Stanford University assistant professor and bioengineer, understood that the ability to properly diagnose the illness with the use of lab-quality imaging equipment is key in distributing the proper treatment and preventing deaths from the disease. With the goal of testing a million people a year, Prakash and his team created the ingenious “Foldscope,” a microscope that’s made almost entirely from folded paper, that costs just 50 cents apiece to make. Because they require no power source and no mechanical elements, the Foldscopes are also incredibly durable. As Prakash explains in this video from Stanford, “One of the things that’s been shown over and over again is, if you put in an infrastructure to fight malaria that’s scalable and sustainable, than you get retraction of malaria in different regions.” Prakash believes that this brilliant new tool could provide just that ... Discuss

 

Meet Annmaire Richards, a woman in Jamaica who takes in street children and raises them in her own family. Richards says that she “saw herself” in the children who are “fearfully, and wonderfully made,” and her story is a powerful reminder of the average person’s capability to change the lives of those in need. The video was produced by GoBoka Play in partnership with the Make Life Better Foundation, who will donate a computer lab for the children’s education if the video receives 50,000 views by April 10. So, let’s all do our part and watch the video repeatedly for extra doses of inspiration from Annemarie ... Discuss

 

Activist and motorcycle enthusiast Anton Berteaux is passionate about helping park rangers at Mongolia’s Lake Hovsgol prevent poachers, illegal mining operators and polluters from destroying the natural wonder. Not only is the fresh water lake home to a variety of unique wildlife, but as Berteaux points out, local indigenous people depend on the lake for their own water needs. His idea is to provide the outmatched rangers—who currently patrol the massive area on horseback—with motorcycles. As unique as his campaign is, his promo video is a work of art. If Wes Anderson were to direct a 2-minute video about supplying motorcycles to park rangers in Mongolia to chase off miners, it would likely look just like this. Evidently, it’s been pretty effective. With almost a week to go, he’s already surpassed his fundraising goal ... Discuss

 

Catholic Church head Pope Francis, Anglican leader Archbishop Justin Welby and a Sunni Muslim representative from al-Azhar University in Egypt recently joined together on an initiative to fight human trafficking and slavery around the world. The interfaith group recently met at the Vatican to launch the Global Freedom Network, a campaign to help the millions of people worldwide who “are enslaved into forced labor and sexual exploitation” developed by Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest. The campaign seeks to work with corporations and governments to implement anti-trafficking programs. In a statement, Welby said, “We are now being challenged in these days to find more profound ways of putting our ministry and mission where our faith is; and being called into a deeper unity on the side of the poor and in the cause of the justice and righteousness of God" ... Discuss

 

Last week, we reported on a new "miracle machine" in the Kickstarter realm that purported to turn water into wine. Only it turns that Jesus' first miracle still eludes the bounds of modern science, because the guys behind the machine have admitted the whole thing was a publicity stunt by the MSL Group for Wine to Water, a nonprofit that brings clean water to people who don't have any. The group even left a True Detective-esque clue in the name: The logo for Miracle Machine is "M/M." The logo for Wine to Water is "W/W." Flip them around and—well, you get it. Either way, Wine to Water is certainly hard at work on a much more important cause than turning actual water into actual wine, so the joke's on us ... Discuss

 

Instead of giving away cheap T-shirts or promotional clothing items at Austin’s convention center during the massive SXSW festival, the tech company Medallia is collecting it from attendees. The Silicon Valley-based customer management company has partnered with Austin’s Foundation for the Homeless to collect the marketing apparel given away by other companies (know as SWAG—“stuff we all get”) to donate to the local homeless community. Michael Scott would approve ... Discuss