NPR Shots blog – Reinventing the condom with easy-on tabs and beef tendon
When you hear the term “next-generation condom,” beef tendon probably isn’t the first thing that pops into your mind.
But a condom made from the cow part is one of 11 ideas to win $100,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in its reinvent-the-condom competition.
Another winning proposal uses a material that shrinks when it warms up on the body so it provides a perfect fit. Yet another team combined opening the condom package with application — in a single quick motion — so there’s no more fumbling in the dark.
Los Angeles Times – Third meningitis case confirmed among students at UC Santa Barbara
A third UC Santa Barbara student has been diagnosed with the disease that causes meningitis, public health officials announced Thursday.
The first two confirmed cases of meningococcal disease were of male students, the first one of whom fell ill Nov. 11. The latest case is of a female student who was diagnosed Monday..
More than 300 students at UCSB who may have had close contact with the sick students have been given antibiotics, health officials said.
The Atlantic – The quest to end the flu
On April 28, 2009, a box containing a newly isolated virus showed up at Doris Bucher’s lab. She and her colleagues at New York Medical College opened it up right away. Thousands, or perhaps millions, of lives might depend on what they did next.
The virus was a new kind of influenza, known as 2009 H1N1. It had abruptly started spreading across North America in the previous month, and was beginning to appear in countries around the world. Once scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed it, they realized that the vaccine already in production for the next flu season probably wouldn’t be effective against it. And because it was so new, people’s immune systems might also be unable to stop the virus, which meant that it could become a global outbreak—a pandemic.
New York Times – California encouraged by health plan enrollment
Nearly 80,000 people have enrolled in health plans through California’s online marketplace, at a rate of several thousand a day in November — a sizable increase over a month ago, state officials said on Thursday.
Especially encouraging, officials said, was the enrollment of young people, who are considered essential to the success of the Obama administration’s health care law.
Reuters – ‘Clean up your act,’ UN climate chief urges coal industry
The U.N. climate chief urged a radical clean-up of the coal industry on Monday to help limit global warming, at an industry meeting in Warsaw condemned by environmentalists as a distraction from the nearby U.N. climate change conference.
Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N.’s Climate Change Secretariat, told the coal summit that the industry had to change “rapidly and dramatically” to limit high pollution and carbon emissions, including in heavily coal-dependent Poland.