Even More Centrifuges

As I mention in another post, the problem of getting functioning centrifuges in the poor world is a big one. While Dr. Oluyombo Awojobi created a centrifuge from old bicycle parts, Stanfor’d Manu Prakash has solved it in a different way — by using an ancient children’s toy called a whirligig:   See more in this […]

Menstrual Man

This man is my hero. He’s like a mad-scientist crossed with MacGyver. I love this story. A choice excerpt: He created a “uterus” from a football bladder by punching a couple of holes in it, and filling it with goat’s blood. A former classmate, a butcher, would ring his bicycle bell outside the house whenever […]

Nigerian Doctor MacGyvers his Amazing Clinic

One of the most important tools in medicine is a centrifuge, a tool which spins samples at high speeds to separate out matter. But what do you do when you don’t have electricity, or you can’t afford a traditional centrifuge? Public Radio International has a story about a Nigerian doctor who hacks the tools of […]

Reframing Problems to Create Solutions

  One of the most important principles of problem-solving is that changing the definition of the problem can help you come up with a solution. To illustrate this, I’m going to use a children’s story I read in grade school: A hero goes to steal a valuable treasure from a king. The king is protective of […]

A Simple Mental Health Protocol Whose Time is Long Overdue

“I see you checked depression on your intake form. Because depression can be a symptom of an underlying health problem, I’m going to check your blood levels for B12, B6, and vitamin D. I’m also going to test your thyroid and iron levels. And finally, even if your B-12 levels are normal, I recommend you […]

The Sari-Cloth Water Filter

The solution to controlling cholera will be high-tech analyses to produce extremely low-tech solutions. – Dr. Rita Colwell Cholera is a pathogen which, in humans, causes uncontrollable diarrhea so severe it can lead to death. While almost unknown in the first world, it is still an intractable problem in the third world, where many people […]