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 […]

The Death of Illusions

Over time, I’ve come to the conclusion that the death of our illusions is one of the hardest kinds of death. And so, even when our stories do not work, we cling to them anyways. We may refuse to provide help to alleviate suffering, because the type of help does not fit neatly enough into our […]

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 […]

Two Rabbis who Knew Some Stuff

I came across two wonderful quotes last night, both from rabbis. Here is the first, by Hillel: That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn. I love that. The Golden Rule is the essence of spirituality, and the […]