Lego Collection Pays Tribute To Female Space Heroes

Lego’s transition into bio-plastics is probably one of their greatest achievements to date. Having said that, the company has inspired children (and adults!) to think big for decades. Its most recent collection honors the women of NASA, validating that success doesn’t rely on gender.

“In all realms of science, engineering, and technology, pioneering women have historically been underappreciated for their often groundbreaking work,”[MIT News Deputy Editor and Lecturer Maia Weinstock who proposed the idea] said in a statement.

This is truly a big move, considering how the usual Lego collection depicts fantastical universes like Star Wars or Minecraft. Not only is the company pandering to the interests of young girls now, they are doing so with an inspirational agenda.

The set’s figures include Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel to space, and Margaret Hamilton, who developed software for the Apollo spacecraft. It will also come with miniatures of the Hubble Telescope and Space Shuttle, among other tools. Lego hopes to encourage more girls to explore various branches of science.

[Weinstock added,] “We have also seen that when girls and women are given more encouragement in the STEM fields, they become more likely to pursue careers in these areas.”

Remember, girls — science is, of course, also for you. And forget “nerdy.” Microscopes and bunsen burners are the new “cool.”

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New Delhi To Sell Biodegradable Sanitary Pads

If people won’t stop tossing ’em, make ’em biodegradable. Since car tires, cooking grills, and six-pack beer holders went green, engineers are treading even deeper waters. In honor of International Women’s Day (and Mother Nature, of course) New Delhi is introducing biodegradable sanitary napkins for only Rs. 2.50 a pad. That’s hardly half a dollar!

The sanitary napkins will be available in a pack of four pads for Rs 10 across over 3,200 Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) Kendras by May 28, 2018, Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers Ananth Kumar said.

Currently, a pack of four napkins sells at Rs 32 ($0.49) — a ridiculous price for an easily perishable necessity.  Even worse, they are hardly accessible in rural communities.

According to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16, about 58 per cent of women aged between 15 to 24 years use locally prepared napkins, sanitary napkins and tampons.

What’s better than to make an essential affordable and eco-friendly? Power to you, India!

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Female Stars Fight Workplace Assault With Defense Fund

As the years go by, gender divides grow smaller. Because of society’s increasingly progressive attitudes, conservative countries are eliminating segregation. Beauty queens are breaking norms. Struggling moms are making a living. Still, harassment in the workplace is frequent — but not if Hollywood’s female stars can help it. Hundreds of big names have launched a legal defense fund worth $13 million to fight sexual misconduct.

“Harassment too often persists because perpetrators and employers never face any consequences,” said an open letter from 300 women in film, TV, and theater. “This is often because survivors, particularly those working in low-wage industries, don’t have the resources to fight back.”

The recent slew of accusations has encouraged women of all tiers to speak up about their assault. The initiative hopes to empower more, particularly those without a means to be vocal.

“If this group of women can’t fight for a model for other women who don’t have as much power and privilege, then who can?” [said executive producer Shonda] Rhimes.

Speaking out is one thing — having the resources to do so is another. If blockbuster bombshells are willing to provide that, why stop them?

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20 Million Mosquitoes Released To Fight Zika Virus

Zika virus is a “mosquito disease” that has affected some 85 countries in the past decade. With no known cure, we focus mostly on prevention and disease management. In most countries, this means a spike in the use of mosquito nets. Google’s science branch, Verily, has come up with a more ambitious solution. It is releasing 20 million sterile mosquitoes in California to fight Zika virus.

Verily is releasing millions of male mosquitos treated with a naturally occurring bacteria that renders them sterile in Fresno. This is the largest such field trial in US history and part of a major effort to fight Zika virus and dengue fever.

“If we really want to be able to help people globally, we need to be able to produce a lot of mosquitoes, distribute them to where they need to be, and measure the populations at very, very low costs.”

Verily’s machines raise up to one million sterile male mosquitoes a week. Because the mosquitoes are infertile, eggs conceived during mating season will not develop or hatch. Also, male mosquitoes are not the vampires females are–in fact, they don’t bite at all. The company is taking measures to ensure that the trial is safe.

Modified mosquitoes such as those being released by Verily are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, coming under the heading of “microbial pest control.” A 2016 ecological risk assessment conducted by the EPA concluded that altered mosquitoes like those used in this trial will not harm other organisms.

While the air may start to look a little overpopulated, give these tiny fighters a salute. We may be seeing an incredible development in the fight against Zika virus.

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