How Thailand 'Disease Detectives' Use an App to Fight Livestock-Borne Outbreaks

BBC, Youtube
BBC, Youtube

Imagine an Instagram that could be used to inspire real social action—perhaps one designed to combat the spread of deadly diseases. This might sound far-fetched, but a version of this app—known as PODD (Participatory One Health Disease Detection project or "look closely and you will see" in Thai)—already exists in Thailand. Thanks to a group of vets at Chiang Mai University, the app is now helping rural Thailand communities fight back against livestock-borne diseases like Ebola and bird flu.

Here's how it works: "Disease detectives," or volunteers with access to the PODD app, snap pictures of any "abnormal health events" they might see around the village. The images they take through the app are location-tagged, which allows scientists accessing the database to predict infection patterns. Within 24 hours of the reported incident, vets visit the scene to observe the threat and treat the area accordingly.

An estimated 5000 volunteers now access the app to regularly report incidents. This, in turn, has effectively stopped the spread of many diseases and saved the Thai government millions of dollars.

Watch the full video from BBC below:

This Innovative Cutting Board Takes the Mess Out of Meal Prep

There's no way any of these ingredients will end up on the floor.
There's no way any of these ingredients will end up on the floor.
TidyBoard, Kickstarter

Transferring food from the cutting board to the bowl—or scraps to the compost bin—can get a little messy, especially if you’re dealing with something that has a tendency to roll off the board, spill juice everywhere, or both (looking at you, cherry tomatoes).

The TidyBoard, available on Kickstarter, is a cutting board with attached containers that you can sweep your ingredients right into, taking the mess out of meal prep and saving you some counter space in the process. The board itself is 15 inches by 20 inches, and the container that fits in its empty slot is 14 inches long, 5.75 inches wide, and more than 4 inches deep. Two smaller containers fit inside the large one, making it easy to separate your ingredients.

Though the 4-pound board hangs off the edge of your counter, good old-fashioned physics will keep it from tipping off—as long as whatever you’re piling into the containers doesn’t exceed 9 pounds. It also comes with a second set of containers that work as strainers, so you can position the TidyBoard over the edge of your sink and drain excess water or juice from your ingredients as you go.

You can store food in the smaller containers, which have matching lids; and since they’re all made of BPA-free silicone, feel free to pop them in the microwave. (Remove the small stopper on top of the lid first for a built-in steaming hole.)

tidyboard storage containers
They also come in gray, if teal isn't your thing.
TidyBoard

Not only does the bamboo-made TidyBoard repel bacteria, it also won’t dull your knives or let strong odors seep into it. In short, it’s an opportunity to make cutting, cleaning, storing, and eating all easier, neater, and more efficient. Prices start at $79, and it’s expected to ship by October 2020—you can find out more details and order yours on Kickstarter.

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Interactive Map of the U.S. Shows COVID-19 Hot Spots in Real Time

Fusion Medical Animation, Unsplash
Fusion Medical Animation, Unsplash

The map of COVID-19 hot spots in the U.S. has changed drastically in recent weeks. As cases in the Northeast (the hardest-hit U.S. region at the start of the pandemic) have declined, cases have exploded in southern states like Florida, Texas, and Arizona. Now, thanks to the Harvard Global Health Institute, there's a simple way to keep track of the geographical impact of the novel coronavirus crisis in real time.

As Fast Company reports, researchers at the organization have developed an interactive map that uses color-coding to mark where COVID-19 risk levels are highest. Every county's status was determined using the same metric: the number of new cases per day per 100,000 residents. If an area is green—the lowest risk level—that means it's recording less than one new COVID case per day and it's on track for containment. Counties marked red are seeing 25 or more new cases per 100,000 people and are at the highest risk level.

The tool is designed for legislators as well as the general public. While the average person may use it to guide their everyday behaviors, policymakers can use it to inform their response to the crisis. Each of the four risk levels comes with a policy recommendation from the researchers. For red counties, stay-at-home orders are strongly urged. Even green counties require viral testing and contact tracing programs to keep the virus under control at this time.

During a pandemic, misinformation is more dangerous—and, unfortunately, more prevalent than ever. Going to a handful of reputable resources for your coronavirus updates is a good way to stay informed without burning out. At the end of May, the World Health Organization released its own COVID-19 app to combat misinformation.

[h/t Fast Company]