But the mandate has drawn strong and sustained opposition from social conservatives, who see it as an infringement on freedom of conscience. The Obama administration exempted houses of worship, and set up a workaround for religiously affiliated nonprofits, such as hospitals, universities and social service organizations. The Supreme Court later ruled that closely held private companies were also eligible for the workaround, through which the government arranges contraceptive coverage for the affected women employees.
When it comes to alleviating some of the world's most pressing problems, perhaps we should look to the skies. The word "drone" might inspire images of counterterrorism strikes and the future of package delivery. But quadcopters and other autonomous flying vehicles are revolutionizing the ways we tackle the biggest social and environmental issues of our time. While there are definite drawbacks to using drones in this capacity -- problems of privacy, ethics, and cost among them -- the technology, when executed responsibly, helps aid organizations, scientists, and everyday citizens transform the act of doing good. From edible drones delivering lifesaving assistance to rural communities to quadcopters tracking illegal logging in rainforests, here are just a few of the recent ways people have used drones for social good.
If I told you there was a delivery app for birth control, you might disregard it as just another Silicon Valley-based subscription service, designed to excuse you from ever leaving your house again. But Nurx, which prescribes birth control online and mails it to users, isn't a boutique service for busy urbanites. It just might be a key player in blowing birth-control access wide open, especially as women's reproductive health becomes increasingly politicized in the U.S. The way Nurx works is simple: you register for a free account online, fill out a questionnaire of basic medical inquiries, exchange a few instant messages with a licensed doctor, and receive a package in the mail containing your birth-control method of choice. There are no consultation or delivery fees, so in most cases if you have insurance, it's free. If you don't have insurance, then you pay only for the cost of the medication itself.
It's happened at the last two parties I've gone to in the Bay Area: At a certain point in the evening, a group of women ends up sitting together, forming a slightly closed-off circle. Maybe a single dude is hanging around, standing at the periphery. He'll interject once in a while, but there's not much he can add here: It's time to talk birth control. Those NuvaRing commercials where a gaggle of girl pals trades info about insertion and ease of use come off cloying and cliche, but … man. These conversations happen everywhere, and they reflect a big gap in information available about birth control methods.
This NASA-Developed A.I. Could Help Save Firefighters' Lives, Smithsonian Magazine Disorienting scenes where a single move can be deadly is a common experience for both space rovers and firefighters. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which built an artificial intelligence system for navigating unfamiliar landscapes, is sharing its technology with fire departments -- warning first responders about hazards they might not notice in the smoke and flames. Man v. Rat: Could the Long War Soon Be Over? The Guardian A New York City subway rat carries a host of dangerous contagions, and its reproductive capacity -- up to 15,000 offspring in a year -- spread disease through city sewers and alleyways. A biotech startup in Flagstaff, Ariz., has developed a humane way to deal with Gotham's infestation where rat poison has failed: birth control.