A 22-Year-Old's Ingenious Effort To Remove Plastic Waste From The Pacific Has Raised $31M

The entire effort is based on a remarkably simple process slated to being later this year

According to The Ocean Cleanup, there are a staggering 5 trillion pieces of plastic waste floating in the world’s oceans. Knowing the herculean effort that will be required to restore the waters of “just” the Pacific, the organization’s founder, a 22-year-old Dutch man named Boyan Slat, has sought a more efficient means of capturing and removing the waste.

Until now, the prospect of cleaning the ocean involved nets, which are well-known to be destructive to the ecosphere and harmful to marine life. But Slat has been hard at work on a new approach, which he famously laid out as an 18-year-old when he gave a TEDx talk entitled “How the Oceans Can Clean Themselves.”

He speaks to the effects of ocean currents on floating trash, and the tendency of “clusters” of trash to form at the convergence of currents. Using simple floating barriers, Slat believes that the vast majority of floating trash can be contained and collected without having to troll the entirety of the oceans and collect debris in inefficient piecemeal fashion. Below is an artist’s representation of the simple innovation in action:

The Ocean Cleanup

The Ocean Cleanup plans to start where aerial maps show the highest concentration of garbage. This area, stretching between California and Hawaii, goes by the dubious moniker of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

In a recent statement kicking off the effort, Slat said, “Our mission is to rid the world’s oceans of plastic, and this support is a major leap forward towards achieving this goal. Thanks to the generous support of these funders, the day we’ll be returning that first batch of plastic to shore is now in sight.”

According the group’s website, since last November they’ve accumulated small donations from individuals and large donations from notable benefactors totaling $21.7 million in donations—a staggeringly fast addition to the $9.8 million The Ocean Cleanup had garnered prior to last fall.

The group’s website offers a comprehensive look at how the money will be spent, with a pilot device project slated for later this year, followed by a full-scale operation by 2020.

via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

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There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

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Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

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Villagers rejoice as they receive the first vaccines ever delivered via drone in the Congo

The area's topography makes transporting medicines a treacherous task.

Photo by Henry Sempangi Senyule

When we discuss barriers to healthcare in the developed world, affordability is commonly the biggest concern. But for some in the developing world, physical distance and topography can be the difference between life and death.

Widjifake, a hard-to-reach village in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with a population of 6,500, struggles with having consistent access to healthcare supplies due to the Congo River and its winding tributaries.

It can take up to three hours for vehicles carrying supplies to reach the village.

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via Keith Boykin / Twitter

Fox News and President Trump seem like they may be headed for a breakup. "Fox is a lot different than it used to be," Trump told reporters in August after one of the network's polls found him trailing for Democrats in the 2020 election.

"There's something going on at Fox, I'll tell you right now. And I'm not happy with it," he continued.

Some Fox anchors have hit back at the president over his criticisms. "Well, first of all, Mr. President, we don't work for you," Neil Cavuto said on the air. "I don't work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you, just report on you."

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