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How Good Design Helped Bring Light to a Remote Area of Indonesia

1.3 billion people around the world live without electricity. Here’s how a design challenge is starting to change that.

The Cut Out the Darkness donation ceremony in Sone, Indonesia

Last month, 110 solar lanterns dangled from simple wooden poles as part of a small evening ceremony in Sone, a remote Indonesian village in the mountains of West Timor. Before the lanterns arrived, Sone’s inhabitants were among the 1.3 billion people around the world who live without electricity, making such nighttime gatherings a rare occasion.

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Finally, Male Birth Control Pills

Indonesian researchers have run successful clinical trials for male birth control pills utilizing a potent plant-derived chemical.

“Did you take your birth control pill?”

It’s a question that causes many women to bristle, a recurring reminder that the brunt of the responsibility falls on them to prevent pregnancy. It’s a lopsided arrangement, to be sure, but researchers in Indonesia are on a mission to level the field with birth control pills for men.

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Reinventing the Alphabet

By choosing their language’s written form, some groups are preserving their own histories, cultures, and tongues

Statue of King Sejong the Great, who introduced the Hangul Script to Korea, replacing widely-used but inapt Chinese characters

When the Cia-Cia people of Indonesia’s Buton Island, off the southeastern coast of Sulawesi, finally adopted an alphabet for their language, locals and international linguists alike rejoiced. An endangered language of some 79,000 speakers at the time, many feared that as global tongues and cultures became more locally popular, younger generations would be unable to engage with the knowledge and sense of identity stored within the Cia-Cia oral tradition. This new script would attempt to contain a 600-year-old cultural history, preserving their tongue and giving future generations all the benefits of literacy without the dislocation of language loss.

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