+
More

A 15-year-old girl might have made HIV tests as easy as pregnancy tests.

Nicole Ticea's HIV test invention is a long way from widespread use, but it's a start. I love it when stories like this from the Tumblr YearofWomen pop into my Internet world.

True
Gates Foundation

While you were probably wondering if you'd pass the driver's test at 15 years old, Nicole Ticea was working to revolutionize HIV testing.

How? By trying to make HIV tests as easy as pregnancy tests.

Consider her brilliant work a celebration of a young scientist taking one small step for humans, and one potentially giant step (after more stringent peer review!) for humankind.


Here's the background: HIV testing is necessary, but it can be embarrassing, it's hard, and it takes a while for results ... and in some places, it's expensive. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of all Americans age 13 and older who are living with HIV (1,201,100), an estimated 160,300, or 13%, don't even know they have HIV.

And over 50% of young people with HIV don't know they have it. So in some ways, HIV is a youth issue.


Tim Gunn cannot compute. GIF via Bravo TV.

Also from the CDC, youth (ages 13-24) accounted for an estimated 26% of all new HIV infections in the United States in 2010.

That statistic stinks. But here's what doesn't: a teen with a solution. Turns out the kinda best person to attack these horrid youth stats is ... a YOUTH PERSON!


That's where 15-year-old Nicole Ticea and that kind-of-like-a-pregnancy-test come in. Her idea could make it a whole heck of a lot easier simply to get tested and diagnosed.

Image via Hochgeladen von Sven Manguard (altered).

See, HIV testing usually requires expensive lab equipment and time to process the test. But Nicole used a new method called isothermal nucleic acid amplification, which means that tests can be done anywhere — potentially, even in remote locations around the world — and quickly. Then she found a way to test for the HIV virus itself rather than for humans' reaction to it, which means the virus can be detected much sooner — as early as one week after infection.

Bam! Faster testing. Take the test and you could have results in under an hour.

Oh and did I mention you wouldn't even need electricity? The device would be disposable, and it should cost less than $5 to produce. Double bam!

This is a new technology that hasn't been peer reviewed yet, so these magical HIV-tests-that-are-as-easy-as-pregnancy-tests aren't coming to a store near you right away (Nicole just invented it!). There's a lot more that has to be done before this brilliant idea can become a reality or to know if it really will work exactly like Nicole hopes it will. But this is one HUGE step toward a healthier world.

The earlier you catch HIV infection, the greater your chances of survival are. Plus, the risk of passing on the disease diminishes HUGELY.

Inventing a high-speed HIV diagnosis ... sounds like the work for a teenage girl, right?

It should. Because it is.

Typical teenage girls. Wearing pink and inventing revolutionary HIV tests. GIF from "Grease."

The world is beautiful when we give teens the keys ... TO SCIENCE!

You go, Nicole. It's only been a year since you've come up with it, but I see big things for the future of your invention. We'll be Googling you from here on out to see what's happening with the test's development!

So congrats on studying for that driver's test, all other 15-year-olds, but while you're studying for that, maybe look into that science textbook? I believe in ya. ;)

Pedro Pascal and Bowen Yang can't keep a straight face as Ego Nwodim tries to cut her steak.

Most episodes of “Saturday Night Live” are scheduled so the funnier bits go first and the riskier, oddball sketches appear towards the end, in case they have to be cut for time. But on the February 4 episode featuring host Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian,” “The Last of Us”), the final sketch, “Lisa from Temecula,” was probably the most memorable of the night.

That’s high praise because it was a strong episode, with a funny “Last of Us” parody featuring the Super Mario Brothers and a sketch where Pascal played a protective mother.

Keep ReadingShow less
AMC Theaters/Youtube, Variety/Twitter

AMC announced that it would be implementing a new three-tier ticketing system.

AMC Theaters, America’s largest movie theater chain, announced on Feb 6 that it will be adopting different ticket prices based on seat location.

Moviegoers will have three tiers to choose from based on sightline of the movie screen—Preferred Sightline, set in the middle at the highest price point, Value Sightline, set in the front of the auditorium at the lowest price, and Standard Sightline, which is basically everything else (including the back seats, which are perhaps the most commonly picked) set at the traditional cost of a ticket.

In other words…heartbreak will feel more expensive in a place like this…or less, depending on where you sit



The company’s announcement was met with both criticism and approval. While some feel the move follows a well-established business model, others have found it to be taking away a valued aspect of the moviegoing experience.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Keanu Reeves shocks a small-town pub by stopping in for a pint and taking photos with the staff

“So today we had a surprise visitor for lunch. What a lovely man he was, too."

Keanu Reeves in São Paulo, Brazil, 2019.

Keanu Reeves has a reputation as one of Hollywood’s nicest celebrities. Recently, he cheered up an 80-year-old fan who had a crush on him by calling her on the phone. He’s also bought an ice cream cone for a fan to give an autograph on the receipt and crashed a wedding to take photos with the bride and groom.

He’s also an incredible humanitarian who gave up a big chunk of his money from "The Matrix" to a cancer charity.

The “John Wick” star was his usual gracious self over the weekend when on Saturday, February 4, he and a friend walked into The Robin Hood pub in Tring, Hertfordshire, about 30 miles outside of London.

Keep ReadingShow less
via Pexels

A mother puts a fresh diaper on her baby.

Scientists at Penn State University have devised a “smart diaper” that alerts parents when their baby is wet. The diaper is made of paper, treated with sodium chloride (salt) and has a circuit board drawn with a pencil.

When the humidity level rises in the diaper, the graphite and the urine are absorbed by the paper and it turns on a sensor powered by a small lithium battery. The sensor then sets the alarm on an app that parents download onto their phones.

“The hydration sensor is highly sensitive to changes in humidity and provides accurate readings over a wide range of relative humidity levels, from 5.6% to 90%,” the researchers at Penn State said in a statement.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Kelly Clarkson and Pink's gorgeous unplugged 'What About Us?' duet came with a timely​ message

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry…"

Pink and Kelly Clarkson teamed up for a sweet acoustic version of "What About Us?"

Pink and Kelly Clarkson are both known for having powerhouse voices that can belt at incredible ranges but also soften for a sweet ballad. Put the two of them together, and…well, dang.

On Feb 6, Clarkson featured Pink on her daytime talk show, in which she often sings with musical guests. The two superstars sang several acoustic duets with pitch-perfect harmonies, prompting fans of both artists to clamor for a collaborative album.

One song they sang together was Pink's "What About Us?" Pink previously described the song to The Sun in 2017: "The world in general is a really scary place full of beautiful people. Humans are resilient and there's a lot of wonderful—like I said in the song—'billions of beautiful hearts' and there are bad eggs in every group. And they make it really hard for the rest of us."

In the intro to their duet, Clarkson asked Pink about the impetus behind her writing the song.

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry and people are being forgotten," Pink shared. "People are being counted out and their rights are being trampled on just because a group of people doesn't believe in them."

"Like, I don't understand how so many people in this world are discounted because one group of people decided they don't like that," she continued. "And I won't—I won't have it. One of the most beautiful things that my dad taught me was that my voice matters and I can make a difference, and I will."

The lyrics of the song seem to address the political leaders and decision-makers who hold people's lives in their hands as they pull the levers of power. It's a beautiful song with an important message wrapped up in gorgeous two-part harmony.

Enjoy:

Saturday Night Live/Youtube

"It's a me."

Pedro Pascal and HBO seem to be a match made in pop culture heaven. His role in the fourth season of “Game of Thrones” shot him to notoriety. He’s currently starring in “Last of Us,” which also boasts a massive viewership.

And now, thanks to one epic “Saturday Night Live” skit, fans are clamoring to see Pascal take on a new role—a brooding, hardened, princess smuggling Mario.

The faux trailer imagines the video game Mario Kart as a quintessential HBO drama. Mario (Pascal) has to use his driving skills to get Princess Peach (played by Chloe Fineman) through an apocalyptic Mushroom Kingdom.
Keep ReadingShow less