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Gates looks to get a rise out of the traditional condom industry

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is offering quite a challenge to brilliant minds everywhere: create a condom that men prefer to use over no condom. 

On Gates' "Impatient Optimists" website for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a blog post describes how condoms are effective at preventing the spread of HIV and unintended pregnancy, but most people don't want to use them. Why? Mainly because it hinders the sexual experience. 

The blog post was written by Papa Salif Sow, a senior program officer in HIV Prevention at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Stephen Ward, a program officer for Discovery & Translational Sciences at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

"It may seem obvious, but the success and impact of any public health tool hinges on that tool being used consistently and correctly by those who need it," said the blog post. "Vaccines sitting on shelves don’t prevent disease.  New tuberculosis drug regimens won’t help if patients stop taking them halfway through the necessary days.  Likewise, the potential value of condoms is limited by inconsistent use."

It mentions that many other HIV preventative and contraceptive methods are in development, such as fast-dissolving vaginal films and combination vaginal rings. However, many of these alternatives are years from hitting store shelves either due to development issues, regulatory approval, etc.

We have a perfectly good solution already available: condoms. But Gates feels it is time to give the condom a much-needed update so that they're used more frequently. 

"What if we could develop a condom that would provide all the benefit of our current versions, without the drawbacks?" said the blog post. "Even better, what if we could develop one that was preferred to no condom?"

 The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is challenging scientists, entrepreneurs, etc. to partake in the Next Generation of Condoms, which is part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges Explorations. 

Gates' Grand Challenges are always looking for an old idea to redesign and make into a more effective product. For example, last August, Gates awarded prizes to three teams at an event in Seattle, Washington called "Reinvent the Toilet Challenge." Scientists, inventors, designers and students enrolled in the challenge were asked that they create a toilet design that strays from the traditional flush toilet. 

If you've got an idea that will encourage "wrapping" it while making men still want to "tap" it, then submit your ideas to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation here.

Source: Impatient Optimists

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RE: How about you start by...
By Shadowself on 3/25/2013 6:05:32 PM , Rating: 2
There's this thing called the Constitution that forbids infringing on one's religious beliefs.
Wrong. The exact, relevant part of the First Amendment is
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

Note that is does not, in any way, say that governments can't *infringe* on religion. It does say 1) that the government can't set up a state religion. Virtually every relevant Supreme Court case has taken that to mean that the government cannot promote one religion over another, i.e., if you want to have a stereotypical Christian Nativity Scene in a government building, you can't refuse to have a stature of the Flying Spaghetti Monster there too.

The second part is taken to mean that the government can't keep you, personally, from exercising your personal religious beliefs. Church owned/run insurance organizations are businesses. Those businesses don't inherently have a religion. It has yet to be clearly shown by the courts whether the business owned by a human legally inherits the religion rights of that human. If I believe in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster can I set up a business and require all persons who work for me to be active, dutiful members of my church? What if the seed money to start the business comes from my preaching gigs where I talk about the greatness of the FSM? And if they stop being dutiful members, can I fire them?

Clearly, in the exercise of my religious beliefs, I can choose who is and is not a member of any church I start -- and this has been upheld many times in the courts.

However, in a business that is merely owned or run by a church the law is not quite clear. The Supreme Court has yet to make a clear ruling on this issue. There are federal laws prohibiting job discrimination due to religious beliefs. The courts are not 100% consistent on how these laws pertain to businesses owned by a church. It seems clear, due to these inconsistencies, that a church's rights are different from a those of a business *owned* by a church.

So while the U.S. Constitution cannot promote one religion over another and cannot restrict you, personally, in following your personal religious beliefs... there is no explicit statement or final, definitive, clear ruling from the courts on the "infringing" concept.

RE: How about you start by...
By Reclaimer77 on 3/25/2013 7:50:33 PM , Rating: 3
Note that is does not, in any way, say that governments can't *infringe* on religion.

Exactly what do you think it means when it says "shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of"? Seems pretty clear to me. It's a well established fact we have freedom of religion FROM the Government.

Church owned/run insurance organizations are businesses.

Wrong. They are non-profit organizations. Businesses make money, they technically don't.

there is no explicit statement or final, definitive, clear ruling from the courts on the "infringing" concept.

Where are you getting this stuff? There is a huge list of precedents of the lower courts and the Supreme Court consistently upholding this. Protecting religious organizations from being infringed upon by the Government.

Religion aside, because it causes people to become irrational bigots for some reason whenever it's discussed, I'm generally against second-guessing and redefining the clear mandates of the Constitution. We must always, in ALL things, seek to interpret it in a way that leads to the least Government oriented solution. And involves it the least in our daily lives. As was the true intention of the Framers, obviously.

This isn't a sporting event where you should cheer when the Government smacks down a group of people you don't like, because you'll be the first one to cry foul when the same happens to you. And there might not be anyone left to listen.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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