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Welcome back to This Week in Ideas, our roundup of the thoughtful and inspiring stories that had the Freethink team talking.

A new way to deliver lab results: Drones! NPR reports how the hot new tech item could transform medicine “not only in rural areas by bringing critical supplies into hard-to-reach places, but also in crowded cities where hospitals pay hefty fees to get medical samples across town during rush hour.”

**Fighting Zika with GMOs:** Genetically modified mosquitos could help public health researchers eradicate the threat of Zika and countless other mosquito-born diseases. Many people are irrationally scared of genetic modification. 538 explains how those two facts are colliding in a tiny Florida community (pictured below), which could, in turn, influence the way we fight Zika around the world.

ambj-mosquito-map-v2
Map via 538

Selfies as passwords: Instead of letters and numbers, what if you could use a picture of your own face to gain access to online services? It’s not that crazy, considering we’ve used pictures of ourselves to gain access to all kinds of things in the physical world for decades. But it would definitely signal the start of a new era of verifying our identities online.

Was Theranos actually on to something? Theranos’s spectacular fall aside, Florence Comite argues in VentureBeat that the blood testing industry could use some disruption: “The opportunity for a more convenient, accurate, and less painful draw, especially for chronic conditions such as diabetes, is tremendous.”

Hold on there, Elon Musk: The SpaceX founder believes we need 1 million people to create a civilization on Mars. Satellite consultant David VomLehn says that number is way too low.

muskarticle
Elon Musk explaining his plan to colonize Mars

Explore More Stories

Seachange
Ship’s Logbooks Are the First Records of Climate Change Data
Ship’s Logbooks Are the First Records of Climate Change Data
Seachange
Ship’s Logbooks Are the First Records of Climate Change Data
With the weather and ice data from old ship’s logs, Dr. Kevin Wood realized it was possible to reconstruct the history of sea ice in the Arctic to better understand climate change.
By Teresa Carey

With the weather and ice data from old ship’s logs, Dr. Kevin Wood realized it was possible to reconstruct the history of sea ice in the Arctic to better understand climate change.

Dispatches
What Happens If Scientists Lose Faith in Their Own Research?
What Happens If Scientists Lose Faith in Their Own Research?
Dispatches
What Happens If Scientists Lose Faith in Their Own Research?
Half of scientists have failed to replicate their own work — but they rarely come forward. A new project wants to...
By Dalmeet Singh Chawla

Half of scientists have failed to replicate their own work — but they rarely come forward. A new project wants to change that.

Dispatches
Precision Medicine Cured an “Untreatable” Stage IV Breast Cancer
Precision Medicine Cured  an “Untreatable” Stage IV Breast Cancer
Dispatches
Precision Medicine Cured an “Untreatable” Stage IV Breast Cancer
Two years ago, she had two months to live.

Two years ago, she had two months to live.

Dispatches
Robots Are Mass Producing Mini-Organs
Robots Are Mass Producing Mini-Organs
Dispatches
Robots Are Mass Producing Mini-Organs
Robots can make hundreds of tiny copies of your organs, allowing doctors to test many different treatments at the...

Robots can make hundreds of tiny copies of your organs, allowing doctors to test many different treatments at the same time.

Dispatches
Two Billion People Have TB. What Should We Do about It?
Two Billion People Have TB. What Should We Do about It?
Dispatches
Two Billion People Have TB. What Should We Do about It?
In the fight against TB, sometimes it's better to just get along.

In the fight against TB, sometimes it's better to just get along.

DIY
Treating Diabetes with a DIY Pancreas
Treating Diabetes with a DIY Pancreas
Watch Now
DIY
Treating Diabetes with a DIY Pancreas
A group of coders created an open source, DIY pancreas to help people with diabetes manage their condition.
Watch Now

Diabetes is a high maintenance and high stakes disease requiring constant monitoring and precise decision-making. What if we could outsource that workload to a machine? That’s what one couple decided to do. They made a homemade pancreas that eases the burden of diabetes care… and then released the design to the public for free.

Wrong
What Happened to the Beepocalypse?
What Happened to the Beepocalypse?
Watch Now
Wrong
What Happened to the Beepocalypse?
In 2006 bees started disappearing. Beekeepers reported to losing up to 90% of their beehives. And no one knew why....
Watch Now

In 2006 bees started disappearing. Beekeepers reported to losing up to 90% of their beehives. And no one knew why. Nearly every news outlet raised the alarm, warning of an imminent beepocalypse that would devastate our food supply. But while alarm bells rang, things turned around. And bee colonies are now at a 20 year high. How did we get the beepocalypse so… wrong?

Coded
Meet the Artist and Activist Who Wants You to Erase Your DNA
Meet the Artist and Activist Who Wants You to Erase Your DNA
Coded
Meet the Artist and Activist Who Wants You to Erase Your DNA
Heather Dewey-Hagborg wants to make sure people understand the hidden secrets in the DNA they leave behind...
By Michael O'Shea

Heather Dewey-Hagborg wants to make sure people understand the hidden secrets in the DNA they leave behind everywhere they go.

Superhuman
The World's Most Advanced Bionic Arm
The World's Most Advanced Bionic Arm
Superhuman
The World's Most Advanced Bionic Arm
A fascinating interview with Michael P. McLoughlin, the chief engineer of research and exploratory development at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.
By Mike Riggs

A fascinating interview with Michael P. McLoughlin about bionic arms for amputees and the world of advanced prosthetics. McLoughlin is the chief engineer of research and exploratory development at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.