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YouTube / Gates Foundation
YouTube / Gates Foundation

The Last Percent

YouTube / Gates Foundation
YouTube / Gates Foundation

Last year, there were 223 reported cases of polio worldwide. That's down from over 300,000 cases a year in the late 1980s, and it means we're more than 99% of the way to eradicating polio from the face of the Earth. It has taken decades of concerted effort by countries and organizations to get here, but we're not finished yet—that last one percent means everything. Have a look at this inspirational video showing other efforts we've undertaken around the world, and consider this question: Would you stop at 99%?

Today, there are only three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan where polio has never been stopped. Until polio is stopped in these countries we risk outbreaks like the ones we are seeing in the Horn of Africa now. You can actually keep track of polio cases on the Polio This Week page, a service of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

The big news is India's immense program to eliminate polio. If no new cases are reported through January 2014, India will have gone three years without a polio case and will be declared polio-free. The effort it took to eliminate polio in India is insanely huge—in 1997, India vaccinated 134 million children in a single day. The vaccine is just a few drops of liquid taken by mouth (no shots!), and polio is a disease that cannot live outside the human body—we can eradicate it.

In the coming months, we'll write more about polio. We can save future generations of children from paralysis and death. The goal is within sight: learn more and take action.

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iStock
China Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Restore the Great Wall
iStock
iStock

The Great Wall of China has been standing proudly for thousands of years—but now, it needs your help. CNN reports that the wall has fallen into disrepair and the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation has launched an online crowdfunding campaign to raise money for restorations.

Stretching 13,000 miles across northern China, the Great Wall was built in stages starting from the third century BCE and reaching completion in the 16th century. To some degree, though, it’s always been under construction. For centuries, individuals and organizations have periodically repaired and rebuilt damaged sections. However, the crowdfunding campaign marks the first time the internet has gotten involved in the preservation of the ancient icon. The China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation is trying to raise $1.6 million (11 million yuan) to restore the wall, and has so far raised $45,000 (or 300,000 yuan).

Fundraising coordinator Dong Yaohui tells the BBC that, although the Chinese government provides some funds for wall repairs, it’s not enough to fix all of the damage: "By pooling the contribution of every single individual, however small it is, we will be able to form a great wall to protect the Great Wall," he said.

[h/t CNN]

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YouTube // Deep Look
These Glowing Worms Mimic Shining Stars
YouTube // Deep Look
YouTube // Deep Look

The glow worms of New Zealand's Waitomo caves produce light, mimicking the starry night sky. Using sticky goop, they catch moths and other flying creatures unfortunate enough to flutter into the "starry" cavern. Beautiful and icky in equal parts, this Deep Look video takes you inside the cave, and up close with these worms. Enjoy:

There's also a nice write-up with animated GIFs if you're not in the mood for video. Want more glow worms? Check out this beautiful timelapse in a similar cave, or our list of 19 Places You Won't Believe Exist topped by—you guessed it—New Zealand's Glowworm Caves!

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