CLOSE
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.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Afternoon Map
8 City Maps Rendered in the Styles of Famous Artists
iStock
iStock

Vincent van Gogh once famously said, "I dream my painting and I paint my dream." If at some point in his career he had dreamed up a map of Amsterdam, where he lived and derived much of his inspiration from, it may have looked something like the one below.

In a blog post from March, Credit Card Compare selected eight cities around the world and illustrated what their maps might look like if they had been created by the famous artists who have roots there.

The Andy Warhol-inspired map of New York City, for instance, is awash with primary colors, and the icons representing notable landmarks are rendered in his famous Pop Art style. Although Warhol grew up in Pittsburgh, he spent much of his career working in the Big Apple at his studio, dubbed "The Factory."

Another iconic and irreverent artist, Banksy, is the inspiration behind London's map. Considering that the public doesn't know Banksy's true identity, he remains something of an enigma. His street art, however, is recognizable around the world and commands exorbitant prices at auction. In an ode to urban art, clouds of spray paint and icons that are a bit rough around the edges adorn this map of England's capital.

For more art-inspired city maps, scroll through the photos below.

[h/t Credit Card Compare]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
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]

Know of something you think we should cover? Email us at tips@mentalfloss.com.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios