CLOSE
Original image

Amazing/Weird Period Board Game Teaches Kids About Menstruation

Original image

Back in my day, kids learned about periods the old fashioned way: By being shoved into a gender-segregated classroom with the lights off and forced to watch a cartoon about deodorant, new hair growth, and monthly bleeding. But this is 2016, and ladies no longer need to hide in dark classrooms to learn about the joys of sanitary napkins and the maze that is the fallopian tubes. Champion swimmers talk about their periods on international television, and marathon runners let their blood flow freely down their legs as they cross the finish line.

Now you can learn about menarche with a spin of the ovaries. Designers Daniela Gilsanz and Ryan Murphy created the Period Board Game in a Rhode Island School of Design class to turn the awkwardness of menstruation education into a fun experience.

To play, you just have to turn one of the two ovaries, releasing a marble that’s either red or clear. If it’s red, you’re on your period, and you get to move forward on the game board. If it’s clear, sorry, you’ve just learned about vaginal discharge.

You can play cards that protect you from period woes like leaks and PMS, or end up without a tampon headed for the nurse’s office to sit out your next turn. The first person to get around the board—past ovulation, periods, and PMS—wins.

Will this actually turn talking about periods with young girls into a fun, positive experience? Maybe. It at least forces kids to say the word tampon a few times, although without a doubt, kids will find a way to find the whole situation mortifying regardless. But hey, every child should have to confront the realities of ovulation at some point. Plus, it’s so cute!

The game doesn’t have a distributor yet, since it was a student project, but hopefully some company will pick it up and put one in every kid’s hands soon enough.

See it in action in the video below:

The Period Game from Daniela Gilsanz on Vimeo.

All images courtesy The Period Game.

Original image
Habibou Kouyate, Stringer, Getty Images
arrow
science
Play a Game to Help Scientists Defeat a Cancer-Causing Toxin
Original image
Habibou Kouyate, Stringer, Getty Images

If you're used to fighting virtual zombies or flying spaceships on your computer, a new series of games available on Foldit may sound a little unconventional. The object of the Aflatoxin Challenge is to rearrange protein structures and create new enzymes. But its impact on the real world could make it the most important game you've ever played: The scientists behind it hope it will lead to a new way to fight one of the most ruthless causes of liver cancer.

As Fast Company reports, the citizen science project is a collaboration between Mars, Inc. and U.C. Davis, the University of Washington, the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa, and Thermo Fisher Scientific. The team's online puzzles, which debuted on Foldit earlier this month, invite the public to create a new enzyme capable of finding and destroying carcinogens known as aflatoxins.

Aflatoxins form when certain fungi grow on crops like corn, nuts, and grains. Developing countries often don't have the resources to detect it in food, leaving around 4.5 billion people vulnerable to it. When people do eat food with high aflatoxin levels unknowingly, they can contract liver cancer. Roughly a quarter of all liver cancer cases around the world can be traced back to aflatoxin exposure.

The toxin's connection to agriculture is why the food giant Mars is so interested in fighting it. By working on a way to stop aflatoxins on a molecular level, the company could prevent its spread more efficiently than they would with less direct methods like planting drought-resistant crops or removing mold by hand.

The easiest way for scientists to eradicate an aflatoxin before it causes real harm is by making an enzyme that does the work for them. With the Aflatoxin Challenge, the hope is that by manipulating protein structures, online players will come up with an enzyme that attacks aflatoxins at a susceptible portion of their molecular structure called a lactone ring. Destroying the lactone ring makes aflatoxin much less toxic and essentially safe to eat.

The University of Washington launched Foldit in 2008. Since then, the online puzzle platform has been used to study a wide range of diseases including AIDS and Chikungunya. Everyone is welcome to contribute to the Foldit's new aflatoxin project for the next several weeks or so, after which scientists will synthesize genes based on the most impressive results to be used in future studies.

[h/t Fast Company]

Original image
Nervous System
arrow
Art
Every Laser-Cut 'Geode' Jigsaw Puzzle is One of a Kind
Original image
Nervous System

If you haven’t picked up a boxed jigsaw puzzle in a while, trust that they’ve undergone a serious transformation since your childhood. One of the most innovative companies in the category is Nervous System, a self-described “generative design studio” that composes computer programs to create puzzles based on patterns found in nature.

Their latest project, Geode, is a line of jigsaw puzzles modeled after agate stone. Like the rest of Nervous System’s puzzle inventory, it has an unusual and dynamic design; it's meant to mimic the band pattern of actual agate created by trapped gas in volcanic stone.

Several geode puzzles are shown
Nervous System

According to Nervous System’s site: “To create the organic shape of the pieces, we designed a system based the simulation of dendritic solidification, a crystal growth process similar to the formation of snowflakes that occurs in supercooled solutions of certain metallic alloys. By varying the parameter space, the system can produce a variety of cut styles. Each puzzle produced features its own unique landscape of interlocking shapes. No two are alike.”

Though lovely to look at, the puzzles utilize Nervous System's "Maze" piece-cutting method, which results in irregular and distorted shapes that may prove "fiendishly difficult" for some.

The 8.5-inch puzzles are made from plywood and feature 180 pieces. You can grab one for $60 at Nervous System’s online shop.

[h/t MyModernMet]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios