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Ina Fried / Axios

While one wouldn't think an alternative was needed for iron supplements, it turns out they taste terrible. As a result, two-thirds of the people that need more iron stop taking the pills.

Enter the little Lucky Iron Fish. It looks like little more than a paperweight. But boil it in a pot of water for 10 minutes and the resulting liquid has enough iron to meet someone's nutritional needs. Plus it lasts for five years, making it more affordable in the long term than taking a daily pill.

Lessons we can learn: Inside that little metal fish are also some good lessons for any tech entrepreneur. It's proof that sometimes problems that appear to be solved, really aren't. And, sometimes a completely new approach may be needed. Plus, the shape of the fish is a reminder that design matters. Initially, it was just a little iron disk, but when Gavin Armstrong was developing it for use in Cambodia, he found people were much more likely to use a fish-shaped object because fish are considered lucky there.

Lucky Iron Fish is just one of the ideas being highlighted at this year's Solve conference at MIT. The goal of the program is to encourage entrepreneurs with innovative takes on thorny global problems. The conference began with talks from cellist Yo-Yo Ma and former defense secretary Ash Carter (which I moderated), but the real focus of the event is on the 30 or so entrepreneurs, known as Solvers.

Solvers: Participants are working on topics such as tools for educating refugees, creating more inclusive innovation, and developing techniques for cutting carbon emissions. (Several new programs announced at the event included preparing youth for the future workplace, brain health, and increasing women in technology).

To get an even better sense for Solve, check out this video from Vice. The short documentary shows how the program works through the eyes of Mohsin Mohi Ud Din, who presented at the conference. His project, Me/We, helps Syrian refugees regain control of their lives through digital storytelling.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Vulnerable Democrats: Less Trump talk

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Vulnerable House Democrats are convinced they need to talk less about the man who helped them get elected: President Trump.

Why it matters: Democrats are privately concerned nationalizing the 2022 mid-terms with emotionally-charged issues — from Critical Race Theory to Donald Trump's role in the Jan. 6 insurrection — will hamstring their ability to sell the local benefits of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan tributes flood in for "giant of the Senate" Bob Dole

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Bob Dole at an event put on by the World Food Program at which he was awarded the first “McGovern-Dole Leadership Award” in December 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Senate colleagues, are sharing condolences and memories commemorating the life of Bob Dole, who passed away at 98 on Sunday morning.

The big picture: Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, was the longest-serving Republican leader in the Senate until 2018, when current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surpassed his record.