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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

57 mins ago - Health

Moderna says vaccine appears to protect against new COVID-19 variants

Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is effective against new variants of the virus that first appeared in the U.K. and in South Africa, the company announced on Monday.

Yes, but: The vaccine was as effective against the strain from U.K., but saw a six-fold reduction in antibodies against the South Africa variant. Even still, the neutralizing antibodies generated by the vaccine "remain above levels that are expected to be protective," according to the company.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Updated 1 hour ago - World

Xi Jinping warns against "new cold war" in Davos speech

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Wang Zhao - Pool/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that a "new cold war" could turn hot, and must be avoided, in a speech on Monday at World Economic Forum’s virtual “Davos Agenda” conference.

Why it matters: Xi didn't refer directly to U.S.-China tensions, but the subtext was clear. These were his first remarks to an international audience since the inauguration of President Biden, whose administration has already concurred with Donald Trump's determination that China is committing "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims, and issued a warning about China's aggression toward Taiwan.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dominion files $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani

Photo: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani on Monday seeking $1.3 billion in damages for his "demonstrably false” allegations about the company's voting machines.

Why it matters: Giuliani led former President Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the election and spread the baseless conspiracy theory that Dominion's voting machines flipped votes from Trump to Joe Biden.