America’s Fastest-Growing Urban Area Has a Water Problem

This story originally appeared on CityLab and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

When Latter-day Saint migrants arrived in Utah in 1847, a verse in Isaiah served as consolation to them in the dessicated landscape: “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.”

Lately, the desert has blossomed nowhere more than the St. George area, in the state’s southern reaches. The city is a picturesque outpost, with red-rock desert framing bright green lawns and golf courses, all built around the stark white Mormon temple in the center of town.

Brigham Young’s adherents came here to grow crops, primarily cotton—hence its reputation as Utah’s Dixie. Today, that ceaseless sunshine is luring so many tourists, retirees, and students that St. George has become the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the country. According to read more

An Ebola Vaccine Gets Its First Real-World Test

The Ebola virus kills half the people who get it, and it’s a tragically familiar disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since scientists first characterized the disease in 1976, Congo has had nine outbreaks. Now it’s happening again: To date the country has seen 46 possible or confirmed cases, and 26 people are dead.

But this time is different. Four cases are in a city—Mbandaka, with more than a million people and easy transport to the megacity of Kinshasa. That has chilling implications for the potential spread of the infection. “In a rural area you might have had 10 contacts, but in a urban area after two days of fever you might have been in contact with 50, 60,” says Micaela Serafini, medical director of MSF Switzerland. “It magnifies the response.”

But this outbreak is different for another reason, too: This time there is a vaccine.

Beginning Monday, health care workers and other people on the front lines of the outbreak will receive a recombinant read more

A New Look Inside Theranos’ Dysfunctional Corporate Culture

Alan Beam was sitting in his office reviewing lab reports when Theranos CEO and founder Elizabeth Holmes poked her head in and asked him to follow her. She wanted to show him something. They stepped outside the lab into an area of open office space where other employees had gathered. At her signal, a technician pricked a volunteer’s finger, then applied a transparent plastic implement shaped like a miniature rocket to the blood oozing from it. This was the Theranos sample collection device. Its tip collected the blood and transferred it to two little engines at the rocket’s base. The engines weren’t really engines: They were nanotainers. To complete the transfer, you pushed the nanotainers into the belly of the plastic rocket like a plunger. The movement created a vacuum that sucked the blood into them.

Or at least that was the idea. But in this instance, things didn’t go quite as planned. When the technician pushed the tiny twin tubes into the device, there was a loud pop and blood splattered everywhere. One of the nanotainers had just exploded.

Holmes looked unfazed. “OK, let’s try that again,” she said calmly.

Beam1 wasn’t sure what to make of the scene. He’d only been working at Theranos, the Silicon Valley company that promised to offer fast, cheap blood tests from a single drop of blood, for a few weeks and was still trying to get his bearings.

Excerpted from Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, by John Carreyrou


He knew the nanotainer was part of the company’s proprietary blood-testing system, but he’d never seen one in action before. He hoped this was just a small mishap that didn’t portend bigger problems.

The lanky pathologist’s circuitous route to Silicon Valley had started in South Africa, where he grew up. After majoring in English at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg (“Wits” to South Africans), read more