Not everyone reading the strip is going to be an adult in a sensible frame of mind, with perfect vision. You could easily be a panicked teenager in a public restroom, and having some of the uncertainty and possible user error taken out is quite helpful.
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But yeah. The way I wrote this came off as misogynist to a lot of people... I'm sorry about that. It definitely wasn't my intent but I can certainly see where I overlooked aspects and phrased things badly.
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Oh and one neat thing in the Naomi Wu thread that was interesting: How the indicator paper works, and why they can't just make it say "YES" when you pee on it:
The lines are actually antibodies attached to small gold particles. They fix to hormones in the piss, and are carried until an area where another line of antibody capture the hormones, and the gold-antibody conjugate.
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Another thing I wanted to mention but was too tired: There's actually precedent for environmental damage from pregnancy tests! Back in the 30s through the 60s, the go-to pregnancy test was African clawed frogs.
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You could inject urine into them (into their leg, weirdly) and within 24 hours they'd lay eggs if there was hCG in the urine. This was a cheaper test than earlier tests based on mice or rabbits, because those required killing the animal.
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This one didn't, and the frogs could live quite a long while in captivity, allowing them to be used over and over. The direct hCG-based tests were developed in the 60s, and these replaced the frogs.
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But the issue is that these are an african frog species, and they were being used all over europe and the americas. Even if they're supposed to be contained in labs, there's going to be escapes and accidentally contact with native species
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and apparently some labs just released their testing frogs into the wild. This was a bad idea for two reasons: 1. You now have a invasive species introduced into the areas they were being used in tests 2. They spread diseases to the local frogs
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One example of the latter is the disease chytridiomycosis, spread by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. It was only found in africa, and then spread to north america through the pregnancy test frogs. nature.com/news/pregnancy-te…
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And other than the disease, they're an invasive predator that are now competing with native species. So there's been a bunch of ecological damage from pregnancy-test-frogs. So this digital test isn't exactly unprecedented!
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but yeah. The final summation is probably: Get this digital version of the test if you need it, it's fine. If you're worried you won't read it correctly, if you have vision problems, if you're just scared... go ahead! Just please recycle the battery.

11:48 AM · Sep 4, 2020

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but if you don't need the accessibility features and you're going to be doing a bunch of tests (like if you're trying to get pregnant), you'll save money and generate less waste by getting the test strips. They're like 15$ for 50 of them.
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And you can always get a digital one (or go to a doctor for a professional test) if you need confirmation of an uncertain result.
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BTW, one thing I didn't mention because I didn't know about it: There's a tiktok meme going around that the "pill" I mentioned is a morning-after pill. Since this got big, lemme just confirm: NO IT IS NOT, PLEASE DON'T EAT IT
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not only will it not WORK, it's a moisture-absorbing material to keep the test from being thrown off by too much liquid. So it's basically the same as those desiccant packets you get in a lot of electronics, the ones that are covered in "DO NOT EAT".
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when I called it a "pill" I mean "pill-shaped", but that was some bad phrasing given that hoax meme.
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Anyway there's an alternate universe where I tear down one of these and find, instead of a test strip, a tiny frog in a little self-contained aquarium, and I think that's the image we should all take away from this.
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I'm seeing a lot of people replying to this without reading to the corrections later on, so this is probably not worth explaining (if you're mad at me after 25 posts you're not gonna change your mind when you get to post 57). I'm sorry about the thread's tone.
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It seemed dismissive and flippant to a lot of people, which wasn't intentional. I do a lot of tech teardowns here, but usually I'm doing it to less important stuff, like computer mice or telephones and the like.
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The tone I take with them is usually like "let's see what silly stuff they jammed into this thing, and what weird ways they made it work!" I'm doing it because I find it interesting to see how things are built and how they work.
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the thing I didn't consider with this thread is that while doing it that way is fine for something like a keyboard, doing it for a medical device like this, especially one that's sex-specific? It sounded like I didn't care about the issues related to the device.
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so a lot of people got the impression that I was a techbro being like "PFFT, WASTING GOOD SILICON ON SILLY WOMEN'S PROBLEMS! WE SHOULD INSTEAD USE THOSE CHIPS TO PLAY VIDEOGAMES AND CALCULATE PRIME NUMBERS!"
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again, not intended that way AT ALL, but at the same time it's not like I'm blameless for how it came across. I should have thought more about how this would come across, especially once it got retweeted out of my particular follower-bubble.
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So it's something to keep in mind for the future, when I'm talking about things like this which stray outside of my usual "some weird/old computer thing" teardowns. This one definitely has wider social implications I should have thought more about before tweeting as usual.
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hey look, some good news:
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