Can you design a better condom? If so, Bill Gates will give you $100,000. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons
Bill Gates has a new humanitarian mission: better condoms for all. The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation is offering $100,000 to anyone who can design a condom that protects its users with no decrease in pleasure. The "Condom 2.0" has to be cheap and effective, like condoms are now, but with more, y'know... Steven Ward, a program officer for the Gates Foundation explained the idea to the Daily News:
"We acknowledge that we have condoms today that are very effective. But they have a drawback, where they have diminished sexual pleasure for the user."
"It may seem like a small thing, but it prevents people from using them consistently. The more we can get people to be more consistent, the better."
And hey, he's right. Behavioral changes often have to do with incremental differences. Think about the clothes you don't wear because they are a half-inch too tight or too loose or the stores you don't visit due to an inconvenient street-crossing. The same logic applies to condoms-- do you want to go out of your way for reduced pleasure? If the Gates foundation can make it a non-issue, it will be great for public health.
Design questions aside (not that there aren't any) how is anyone going to claim this reward? Blind survey? I suppose it would be easy enough to find people to try them. If Bill and Melinda Gates announce the award winner together, it could make for an incredibly awkward press conference. I suppose these are the sacrifices one must make when doing charity work.