your health
July 7, 2014
iStock

The makers of a contraceptive that can be turned on and off at the push of a button hope the device will be available to the public by 2018.

The pregnancy-preventing microchip is implanted under a woman's skin and can be used every day for up to 16 years — that's longer than copper IUDs, which can last up to 10 years, and hormonal IUDs, which usually last five. The device delivers 30 micrograms of levonorgestrel, a synthetic hormone, daily and has a remote control so it can be turned on and off. "That provides a certain convenience factor for those who are planning their family," Dr. Robert Farra of MIT told the BBC.

The project has been backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and will continue its pre-clinical testing. One major detail to figure out is how best to encrypt the microchips in order to prevent a hacker from taking control. "Communication with the implant has to occur at skin contact level distance," Farra said. "Someone across the room cannot reprogram your implant. Then we have secure encryption. That prevents someone from trying to interpret or intervene between the communications."

RIP
12:19 p.m. ET

Legendary documentarian Albert Maysles has died at 88.

Maysles' 60-year career as a documentarian began with the short Psychiatry in Russia in 1955. In the decades that followed — and often in collaboration with his brother David — he helmed acclaimed documentaries like SalesmanGimme Shelter, and Grey Gardens.

In October, Maysles spoke with the Los Angeles Times about his 2014 project Iris, which debuted at the New York Film Festival, preaching the "kindness" he believed a great documentarian must possess. "If you have the ability to connect through empathy, you see how the world changes," he said.

Maysles' final film, In Transit, will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival in April.

Innovation of the Week
11:30 a.m. ET
Courtesy photo

Jumping rope "hasn't changed much since it was invented," said Adam Clark Estes at Gizmodo. But a Kickstarter campaign for a "Smart Rope" aims to bring this humble piece of workout equipment into the 21st century. Like most high-tech fitness gadgets, this "LED-laced, sensor-laden jump rope" can track your activity — jumps, in this case — and sync with a smartphone app to help you "analyze your stats." But you don't have to wait until after your gym session to gauge your workout's quality, since the Smart Rope has embedded LEDs that display your stats — including pace, time and calories — "in front of your very eyes while you're working out," creating the illusion of LED stats floating in midair. For now, the Smart Rope is still raising funds, but early backers can reserve one, starting at $60.

This is incredible
10:48 a.m. ET
iStock

A 10-year-old boy has become a local legend. His heroic efforts and quick thinking saved his sister from captivity.

The boy, along with his brother and sister, were playing outside near the Cullahill village in Ireland when a man asked for directions to a priest's home, The Irish Independent reports. The man grabbed the girl, but her heroic brother jumped through the driver's window and punched him. While the driver was distracted, his sister escaped from the car.

Police were able to locate and arrest the 34-year-old suspect. The Irish Independent notes that in addition to being a convicted sex offender, the man has robbed priests' homes in the past. In 2004, he was sentenced to four years in jail for abducting a 14-year-old girl.

RIP
10:30 a.m. ET

The death of Leonard Nimoy inspired an outpouring of tributes from across the globe — but The Big Bang Theory, which counted Nimoy among its geek icon guest stars, had an unusually close relationship with the actor. A napkin signed by Nimoy led to one of the sitcom's most memorable scenes, and Nimoy later lent his voice to an episode.

As a final tribute to Nimoy, creator Chuck Lorre used his customary "vanity card," which appears bearing a new message at the end of each episode, to pay his respects at the end of Thursday's episode:

eyes on russia
10:14 a.m. ET
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Friday that he is taking a 10 percent salary cut, effective March 1 through December 31, 2015, AFP reports.

Putin's signed decree also cuts the salaries of several other top government officials, including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Prosecutor General Yury Chaika, and Alexander Bastrykin, president of Russia's Investigative Committee.

Moscow continues to deny any support of pro-Russia militants in neighboring Ukraine, but skeptical Western leaders have imposed sanctions on Russia in response, which have crippled the country's economy in recent months.

North Korea
9:51 a.m. ET
iStock

Last month, North Korea expressed Ebola concerns and announced that foreigners wouldn't be allowed to run in its annual marathon. But the North has since changed its tune.

Overseas runners will be allowed to run in 2015's Pyongyang marathon after all, The New York Times reports. North Korea has reversed a travel ban that essentially sealed its borders in late October.

Koryo Tours, a British tourism company based in Beijing, said Thursday that foreign applications for the race, which will take place on April 12, are now being accepted. The majority of North Korea's tourists are from China and Russia, but the Times notes that the number of Western tourists, especially those from Britain and Germany, is on the rise.

Discoveries
8:57 a.m. ET

Archaeologists in France have uncovered the tomb of a Celtic prince from the Early Iron Age, also known as the Hallstatt era.

The team believes the prince lived 2,500 years ago, and his burial site is one of the largest ever found from the fifth century B.C.E. And the most incredible part is that it was found under a traffic roundabout.

Archaeologists from France's National Archaeological Research Institute (Inrap) have been working at the Troyes site since October. The tomb contained Greek and Etruscan artifacts, including a chariot, a cauldron decorated with Greek gods, and an amphora with images of Dionysus. The value of the corpse's burial items are what led the team to believe he was an aristocrat and likely a prince.

"Even in the rich Greek tombs you don't find such objects," Dominique Garcia, the head of Inrap, told The Telegraph. "These objects were like diplomatic gifts."

In a statement, the researchers explained that Celtic communities would have acquired Greek and Etruscan items through trade with Mediterranean cultures. The archaeologists described the find as an "extraordinary" discovery, The International Business Times reports.

This just in
8:25 a.m. ET
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The latest report from the Bureau of Labor statistics found the U.S. economy generated 295,000 new jobs in February, while the unemployment rate ticked down a bit to 5.5 percent, from 5.7 percent in January. Average hourly earnings for all workers also rose to $24.78, up from $24.75 in January. The December 2014 jobs creation number of 329,000 was unchanged, and January 2015 was revised downward, from 257,000 to 239,000.

The February numbers actually beat out the expectations of Wall Street economists, who were anticipating 235,000 new jobs, an unemployment rate of 5.6 percent, and an increase in average hourly earnings of 0.2 percent from January. The last month job growth fell below 200,000 — roughly the threshold needed to keep up with population growth — was January of 2014. So this remains the longest stretch of sustained growth above that mark since the early 1990s.

Really?
7:51 a.m. ET

Eleven-year-old Liam Scholes didn't get to celebrate World Book Day with the rest of his class. The reason? His book character of choice was Christian Grey, of 50 Shades of Grey.

Sale High School in Greater Manchester asked students to dress up as literary characters for World Book Day on Wednesday. Scholes chose Grey, wearing a gray suit and carrying an eye mask and "cable ties" to complete the look, BBC News reports.

Apparently, the school didn't appreciate Scholes' costume, though, and he wasn't allowed to participate in the class photo. His mother, meanwhile, supported the costume. Nicola Scholes told BBC News that it was perfectly fine for a teacher to dress as a serial killer and for children to come in with toy guns, so her son's costume should have been allowed. She added that children her son's age "all talk about sex."

"Liam was advised to dress as James Bond, but he was promiscuous and a murderer,” Nicola Scholes told BBC News. "Personally, I'm more offended by a murderer."

#Hashtags
7:20 a.m. ET

Jimmy Fallon normally reads out his own Hashtag selections — tweets using a hashtag he suggested — but on Thursday night's Tonight Show he handed that responsibility over to Tariq Trotter in his house band, The Roots. Most of the #SpringBreakRaps tweets are about what you'd expect — drinking, hooking up, regret — but there are a few pleasant surprises thrown in. My favorite: "Gonna trash the hotel / We won't clean up the mess / Leave your town black and blue / Like a white and gold dress." So, nice work, @edillades. Watch that and the other tweet raps artfully performed by Tariq and the band below. —Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads