Here comes the sun
May 22, 2014
CC by: Narendra Modi

Newly elected Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi is a hugely controversial figure, and how he will govern India — a country currently in an economic funk — remains unknown. Critics worry that the Hindu nationalist Modi may sow seeds of division, and stoke up religious conflict. Yet Modi largely ran his campaign on reviving the country's economy — and he does have a few big economic ideas up his sleeve.

As chief minister of Gujarat, Modi pioneered India's first incentives for large-scale solar power in 2009. And now his government plans to harness solar power to enable every home in India to run at least one light bulb by 2019. More than 400 million people in India still lack electricity. That's more than the entire population of the U.S. and Canada.

"We look upon solar as having the potential to completely transform the way we look at the energy space," Narendra Taneja, convener of the energy division of Modi's Bharitiya Janata Party, told Bloomberg.

He's probably right. Solar can be totally decentralized, meaning that unconnected homes can have access to power without India having to immediately roll out expensive centralized infrastructure like power lines, substations, and coal-fired power stations — previously a stumbling block to bringing electricity to the poorest in the third world.

If successful, this kind of program could provide a clean, decentralized energy template for sub-Saharan Africa, where upwards of 580 million people lack electricity.

pao pow
March 27, 2015
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Gender was not the reason former partner Ellen Pao was passed over for a promotion at prominent venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers, a California jury in Silicon Valley declared Friday. After the verdict was read, however, the jury was sent back to deliberate on one of the four claims, which did not have the necessary majority of at least nine jurors to constitute an official decision — the jurors had ruled eight to four in favor of Kleiner.

Pao's suit asked for $16 million in lost wages and future earnings, in addition to a potential $144 million in punitive damages.

This doesn't look good
March 27, 2015

Ecologist and GMO advocate Patrick Moore wants to set the record straight about a recent WHO report that classified glyphosate, which is found in Roundup and other weed-killers, as "probably carcinogenic" to humans.

Moore appeared on French news channel Canal+ to explain that Roundup isn't dangerous, telling the Canal+ reporter that "you can drink a whole quart of it and it won't hurt you."

Understandably, the reporter's response is, "You want to drink some?" Moore quickly declines the offer, saying that he won't drink it because "I'm not stupid," though he does add that he knows it is "not dangerous to humans." Check out the interview in the video below. —Meghan DeMaria

Correction: This article originally referred to Patrick Moore as a Monsanto lobbyist. In a statement written after this article was published, Monsanto said Moore "is not and has never been a paid lobbyist for Monsanto." This article has since been corrected. We regret the error.

space stuff
March 27, 2015
Nasa.gov

On Friday afternoon, NASA launched a two-man crew for a one-year space mission on the International Space Station. The pair includes Scott Kelly, an American astronaut, and Mikhail Kornienko, a Russain cosmonaut.

The journey will be especially notable because Kelly's identical twin brother, Mark, is staying on Earth. Mark will undergo genetic studies while his brother is in space, and scientists will use data from both twins to further explore how the body changes while in space for longer periods of time.

The mission is also a test for future trips to Mars, where astronauts could stay in orbit for 500 days or more.

bathroom break
March 27, 2015
iStock

Physical attacks, drug deals, and bathroom sex are what Zephyrhills High School administrators are trying to put an end to, but students and parents aren't pleased with a new policy that requires students to be escorted to the bathroom.

"We're in high school; we shouldn't be babysat. We should be able to go to the bathroom," one student told WFTS.

But Zephyrhills High principal Andrew Frelick explained that students have also been spreading feces in the bathroom, fighting in the hallways, and stealing when left unchaperoned. In the face of backlash to the new rule, AOL reports that the policy has been changed slightly, and now only students with disciplinary or academic issues will require an escort.

Braaaaaaaaaiins
March 27, 2015
Facebook.com/TheWalkingDeadAMC

AMC's long-discussed Walking Dead spin-off finally has an official title. The new TV show will be called Fear The Walking Dead — a title that provides a helpful contrast to all those non-scary zombies in the original series.

Few details about Fear the Walking Dead are known, but inside sources say the show is set in Los Angeles at the beginning of the zombie outbreak. Its story is not expected to overlap with the original The Walking Dead, which is set to air its season five finale on Sunday.

Fear The Walking Dead is expected to premiere late this summer. AMC has already ordered two seasons, because come on, this zombie craze is never going to fade, right?

Only in America
March 27, 2015
iStock

A New York state high school celebrating National Foreign Language Week caused an uproar when a student recited the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic. Student Andrew Zink said reciting the pledge in different languages was meant to show that "what makes you American is not the language you speak, but the ideas you believe in." But the district superintendent publicly apologized, saying the use of Arabic "divided the school in half."

Here's looking at you kid
March 27, 2015
iStock

Being hassled at the airport by TSA is a nuisance every traveler wants to avoid — and now a "secret behavior checklist" released by The Intercept may help passengers do just that.

Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT, is the program used by TSA officers to spot suspicious-looking characters. Individuals who exhibit certain characteristics such as "excessive throat clearing" and "exaggerated yawning" earn a point or two toward their ranking of likely-terrorist. Conversely, points are deducted if you're a member of a family or if you're of a more advanced age.

Other factors on the 92-point checklist that might cause TSA to pay special attention to you at the airport include "face pale from recent shaving of beard," "unusual items," and "fast eye blink rate."

The SPOT program has repeatedly come under fire by critics who question the effectiveness of behavior detection and those who say the program could lead to racial profiling. In 2013, a Government Accountability Office report found that evidence did not support whether the SPOT techniques were effective in identifying "persons who may pose a risk to aviation security."

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