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March 27, 2014

One of the most remarkable events of modern times? Human population growth.

At the time of the First Dynasty in Egypt — around 3000 BC — global population was just 100 million, according to estimates. By the height of the Roman Empire and the birth of Christ, that number was perhaps 250 million. And in 1750, at the dawn of the industrial revolution, global population had risen to 750 million.

Now — thanks to antibiotics, improved sanitation, mechanized agriculture, vaccinations — it's 7,155 million, or 7.15 billion.

Current estimates suggest that global population will top out at 8.5 billion in 2030. The growth rate is already falling, due to women having less children. In 2012, the global fertility rate was 2.47 births per woman. That was a decrease from 2.50 in 2011, and 2.90 in 2006. The rate at which population growth will level off is 2.10, according to projections.

Of course, 8.5 billion people is still a huge number for the planet to support in the long run. Can the Earth do it? Some estimates say no, and some estimates say yes. Personally, I'd say a lot depends on technology. If humans can figure out a way to keep atmospheric dioxide levels close to pre-industrial levels, and transition to renewable energy to avoid over-reliance on finite resources like oil and goal, then we have a pretty good chance. John Aziz

7:43 p.m. ET
Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images

With many polls already closed in New Hampshire (and the rest shuttering at 8 p.m.), early results in the first presidential primary place Donald Trump ahead with 34 percent, followed by John Kasich with 14, Jeb Bush with 11, and Ted Cruz with 10 percent. Only 2 percent of precincts have reported so far. With Trump expected to win the state, all eyes have turned to the valuable second place spot, with Chris Christie and Marco Rubio also competitive. Jeva Lange

7:01 p.m. ET
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Ben Carson isn't sticking around to see how he does tonight in New Hampshire's presidential primary — he's already on the road to South Carolina, CBS News reports. According to a statement released by his campaign Tuesday afternoon, "After several stops meeting with New Hampshire voters, supporters, and media today, Dr. Carson will be en route to South Carolina to continue his campaign for faith, integrity, and common sense leadership."

Carson, then, will be missing his own primary night event. However, the campaign's statement stressed that Carson is not dropping out of the race and that it was "sad" that the media is "pre-occupied with dissecting the minutia of [Carson's] schedule."

In very early results on Tuesday, Carson had one vote in New Hampshire. By comparison, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and John Kasich are tied with nine. Jeva Lange

6:59 p.m. ET
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It's primary day in the Granite State, and New Hampshire residents are using Google to ask questions about the candidates, where they stand on the issues, and if they're still even in the race.

Google reports that the top trending questions on Hillary Clinton revolve around her stand on the issues, where she went to college, where she will be on Wednesday, who could beat her in the general election, and what Bill Clinton will be called if she wins the election. When it comes to Bernie Sanders, the people want to know if he's pro-choice, how he made his money, when his birthday is, and where he is right now. The top two most searched issues are the same for both candidates: Immigration is number one, followed by gun control.

On the crowded Republican side, the top searched candidate is Donald Trump, followed by Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. The trending questions for Jeb Bush revolve primarily around his family and name and questions that don't have answers yet — "How old was Jeb Bush when his dad was president?" "Is Jeb Bush related to George Bush?" "Who is Jeb Bush's running mate?" "Is Jeb short for anything?" Ben Carson's top trending question asks if he's "qualified to be president," and New Hampshire residents also are curious to know "Is Ted Cruz a Democrat?" and "Why does Ted Cruz wear two watches?" Three of the trending questions for John Kasich relate to abortion and women's health care, and people are also wondering if Rubio "is American" and if "Chris Christie was charged in Bridgegate."

The oft-forgotten Jim Gilmore should be pleased that the top trending question about him is "What are the pros and cons of Jim Gilmore?" Unfortunately, people also want to know "Is Jim Gilmore still running?" and "Who is Jim Gilmore?" Catherine Garcia

6:47 p.m. ET
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In a 5-4 ruling on Tuesday, the Supreme Court put a hold on the Environmental Protection Agency's carbon emission rules during an appeals process, Reuters reports. States and industry groups brought the legal challenge. The Supreme Court's ruling is a blow to President Obama, whose federal regulations had intended to limit carbon dioxide emissions at power plants to combat climate change. The hold could last for several years as the appeals process moves through the lower courts. Jeva Lange

6:30 p.m. ET
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Ohio Gov. John Kasich believes that unlike his rivals in the Republican field, he took the high road in his presidential campaign, and because of that, "we feel the momentum."

"There will be no regrets in the Kasich campaign for all the work we've put in, the positivity of all of it," he told CNN Tuesday. Kasich said candidates like Jeb Bush have spent millions on ads attacking him, and it's a "shame to see people take the low road to the highest office in the land."

Speaking of Bush, Kasich has some advice for his campaign: chill. "They're getting more and more desperate," he said. "They need to relax a little bit. You know, it's just an election, a campaign. It's like they're freaking out. Calm down, Bush people. It's not that serious." Catherine Garcia

5:50 p.m. ET
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As interesting as it might be to hear who the presidential candidates would pick to win the Super Bowl, there is an art to asking tough questions on the campaign trail. Thanks to a Quaker organization, the American Friends Service Committee, hundreds of political activists are now equipped with the tools they need to hunt down candidates on the trail and get their questions answered, The Intercept reports.

"It might be at a cafe like this. We find out a candidate will be there and we have a volunteer and he says, 'I'll go and have coffee,'" the New Hampshire co-director Arnie Alpert said at the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester.

The organization has taught more than 1,100 activists in Iowa and New Hampshire how to formulate important questions, approach candidates, and record the interactions to be spread on social media. During one recent coaching session in New Hampshire, military veterans were taught to make eye contact and introduce themselves as vets to the candidates, although the actual questions were up to them. John Hurd was one such student who attended a Carly Fiorina event at the Nashua Radisson Hotel the day after the lesson:

After Carly Fiorina gave her stump speech, she said she would take a few questions. Jason Hurd, a veteran who participated in the training, shot his hand up and was called on first.

"As an Army combat medic — and I spent a year in Baghdad, policing Iraqis with sometimes brutal tactics — now I see police here at home using the same tactics, with the same weapons, and the same equipment that I used, on black communities," he said. "What would your presidency do to end the militarization of police and stop cops from killing everyday Americans?"

"Thank you for your service, first of all," Fiorina responded. Then she ignored the question, choosing instead to tear into Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for withdrawing troops too quickly from Iraq. [The Intercept]

Read many of the questions asked by the activists here. Jeva Lange

4:06 p.m. ET

Voting is well underway in New Hampshire, but a handful of farm animals are hoping they might be able to sway last-minute undecideds. Reporting from the center of the action in Manchester, Nancy Chen of Boston's WHDH spotted a few Bernie-backing barnyard critters who came out to "support" the Vermont senator.

Take a look at the menagerie, below. Jeva Lange

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