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
Actor Will Ferrell has reportedly nixed plans to play Ronald Reagan in a comedy about the late president's dementia, just days after it was announced he had signed on to star. Ferrell's spokesperson now says he was never officially attached to the project. "While it is by no means an 'Alzheimers comedy,' as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project," his spokesperson said.
Shortly after news of the film broke, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis penned an open letter expressing her disappointment. "Perhaps if you knew more," Davis wrote, "you would not find the subject humorous." Becca Stanek
A lot can change in eight years — as Carly Fiorina knows. While the former Hewlett-Packcard CEO is now Ted Cruz's vice presidential candidate, Fiorina actually sung Hillary Clinton's praises back in 2008. While on the campaign trail for Republican presidential nominee John McCain, Fiorina described Clinton as "incredibly intelligent, focused, tough, determined."
"As a woman, I take great pride in the fact that Hillary Clinton ran for president," Fiorina said.
Fiorina added that "bold women, women in power are characterized, scrutinized differently than their male counterparts are." Fiorina has since joined the chorus of conservative voices who have accused Clinton of "playing the woman card," saying that "Hillary Clinton, first of all, calls everybody a sexist and that's not a fair game."
A representative for Fiorina clarified to CNN that the vice presidential candidate "thinks Hillary Clinton is smart and hardworking, but she also believes she is profoundly misguided on the important issues facing this country."
Watch the surprisingly different tone Fiorina had less than a decade ago, below. Jeva Lange
The White House decided to mix things up at its daily press briefing Friday by having a fictional character step into Press Secretary Josh Earnest's role. Yes, seriously.
Allison Janney, who played the whip-smart press secretary C.J. Cregg on The West Wing, took over the podium while Earnest was supposedly out of commission for a root canal.
"But let's be honest," Janney said, "I'm better at this anyway."
Watch Janney's briefing, which — spoiler alert — Earnest eventually crashes, below. Becca Stanek
Allison Janney takes over White House press briefing as character 'C. J. Cregg' from 'The West Wing.' https://t.co/jdDgMDQbm5
— ABC News (@ABC) April 29, 2016
Your friend is getting married. Hooray! Now pay up.
On average, millennials spend nearly $900 for every wedding they attend as a guest, according to numbers crunched by American Express this week. In comparison, the average American wedding guest spends 27 percent less, around $703 per wedding. That number accounts for an average of $205 spent on airfare, $166 on attire, and $69 on child or pet care.
Millennials, though, break the bank by spending on average $893 per wedding or, if they're a part of the wedding party, $928. Wedding gifts don't come cheap, either. When purchasing gifts for family members, Americans spend an average of $127, or $99 on friends.
Better start saving up — wedding season hits its peak in June. Jeva Lange
The Pentagon announced Friday that it has punished 16 American military personnel, including a two-star general, for the deadly strike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan last year that killed 42. Because the Pentagon determined the attack was not intentional, but rather the fault of human error, fatigue, and technical errors, those punished will not face criminal charges. Instead, the punishments will be "administrative actions" only, including suspension, removal from command, and letters of reprimand.
The attack occurred after crew members reportedly mistook the hospital for a Taliban-controlled building about a quarter of a mile away. Becca Stanek
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in the Republican presidential race during a Friday appearance on a conservative talk radio show. "I'm not against anyone, but I will be voting for Ted Cruz," Pence said, though he first went out of his way to commend Donald Trump for giving a voice to "the frustration of millions of Americans."
Pence's endorsement comes just four days ahead of Indiana's Tuesday primary, which is critical for Cruz to win if he wants to prevent frontrunner Donald Trump from locking up the 1,237 delegates he needs to secure the nomination. Becca Stanek
With her sights set on the general election, Hillary Clinton sent out a series of Snapchat attacks on Donald Trump on Thursday, using the app's face-swap feature to overlay Trump's orange visage with the features of presidents past.
— Emma Grundhauser (@emgrundy) April 29, 2016
As Politico explains — and it seems like some explanation might be needed, given the nature of Clinton's references and the age of the average Snapchat user — each one pairs a relevant president with a comment or policy of Trump's which Clinton wanted to critique. These combos range from the obvious (Lincoln plus Trump's KKK gaffe) to the more obscure (the first President Bush, who signed the Americans with Disabilities Act, plus Trump's mocking of a disabled reporter). Bonnie Kristian