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African Dynamo

How a Malawian teenager harnessed the power of the wind. William Kamkwamba's parents couldn't afford the $80 yearly tuition for their son's...


How a Malawian teenager harnessed the power of the wind.


William Kamkwamba's parents couldn't afford the $80 yearly tuition for their son's school. The boy sneaked into the classroom anyway, dodging administrators for a few weeks until they caught him. Still emaciated from the recent deadly famine that had killed friends and neighbors, he went back to work on his family's corn and tobacco farm in rural Malawi, Africa.

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Deception, Inc.

A host of shady online services is making it easy to lie and cheat. Are you sick of lying, cheating, and stealing the old-fashioned way? Of...

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Lake Mead Is Drying Up

Water levels are falling in America's largest reservoir. If it dries up, so could power and water for much of the Southwest. Imagine...

Water levels are falling in America's largest reservoir. If it dries up, so could power and water for much of the Southwest.

Imagine Nevada's Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States, as a great sand pit, and imagine the population of the western United States as a colossal ostrich burying its head in the pit. And now, imagine the sand level dropping so fast that the willfully ignorant bird is forced to confront the fact that Lake Mead may actually become as dry as a sand pit in a decade.Lake Mead stores water from the Colorado River. When full, it holds 9.3 trillion gallons, an amount equal to the water that flows through the Colorado River in two years. The water from Lake Mead is used for many things. It irrigates a million acres of crops in the United States and Mexico, and supplies water to tens of millions of people. Its mighty Hoover Dam generates enough electricity to power a half-million homes. Additionally, the power from Hoover Dam is used to carry water up and across the Sierra Nevada Mountains on its way to Southern California.In 2000, the water level at Lake Mead was 1,214 feet, close to its all-time high. It's been dropping ever since. When Lake Mead was built during the 1920s and 1930s, the western United States was enjoying one of the wettest periods of the past 1,200 years. Even today, our so-called drought is still wetter than the average precipitation for the area averaged over centuries. In other words, for the last 75 years, we've been partying like it's 1929. Farmers grow rice by flooding arid farmland with water from Lake Mead; residents of desert communities maintain front lawns of green grass; golfers demand courses in areas where the temperature exceeds 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer.

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