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The Energy Future's Outer Edge

After the gulf oil blowout, we look at alternative energy ideas around the world. Kite power. Liquid batteries. Anything but oil.

Makani Power’s first rigid wing prototype, demonstrating tethered hovering at Makani’s development facility in Alameda, CA. The company builds kite-mounted wind power turbines. (Credit: MakaniPower.com)

Fossil fuels are fouling the planet. And by 2050, projections are we’ll use 50 percent more energy worldwide. 

What to do? We need alternatives. 

This hour we’ll go global, looking at the work and research out there right now. Solar energy paint. Harvesting wind from the ends of high-flying kites. The push on nuclear fusion. New initiatives in China, Europe, the USA. 

We’re going to need to conserve, bigtime. But we need alternatives, too. 

This Hour, On Point: around the world in search of an alternative energy future.


M. Sanjayan, host of the Discovery Channel series “Powering the Future.” He’s also a biologist and lead scientist at The Nature Conservancy.

Lisa Margonelli, director of the New America Foundation’s Energy Policy Initiative and author of “Oil on the Brain: Petroleum’s Long, Strange Trip to Your Tank.”

Corwin Hardham, CEO of Makani Power, a company that builds kite-mounted wind turbines.

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  • Gray Kinnie

    Tom, Love your show. Never called; too busy, but multi-task with earphone and Walkman.

    Before tomorrow’s energy show, I invite you to take a look at http://www.biofuelsdiget.com; Jim Lane covers the field, here and around the world. He keeps track of the top 50 companies working on any type of biofuel. The latest leader is Syntroleum who is teaming with Tysons Foods to any excess rendered and other animal fat and convert it into a diesel replacement (Only less polluting.)

  • Gary

    The new green economy: Products and technology purchased from Europe and China, and installed with illegal immigrant labor to prove that its too expensive.

    Decentralized energy production will be blocked politically and economically at every point by large centralized producers.

    Don’t forget to mention the “Clean Coal” and cheap nuclear mythology several times.

    Green energy is no panacea, but a great deal can be done with a rational and forward looking energy administration that involves generation and conservation by changing the regulatory environment that is written to promote waste and centralized energy production. …once again we find our country is in deep jeopardy and woefully behind the rest of the world due to our corporate controlled government.

  • cory

    Forget new energy sources… We need to adopt lifestyles that use drastically less energy than we are accustomed to.

  • http://bruceguindon.com bruce guindon

    do you think we will be able to shake the stink of oil of our planet as long as the big oil companies are in business to make money and our politicians need large contributions to keep them in office, with this in mind how in Gods name can green business get a foot hold in this country or any place on the planet

  • http://wpln Keith

    We need to improve efficiency of vehicles, heating & cooling, etc. Vehicles operate usually below 20% efficiency. Geothermal heating and cooling along with proper home insulation would reduce fuel consumption.

  • T. Voyd

    The “need for speed” is embedded in the culture of the U.S. I am going to pick on the motorsports industry to make a point. NASCAR is a prime example, those cars blast around the track burning fuel to the tune of 2 gallons for every mile traveled. Then the industry packs up its show and moves to another city 36 times a year. Do you really expect a Dale Jr. fan to show up at the Daytona 500 driving a non gas bburning vehicle. Doesn’t seem possible. This country races dragsters, trucks, motorcycles, airplanes, boats, snowmobiles, semi-trucks, tractors they even race riding lawns mowers!!!! Would it even make since to allow this to continue, while pushing the rest of us to stop using vehicles powered by fossil fuels. And those race car drivers get paid millions to burn gas at 2 miles per gallon.
    Sadly, the need for speed will most likely rule in the end, unless you can get Dale Jr. and his followers to start driving electric or solar powered race cars. Don’t hold your breathe.

  • Rudolf

    Go Nuclear. The disadvantages have been over-emphasized and the advantages, especially to the environment, not recognized. Solar doesn’t work at night or even in overcasts, wind doesn’t always blow and we don’t have storage for these times. Nuclear is the way to go.

  • Ben H.

    Everyone keeps talking about ethanol as an alternative to gasoline. What everyone doesn’t mention is that the ethanol created in the U.S., made from corn, is no cleaner or more economical than oil, and the industry is already far too heavily subsidized.
    A great alternative to corn ethanol is Brazil’s standard, made of corn. It’s much more efficient, easier to produce, and the biproducts of its generation are used to produce electricity. Further, sugar crop production does not take up land from the Amazon.

    On a separate note, I read in the NYTimes recent about a chemical manipulation process involving sea water that can actually turn CO2 emissions into usable concrete. Imagine if this technology had been perfected right at the beginning of the industrial age…

  • Ben H.

    Correction to the above post: Brazilian ethanol is made of sugar, not corn.

  • John Caldwell

    We have the technology, but neither the will nor the money to change our energy ways in the approximately five years left before our carbon curve must change directions; start down. There is, even among concerned people a NIMBY attitude. Even Senator Kennedy did not to see a wind farm from his coastal home.
    I think we are doomed by our own disbelief or indifference. It does not help that the whole thing has become a political issue, with one side resisting the very idea that we can make a difference because big business would suffer if we tried.

  • T. Voyd

    Lowering the interstate speed limit to 60 MPH would save a great deal of fuel. But I have not heard of that suggestion even since gas began to rise in price and topped $4 per gallon. The President could order this to be done, could he not?

  • Barbro

    This is a great topic! I would like your guest to talk about the Biogas movement that is taking off in Scandanavia, the UK and Euarope. This uses farm waste and food waste to create an aenerobic methane plant that can heat homes and facilities and provide heat. I believe it’s called Aenerobic Digestion. The by-product is a natural fertilizer, helping farmers get off synthetic and polluting fertilizers. Thank you!!

  • http://none Michael

    So far the green industries are as greedy as any oil company. The rate take up of these technologies are being reduced because of this greed. Solar panels are priced by the manufacturers as if they paid for the R&D and other costs that were paid by the taxpayer.

  • Nehtneob

    May I remind people that all bio fuels, whether from corn stalks or waste cooking oil, still contribute to global warming gasses when burned. No free lunch there.

  • Steve T

    Man has looked for and tried to invent a “perpetual motion machine” The Earth is the only one I know of.

    I have heard about using Ocean water, such as tides and currents, this is something your guest knows about

  • Larry


    You are so right.

    Clean renewable energy is being blocked at every turn by centralized energy companies and our corrupt government.

    As we come to the end of easy oil we will burn it faster and faster in a fever of the madness of our time.

  • Steve T

    correction : Is this is something your guest knows about?

  • Richard Williams

    In China, one of the problems with the implementation of new energy sources is the lack of back-up. My daughter lived in a large building retrofitted with solar panels to heat water and would go for weeks at a time with NO hot water because the sky was overcast for long stretches. We need overlapping technologies to maintain our lifestyle. This, however, raises the already high price of alternative energy.

  • Valkyrie607

    Netneohb, you are mistaken. The carbon in plant bodies was taken out of the atmosphere in recent times. Burning organic materials does not constitute a net gain in atmospheric carbon, unless you don’t replant.

    Fossil fuels are different; their carbon comes from organic materials that existed 200-300 million years ago. The carbon there has been locked up beneath the earth, not in the atmosphere, since long before humans evolved. That is why the carbon that is released from burning fossil fuels causes global warming.

  • Robert Calloway

    I hear solar, wind, biomass, nuclear, but not tidal and wave energy powered turbines, below the water (so no visual pollution) all along the coastline. I read about it years ago when I was teaching science to 6th graders. What’s happening on that front?

  • Ellen Dibble

    A wave energy entrepreneur was at the White House website economic forum on green energy last Friday. Company name is Verdant, I believe. He has a 40-year deal on the St. Lawrence with Canada, which is into collaborative versus adversarial progress. Besides zoning creating sort of intestinal obstruction for the smart grid folks all across the USA, there is obstructionism of this adversarial sort, whatever that means. He cited wave energy having enough for 28 times the world’s current needs, and can desalinize water while doing so. Etc.

  • Rex Henry

    Using land for solar energy? Really?

    Why not on rooftops and cut down on heat island effect?

  • http://www.lowenfoundation.org/ Flowen

    Hello All

    Back again to say that nothing will change until current pricing of energy is allowed to rise. How it rises is not important, but it would be best if we discontinue the mammoth direct and in-direct subsidies to the oil, gas, coal, nuclear, and ethanol industries; plus, factor in the costs of environmental damage, and the Irag war, etc. into the cost of oil, gas, etc.

    Total agreement with T. Friedman: we need higher energy prices.

    The change to a sustainable future can be much quicker than anyone is now prognosticating.

    To work for maintaining low energy prices is the same as working for the Status Quo!

    People will get the best government they deserve, and the worst they will tolerate.


  • David


  • Webb Nichols

    Technology ultimately follows cheap labor for manufacturing purposes. Patents last 15 years. The United States ultimately cannot dominate the energy field until the rest of the world’s production costs are as costly as those in the United States.

  • tom from boston

    a huge issue with conservation of energy is with apartments. I’ve lived in apartments since 1987, and not one landlord had incentive to install things like storm windows, weather-stripping, proper insulation in attics, etc. This happens because the tenant usually pays the electric bills. If anyone can solve this lack of incentive, huge amounts of energy could be saved.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Carbon Capture — re-storing carbon back deep in earth, sort of reverse of Deep Sea drilling. See National Geographic this month, Robert Kunzig. Co-author in OnEarth and good one to Google: Wallace Broecker of Columbia.
    Not an excuse for no changes, but a way to hope.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Tom of Boston, I see on WBUR’s site that this Morning Edition has http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128703796#commentBlock an article by Joshua Brockman about rental housing, and that confirms what Geithner said on Charlie Rose two days back that housing is next on the administration agenda. Question: should ownership be fostered as much as in the past.
    And I’m posting everywhere that we need geothermal apartment buildings, 21st century housing, please. No one is designing them. Look at New Orleans. International contest for energy-smart single family homes. What about rental homes? Nope.

  • William

    I wonder if any of these guests run a profitable company?

  • Gray Curtis

    Natural gas is the primary energy source that can be developed to meet the tremendous demand for energy. It is about 95% methane.

    In 100 years we will be generating methane biogenically from waste streams from cities and farms, capturing methane from coal deposits, and using archaea to generate methane from any organic or hydrocarbon material. This is how nature has accelerated decomposition of organic matter since before man strode the earth.

    Until then methane can be recovered from thermogenic methane such as the shales and traditional natural gas over oil deposits

    A larger supply of methane, produced biogenically and stored in methane hydrates in the sea bed of the continental margins, will be the future energy supply of Japan, after completing extraction research in the Mallik field of the McKenzie River Delta of Canada’s Northwest Territories, because of large methane hydrate deposits off of Honshu.

    It is estimated that there is twice as much carbon stored in methane hydrates than in all the oil and natural gas on the globe that is recoverable and non-recoverable.

    In the 1970′s a professor at MIT proposed methanol as the fuel that could replace gasoline. The American Petroleum Institute opposed that work. California in the 80′s and 90′s had a fleet of about 1600 vehicles running on methanol. (methane converted to methanol is a good way to transport and store methane, as it is a liquid.

    As it takes time for an energy source to develop a dominant market share, methane, currently with a significant share, can become the dominant primary energy source long before numerous energy sources currently being developed with private and public funding can. This conclusion could be gleaned from a logistic growth model of energy substitution made by Cesare Marchetti in 1977. Since natural gas has an established infrastructure, the time required to make methane a dominant energy source will not take as long
    as other alternative energy sources.

    The country needs an agency like NASA and a program like Apollo to manage a conversion to methane or any other energy source. Public support of the conversion is critical to enable congress to buck the vested interests which want to promote the use of coal, for example.

    Hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles are desirable but not feasible. There are no deposits of free hydrogen, outside of the stars. Coal would be a source of hydrogen through reforming synthetic gas. Unfortunately, as the molecule of hydrogen is so small, it can seep through steel pipes which it also embrittles. The oil companies, such as shell, is involved in the hydrogen future, although it will take 50 to 100 years to create an infrastructure of any extent. Meanwhile, the country needs energy, presently oil.

    I regret that I have made at least nine attempts to be involved in on-point discussions. It has taken me too much time to write this comment to make a contribution of any effect to the discussion.

    If you have any questions about these comments please contact me.

  • Paul Hennessy

    Good discussion, but too much oriented to American efforts–no mention of such initiatives as Germany’s solar program that is far ahead of the rest of Europe because it’s providing generous financial incentives to investment by individuals. Hope the documentary reaches wider.

  • tom from boston

    ellen, thanks for the post. I don’t know what the solution is for apartment buildings, but I can tell you from my experience that landlords just don’t have a financial incentive to take even basic conservation steps because in most cases they are not paying the electric bills. Maybe some kind of tax incentives can be given to them if they take the issue seriously. The apartment where I live now has drafty windows and doors, and the insulation in the attic could be better.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Gary, right now I’m thinking that if I had to move I would first check out the geology of the regions of interest. If there is natural gas around, I have to check out have homeowners sold rights to put gas lines under their houses? If so, the high pressure needed to bring up the gas introduces toxins into the water table, and the water becomes undrinkable. No problem. Gas companies will do a deal with you: You keep quiet; they truck in bottled water to you for the foreseeable future. (Water probably in plastic bottles?) Anyway, that “keep quiet” makes me take the more radical approach of doing a geological study before moving here or there.
    Any rebuttal?

  • Mari McAvenia

    A simple explanation of algae pyrolysis for bio-fuels:

  • Ellen Dibble

    Tom, in my apartment I have five (5) layers of window covering and am considering a sixth. They are super windows, and I need them when someone is smoking weed two floors down — I am looking forward to the new e-cigarette era, with smokeless cigarettes. The attic above me turns the third floor into a bakery in the evening when its stored heat creates this effect. In my experience, buildings built tighter, are much more subject to air pollution from mold in the vents, etc. I don’t expect a one-jump step to optimal new style housing, but so far it’s just “affordable” units that have been going up, and some are geothermal, just not economically feasible for grad students, startup businesspeople, those saving to buy homes.
    The landlord next door to us did insulate last year, and I’m thinking the landlords are waiting to see what’s best.

  • Richard Murray

    We need to face the reality that our development’s in clean energy will be manufactured in China or in other Southeast Asia countries unless we change our policy on free trade. We are daily losing our capacity to manufacture our new Green Technologies on a daily basis.

    The handwriting is on the wall look at Solar Panels and Wind Mills China has grab the markets. we need to fashion a defensive position in our trade rules which will give us the ability to control our destiny, which is slipping in to our international competitors hands.

    Andy Grove the Chairman of Intel has addressed this issue in the Businessweek issue of July 5th. We must fight back or we will loose our ability to scale our new green technologies in to the new factories with the new jobs before they move off shore with the jobs.

    We must define the technologies and defend them from the
    off shore labor and technology vultures. Use the World Trade agreement as a growth tool not a welcome-mat for the vultures.

    We must reward those companies growing in America and Tax those who use Free-Trade as a way to line there pockets and reduce their Tax Burden.

    If we want to create real job growth we have to invest in the American people First.

    All we have to loose if we don’t act is our place in the World.

  • http://www.bulentguneralp.com Bulent Guneralp

    Everyone is asking “How?”. But the question, in my opinion, should be “Why?”. Energy for what exactly?

    Energy is needed for certain things in life, naturally. But no energy source – green or not – can be enough to fuel humanity’s greed and empty desires. The solution to world’s energy problems is to lead simple lives, combined with conscious efforts to find usable green energy sources. Without leading simple lives and eliminating unnecessary energy demand, the efforts to solve all these issues are bound to fail.

    As Gandhi said, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.”

    And as John Denver sang in Raven’s Child,
    “The oil king sits on his arrogant throne
    Away and above and apart
    Lawyers have warned him, he mustn’t speak
    Greed has made silent what once was a heart.

    Still there are walls that come tumbling down
    For people who yearn to be free
    Still there are hearts that long to be opened
    And eyes that are longing to see.”

  • Brent Campbell

    I do not understand why we need 300 hp engines in passenger cars. I drove a diesel car in Europe that was incredibly fuel effecient. 7 speed auto transmission negotiated steep grades with ease. What are we waiting for?

  • Ellen Dibble

    There is a $2300 auto available in China. I suspect it doesn’t go 60 miles an hour,and if it goes about 20 miles an hour, it doesn’t have to be built like a tank.
    Our entire system of roads kind of requires high-power vehicles. If we were happier with slower speeds and vehicles less like moving vans and tanks, we’d use less energy.

  • Ellen Dibble

    The forum on economics and green energy at the White House site last Friday included someone pointing out that China, unhindered by the kind of representative government and elections we have, can dictate from on high, and “yesterday,” one panelist reported, a dictum had come down in China to the effect all feasible efforts should be made to buy up clean energy enterprises across the globe. China’s intellectual property laws have a reputation for not protecting much anyway, but if the United States does not give the boost clean energy industries require, both the intellectual property and the industries themselves will be supported (bought out) by the country ready and willing to do so. China has made its move.
    Warren Buffett, I believe, invested in the company that is making those $2300 autos, the Chinese firm. Is he investing in our efforts too? Are you?

  • Brian Epstein

    One thing thing people are missing is the tremendous amount of water that is required for these visionary technologies, and water is running out all over the world. Desalination is a solution that is energy-intensive and will have unknown, possibly deleterious effects on the oceans. It takes more energy to get water to where it is used. The water problem needs to be addressed if new energy technologies are going to work.

  • miro

    So, as the program tells us in passing, Hydrogen is so Yesterday. More needed to be said about that.

    I was always puzzled as to why hydrogen was so much discussed and celebrated several years ago. So, although it is not an energy source, it is a transportable fuel. But electric cars can supply most commuting needs, and natural gas vehicles are also much more practical.

    Can anyone enlighten as to why the hydrogen technology bubble formed and burst? Was it political, supported by conservatives for some reason or another (perhaps precisely because it never posed a threat to oil)? Was it technological, because of the old cachet of NASA’s fuel cells in spacecraft (hence in a retro way, the fuel mode of the future)?

    I just don’t see it, have never understood the appeal of hydrogen fuel.

    Good program — we do need to get beyond oil, and we need much more research into fusion, wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, biorenewable sources, and above all BETTER END USE EFFICIENCIES for everything. But the driving force needs to be a gas tax. We should institute a $2 per gallon gasoliine tax and provide a federal income tax of rebate $1000 per person. If you use 500 gallons of gas per year, then you come out even, less — you make money, more you pay more.

  • Ellen Dibble

    For desalination: http://www.poweronline.com/Search.mvc?See http://verdantpower.com/
    Verdant Technologies
    It was Trey Taylor of Verdant at the Energy Panel who was saying their technology could desalinize while it producing tide energy. I don’t see it on their website, so maybe that’s still in development.

    I found a huge host of listings about desalinization at this site when I searched at Verdant.

  • Harry

    Interesting show. On the hydrogen question: the vision was to generate electricity using photovoltaics and to use any surplus to make hydrogen through electrolysis – using hydrogen as an energy storage medium – which could then be used in fuel cells to regenerate electricity for our homes at night or to run our cars. The idea is sound, but there are technical challenges to storing hydrogen gas safely and compactly; and hydrogen fuel cells require a lot of a special membrane material (called Nafion) that wears out over time. These technological hurdles, (which I’m sure people are still working on and which may even be resolved at some point) and advances in lithium ion battery technology are probably what has pushed hydrogen off center stage.

    The story of hydrogen is probably a good parable for the challenge we face as a society for switching to a clean energy system. There are many exciting and promising ideas out there, but many will fall to the wayside because of thorny problems. The sad thing is that we had a good start on this problem in the 1970s; then as a nation, we lost our focus (plenty of blame to go around; don’t get me started). If clean energy research had been funded at 1/10th the level of military research over the last 30 years, we’d be in a lot better shape today. Even now, federal research money for clean energy is ridiculously small compared to other areas (health, military, space, etc). See:

  • Ellen Dibble

    The White House website now has a link to the where on YouTube the video they had streamed of the Clean Energy Manufacturing panels, one and two, is now posted. July 16th was the date. I was hoping for a transcript. It’s just dense with information of what industry is trying to do, their hopes and tribulations.

  • twenty-niner

    “Energy is needed for certain things in life, naturally. But no energy source – green or not – can be enough to fuel humanity’s greed and empty desires.”

    Does this go for Al Gore as well?


    Just wondering what the left has in store for the rest of us. Are party members going to get nice estates like Al’s?

  • twenty-niner

    “but there are technical challenges to storing hydrogen gas safely and compactly”

    Exactly – hydrogen embrittlement in mild steel. It’s going to be very expensive to replace all of that steel pipe/infrastructure with 304 stainless.

  • Ron H

    Great program. I’m looking to do my dissertation on alternatives not for production, but on portable storage – i.e. the equivalent of the gasoline tank and gasoline engine and the convenient gas station on every corner. I’ve heard H2 distibuted with LPG is a possibility in Hawaii (prior NPR news story), of course you have lithium ion batteries, and maybe solar rooves/car coverings combined with fuel cells.

    M Sanjan – What do you see as the three leading alternatives for portable energy methods and “containers”- the equivalent of a 20 gallon, 200 lb, tank full of gasoline and a 400 lb gasoline engine?


  • Gary

    I have been an renewable energy enthusiast for most of my 50 years on earth… I also bicycle to work about 10 each way many days – ALL ONE has to do is use their own human power to accelerate themselves to realize how MUCH energy it takes and think about how much your HUGE car is using to move ITSELF + YOU to get a quick idea of the COST of burning fossil fuels.

    We MUST WAKE UP and realize that we are destroying our own life-supporting environment, the Earth , by burning fossil fuels, just to make our lives easier and more comfortable. We MUST re-THINK our whole mindset about how we live on Earth BEFORE its too late……

  • TomK

    Hydrogen is not a source of energy, there are no H2 wells, it is best thought of as a kind of battery. You have some fuel producing electricity, and instead of using it to charge a battery you use it to make hydrogen, which can power a car.

    The question “why” is a good one. Why do we need bigger cars, bigger houses, and everyone running AC all summer in temperate Boston? I don’t understand.

    I’m very disappointed with Obama. He gives no leadership and, as with the Sherrod debacle, seems afraid to take on the right. He is about as progressive as Mitt Romney.

  • AJ Averett

    Any energy policy must have as its cornerstones conservation and energy efficiency. Capacity not needed to be built provides both immediate and long-term savings; every dollar so invested equals at least three spent on added capacity.

    In two hours, the Earth receives from the Sun (at ground level) more energy than the entire human race consumes in a year. A total collection area of less than ninety miles square can more than meet the total energy requirement of the U.S. from solar energy alone (based on an exceedingly conservative conversion efficiency of 25%), with off-the-shelf technology; useful thermal energy can be collected on a cloudy midwinter day at northern latitudes. We are already falling behind other nations in harnessing the Sun’s energy bounty.

    A study by MIT for the DOE published in 2006 concluded that we have available, solely from geothermal sources in the lower forty-eight states, more than 1,000 times the total energy requirement of the U.S. (http://geothermal.inel.gov/publications/future_of_geothermal_energy.pdf).

    Add to this the substantial energy available from wind, and it should be obvious that we can immediately begin to transition to a safe, clean, secure, limitless and economical energy infrastructure that will also provide unparalleled reliability, all for as long as we inhabit our planet – and the source-cost of each of these energy sources is identically zero; we need only collect it. It should also be pointed out that an essential aspect of this new energy paradigm is distributed generation; installing these units throughout the country both improves reliability and reduces transmission losses. Technologies exist to allow storing excess energy captured from each source for use at other times.

    There are no technical reasons to prevent us from moving ahead and beginning to immediately transition to a safe, clean, economical and sustainable energy future; there are only political ones. After all, the energy cartel is rivaled only by the health care cartel in the amount of money (and lobbyists) lavished on Congress. The government “of the people, by the people, for the people,” of which Lincoln so eloquently spoke has indeed perished, and been replaced by government of, by and for the corporation.

Aug 27, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right, as Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, center, looks at them, prior to their talks after after posing for a photo in Minsk, Belarus, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. (AP)

Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s leader meet. We’ll look at Russia and the high voltage chess game over Ukraine. Plus, we look at potential US military strikes in Syria and Iraq.

Aug 27, 2014
The cast of the new ABC comedy, "Black-ish." (Courtesy ABC)

This week the Emmys celebrate the best in television. We’ll look at what’s ahead for the Fall TV season.

Aug 26, 2014
Matthew Triska, 13, center, helps Alex Fester, 10, to build code using an iPad at a youth workshop at the Apple store on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Stanford, Calif.  (AP)

Educational apps are all over these days. How are they working for the education of our children? Plus: why our kids need more sleep.

Aug 26, 2014
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, right, speaks with Ady Barkan of the Center for Popular Democracy as she arrives for a dinner during the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium at the Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park near Jackson, Wyo. Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014.  (AP)

Multi-millionaire Nick Hanauer says he and his fellow super-rich are killing the goose–the American middle class — that lays the golden eggs.

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