Abhina Aher is a member of the country's storied, yet marginalized, transgender community. Last week, the India's highest court legally recognized the group as a new gender — neither male nor female.
Top Democrats have said recently that some GOP opposition to President Obama and his agenda is based on race. It's an explosive message that might drive Democratic voters to the polls.
President Barack Obama announces the nominator of Tom Wheeler to be chairman of the FCC at the White House on May 1, 2013 in Washington, DC.
As Americans buy more mobile devices, the airwaves become even more crowded with signals trying to reach their destination as fast as possible. Those airwaves carrying transmissions back and forth are referred to as "spectrum," and mobile providers like AT&T and Verizon can't get enough of them.
That's why the FCC is planning on purchasing spectrum from TV broadcasters and selling it to mobile broadband providers. It sounds like an easy solution to a big problem.
As chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Tom Wheeler said when he appeared on Marketplace Tech back in November:
"That, hopefully, will be a marketplace means of determining what the highest and best use of the spectrum is, and then we will take that spectrum -- which we have bought back -- and resell it to the wireless carriers to be able to meet the climbing demand for wireless services."
However, Brian Fung, a technology reporter for the Washington Post, says it's not that simple. According to Fung:
"There are two big wireless companies: Verizon and AT&T, and they want to buy up as much spectrum as they can get. On the other side you have smaller companies like Sprint and T-Mobile who say that they’re going to be shut out of the bidding opportunities if AT&T and Verizon are allowed to buy up as much as they want."
Even more troubling is the possibility that companies like AT&T and Verizon could buy up a bunch of spectrum, and then simply not use it -- instead opting to hold onto it so that other companies don't have access to more spectrum.
Still, that won't stop the larger companies from participating. AT&T has threatened to pull out of the auction if it doesn't get its way, and that would be bad news for the Government. The FCC needs larger companies to participate in order to make the auction profitable.Marketplace Tech for Monday, April 21, 2014by Ben JohnsonPodcast Title Mobile broadband's latest bidding warStory Type InterviewSyndication Flipboard BusinessSlackerSoundcloudStitcherBusiness InsiderSwellPMPApp Respond No
The White House announced new initiatives to support more solar development this week. But the Department of Energy’s inspector general cast a cloud, with a report slamming a $68 million loan guarantee gone wrong—shades of the Solyndra failure.
However, solar has actually been growing by leaps and bounds. It provides a little less than 1 percent of U.S. electricity— enough to light more than two million households. Other numbers sound even more impressive.
"More solar has been installed in 18 months than in the previous 30 years combined," says Ken Johnson, vice president of communications for the Solar Energy Industries Association. "The cost of installed solar systems have dropped 50 percent since 2010."
"Over the last five years, costs have come way down, particularly for large-scale solar installations," says Severin Borenstein of the University of California's Haas School of Business. "They are almost competitive in some areas now with regular fossil fuel power."
Home installations, he says, are more qualified.
"Some people can save money by putting in solar on their house," he says. "Most people still won't save money."
Solar is competitive only because of government subsidies— many in the form of tax breaks. Borenstein says the calculations are complicated, but federal tax breaks alone can give back almost 45 percent.
That investment is paying off, says Shayle Kann, senior vice president of research at Greentech Media. "It's created a market that has driven costs down year over year," he says. "And why the drop in price accelerates is because there's learning that is done from all these installations. There are economies of scale.
"There's been a huge storyline about panel prices falling," he says. "Actually, in 2013, the price of panels rose a little bit, and despite that, system prices fell. And that’s where learning from increased deployments makes a huge difference."