Solar power!
July 22, 2014

On Sunday, the eldest resident of Dharnai, India, flipped a switch and the village officially joined the age of electricity. But Dharnai, in India's northeastern Bihar state, did more than join a reliable energy grid — it became India's first village powered entirely by solar electricity. A few months ago, Greenpeace and two other NGOs that work in the area (BASIX and CEED) started building a solar power micro-grid to serve the village, and after a few months of testing, the autonomous 100 kilowatt system officially went online this past weekend.

The Dharnai grid serves about 450 homes, housing 2,400 residents, Greenpeace says, as well as roughly 50 businesses, streetlights, water pumps, two schools, health care center, and other public and private ventures. It has a battery to store excess electricity, for use during the sunless hours.

Germany reaching the milestone of (at least briefly) meeting more than half its electricity needs through solar is probably a bigger feat, but The Week's Ryan Cooper argues that projects like this in India and China will do more over the long term to counter the harmful climate effects of fossil fuel consumption.

And bringing reliable electricity to a town or village for the first time feels like a much bigger deal than switching from nuclear to solar power. It changes every aspect of life, from safety and health to entertainment and economic progress. Earlier this month, Andrew Satter at the Center for American Progress detailed what getting power for the first time does to villages in India, and Greenpeace does something similar in this video from newly solar-powered Dharnai. --Peter Weber

For those who have everything
4:17 p.m. ET
Courtesy photo

The Rare Tea Company caters to true tea connoisseurs, says Ming Lui at How To Spend It. Founder Henrietta Lovell specializes in creating bespoke blends of the world's finest teas, which will run you a hefty $7,870 for first blending and a three-month supply. Three one-on-one tasting sessions are usually required; if you can't visit her London shop, she can fly to you. After teasing out a customer's flavor and mouthfeel preferences, Lovell provides up to 10 samples before arriving at the final blend. Because flavors change depending on the season when the tea leaves are picked, each custom blend is tweaked regularly to provide a consistent flavor. The Week Staff

RIP
4:10 p.m. ET

Marques Haynes, arguably one of the Harlem Globetrotters' all-time best players, died on Friday in Plano, Texas, at age 89, The Dallas Morning News reports.

Haynes first signed on with the Globetrotters in 1948, for $400 per season. He quite nearly became the NBA's first black player in 1950, but missed that opportunity due to disagreements with the Globetrotters' owner. However, Haynes still became the first Globetrotter inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, in 1998.

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

"A guy asked me a long time ago if I ever thought I'd get into the NBA Hall of Fame," Haynes told Dallas Morning News reporter Robert Wilonsky in 2007. "My answer was: 'The world is my Hall of Fame.'"

The world was also Haynes' stage: Considered one of the best ball handlers in history, Haynes played before fans in 97 countries, in more than 12,000 games. Sarah Eberspacher

Only in America
4:07 p.m. ET
iStock

Wyoming has made it illegal to collect evidence of water pollution and other violations of environmental laws. The ban is designed to protect the state's cattle farmers, who often let herds graze on public lands and defecate near rivers and streams, polluting them with E. coli bacteria. State Sen. Larry Hicks said the ban would prevent environmentalists from interfering with important "economic activity." The Week Staff

This just in
4:05 p.m. ET

A team of bomb disposal experts has safely removed an unexploded WWII bomb from a construction site in north London, near Wembley Stadium.

The 110-pound bomb was apparently dropped in the 1940s during Nazi air raids, The Telegraph reports. And it was discovered by accident, too: Construction workers near the stadium discovered the bomb while at work on Wednesday afternoon. Police haven't released the exact location where the bomb was discovered.

An army spokesperson told The Telegraph that the bomb posed a "genuine risk to life," and local homes and businesses were evacuated until the bomb was defused. Teams from the Royal Logistic Corps excavated the bomb, and the Royal Engineers created a blast wall around the site in case it accidentally exploded.

Soccer fans excited for the weekend matches at Wembley don't need to worry, though: The stadium tweeted that its weekend schedule is "unaffected" by the bomb. Meghan DeMaria

Only in America
4:00 p.m. ET
iStock

The Boy Scouts of America has banned water-gun fights, saying that it's not "kind" for scouts to shoot each other with "simulated firearms." The organization's new National Shooting Manual also forbids the use of potato guns and marshmallow shooters. The rules brought a wave of derision, with one critic saying the Scouts are turning "boys into a bunch of wusses." The Week Staff

This just in
3:00 p.m. ET
Facebook.com/19 Kids and Counting

Following the revelation that 27-year-old Josh Duggar, one of the stars of TLC's reality series 19 Kids and Counting, had admitted to sexually molesting multiple girls when he was a teenager, TLC has reportedly pulled reruns of the show — which aired its season 10 finale this week — from its schedule.

"Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret," Josh Duggar said in a statement. "I hurt others, including my family and close friends." Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, Josh's parents, issued a similar statement, saying their son's actions caused them "to seek God like never before."

The ultimate fate of 19 Kids and Counting is still up in the air, as the network has not yet stated whether it will continue with future seasons. Since the news broke, 2016 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee (R) has defended Duggar, who also resigned from his political post at the Family Research Council, an influential conservative group. Meghan DeMaria

the wonderful world of disney
2:21 p.m. ET

Disney's latest blockbuster, Tomorrowland, invites viewers to enter a futuristic world of robots, jetpacks, and flying trains.

It's a glimpse of a hyper-technological future many would love to visit — including none other than Walt Disney, who channeled his own vision of the future into theme parks like Tomorrowland (a section of The Magic Kingdom) and EPCOT (a theme park in its own right). In a featurette, the creative team behind Tomorrowland shows off original clips of Walt Disney, describing ideas that eventually inspired the new film:

"Many of the things that seem impossible now will become realities tomorrow," says Disney. "A beautiful tomorrow just a dream away. That says we're going places. There's progress ahead."

For Walt Disney's full vision of the future, click here. Scott Meslow

See More Speed Reads