The world's population has just hit 7 billion people and continues to grow. Population experts are concerned about the rise in consumption that will accompany the increase in people. One California home builder, ZETA Communities, designs and builds small, highly energy-efficient homes.
Credit ZETA Communities
At the ZETA Communities factory, modular homes are built in assemblies of floors, walls and ceilings, rather than piece-by-piece. A 1,500 square-foot home can be built in a single day.
Credit ZETA Communities
Some of ZETA's units are as small as 300 square feet. Architect Taeko Takagi designs small spaces with very simple things: "I like to provide a large sink, so that the person who's using it doesn't feel like they're lacking or living smaller and everything is miniaturized."
The planet may not feel any different today, but there are now 7 billion people on it, according to the United Nations.
That number will continue to rise, of course, and global incomes are likely to rise as well. That means more cars and computers, and bigger homes: the kinds of things Americans take for granted. It's that rise in consumption that has population experts worried.
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou says he will ask the public to vote in a referendum on last week's European debt deal. His surprise announcement could throw a wrench into the bailout agreement. The bankers holding Greek debt agreed to accept losses on Greek bonds on the assumption that the country would carry out austerity measures. For the latest, Steve Inskeep talks with reporter Joanna Kakissis in Athens.
MF Global, the securities firm run by former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, was forced to file for bankruptcy protection Monday. The company, at Corzine's urging, made big investments in European sovereign debt. Those bets turned out to be losers. Analysts don't believe MF Global is a harbinger of bad things to come. It was much more exposed to European debt than most U.S. financial companies. Zoe Chace reports for NPR's Planet Money.
Originally published on Mon October 31, 2011 6:05 pm
The U.S. Supreme Court has once again rebuked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in California. This time, the court, by a 6-to-3 vote, reinstated the conviction of a California grandmother for shaking her baby grandson to death. The court's unsigned opinion, provoked a strong dissent from three of the justices, who accused the court majority of using a "tragic case" to "teach the Ninth Circut a lesson."
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in two cases testing whether a lawyer's mishandling of a plea bargain offer should be sufficient reason for a defendant to get a second chance to accept the offer.
Both cases involve defendants who got prison terms much longer than they would have under plea bargains offered by the prosecutor. In one case, the defendant's lawyer never told his client about the offer. In the other, the defense lawyer advised against taking the offer based on a clearly erroneous understanding of state law.
Originally published on Wed November 2, 2011 7:40 am
The United States Supreme Court has let stand a lower court ruling that ordered the removal of 12-foot high crosses placed along highways in Utah to commemorate state troopers killed in the line of duty.
The court acted without comment, but Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a 19-page dissent.