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Heroes

More Americans will be able to afford solar energy in their homes soon. Thanks, Obama.

It's funny how only the richest people seem to be able to afford FREE energy from the sun, huh?

Sunshine. You'd think — because it's free — we should all get a share.

But solar power seems to be one of those awesome things that only rich people can afford (like a shopping cart full of organic produce from Whole Foods or a Tesla).

It's awesome, but solar energy is expensive. Installations can cost thousands!

While solar panels can significantly slash homeowners' energy costs once they're installed, it's the installing part that's the problem: You might have to fork over something like $15,000 or more(yeah, we're not talkin' chump change) to get those suckers on your roof.


This baby will never throw enough money out the window to afford a solar panel. GIF from "The Little Rascals."

For those of us who aren't filthy rich, this might not be a viable option.

But! If the installation cost is reduced or cut out of the picture entirely, solar energy becomes a much more appealing option to anyone looking to save some money on energy bills.

In the long run, solar energy will help keep your wallet fat.

Earlier this year, Roy Rivera of California benefited from a program that helps low-income residents in his state access solar power. According to Grid Alternatives — the nonprofit that helped make it happen — he'll save $818 on energy costs throughout the year following installation.

"When you have a budget like ours, which is stretched just about as far as you can go," Rivera explained, "[The savings from solar energy] makes a big difference."

Sleek, right? A worker installs solar panels in Lakewood, Colorado back in 2010. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

Also, solar energy is global warming's kryptonite, basically.

Climate change is real, people. The more greenhouse gas we emit, the hotter our world becomes. The good news? Solar energy is an emissions-free energy source that keeps people, animals, and trees happy, while not warming the planet.

The White House wants to help make sure people can afford to switch to solar if they want.

President Obama wants more Americans to reap the benefits of clean, affordable energy from above. So he's changing things. The White House just announced new measures that will help more Americans access solar energy.

Throughout the next five years, President Obama wants to triple the number of solar and other sustainable energy systems installed in federally subsidized housing.


President Obama chats about the awesomeness of solar energy. The panels behind him approve. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

The initiative is one of several the White House announced on July 7, 2015, that will up America's use of solar power.

The plan also includes:

  • Providing technical assistance to affordable housing organizations so they're in-the-know when it comes to installing solar panels (because who would know where to even begin?)
  • Creating a handy-dandy toolkit to help states understand how they can use federal funds in creating solar-powered communities
  • Updating an old school policy to make borrowing money for solar energy improvements easier

Solar energy is definitely a cause worth fighting for.

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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Architectural Digest/Youtube

This house was made with love.

Celebrity home tours are usually a divisive topic. Some find them fun and inspirational. Others find them tacky or out of touch. But this home tour has seemingly brought unanimous joy to all.

“Stranger Things” actor David Harbour and British singer-songwriter Lily Allen, whose Vegas wedding in 2020 came with an Elvis impersonator, gave a tour of their delightfully quirky Brooklyn townhouse for Architectural Digest, and people were absolutely loving it.

For one thing, the house just looks cool. There’s nothing monotone or minimalist about it. No beige to be seen.

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Pop Culture

Buffy Sainte-Marie shares what led to her openly breastfeeding on 'Sesame Street' in 1977

The way she explained to Big Bird what she was doing is still an all-time great example.

"Sesame Street" taught kids about life in addition to letters and numbers.

In 1977, singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie did something revolutionary: She fed her baby on Sesame Street.

The Indigenous Canadian-Ameican singer-songwriter wasn't doing anything millions of other mothers hadn't done—she was simply feeding her baby. But the fact that she was breastfeeding him was significant since breastfeeding in the United States hit an all-time low in 1971 and was just starting to make a comeback. The fact that she did it openly on a children's television program was even more notable, since "What if children see?" has been a key pearl clutch for people who criticize breastfeeding in public.

But the most remarkable thing about the "Sesame Street" segment was the lovely interchange between Big Bird and Sainte-Marie when he asked her what she was doing.

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Health

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to run their YouthLine teen crisis hotline

“Each volunteer gets more than 60 hours of training, and master’s level supervisors are constantly on standby in the room.”

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to man YouthLine teen crisis hotline

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Mental health is a top-of-mind issue for a lot of people. Thanks to social media and people being more open about their struggles, the stigma surrounding seeking mental health treatment appears to be diminishing. But after the social and emotional interruption of teens due the pandemic, the mental health crises among adolescents seem to have jumped to record numbers.

PBS reports that Oregon is "ranked as the worst state for youth mental illness and access to care." But they're attempting to do something about it with a program that trains teenagers to answer crisis calls from other teens. They aren't alone though, as there's a master's level supervisor at the ready to jump in if the call requires a mental health professional.

The calls coming into the Oregon YouthLine can vary drastically, anywhere from relationship problems to family struggles, all the way to thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Teens manning the phones are provided with 60 hours of training and are taught to recognize when the call needs to be taken over by the adult supervisor.

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Family

Mom shares her brutal experience with 'hyperemesis gravidarum' and other moms can relate

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe case of morning sickness that can last up until the baby is born and might require medical attention.

@emilyboazman/TikTok

Hyperemesis gravidarum isn't as common as regular morning sickness, but it's much more severe.

Morning sickness is one of the most commonly known and most joked about pregnancy symptoms, second only to peculiar food cravings. While unpleasant, it can often be alleviated to a certain extent with plain foods, plenty of fluids, maybe some ginger—your typical nausea remedies. And usually, it clears up on its own by the 20-week mark. Usually.

But sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes moms experience stomach sickness and vomiting, right up until the baby is born, on a much more severe level.

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), isn’t as widely talked about as regular morning sickness, but those who go through it are likely to never forget it. Persistent, extreme nausea and vomiting lead to other symptoms like dehydration, fainting, low blood pressure and even jaundice, to name a few.

Emily Boazman, a mom who had HG while pregnant with her third child, showed just how big of an impact it can make in a viral TikTok.

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The cast of TLC's "Sister Wives."

Dating is hard for just about anyone. But it gets harder as people age because the dating pool shrinks and older people are more selective. Plus, changes in dating trends, online etiquette and fashion can complicate things as well.

“Sister Wives” star Christine Brown is back in the dating pool after ending her “spiritual union” with polygamist Kody Brown and she needs a little help to get back in the swing of things. Christine and Kody were together for more than 25 years and she shared him with three other women, Janelle, Meri and Robyn.

Janelle and Meri have recently announced they’ve separated from Kody. Christine publicly admitted that things were over with Kody in November 2021.

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