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FROM THIS EPISODE

Sunlight is free, and solar-power will soon be cheaper than oil, coal or natural gas — even in the United States.  We hear what that could mean for current energy industries, public utilities, government regulators and the homeowners of America.

Also, the US economy, the year in review. On today's Talking Point,  looking for an alternative to eating meat or fish?  We hear where you can get burgers made from mealworms and "crispy snacks" from the larvae of the honeycomb moth.

Producers:
Jenny Hamel

The US Economy: Year in Review 6 MIN, 30 SEC

In 2014, the news has been grim — from ISIS to Ferguson to Ebola. But the US economy has been one relative bright spot. Each year around the holidays, Neil Irwin sits down and writes about economic trends to be thankful for and this year he says it was a whole lot easier. Irwin is senior economic correspondent at the New York Times' data project "The Upshot" and author of The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire.

Guests:
Neil Irwin, New York Times (@Neil_Irwin)

The Alchemists

Neil Irwin

The Coming Age of Solar Power 35 MIN, 30 SEC

The cost of fossil fuels is going up, while the cost of solar power is going down.  The tipping point has already arrived in many developing countries.  In the US, it could happen by 2020.  A decade later, fossil fuels could be economically obsolete.  We've heard such predictions before, and the transition will not be easy.  Coal, Big Oil and public utilities won't lie down. Government policies will be crucial. We look at the challenges posed by inevitable change in technology. 

(This discussion originally aired on October 30, 2014)

Guests:
Ethan Zindler, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (@EthanALL)
Tony Seba, Stanford University (@TonySeba)
Eric Wesoff, Greentech Media (@ewesoff)
Severin Borenstein, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business (@borensteins)

Why Not Eat Bugs for Dinner? 7 MIN, 52 SEC

The Dutch supermarket group Jumbo has announced it will start selling edible insect products in all its stores next year.  At some upscale restaurants in New York and London, grasshoppers, crickets, beetles and spiders are now on the menu.  Will American supermarkets be next?  Marcel Dicke, professor of Entomology in the Netherlands and author of The Insect Cookbook: Food for a Sustainable Planet, has more on the latest foodie discovery for a healthy, alternative diet. 

(This discussion originally aired October 30, 2014)

Guests:
Marcel Dicke, Wageningen University

The Insect Cookbook

Arnold van Huis

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