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More than 800 communities in Italy are making more power than they use with wind and solar installations, and many are making a profit from it, officials say.

More than 800 communities in Italy are making more power than they use with wind and solar installations, and many are making a profit from it, officials say.

One such community is Tocco Da Casauria, where selling excess renewable energy has meant the town has no local taxes and charges no fees for services like garbage removal, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

In the town of 2,700 people in Italy's poor mountainous center, wind turbines sprout from olive groves while solar panels generate electricity at a cemetery and sports complex, as well as at a growing number of private residences, the newspaper said.

"Normally when you think about energy you think about big plants, but here what's interesting is that local municipalities have been very active," Edoardo Zanchini of the environmental group Legambiente said. "That this can happen in a place like Italy is really impressive."

Like many towns, Tocco was motivated to become an early adopter of renewable energy because Italy has some of the highest electricity rates in Europe, nearly three times the average in the United States.

Tocco is now generating 30 percent more electricity than it uses. Production of green electricity earned the town more than $200,000 last year.

Science, society struggle with bipolar

CHICAGO, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- As doctors learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder, society is lagging behind in overcoming its social stigma, advocates say.

The disorder, also known as manic depression, afflicts up to 6 million Americans and attracts a stigma that is still rampant despite growing efforts to combat it, causing those who suffer from it to be frequently mistreated by police, schools or even family members while others are shamed into denial, advocates say.

"There's still all that negative talk, the way people used to talk about handicapped people or children with Down syndrome," Susan Resko of the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation told the Chicago Tribune. "We're still in that space with psychiatric illness. We don't understand it. It's scary to us as a society."

As society struggles to come to terms with it, science is making its own advances.

Researchers are getting closer to identifying genes that cause bipolar disorder, using brain imaging to track the illness in neural pathways, and even zeroing in on triggers that might cause it to flare up, the Tribune reported.

"You find the genes primarily with the hope of developing novel drugs that we hope will work better," Dr. William Byerley, a psychiatric geneticist at the University of California San Francisco, says. "We might be able even to prevent the onset. By knowing the gene, we'll know the neurobiology and know some of the pathways of the disease."


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