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Geothermal energy startup spins off of Alphabet's research arm

Paul Sakuma / AP

Google parent Alphabet's research and development division spun off a project Thursday that aims to make geothermal energy an easier lift for consumers.

The product: Geothermal systems require putting pipes in the ground to take advantage of the different temperature above and below ground to heat or cool a building. The company, called Dandelion, says it has developed a "a fast, slender drill" that "could drill just one or two deep holes just a few inches wide, and compared to typical installation rigs, it produced less waste and took up much less space as it operated."

Installing the system will cost $20,000, according to the company, which is setting up financing for customers. It'll be available first to customers in parts of New York state.

Nitty gritty: While this project began life as part of X, a "moonshot" incubator for Alphabet, Dandelion is an independent company with a seed funding round led by Collaborative Fund. X spokeswoman Alexa Dennett said that "X seeded Dandelion by starting it at X" but declined to say if Alphabet has a stake in the geothermal company.

"X has always supported a variety of graduation paths for its projects, including setting up as a VC-funded startup like did in 2012," she said, when asked why the company wasn't kept under Alphabet, as in the case of self-driving outfit Waymo. "The Dandelion team's business and technology needs are very different than most teams across Alphabet, so from their perspective the benefits of being an independent company were greater than the benefits of staying."

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Trump: Transgender people "disqualified" from the military

SecDef Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford. Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool / Getty Images

President Trump late Friday issued an order disqualifying most transgender people from serving in the military.

"[T]ransgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria -- individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery -- are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances."

Why it matters: Anything short of an inclusive policy for transgender troops will be viewed as a continuation of the ban Trump announced on Twitter in August.

Haley Britzky 3 hours ago
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Both Bush and Obama also requested line item veto power

Donald Trump.
Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Friday evening that to avoid having "this omnibus situation from ever happening again," he wants Congress to re-instate "a line-item veto."

Why it matters: This would allow him to veto specific parts of a bill without getting rid of the entire thing. Trump was deeply unhappy with the $1.3 trillion spending bill approved by Congress early Friday morning, but signed it anyway on Friday afternoon.