Consider this all-too-plausible scenario: You are visiting a small rural village somewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. The sun has just disappeared behind the horizon. To your left, kids run from a dusty, makeshift soccer field toward the simple houses—most of them built of nothing but wood and soil—where they live. It is pleasant now, and you enjoy a light breeze. But just 15 minutes later, it is dark. Night has fallen, and all you hear are muffled voices and some indistinct animal sounds. You...

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