November 30, 2012 |
What was Publishers Weekly thinking? The trade journal has named author E.L. James the Publishing Person of the Year. An interview with James is forthcoming in its Monday issue. James, of course, is the author of the mega-selling erotic trilogy "Fifty Shades of Grey," "Fifty Shades Darker" and "Fifty Shades Freed. " But she's not just the hottest thing to hit bestseller lists since Harry Potter -- she's an author who initially hit bestseller lists while working entirely outside of traditional publishing channels.
November 12, 2012 |
People blind from birth can be taught to "see" images that are conveyed as sounds, says a new study that calls into question a longstanding belief about the limits of the human brain. Devices that scan visual images and reinterpret regularities as sounds were used to retrain the brains of congenitally blind people in a study published this week in the journal Neuron . The authors -- at the Safra Center for Brain Science at Hebrew University in Israel -- put people who had been blind since birth through 70 hours of training with a visual-to-auditory sensory substitution device.
November 5, 2012 |
Mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin dreams in vivid color - though she's been blind since birth. Yellow? That's the scent of ripe lemons and the warm sun glinting off her cheeks as a child in Encino. White is the crunch of snow and the feel of frothy shaving cream oozing between her fingers. Silver is the cool silkiness of chrome. And brown? That's the sound of B-flat. It reminds the singer of chocolate. "I always joke that part of me can sense color from maybe having had a past life," Rubin says.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 30, 2012 |
Have you heard the one about the blind man who walked into the Department of Motor Vehicles office in Santa Monica, took an eye test and left with a new driver's license? OK, that's not 100% accurate. He didn't walk out with his new license; it arrived in the mail two weeks later. The man, 72-year-old Mark Overland of Pacific Palisades, is legally blind, with 94% of his vision gone. When Overland first told me about his adventure, he said he didn't want anyone at the DMV to lose a job over this.
October 29, 2012
To settle a lawsuit, the city of Los Angeles entered into a billboard deal in 2006 that was so improper that it would have been funny were it not for the damage it did to neighborhoods, the city's pocketbook and local government's reputation for competence. The agreement kept in place a ban on new billboards but allowed two companies to convert hundreds of conventional signs into huge outdoor electronic screens that change messages every few seconds and glare into adjacent neighborhoods.
October 2, 2012 |
After several weeks of seeing one vocalist after another step onstage and sing in hopes of making Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, CeeLo Green and Adam Levine spin their chairs and beg, "The Voice" blind auditions have come to an end. Each coach started Monday night's auditions with 14 singers in his or her stable, leaving each with two slots to fill to complete a team of 16 with which to head into next week's battle bounds. After a night of hotly contested selections -- words were exchanged, loyalties were tested -- here are each coach's final two: Adam Levine: Caitlin Michele: This Boston 20-year-old has a funky look and a challenge she's fought to overcome: She suffers from extreme panic disorder, which often causes her to pass out cold.
September 18, 2012 |
Climate change has seldom warranted a mention during the 2012 congressional campaigns, a sign both of the nation's changing priorities as it copes with an economic downturn and the extent to which conservative politicians and the fossil fuel industry have succeeded in sowing doubts about the scientific consensus. Mother Nature, meanwhile, is getting hot under the collar whether we want to talk about it or not. As the signs that the world is warming grow ever more unmistakable, one of the ironies of the American political debate on the topic is that leaders in the states being most heavily affected are often those least inclined to do anything about it, or even acknowledge that there's a problem.
September 17, 2012 |
Nearly 300 American men and women wrongly convicted of crimes have been exonerated by DNA testing. And in the bulk of those cases - almost 75% - the convictions were based in part on faulty eyewitness identifications. Witnesses are often asked to identify suspects from photo lineups, which are typically conducted by the officers investigating a crime. But numerous scientific studies on memory and identification have demonstrated that witnesses can be influenced, intentionally or not, by the person conducting a lineup.