July 31, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- President Obama on Wednesday nominated Federal Reserve Gov. Sarah Bloom Raskin to be deputy Treasury secretary. If confirmed by the Senate, Raskin would be the first woman to serve in the department's No. 2 position. Her move also would open a second vacancy on the Fed's Board of Governors. Elizabeth Duke said recently she would step down from the seven-member board in August. Raskin would replace Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin, who recently announced he would step down at the end of August after serving since 2009.
July 22, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - It seems a more fitting subject for an Edgar Allan Poe story: a towering maroon blossom that emits the odor of rotting flesh. Up to 20,000 visitors packed the U.S. Botanic Garden on Monday to catch a whiff of the rare titan arum bloom, also known as the corpse flower, before the short-lived flowering ends. Found in the tropical rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia, the titan arum takes years to bloom, but its inflorescence, one of the largest in the world, remains open for only 24 to 48 hours.
July 13, 2013 |
When was the last time you wrote a letter? Not a postcard. Not a greeting card, either. I'm talking one written on a sheet of paper -- or, better yet, on several sheets of paper. Or how about this: When was the last time you got a letter? If the answer is "never," let me tell you: The little "ting" of an incoming email just can't compare to the feeling of opening your mailbox and seeing a handwritten letter with your name on it. One of this week's Great Reads, about a young immigrant who became pen pals with the most powerful person in the Senate, renewed my resolve to start writing letters again.
July 7, 2013 |
QINGDAO, China - As far as Li Lejun is concerned, there's one easy way to make a July beach vacation even better than expected: Add seaweed. Hundreds upon hundreds of tons of it. Buried up to his thighs in sand, his back covered in what looked like strands of chartreuse cotton candy, the 7-year-old Beijing boy was having the time of his life Sunday at No. 1 Bathing Beach in this city 350 miles north of Shanghai. Ten paces to his right, men in swim briefs were using pitchforks to fling mounds of algae into a yellow front-end loader.
July 5, 2013 |
BEIJING - Like a bright green shag carpet mutating uncontrollably, an algae bloom twice the area of Los Angeles County has engulfed the Chinese coast around the city of Qingdao and buried beaches knee-high in grass-like material. Bulldozers and brigades of workers with pitchforks have been deployed to clean up the algae, called Enteromorpha prolifera, which began to appear a month ago. Though crews are hauling away hundreds of tons of the material per day, it's unclear whether they're even keeping pace with the growth.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 4, 2013 |
Ruth "Uncle Ruthie" Buell, who lives in L.A.'s Pico-Robertson neighborhood, had a thought one day. Actually, the thoughts are always bubbling over with her, but this one was particularly inspired. Why not replace the rotting tree stumps in her frontyard with benches as a way of inviting neighbors to take a breather, talk and get to know one another? That was Part One of the idea, which took shape about two months ago. Part Two was a note to visitors from Uncle Ruthie - who has graced the planet for 82 years - encouraging them to take pen and paper from pouches pinned to the tree and share their thoughts.
May 24, 2013 |
"Bloom," a compact show of eight recent painted sculptures by Christopher Miles, takes its name seriously. The flowering at hand is excitement over the extreme, hybrid nature of contemporary experience. These artistic mutts celebrate incongruity, heterogeneity and multiplicity -- even if irradiated with a certain creepiness, which certainly feels right for our time. The works are on view in the rear project-room at the Pasadena Museum of California Art in a show organized by artist Constance Mallinson.
April 30, 2013 |
China employs an army of censors. As many as 50,000 well-trained monitors police the Internet, and 12 government departments are empowered to search and seize information and shut down users and sites. They work fast: A recent study conducted by two American computer scientists found that 30% of banned posts are removed within half an hour of posting, and 90% within 24 hours. International corporations must abide by the censors or forgo doing business in China. Paramount Pictures, for example, agreed in April to cut scenes from a new Brad Pitt movie to remove an unflattering reference to China.
April 12, 2013 |
The police thriller "Zulu," set and shot in South Africa, will close the 66th Cannes Film Festival on May 26. Starring Forest Whitaker and Orlando Bloom, the film is directed by Jerome Salle. An adaptation of the novel of the same name by Caryl Ferey, the screenplay was co-written by Salle and Julien Rappeneau. Described as part crime noir and part social study, the English-language story follows a police investigation during apartheid. Two policeman, a black (Whitaker) and a white (Bloom)
April 11, 2013 |
Extensive stands of Joshua Tree National Park's peculiar namesake plants are festooned with clumps of white and yellow flowers that are drawing tourists eager to take in the scenery before the bloom wilts in the harsh desert sun. “It's one of the most prolific blooms we've seen in recent years,” interpretive park ranger Bret Greenheck said. “The bloom peaked a week ago at lower elevations, but trees on higher groundare still producing flowers.” “Some biologists think Joshua Trees bloom like this in response to stressful conditions such as drought,” Greenheck said.