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March 29, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan
Humans could learn a thing or two from lowly sand termites about managing the Earth's natural resources. Mysterious African "fairy circles," up to 55 yards across, are created by these creatures, according to a study published in Friday's edition of the journal Science.  Fairy circles are formations that appear along a 1,200-mile belt that stretches along the southwestern edge of Africa, from the middle of Angola to Namibia to the northern edge...
March 28, 2013 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times
Muriel Spark understood better than most novelists the peculiar fascination of hermetic worlds. She set "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" in a Scottish girls day school, "The Abbess of Crewe" in a convent run like the C.I.A. and her last novel, "The Finishing School," at a Swiss academy of questionable ethics. Jenny Davidson, a comparative literature professor at Columbia University and fiction writer, has inspired Sparkian comparisons with her new novel, "The Magic Circle," which focuses on a strange subset society all its own - the brainy bubble of Columbia University's Morningside Heights neighborhood.
March 26, 2013 | By Robin Abcarian
It is the hottest ticket in the country. On Tuesday morning, only a lucky few will be inside the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the historic arguments over whether California's gay marriage ban is constitutional. Among the 400 courtroom spectators will be a guy who arguably deserves more than any other elected official to be in the room: California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. Newsom has earned his place in the history of the fight for gay civil rights. In 2004, as mayor of San Francisco, he abruptly legalized gay marriage in his city, shocking supporters and opponents alike.
March 18, 2013 | By David Ng
The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle named the winners of its annual awards on Monday for stage productions that opened last year. Sharing the honors for best production were the national tour of "The Book of Mormon" at the Pantages Theatre; "Cyrano" at the Fountain Theatre; "Justin Love" at the Celebration Theatre; and the national tour of "War Horse" at the Ahmanson Theatre. The group gave its award for best revival production to " Waiting for Godot " at the Mark Taper Forum.
March 16, 2013 | By Cindy Chang, Los Angeles Times
Mandarin was my first language, but once I started school, I refused to speak it. As the only Asian kid in my class, I felt alien enough. I wasn't about to bust out in another tongue, even in the privacy of my own home. My parents were too laissez-faire to enforce a Chinese-only regimen, as my uncle did with my cousins. We soon switched to English instead of Chinese, forks instead of chopsticks. My mom made spaghetti for my brother and me, stir-fries and soups for my dad. The one time I went to Saturday Chinese school, I told my parents I hated it and I wasn't going back.
March 9, 2013 | By Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times
TEMPE, Ariz. - With Albert Pujols limping through spring training on a surgically repaired right knee, the Angels talked the Colorado Rockies into approving a courtesy runner for Pujols if he reached base in Saturday's Cactus League contest. That soon became a moot point, though, because the only time Pujols got past first he could have crawled around the bases after hitting a majestic solo home run in the third inning of the Angels' 8-6 loss. "I wasn't going to pinch-run for him when he hit the home run. That would have been a little embarrassing," joked bench coach Rob Picciolo, who was filling in for Manager Mike Scioscia.
March 1, 2013 | By Joseph Serna, Los Angeles Times
A pair of NASA probes has discovered a previously unknown ring of radiation blanketing the Earth, upending a long-standing scientific theory about how charged particles coalesce around the planet, scientists reported Thursday. Just four days after the twin Radiation Belt Storm Probes were launched in August, NASA scientists looked on in amazement as instruments revealed a third belt of high-energy particles between the planet's inner and outer radiation belts, known as the Van Allen belts.
February 28, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
First-time novelist Ben Fountain won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction Thursday for “Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk,” a darkly comic send-up of the emotional and cultural aftermath of the Iraq War. The awards were announced in a ceremony in New York. Roberto Caro won the biography award for “The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson,” the fourth installment in Caro's magisterial biography of the thirty-sixth president. The winner in the nonfiction category was Andrew Solomon, for “Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity,” a book which the critics' citation described as “a groundbreaking look at family relationships with children who are radically different from their parents' expectations in physical, mental, and behavioral ways.” Other winners included, in poetry, D.A. Powell for “Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys," and in criticism, Marina Warner for "Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights.
February 23, 2013 | By Lance Pugmire
Ronda Rousey's pursuit of her dream career was fulfilled dramatically Saturday, the first female to ever win an Ultimate Fighting Championship bout doing so in nearly five full minutes of riveting action. Rousey survived a strong rear naked chokehold attempt with challenger and former Marine Liz Carmouche draped across her back, escaping the position just as Carmouche appeared to have seized a defining moment in the main event of UFC 157 at Honda Center. Instead, Rousey rid herself of Carmouche's grip, perhaps appropriately adjusting her slipping top in the unladylike brawl while standing up as Carmouche kicked toward Rousey's face.
January 25, 2013
For a muscular agency that combats vicious drug criminals, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration acts like a terrified and obstinate toddler when it comes to basic science. For years, the DEA and the National Institute for Drug Abuse have made it all but impossible to develop a robust body of research on the medical uses of marijuana. A pro-marijuana group lost its legal battle this week when a federal appellate court ruled that marijuana would remain a Schedule I drug, defined as having no accepted medical value and a high potential for abuse.
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