October 16, 1990 |
Cosmology--the study of the universe and its origin--is perhaps science's grandest stage. But galaxies don't lend themselves to experiments as, say, atoms do. As a result, cosmology has historically occupied a place on the edge of science, say MIT physicist and essayist Alan Lightman and MIT graduate student Roberta Brawer in "Origins," a fascinating, surprisingly accessible and altogether human collection of conversations with today's leading cosmologists.
April 4, 1993 |
Some performers keep scrapbooks of their past; Abbey Lincoln keeps history books. In her uptown Manhattan apartment, the jazz singer emerges from the study bearing two thick, black ring binders that she sets down on the dining room table. The carefully preserved press clippings between their covers record a life that has shifted gears as dramatically as the society around it. At first Anna Marie Wooldridge becomes Gaby Lee, a coquettish and beautiful 1950s supper club singer.
May 25, 1997 |
Almost 20 years ago, I tagged along with the great physicist Victor Weisskopf as he talked to a Cambridge, Mass., high school class about the Big Bang, the explosive origin of the universe. One student asked him what happened before the Bang, what caused the Bang? That question, said Weisskopf, fell outside the realm of physics. It was a question for God. Not anymore. Today, some scientists, it seems, just won't take no for an answer.
April 4, 2010 |
Back in May 2001, then-NBC President Robert Wright was fuming. He fired off a bristling letter to producers and executives throughout broadcast television, complaining that HBO was changing the rules of their medium. Wright's immediate gripe was an episode of "The Sopranos" where a young stripper was beaten to death by a berserk Mafioso. But his larger claim was that broadcast television was having a hard time competing with the cable network because it had the license of unexpurgated language, nudity and bloody violence that were proscribed to NBC. If only his network had the freedom of HBO, well . . . Wright might have honestly believed that the difference between NBC and HBO was a matter of cussing and graphic violence, but he could not have been more wrong, then or now. The real difference between broadcast television and cable is not that the Federal Communications Commission restricts one from doing what the other can. It's a matter of cosmology -- the way they perceive the universe.
October 23, 2012 |
Beyond the fact that it is sensational, the Fountain Theatre's production of "In the Red and Brown Water" by Tarell Alvin McCraney is important for two reasons: It introduces Los Angeles audiences to a dramatic poet in the process of discovering his singular voice and it shows how magnificently one of L.A.'s better small theaters can serve bold new talent. The play, which is part of McCraney's "Brother/Sister" trilogy, brought the 32-year-old African American playwright a good deal of attention when the cycle was produced off-Broadway at the Public Theater in 2009.
November 12, 1995 |
The story goes like this: During dinner at an opulent wedding reception, the groom rises from the head table and shushes the crowd. Everyone naturally assumes he is about to toast his bride and thank his guests. Instead, he solemnly announces that there has been a change of plan. He and his bride will be taking separate honeymoons and, when they return, the marriage will be annulled. The reason for this sudden turn of events, he says, is taped to the bottom of everyone's plate.
June 1, 2012 |
I'm not sure if it was the influence of some carne asada fries during a recent trip to San Diego or a dinner at Guelaguetza accompanied by a particularly potent dose of mezcal, but I had a dream about mole fries a few weeks ago. It was a rather vivid one, where the potatoes crackled with hot life, tangles of melted cheese stretched into infinity and whorls of ink-black sauce carried with them intimations of the yawning void. It wasn't dinner on that plate - it was a cosmology summarized as a plate of drunk food.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 23, 2012 |
Locals didn't find the ads, posted at the laundromat or running in the SuperSaver, to be strange at all. A number of people, in fact, reached out to Brian Wallenstein the "researcher looking to gather stories and information" for a book on Bigfoot and UFO sightings. A woman named Rudi emailed to report that she'd seen a bright disc hovering above Mt. Shasta. She attached a photo from a ski resort snow cam that showed a luminous speck. (Credible, Wallenstein thought.) A man named Larry recounted his own research — including telepathic communication with "them" — conducted in preparation for the day extraterrestrials would reveal themselves to earthlings.
April 10, 2013 |
Humans are on the cusp of discovering how the universe works on its biggest and smallest scales, Stephen Hawking said during a lecture Tuesday in Los Angeles. The renowned theoretical physicist made his name studying black holes, massive structures that anchor galaxies and whose gravity is so strong that not even light can escape. But on Tuesday, he delved into the world of microscopic cell biology to see first-hand how researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute are using stem cells to develop treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, the disease Hawking was diagnosed with in 1963.
December 21, 2011 |
For most of his 76 years, the 14th Dalai Lama has been the spiritual light for followers of Tibetan Buddhism, his every word parsed for guidance to living a better, more fulfilling life. Awarded the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, the Dalai Lama has been an outspoken advocate for compassion, meditation and religious tolerance. Now, as he steps down as leader of Tibet, the perpetually smiling monk in saffron and burgundy robes makes in "Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World" what some may regard as a heretical pronouncement: You don't need religion to lead a happy and ethical life.