December 20, 2012 |
Even with a growing global population, increased meat consumption and government rules mandating biofuels, researchers this week said that the amount of landed needed for agriculture will start to shrink. Humanity has reached what Rockefeller University scientists, in a new report , call “peak farmland.” In the next half-century, a geographical area more than twice the size of France -- or equivalent to 10 Iowas -- will return to its natural state from farmland, they predict.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 18, 2012 |
Parents and educators confronted a jittery Monday across Southern California and the nation on the first day of classes after last week's massacre of 20 first-graders and six others at a Connecticut elementary school. There were threats, nearly all of them hoaxes, a heightened police presence and a surge of separation anxiety as thousands of schools forged into the last week before winter break, a time normally marked by holiday pageants and occasionally dicey winter weather. A calm beginning at Cambridge Elementary in San Antonio turned frightful with a call from a man who said he was en route to the school to shoot students.
December 14, 2012 |
The great advantage of Southern California farmers markets - year-round availability of fresh, local produce - can sometimes backfire by obscuring the seasonal rhythm of crops and growing areas. For example, carrots, grapefruits, nuts and avocados are always available from somewhere but not always at their best; it's up to shoppers to learn the difference. Grown from the Mexico to the Oregon borders, carrots often look good but are starchy and vegetal in summer; the tenderest, crispest, sweetest ones come in winter, when the roots naturally accumulate nutrients.
December 9, 2012 |
A nine-piece band replete with tuba, washboard, accordion, fiddle, mandolin, trumpet and guitar joyously pumped out early 20th century standards such as "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," Muddy Waters' deep blues and original tunes that would have sounded utterly at home within the hallowed confines of Preservation Hall in New Orleans' French Quarter. The seven men, most with suspenders attached to well-worn trousers, broad ties and vests and some sporting 1930s-vintage newsboy caps, and two women in flapper-inspired dresses, are members of a ragtag outfit called the Dustbowl Revival, strumming, sawing and puffing enthusiastically as smiling listeners on the dance floor swung their partners infectiously.
November 21, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear an appeal from Fresno raisin growers Marvin and Laura Horne, who contend that the federal marketing program that can take nearly half of their crop is unconstitutional. Their case poses a significant challenge to the New Deal-era farm program that seeks to prop up prices by keeping part of the crop off the market. It also raises questions about the limits of the government's power to regulate commerce, an issue that sharply divided the justices in the major healthcare overhaul case decided in June.
November 17, 2012 |
Miranda Cosgrove, the sprightly star of Nickelodeon's "iCarly," is sitting on the floor of the show's fictional Ridgeway school set during a lull in production - practicing lines and adjusting the collar on her bright blue jacket. Try as she might, though, she can't ignore the inevitable. Looking up at her character's locker that towers above her - a veritable landmark among the tween-set - the brunet wunderkind summons a cornball glance at costar Jennette McCurdy sitting beside her. "Think of me fondlyyyy/ when we say goodbyeeee," the twosome mirthfully croon to each other, calling up a ballad from "The Phantom of the Opera.
November 10, 2012
They seem easy to overlook —- how special can a nut be? — but every fall I look forward to the new crop of walnuts. Get them now, when the meat is sweet and slightly creamy, and they haven't had a chance to develop any bitter rancidity. The shells will be fragile enough to crack with your hands. How to choose: Walnuts that are already shelled are convenient, but be aware that they do go rancid fairly quickly. Choose nutmeats that are plump and pale; avoid any that are shriveled or discolored.
October 31, 2012 |
When Fox Searchlight learned that the filmmakers behind their Alfred Hitchcock biopic would be able to finish the movie by this fall, the studio's executives were thrilled. Not only could "Hitchcock" then enter the awards season derby, but the movie starring Anthony Hopkins as the famed director could also have a splashy premiere at AFI Fest. "The timing was a coincidence, but it couldn't be a more perfect fit for us to have 'Hitchcock' playing the festival's opening night," said Searchlight's Co-President Nancy Utley.
October 24, 2012 |
To the naked eye, the white puffs of cotton growing on shrubs, the yellow flowers on canola plants and the towering tassels on cornstalks look just like those on any other plants. But inside their cells, where their DNA contains instructions for how these crops should grow, there are a few genes that were put there not by Mother Nature but by scientists in a lab. Some of the genes are from a soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis that makes proteins lethal to flies, moths and other insects.
October 20, 2012 |
VENTUCOPA, Calif. - Pistachios are available from storage year-round, but for the next week or so, ultra-seasonal green nuts, freshly harvested and still encased in their hulls, will appear at farmers markets. Moister, softer and sweeter than regular pistachios, they have their own flavor that hints at citrus and eucalyptus. They are sold by Santa Barbara Pistachio Co. , owned by the Zannon family, who started last Sunday to harvest 400 acres in the remote, pristine Cuyama Valley, midway between Santa Barbara and Bakersfield.