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September 2, 2013 | By John Horn
- Jonathan Glazer's "Under the Skin" isn't easy to watch. And that's part of the point. Not far into the "Sexy Beast" filmmaker's new drama about an alien in human form, which had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival over the weekend, you see a couple with an 18-month-old child picnicking on a Scottish beach. When their dog is swept out to sea by stormy waves, the parents and a nearby swimmer try to rescue the pet, but it all ends badly. Into the frame enters a young woman named Laura (played by Scarlett Johansson)
March 26, 2014 | By Amina Khan
Planet-hunters scouring the heavens have found thousands of distant worlds around other stars, but astronomers may have overlooked one lurking much closer to home. Scientists searching for glimmers of light beyond Pluto say they've discovered a new dwarf planet - and that its movements hint that an invisible giant planet far larger than Earth may inhabit the solar system's mysterious frontier. The new dwarf planet, dubbed 2012 VP113 and described in a study published in Thursday's edition of the journal Nature, helps confirm the existence of an "inner Oort cloud" in an interplanetary no man's land that was once thought to be barren but could be teeming with rocky objects.
September 19, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
Scientists have done the math, and according to their calculations, life on Earth has 1.75 to 3.25 billion years left to thrive. And that's if a giant asteroid or a nuclear war doesn't finish us off first. Yes, there is a big difference between 1.75 billion and 3.25 billion years, but predicting the end of life on our planet is not an exact science, at least not yet. To arrive at that 1.5-billion-year doomsday spread, graduate student Andrew Rushby of the University of East Anglia in Britain created two slightly different equations that estimate the length of time Earth will remain in the "habitable zone" around the sun.  A planet is considered to be in the habitable zone when liquid water can exist on its surface.
March 21, 2014
Re "Experts warn climate shift threats rising," March 19 I for one am outraged. Scientific consensus is approaching 100% that human civilization is in danger. But our politicians choose to be fooled and intimidated by corporate lobbyists. The fossil fuel industry has spread lies to counter the urgent facts about climate change. It is particularly frustrating when the costs and benefits of transitioning to a renewable future are calculated. According to a recent study, a carbon tax in California, with the revenue returned to the public, would actually grow the state's economy.
September 20, 2013 | By Kenneth R. Weiss
In "The World Without Us," Alan Weisman took readers for a romp through the misty primeval forest in Poland and splashed into gin-clear waters to gaze upon one the most remote and intact coral reefs in the Pacific Ocean. Besides highlighting a few of the world's last remaining pristine places, the bestseller engaged in a thought experiment: If human beings were suddenly wiped off the face of Earth, how fast would nature overgrow cities with vegetation, reclaim the land, and demonstrate its remarkable resilience?
August 25, 1991
If the meek are going to inherit the earth, they'd better hurry up. CHARLES THOMAS NEWTON Del Mar
April 22, 2011
Here on Earth A Natural History of the Planet Tim Flannery Atlantic Monthly Press: 316 pp., $25
August 25, 2012
Re "Mars test-drive goes smoothly," Aug. 23 The focus on this ridiculous adventure to Mars while our planet is circling the drain is the height of insanity. Instead of focusing our resources in a last-ditch effort to save our Earth, we are embarked on a fantasy voyage. Maybe the reality of our situation is so awful that our last grasp on our sanity is avoidance. Russell Blinick Encino ALSO: Letters: Exam kudos for L.A. Unified Letters: A worsening political climate Letters: A union's power in Sacramento
December 10, 2012 | By Patrick Kevin Day
New trailers out this week for two 2013 science fiction epics, "After Earth" and "Oblivion," feature different stars (Will Smith and Tom Cruise, respectively) who have one thing in common: a dire prediction for the future of humanity on our dear planet Earth. "After Earth" is the new film from M. Night Shyamalan, who has stepped away from directing his own original scripts with this project, which is credited to writers Stephen Gaghan and Gary Whitta. It stars  Smith as a spacefaring general and his son Jaden Smith playing the general's son, on patrol over the planet Earth 1,000 years after a cataclysmic event that left the planet uninhabited by people.
August 16, 2012
Re "The Israel factor in November," Opinion, Aug. 12 Dan Schnur ignores the centrality of President Obama's environmental policies to Israel's survival. By advancing alternatives to oil such as wind and other renewables, Obama guts the financial base of Israel's enemies. While Mitt Romney would keep us dependent on fossil fuels, the president is committed to Israel's - and our - energy security. Peter L. Reich Los Angeles ALSO: Letters: It's lion country Letters: Anti-Muslim bias at Disney?
March 19, 2014 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
"The 100" is a new TV series about teenagers living alone - or are they? - on a post-apocalyptic future Earth. Wherever else we are, we are definitely on the CW, where, apart from reality shows, every series but "Hart of Dixie" either takes place in another time or features characters supernatural, superheroic and/or science-fictional. Some focus on characters, which is not necessarily to say actors, of high school age. Premiering Wednesday, "The 100" is based on Kass Morgan's young-adult novel of the same name.
March 16, 2014 | By Deborah Netburn, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
) The largest lunar impact ever caught on camera took place last Sept. 11, when a small asteroid 2 to 4.5 feet in length slammed into our moon's pockmarked surface at 37,900 mph. The resulting explosion caused a flash of light that briefly burned as bright as the north star, Polaris, and lingered for 8.5 seconds. It also left a new crater on the moon that scientists estimate to be about 130 feet in diameter.  On Sunday, at 6 p.m. PDT, the website Slooh will point its telescopes at a part of the moon known as Mare Nubium where the recent impact occurred, and you are invited to watch the show live, right here.
March 14, 2014 | By Mike Boehm
When the great Irish poet William Butler Yeats prayed for some kind of connection to permanence and immortality, his thoughts turned to Byzantine art as the most perfect emblem of the profound, eternal state of creative grace he was after. He wrote, in "Sailing to Byzantium," of a yearning to encounter and be transformed by the gold-infused religious images of "sages standing in God's holy fire" that define the Byzantine style. Now Byzantium is sailing to Los Angeles. "Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections," the biggest Byzantine art blockbuster to reach the West Coast, begins a 41/2-month run at the Getty Villa on April 9, along with a smaller related show of illuminated manuscripts at the Getty Center in Brentwood that runs for three months starting March 25. CHEATSHEET: Spring 2014 arts preview Whether the 178 works to be on display at the Villa will induce Yeatsian mystical transports is uncertain, but they promise to be an eyeful.
March 1, 2014 | By Booth Moore, Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic
PARIS --  Jean Paul Gaultier likes himself a Hollywood-worthy production all right. And that's exactly what he gave guests at his fall 2014 fashion show on Saturday night. The venue was the sleek-and-modern 1972 Oscar Niemeyer-designed French Communist Party Headquarters. The glowing green dome in front beckoned us inside to board Gaultier's latest wild ride, a cosmic tour of...Johnny Rotten's London? If the two themes seem like they are out of orbit, it's because they were.
March 1, 2014 | By Joe Mozingo
Wearing a nitrogen-powered jet pack, Dale Gardner stepped from the space shuttle, alone and untethered, 224 miles above Earth. Armed with a 5-foot probe called a stinger, Gardner drifted toward a wayward satellite, the Westar 6, which was spinning slowly, 35 feet away. When he got close enough Gardner inserted the stinger into the orbiter's spent rocket nozzle and brought it to a halt. "I got it," he exclaimed. The mission to salvage the Westar and another communications satellite, the Palapa B-2, in November 1984 marked a high point of the space shuttle program, feeding a growing sense of NASA's infallibility that would end just a year later, when the Challenger exploded just after launch over Florida.
February 24, 2014 | By Deborah Netburn
The oldest known material on Earth is a tiny bit of zircon crystal that has remained intact for an incredible 4.4 billion years, a study confirms. The ancient remnant of the early Earth may change the way we think about how our planet first formed.  The crystal is the size of a small grain of sand, just barely visible to the human eye. It was discovered on a remote sheep farm in western Australia, which happens to sit on one of the most stable parts of our planet. "The Earth's tectonic processes are constantly destroying rocks," said John Valley, a professor of geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who discovered and dated the crystal.
June 17, 2012
Re "Women greener than men?," Opinion, June 13 Women historically have been the nurturers, the caregivers. Of course they would have greater sensitivity to the environment's effect on humans. Will the caveman macho mentality of most men (and many women) finally mature into responsible stewardship of the Earth? My guess is not until the damage humans have done smacks us more directly in the face. That's a sorry legacy to leave to our next generations. Roy Poucher Santa Ana ALSO: Letters: The bishops' contraception battle Letters: Public and private unions -- they're different Letters: Political money that could be put to better use
February 24, 2014 | By Amina Khan
For a brief moment last September, a flash on the moon shone about as bright as the North Star, Polaris,  giving away the biggest crash from a space rock hitting the lunar surface ever caught on camera, astronomers say. The discovery -- "the brightest and longest confirmed impact flash," according to the study authors -- was detailed in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and reveals that perhaps 10 times as many small rocky bodies...
February 18, 2014 | By Edward C. Stone
The Voyager 1 spacecraft is the first human-made object to venture into interstellar space. Even if defined only by distance, the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory twin Voyagers are America's greatest space adventure. They've been flying successfully for more than 36 years and are billions of miles from home. What isn't widely known is that they almost never made it out there. The first proposed mission in the late 1960s was for four spacecraft to take advantage of a rare alignment of the four outer planets of the solar system; Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune would all be on the same side of the sun. However, in December 1971, NASA decided it couldn't afford the $1-billion price tag for a 12-year "grand tour" mission with four spacecraft.
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