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March 9, 2014 | Michael Hiltzik
Robert Proctor doesn't think ignorance is bliss. He thinks that what you don't know can hurt you. And that there's more ignorance around than there used to be, and that its purveyors have gotten much better at filling our heads with nonsense. Proctor, a professor of the history of science at Stanford, is one of the world's leading experts in agnotology, a neologism signifying the study of the cultural production of ignorance. It's a rich field, especially today when whole industries devote themselves to sowing public misinformation and doubt about their products and activities.
April 5, 2013 | By Daniel Miller
The Walt Disney Co. is expected to begin layoffs in the coming weeks, with the cuts centering on the company's movie studio, a source with knowledge of the matter has confirmed. The cuts, first reported by trade publication Variety, are said to be the result of an internal corporate review. Layoffs are expected to affect the studio's marketing and home entertainment divisions, and possibly other areas, according to a source. Variety reported that the cuts would also be made in the production department.
December 4, 2011 | Michael Hiltzik
Like the passing of distinguished individuals, the passing of great corporations should prompt us to ponder the transience of earthly glory. So let's pay our respects to Eastman Kodak, which at this writing appears to be a shutter-click from extinction. Once ranked among the bluest of blue chips, Kodak shares sell today at close to $1. Kodak's chairman has been denying that the company is contemplating a bankruptcy filing with such vehemence that many believe Chapter 11 must lurk just around the corner.
March 11, 2013 | By Steven Zeitchik and Daniel Miller, Los Angeles Times
It's a clash worthy of a pair of almighty witches. The Walt Disney Co. struck it rich this past weekend with its "Wizard of Oz" prequel "Oz the Great and Powerful," selling $80.3 million in tickets domestically, which put it on track to become the most successful movie release of 2013 thus far. But far from capping a three-year, $235-million production effort, the movie is shaping up to be the first shot in a battle between Disney and its...
August 27, 2013 | By Jeff Spurrier
For most garden plants, flowering is a sign of renewed life. That's not the case with the succulent blue agave ( Agave tequilana ). Like other agaves, tequilana flowers only at the end of the plant's life. A 15-foot  asparagus-like stalk emerges from the center, sending out puffballs of flowers at the top. The mother plant then dies, but not before producing pups at its perimeter. Most blue agaves never get to that stage, however. The sugar-rich sap that develops prior to flowering can be fermented into the alcoholic drink called pulque; the heart, or pina, is used in the production of tequila.
January 8, 2013 | By Christie D'Zurilla
Al Roker went sans underpants in George W. Bush's White House - but it wasn't because he was feeling sexy on the job. Rather, the "Today" show weatherman had accidentally pooped his pants on his way in. He'd included the anecdote in his new book, "Never Goin' Back," released a week ago, and discussed it in an interview with Nancy Snyderman on Sunday's "Dateline. " By Tuesday, however, after the tale of his tail took on a life of its own, he found himself on "Today" discussing it again.
March 1, 2013 | By Christie D'Zurilla
Bonnie Franklin, star of TV's "One Day at a Time," died Friday at her home in Los Angeles, suffering complications from the pancreatic cancer she had revealed in September. The actress was 69. Later Friday, her sitcom daughters shared their thoughts online. Valerie Bertinelli, who played the younger of divorced mom Ann Romano's kids on the long-running show, said simply on Twitter, "My heart is breaking. " She included a snapshot of herself with Franklin. She continued on her website . "Bonnie has always been one of the most important women in my life and was a second mother to me," Bertinelli wrote.
February 15, 2011 | Michael Hiltzik
The biggest mistake people make when talking about the outsourcing of U.S. jobs by U.S. companies is to treat it as a moral issue. Sure, it's immoral to abandon your loyal American workers in search of cheap labor overseas. But the real problem with outsourcing, if you don't think it through, is that it can wreck your business and cost you a bundle. Case in point: Boeing Co. and its 787 Dreamliner. The next-generation airliner is billions of dollars over budget and about three years late; the first paying passengers won't be boarding until this fall, if then.
March 8, 2013 | Michael Hiltzik
Everybody loves lists. Most of those you see in the papers or online tend toward the inconsequential (The Six Best "Fast & Furious" Movies). So here's a list with a bit more gravitas: The five biggest lies you're being told about entitlement programs. Never mind that the very word "entitlement" is a lie. Social Security and Medicare got that name because workers became "entitled" to those benefits by paying into the system. In recent years, however, the term has become distorted to signify benefits people are entitled to without earning them.
May 6, 2011
Follow the food trucks like a pro. Since they're constantly on the move, here's how to find some favorites on Facebook and Twitter. Where multiple, non-truck-related Facebook pages exist for a given truck name, we have provided a website. Entering Facebook through an official website is the best way to ensure that you are getting to the truck's authentic Facebook page. Kogi, @Kogibbq; The Grilled Cheese Truck, @grlldcheesetruk; CoolHaus, @coolhaus; Nom Nom Truck, @nomnomtruck; Dosa Truck, @Dosatruck; Barbie's Q: @BarbiesQ; Komodo: @Komodofood; The Lardon Truck, @getyourlardon; Frysmith, @frysmith; Lobsta Truck, @lobstatruck;
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