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February 20, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO -- Californians could be paying more for gasoline and other transportation fuels next year as a result of California's pioneering efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. But Sen. Darrell Steinberg thinks that any extra money motorists pay at the pump should be clearly labeled for what it is: a tax. Steinberg (D-Sacramento) is considering legislation that would slap a so-called carbon tax on fuels and earmark revenues estimated at $3 billion to $4 billion a year to two purposes.
February 17, 2014 | By Monte Morin
Do hormones drive volatility in world financial markets? According to new research, chronically high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, can alter the behavior of beleaguered financial traders, boosting their risk aversion and inspiring "irrational pessimism. " In a paper published Monday in journal PNAS, researchers found that London financial traders experienced a 68% increase in cortisol levels during periods of market volatility. When researchers reproduced similar levels of chemicals in human subjects in the lab, they observed a "large" change in the study participants's willingness to take on risk.
February 12, 2014 | By Amina Khan
It took 192 lasers and a building big enough to contain three football fields, but physicists have finally produced a pair of nuclear fusion reactions that created more energy than was in the fuel to start with. The reactions lasted less than a billionth of a second, and they released only a few thousand joules - enough to power a 100-watt light bulb for less than three minutes. But it marks the first time scientists have been able to harness the power of stars here on Earth. "This is really an important milestone," said Warren Mori, a plasma physicist at UCLA who was not involved in the effort.
February 9, 2014 | By Hugo Martín
The world's airline industry has rebounded from the recession and expects 2014 to be the most profitable year on record, thanks to stable fuel prices and growing travel demand. That's great news if you're an airline executive or shareholder. But don't expect the suddenly well-off airlines to pass along their good fortune to passengers by slashing fares. Industry experts do say the continued pressure from low-cost carriers should keep the big network carriers from imposing dramatic fare hikes.
February 7, 2014 | By Jim Peltz
Tony Schumacher not only is the most successful top-fuel drag racer in NHRA history, he's also a huge hockey fan. So he was thrilled to drop the ceremonial opening puck at the Kings' game Thursday night at Staples Center, where they snapped a four-game losing streak. Now Schumacher hopes to end a drought of his own. After winning a remarkable six consecutive top-fuel championships from 2004 through 2009, giving him a record seven overall, Schumacher hasn't won a title since then.
January 29, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch
The newly merged Chrysler and Fiat auto companies reported profitable fourth quarters Wednesday and announced a series of transactions that will combine control of the carmakers into a Netherlands-based holding company. The creation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles -- the name of the combined company -- demonstrates the increasingly global nature of the auto business. While the headquarters, essentially the administrative function of the business -- will be based in the Netherlands, shares of the automaker will trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
January 27, 2014 | Ronald D. White
Clean Energy Fuels Corp., the Seal Beach company that builds and operates natural-gas filling stations for some of the nation's biggest bus and truck fleets, is banking on corporate customers to buy more clean-energy vehicles this year. Executives hope that a growing fleet will boost sales of natural gas and propel Clean Energy to its first annual profit since its 1997 founding by Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens, the onetime oil baron and corporate raider, and the company's chief executive, Andrew Littlefair.
January 27, 2014 | By W.J. Hennigan
Federal safety experts are recommending that owners of Robinson Helicopter Co.'s four-seat R44 choppers replace the aircraft's fuel tanks after crash investigators found accidents resulted in deaths that could have been avoided. The National Transportation Safety Board said this month it made the recommendation after investigations found crashes of R44 helicopters that were “survivable for the occupants, but fatal or serious injuries occurred because of a post-crash fire that resulted from an impact-related breach in the fuel tanks.” The Torrance company has produced nearly 6,000 of its single-engine R44 helicopters since the first one was delivered in 1993.
January 26, 2014 | By Hugo Martín
The nation's airline industry has undergone so many mergers in the last decade that only four airlines and their regional carriers control more than 80% of all domestic air traffic. Despite warnings from consumer advocates, the merger mania is having a positive effect on the industry and is partly responsible for keeping fares low, according to a new study by PwC, the auditing and consulting firm formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers. The latest major airline merger was approved last month when American Airlines agreed to unite with US Airways to create the world's largest carrier.
January 17, 2014 | By Larry Gordon
The number of applicants for next fall's freshman class in the UC system rose by 6.2% over last year, driven mainly by a continuing boost in interest from out-of-state and international students, according to data released Friday. Applications from Californians to at least one UC campus totaled 99,761, just 632 or 0.6% more than the previous year. This came as the population of high school seniors in the state is declining, the report showed. However UC has been recruiting heavily outside of California to gain the higher tuition revenues paid by non-residents.
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