January 12, 2013 |
Gather 'round children and let me tell you a story about the olden days. Once upon a time, there was no such thing as a blog. In fact, there was no such thing as the Internet. Yes, I'm serious, and no, I don't remember what we did with cute pictures of cats. In fact, there weren't very many food writers back then. You practically had to work for a newspaper or magazine, or publish cookbooks if you wanted your voice to be heard. But there was this thing called a “newsletter.” It was like a blog, only it was printed on paper and mailed out to a list of “subscribers” -- which are another nearly lost concept: people who paid to read things they liked.
January 12, 2013 |
Some people use worms to attract fish. Others use intricately painted lures or feathery flies. To get the catch of a lifetime, marine biologist Edith Widder built a bioluminescent sphere that mimics the frenzied pinwheel display of a panicked jellyfish. Her soccer-ball-sized creation enticed a giant squid to swim near waiting undersea cameras. The resulting video, shot 2,000 feet below the North Pacific Ocean, about 260 miles south of Tokyo, was the first to capture the elusive creature in action and became an Internet sensation this week.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 1, 2013 |
The Soul Giants were a struggling R&B cover band in Pomona in the mid-1960s when lead singer Ray Collins fired the group's guitarist and invited a musical collaborator from Rancho Cucamonga to take his place. His name was Frank Zappa. The band soon began morphing into the Mothers of Invention, the avant-garde novelty rock group that was Zappa's vision. But Collins' "extraordinary pop-operatic vocals best conveyed" the band's "not-so-mock rage," according to the New Rolling Stone Record Guide.
December 28, 2012 |
JIN JILING, China - In silent, temperature-controlled labs in a desolate part of Hainan, China's most tropical province, rows of women in medical masks and lab coats clone trees that grow freakishly fast. The trees have official names, such as APP-22 or DH32-29, but Wending Huang, Asia Pulp & Paper Co.'s chief forester in China, calls them his "Yao Mings" after the towering Chinese basketball star. The tiny green tissue samples, methodically implanted in petri jars, will become hardwood eucalyptus trees that need only four to six years to reach full height, up to 90 feet or more.
December 3, 2012 |
The dramatic real story behind "Argo" meant that director Ben Affleck had to invent very little to create cinematic drama. However, the movie wasn't entirely without a little Hollywood-style jazzing up. "I feel like in terms of historical norms, we probably fall right in the middle of the curve," Affleck told the audience at the Envelope Screening Series. "The only piece of manufactured drama is the mini chase at the end. " Affleck, who also starred in the film as CIA agent Tony Mendez, appeared on a panel alongside producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov.
November 20, 2012 |
Susan Lacy's "Inventing David Geffen," which premieres Tuesday as part of the PBS series "American Masters," takes a long look at the agent-manager-record-mogul-movie-mogul (and Broadway producer and billionaire philanthropist). In Los Angeles, he is also a sort of proper noun: "The Geffen," attached here to a playhouse, there to an art museum. As a businessman, Geffen would seem to fall outside the range of the series' usual creative-types subjects. Geffen himself has said, "I have no talent except for being able to enjoy and recognize it in others.
November 16, 2012 |
It was among early man's greatest technological feats: a fully engineered weapon that combined a wooden shaft, mixed adhesives and a stone that had been chiseled to a lethal point. To many anthropologists, the creation of the stone-tipped, or hafted, spear was a watershed moment in human evolution. Not only did it amplify the killing power of early hunters, it also demonstrated clearly that they had developed the capacity for complex and abstract reasoning. Pinning down this moment in prehistory has been difficult, however.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 12, 2012 |
As one of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory "rocket boys," engineer Herman Bank had already helped launch the Space Age when wobbly surfboards strapped atop his station wagon in the early 1960s led him to another design frontier. After securing his cargo alongside a Los Angeles freeway, Bank puzzled over how to make the era's nearly 10-foot-long boards easier to transport. A son who surfed persuaded him that the answer was to slice them in two. By 1966, Bank had come up with a way to cut a surfboard in half so it could be taken apart for travel and bolted back together at the beach.
November 8, 2012 |
After kicking around the festival circuit for a few years, "Ingenious" finally sees release thanks in no small part to the risen fortunes of Jeremy Renner. Now, of course, Renner is a star in the Jason Bourne and "Avengers" action franchises, but before his Oscar-nominated turn in "The Hurt Locker," he was more or less a less a largely unknown working actor. Directed by Jeff Balsmeyer from a script by Mike Cram and based on a true story, the film is the tale of two friends, one an inventor (Dallas Roberts, himself a capable, underrated talent)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 6, 2012 |
Elliott Carter, the great American composer who was born in the horse-and-buggy era but whose music persistently looked ahead by reflecting and unabashedly celebrating the intricacies of modern life, died Monday of natural causes at his home in New York, according to his close friend and assistant, clarinetist Virgil Blackwell. He was 103. Not only did Carter long outlive all of the significant composers of his generation, he astonished the musical world by remaining inventive and prolific up to the end. On Oct. 25, Los Angeles Philharmonic musical director Gustavo Dudamel conducted the world premiere of Carter's most recent piece, "Dialogues II," at La Scala in Milan.