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October 31, 2012 | By Lorenza Munoz
I didn't plan to set up our annual Day of the Dead altar this year - too much work, I thought. That is, until my daughter called me on it. When I arranged a few pumpkins near the front door, she asked expectantly, "When will you put up the dead relatives?" Perhaps "putting up dead relatives" sounds a bit morbid. Perhaps the dancing calacas and catarinas (male and female skeletons, smiling and dressed up in their best outfits) that are a prerequisite for the holiday give the afterlife an unaccustomed vibrancy.
October 23, 2012 | By Jon Bardin
Industrial whaling appears to have had an unexpected consequence: It turned down the volume in the oceans, according to research presented this week at the annual meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Kansas City, Mo. The effect of man-made sound underwater, from speedboats to submarine sonar, is a topic of great concern for marine researchers. That's because many worry that the sounds we have injected into the underwater environment may be disrupting animals' acoustical landscape.
September 11, 2012 | David Lazarus
A new federal law intended to keep TV commercials from bursting your eardrums won't take effect until Dec. 13. But the cable industry already is trying to water it down. The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, or CALM Act, requires that TV commercials be no louder than the programs they accompany. It's up to the Federal Communications Commission to set and enforce the new rules. The broadcasting industry has long maintained that it doesn't really jack up the volume when ads come on, arguing that it only seems as if the decibel level has soared because certain attention-getting sounds are being used.
September 10, 2012 | Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times
Todd Vance - Iraq combat veteran, bar bouncer, and social-work major at a local university - is lecturing two dozen of his fellow veterans on the techniques and joys of the chokehold. "You want the blade of your forearm on their windpipe or carotid artery," Vance says in a commanding voice. "Push your opponent into the fence.…Let's have some fun with this drill!" It's Saturday morning in North Park, and the veterans have come to a steamy, noisy gym for Vance's mixed martial arts class.
August 5, 2012 | By Robert Abele
Thrill-seeking one-percenters become mercenary underdogs in "Soldiers of Fortune," a loud, cynical whiz-bang-boom dud that barely serves as an appetizer for the type of grizzled-geriatrics mayhem we can expect from the upcoming "The Expendables 2. " Christian Slater plays a recently retired, down-on-his-luck special forces soldier recruited by an "extreme vacation" company to give wealthy adventurers makeshift special-ops training, only it's really...
July 28, 2012 | By David Wharton
LONDON - Rifle shooting has never been the rowdiest of sports. Competitors stand absolutely silent, focused on the target, squeezing off one shot after another. The crowds - a relative term -  watch intently and respectfully. But the 10-meter air rifle competition at the 2012 London Olympics had a different sort of feel on Saturday, the action punctuated by frequent bursts of applause. British shooter Jennifer McIntosh was taken aback - until she realized that all the clapping was for her, the hometown crowd showing their support after every good shot.
July 3, 2012 | By Diane Pucin
WIMBLEDON, England — Whoosh . Serena Williams heard it. Whomp. Williams heard that too. The sounds of Williams' massive service, still the best and biggest weapon in women's tennis, were amplified Tuesday. Williams beat defending Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, 6-3, 7-5, with the Centre Court roof closed on the rainy grounds of the All England Club. Kvitova, a 22-year-old Czech, had a forthright answer when asked whether Williams, 30, will win a fifth Wimbledon title.
June 27, 2012 | T.J. Simers
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Choking Dogs didn't score a run in the first two games here. Going back to the Angels series, it's 21 innings without scoring. So before Wednesday's game I'm trying to persuade Vin Scully to give everyone back home a "Scooooooooooooooore!" like soccer broadcasters yell "Gooooooooooooooooal!" What a Scully moment it would be if the Dodgers ever do score again. I suggest the same to Spanish-language broadcaster Jaime Jarrin , who immediately launches into an "Una carrrrrrrrrrrrreeeera!"
June 18, 2012 | By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times
DES MOINES — Rick Santorum narrowly won January's Iowa caucuses, and future Republican nominee Mitt Romney finished a close second. But when the state's delegates head to the Republican National Convention in August, most of them will be loyal backers of third-place finisher Ron Paul. His haul of delegates from a weekend Iowa convention is part of the Texas congressman's quiet strategy to have a strong, vocal presence at the national gathering in Tampa, Fla. There's no mathematical way for Paul to derail Romney's nomination.
May 21, 2012 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots blog
Warning: Music may be hazardous to your health. It's not just your hearing that's at risk, according to a study out Monday in the June issue of the journal Pediatrics. Teens and young adults who listen to digital music players with ear buds are almost twice as likely as non-listeners to smoke pot, the study says. And those who attend concerts or frequent dance clubs are nearly six times as likely as homebodies to go on a binge-drinking bender. These findings are based on survey results collected from 944 low-income students at two vocational schools in the Netherlands.
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