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When my 80-year-old father started working out with a personal trainer, I knew I had to recalibrate the way I measured "old." Curiously, the process was quite similar to the way astronomers recently had to recalibrate the measuring sticks they use to find out the size, and therefore age, of the universe. Calibration is central to science because it assures that instruments are measuring what they are supposed to be measuring. Call it a reality check.
April 27, 2014 | By Laura W. Brill
Last year's Proposition 8 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court changed the lives of many same-sex couples and their families in California for the better. But the political fallout from that decision is also having a profound and worrisome effect on the state's initiative process. The reason has to do with the nature of the court's action. The Supreme Court did not rule on the constitutionality of Proposition 8 itself. Rather, it decided an issue of standing, concluding that the initiative's backers had not been directly harmed by a lower-court ruling that the law was unconstitutional and that they therefore lacked standing to appeal that ruling.
May 24, 1996 | SHELBY GRAD
The Board of Supervisors has approved expanding the county's metric conversion program to cover the subdivision process, including parcel maps, grading permits and other official documents. The county is one of numerous government agencies slowing moving from the inches-pounds system to meters and liters. Caltrans already uses the metric system for most projects, and the federal government plans to adopt the system by 2000.
April 22, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO--A bill barring the state's health insurance exchange from hiring individuals convicted of certain felonies failed to advance Tuesday. Under the proposal by Assemblywoman Connie Conway (R-Tulare), Covered California would not be able to hire people who have been convicted of certain crimes--felonies concerning breach of trust or dishonesty--for jobs where enrollees' financial or medical data could be accessed.  Conway, the Assembly Republican Leader, argued that by hiring people convicted of financial crimes, the health plan exchange could be putting users' private information at risk.
May 5, 1995 | From Reuters
The federal government said Thursday that it will scrap the way it measures the pulse of the economy in favor of a radically new yardstick. It is the first step in the largest overhaul of U.S. economic data in nearly four decades. The new measure of gross domestic product--the output of goods and services inside U.S. borders--will show the economy growing more slowly in recent years. The gauge, known as the "chain-type annual weights" GDP measure, captures the impact of price changes on growth.
June 30, 1990 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
A small package of sensitive instruments has been lifted high into the sky by a balloon in the start of tests that will measure the San Joaquin Valley's smog. Instruments sent aloft in balloons and airplanes will transmit data back to a computer and give researchers their best look ever at the valley's air quality, emissions patterns and meteorology.
April 8, 1992 | NONA YATES
Remember metrics? In the 1970s and '80s, there was a big push to adopt the system of measurement based on the powers of 10. Distances appeared in kilometers and miles on highway signs, wine and soft drinks were sold in liters, and many industries adopted metrics. In 1988, Congress designated 1992 as the year the government would "go metric," but today the United States is the only industrialized nation that has not adopted the metric system, according to the Smithsonian Institution.
February 3, 1988 | ALAN C. MILLER, Times Staff Writer
A controversial measure to exempt California's garbage haulers from civil prosecution for violating some state weight limits for trucks was sidetracked Tuesday under heavy opposition from county prosecutors. A divided Senate Transportation Committee approved the bill after stripping the measure of its most controversial provision, which would have allowed private haulers to overload their trucks by up to 4,000 pounds without paying stiff penalties.
June 27, 1996 | From Times staff and wire reports
The first satellite ever designed solely to measure atmospheric ozone will be launched Saturday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, giving scientists the ability to monitor the crucial ozone layer after an 18-month absence of daily coverage. The Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer--Earth Probe was built by TRW Inc. and has a planned two-year lifetime.
Wheeling a shopping cart into a Long Beach supermarket one recent day, Barbara Sparks could have been mistaken for a grandmother running her usual errands. Her face framed by bifocals, pearl earrings and graying curls, she headed straight for the meat counter, pausing to test packages of boneless rump roast, kielbasa, ground sirloin and salt pork like any choosy shopper.
April 21, 2014 | By Kate Mather and Joseph Serna
San Jose International Airport said it is reviewing how a teenager who stowed away on a flight from San Jose to Hawaii managed to get on the airport's runway without being detected by security. Authorities say security video shows the teen from Santa Clara hopping a fence at the San Jose airport and climbing into the wheel well of a jetliner.  It's unclear how long the boy was on the tarmac and why security officials didn't detect he was there. The 16-year-old survived the flight.
April 21, 2014 | By Daniel K. Gardner
Premier Li Keqiang wants to wean the Chinese economy off its dependence on export trade in cheap electronics, clothes, toys and tchotchkes of all variety. Let the Chinese people consume instead, he says, and let them consume products and services of high value. But how do you take a developing country like China, where saving has traditionally been favored over spending, and transform it into a nation of mass consumers? Simple, Li explains: You urbanize it, because city dwellers earn much more and spend much more.
April 20, 2014 | By Jeff Dietrich
I go to Mass almost every Sunday, but I try to avoid the big holidays. Especially Easter. In most Christian churches, Easter is a kind of triumphalistic affirmation of Christian certainty. My sense is that the Resurrection is not a celebration; it is a threat and a challenge. Even though I am a Catholic Worker and I live and work with the homeless and serve a meal at our soup kitchen every day, I don't want to encounter the risen Christ, for how can any of us begin to measure up to his example?
April 17, 2014 | By Tracy Wilkinson
MEXICO CITY - A highly touted system to protect Mexican reporters working in one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists is failing miserably and may in fact further imperil those it is intended to help, media advocates say. In the first year of the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, killings of journalists declined significantly but other attacks multiplied, organizations that work on behalf of reporters said....
April 14, 2014 | By Tony Barboza
Air quality regulators, embarking on a bold new strategy to reduce smog in Southern California, want to hold the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach responsible for their pledges to cut pollution from thousands of trucks, ships and trains carrying goods to and from the nation's largest port complex. If a rule proposed by the South Coast Air Quality Management District is adopted, it could open the door to similar regulations on other facilities that are magnets for truck and rail traffic, such as warehouses, distribution centers and rail yards.
April 12, 2014 | By Laura King
CAIRO - Egypt on Saturday sharply rejected a prominent human rights group's criticism of two tough new draft anti-terror laws. The measures, which have yet to be signed into law by interim President Adly Mansour, so sweepingly define terrorism that almost any sort of political activism, however peaceful, could result in prosecution, Amnesty International said in a statement issued Friday. Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty dismissed the London-based group's criticism, characterizing it as meddling in Egypt's affairs.
As residents along the Mississippi River frantically prepare for next week's record crest of 48 feet here, there is considerable confusion about what the measurement actually means. A farmer fighting the surging river near a broken levee near St. Louis said confidently that it was the depth of water measured from river bottom to the surface. A volunteer sandbagger in south St. Louis said the same. Not so, says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
July 28, 1988 | THOMAS H. MAUGH II, Times Science Writer
An unusual new way to measure the concentration of radioactive radon gas in homes over long periods has been developed by a Swedish scientist. Physicist Christer Samuelsson of the University of Lund in Sweden reported in a paper published in today's Nature magazine that glass objects such as windows, mirrors and the glass in picture frames contain a permanent record of the amount of radon that has been present in a house over its lifetime--or at least since the glass was brought into the home.
April 10, 2014 | By Garrett Therolf
A new report from the blue ribbon commission on Los Angeles County's safety net for abused and neglected children levels stinging criticism at the Board of Supervisors for what it calls a sluggish approach to reform, and declares that the system has fallen into a "state of emergency. " "Nothing short of a complete rethinking about how the county ensures safe and supportive care for abused and at-risk children will lead to the seamless and comprehensive child welfare system that the county has needed for decades," the 10-member commission wrote in a report it voted to approve Thursday afternoon.
April 2, 2014 | By Christi Parsons and Michael A. Memoli
WASHINGTON - President Obama said Wednesday that Republicans were "not necessarily coldhearted" in their policies but then devoted much of his speech at the University of Michigan to lampooning GOP opposition to his views on economic issues, including his proposal to raise the federal minimum wage. As Congress gears up for a debate on his proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, Obama said lawmakers would have to decide between sticking with him or sticking it to working Americans.
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