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March 8, 2013 | By Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times
Complaining about "rats the size of small dogs," debris that falls like thick snow and a pervasive, rancid odor, neighbors at a public hearing Friday protested a plan to expand a Sun Valley recycling operation into one of the largest waste-transfer facilities in the state. "Vermin run rampant," said Gary Aggas, president of the Sun Valley Neighborhood Council and one of many residents to testify before a city planning officer about the matter. "Dust blows through the neighborhood constantly....
March 7, 2013 | By Steve Chawkins, Los Angeles Times
ANACAPA ISLAND - Just as factories brag about their accident-free days, Channel Islands National Park is showing off this rugged island's rat-free decade. To get rid of Rattus rattus , officials had a helicopter shower one-square-mile of Anacapa with poisonous green pellets in 2001 and 2002. On Wednesday, they ferried a boatload of reporters and scientists to the square-mile chain of three islets and declared victory. "The last thing we needed was a project that got only 99.9% of all the island's rats," said Kate Faulkner, a National Park Service biologist.
February 22, 2013 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
If you believe the trailers, "Snitch," the new crime drama starring Dwayne Johnson, is a jampacked action thriller. His weapon of choice: a giant snarling big rig, all the better to run the bad guys down. But what the movie is really about is a war-on-drugs tactic that offers early release to convicts willing to snitch on someone else. Though 18-wheelers and reckless driving are definitely involved, there is not nearly as much action as most fans of the increasingly polished Rock will be expecting.
February 5, 2013 | T.J. Simers
NEW YORK - The Lakers have won six of their last seven, but they leave here big losers. Pau Gasol has been dealing with a sore foot for some time, tweaked it in the first half, heard a pop in the fourth quarter and left the arena on crutches. Gasol would make no guesses, but his concern suggested he won't be back in a Lakers uniform any time soon. Kobe Bryant told everyone he's hurting, and he almost never does that unless he's really hurting. The last thing he did before taking the court against the Nets on Tuesday night was remove an ice bag from his elbow.
December 20, 2012
How can you keep squirrels and rats from raiding your citrus trees? The latest question for our SoCal Garden Clinic comes from reader Sandy Meyerowitz of Valley Glen: Brown squirrels and tree rats eat quite a lot of the fruit from my three large citrus trees: navel, blood and tangelo. The fruit that grows from these trees is very juicy and sweet, but unfortunately, the tops of these trees come very close to the roof of my house and the detached garage, so I am not sure there is an easy solution.
December 12, 2012 | By Kenneth R. Weiss
D-CON kills rats and mice, the label reads. And, according to state and federal officials, it can kill hawks, owls, eagles, foxes, bobcats, mountain lions and other non-targeted wildlife too. So can competing brands. Pesticide manufacturers have been selling a new generation of more potent anticoagulants because mice and rats have built up some resistance to the old standby warfarin. These super-toxic rat poisons have a longer half-life before they break down, meaning they are more effective at working their way up the food chain -- not only killing rodents but their natural predators.
December 8, 2012 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
These bots were made for walking - out of rat heart cells and hydrogel. Scientists have paired these unlikely ingredients to create simple biological machines that look something like a front-loaded inchworm and can step their way through fluid at speeds up to 236 micrometers per second. Bioengineers working at the boundary between organics and mechanics dream of harnessing the power of biology's nuts and bolts. Some have built tweezers out of DNA; others have made sensors by sticking bacteria on a chip.
October 15, 2012 | By Jon Bardin
Imagine if every time you were attracted to that delicious smell wafting from your neighborhood Cinnabon's open door, you found upon entering that it was actually a hardware store with no food in sight. It wouldn't be long before that smell no longer sucked you in. That's essentially what scientists tried in an attempt to solve an age-old problem in species conservation: How do you stop predators from attacking their prey? In the new study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Australia exposed black rats to the smells of a bird's nest - avian feces, feathers and the like - by placing scent-spiked fake nests throughout a field.
October 14, 2012 | Michael Hiltzik
Proposition 37, the ballot measure mandating the labeling of genetically modified food that is also known as the "right to know" initiative, is narrowly running ahead of the opposition, according to the latest opinion polls. But even if the measure goes down - and it's the target of a $35-million publicity attack by agricultural and food industry interests - the campaign behind it will mark an important milestone in politics: the deployment of weapons-grade junk science. Of course, ignorance and anti-intellectualism are not new phenomena in our elections, nor in the political processes of other lands, dictatorships and democracies alike.
October 3, 2012 | Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
It's been a rough week. A few days ago, at UCLA's Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital, 6-year-old Jani toppled a food cart and was confined to her room. She slammed her head against the floor, opening a bloody cut that sent her into hysterics. Later, she kicked the hospital therapy dog. Jani normally likes animals. But most of her animal friends -- cats, rats, dogs and birds -- are phantoms that only she can see. January Schofield has schizophrenia. Potent psychiatric drugs -- in doses that would stagger most adults -- seem to skip off her. She is among the rarest of the rare: a child seemingly born mentally ill. She suffers from delusions, hallucinations and paroxysms of rage so severe that not even her parents feel safe.
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