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March 2, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- Despite efforts to restrict the practice, California elected officials were showered with gifts last year from special interest groups, including tickets to Lakers and Giants games, concerts, cigars, expensive meals, lodging at casino resorts, golf games and foreign travel, according to records released Saturday. In August, legislators killed a measure that would have prevented companies that hire lobbyists from providing lawmakers and their families with tickets to amusement parks, racetracks and professional sporting events, as well as rounds of golf, spa treatments and gift cards.
February 24, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
Despite all the money and effort hotels put into selecting comfortable beds and soft pillows, a new study suggests that hotel guests are more likely to choose a hotel based on the water pressure in the shower. A Boston marketing and public relations company has analyzed what people say about hotels by studying more than 18,000 online conversations for a six-month period on various social websites, blogs and forums. For the first time, the company, Brodeur Partners, used what it calls "conversational relevance" to measure how much people talk about a hotel and how much of it is positive.
February 12, 2013 | By Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times
Karla Martinez carried the framed photographs to the growing streetside memorial in Anaheim. There they were: hugging, showing off for the camera, old friends having good times, all smiles. But the good times had been swept away: 21-year-old Sheyla Mendoza, her mother Carmen Mendoza, 56, and cousin Stephanie Henriquez, 21, were dead. The three family members were fatally injured late Saturday as they walked down Western Avenue in the heart of Anaheim after a baby shower. They were struck by a drunk driver, police say. On Monday, a memorial of candles, homemade posters and photos, placed on the sidewalk near the site where the three were hit, swelled in size.
January 13, 2013 | By Vincent Boucher, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Jennifer Meyer wears her jewelry in the shower. And she's built a business on that idea. "I don't want you to take your jewelry off. I want it to become a part of you," says the designer over lunch, sweeping her hand across the subtle gold pieces on her wrists, neck and earlobes. "All of these have been in the shower with me this morning - it's 18-karat gold, it's diamonds and it's an investment, and if it turns color, then someone's ripping me off. " Meyer is holding forth on a weekday, in the less hectic garden room of L.A.'s Soho House - down a long hallway, away from the see-and-be-seen power dining center.
January 2, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
Video streaming by Ustream The Quadrantid meteor shower will peak early Thursday morning, and if you don't want to face the January cold to enjoy the show, you can watch it right here, thanks to a live broadcast from NASA. Unfortunately, you'll still have to wake up in the early-morning darkness to see the show live. According to, the best viewing will probably be from 3  to 5 a.m. PST on Thursday.  The Quadrantid is a meteor shower that occurs each January when the Earth passes through debris left from comet 2003 EH1. The bits of rocky debris will enter our atmosphere at 90,000 mph and burn up 50 miles above the Earth's surface, NASA said in a release .  The top 10 embarrassing tech flops of 2012 In theory, the show should be pretty spectacular -- the Quadrantid has a maximum rate of about 100 meteors an hour, but the glare from the waning gibbous moon may make the fainter of those meteors hard to see. Sky & Telescope predicts that sky watchers either out in the field, or online, can expect to see about one shooting star a minute.  The Quadrantid meteor shower was first seen in 1825 and is named after the constellation of Quadrans Muralis, which is no longer recognized by astronomers.
December 13, 2012 | By Karen Kaplan
Earthlings will have a good chance of witnessing shooting stars between sunset Thursday and sunrise Friday, courtesy of the Geminid meteor shower. Dozens of bright objects will streak across the sky each hour between dusk and dawn as the annual Geminid show reaches its peak, according to the editors of StarDate magazine at the McDonald Observatory at the University of Texas in Austin. This year's display will not be impeded by light from the moon, since it will set shortly after the sun does.
November 22, 2012 | By Nita Lelyveld, Los Angeles Times
Give thanks for the nearly new Nikes, left abandoned beneath the 101 Freeway overpass. They were just M.J.'s size. He had needed shoes, but had no money to buy them. Give thanks for the tote bag, holding the Vienna sausages that Sam hands M.J. on Hollywood Boulevard. Sam is 4 1/2 months pregnant with her fifth child - their third together - and by April, when the baby is due, she and M.J. , both 26, hope to have a roof over their heads. Give thanks especially for My Friend's Place, provider of the sausages and so much more.
November 16, 2012 | By Jon Bardin
The annual Leonid meteor shower, hotly anticipated by many stargazers, will peak overnight around midnight on the West Coast. During the height of this year's shower, experts expect to see roughly 15 to 20 meteors per hour, though such predictions have been known to be off by quite a bit. And while that number is much lower than in some years - the Leonid, in its prime, involves more than 1,000 meteors per hour - the conditions this year look...
November 16, 2012 | By Deborah Netburn
Stargazers, get psyched: The Leonid meteor shower is expected to peak late Friday night and continue through the weekend. If you can find a clear, dark spot where the starry night sky is visible, you can expect to see as many as 15 to 20 shooting stars per hour.  The Leonid meteor shower takes place each November as the Earth passes through a ring of rocky debris left by the comet Tempel-Tuttle. The number of shooting stars we get to see down here is determined by what part of the comet's orbit we pass through on any given year.
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