February 18, 2014 |
The Voyager 1 spacecraft is the first human-made object to venture into interstellar space. Even if defined only by distance, the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory twin Voyagers are America's greatest space adventure. They've been flying successfully for more than 36 years and are billions of miles from home. What isn't widely known is that they almost never made it out there. The first proposed mission in the late 1960s was for four spacecraft to take advantage of a rare alignment of the four outer planets of the solar system; Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune would all be on the same side of the sun. However, in December 1971, NASA decided it couldn't afford the $1-billion price tag for a 12-year "grand tour" mission with four spacecraft.
February 15, 2014 |
A storm warning has been issued for space, where a "cannibal" coronal mass ejection grabbed the attention of space-weather watchers. The sun -- at a peak of activity in the 11-year solar cycle -- hurled a pair of CMEs that reached Earth early Saturday morning, Pacific time. The ejections, as NASA's Alex Young says, "are a huge release of solar material, billions of tons, and magnetic field. " Upon reaching Earth, they can wreak havoc with our power grid -- and, on the bright side, create gorgeous auroras.
February 14, 2014 |
Bob Thompson fondly remembers when Downey was buzzing with pride and payrolls as a major hub for work on the Apollo space program and the construction site for six space shuttles. "Since the beginning of time, we had all these world leaders who looked up at the moon," said Thompson, a 72-year-old local history buff who worked for 34 years on the site where the spacecraft were built. "Here in Downey we built the vehicles that put the first man on the moon, and that is why it's a great source of pride.
February 13, 2014 |
“Fifteen years ago I killed my sister.” That stark, matter-of-fact statement launches “Nocturne,” and its embedded significance is inexorable and intense. Adam Rapp's hypnotic, intricately written elegy for the fallout from an unimaginable family tragedy receives a resolute production, in which noted Belgian actor George Regout makes an impressive North American stage debut as a 32-year-old former piano prodigy struggling to transcend the event that decimated his family and upended his life.
February 12, 2014 |
A satellite orbiting Earth has spotted 55 southern right whales hanging out in the shallow waters off Argentina. It turns out that these particular whales are quite easy to spot from space, said Peter Fretwell of the British Antarctic Survey. They got the name right whales because they were once considered the "right" whales to hunt. They are large and slow, and they spend a lot of time lolling near the surface of calm ocean waters. For this reason, their numbers dropped from a pre-whaling population of 55,000-70,000 to just 300 by the 1920s. "The same reason they are the right whales to catch makes them the right whales to look for by satellite," said Fretwell.
February 9, 2014 |
While he was in town late last month to talk with local water agencies and policymakers about the drought, Gov. Jerry Brown also had a lower-profile but just as urgent meeting with Los Angeles County's top criminal justice officials. What is it with you L.A. people, the governor asked, and your resistance to split sentencing? It's a good question, even if it requires a bit of explanation. Under California's AB 109 public safety realignment, low-level felons do their time in county jail instead of state prison, and courts have the option to split their sentences between time behind bars and time under supervised release.
February 6, 2014 |
"Performing in space is such an honor. " Who else but Lady Gaga could utter such a phrase and still be taken seriously? "I want to challenge myself to come up with something that will not only bring everyone together but will also have a message of love that blasts into the beyond," she says in the March issue of Harper's Bazaar , referring to her planned one-song performance on a Virgin Galactic flight, which was announced back in November....
January 30, 2014 |
Arriving at a Malibu cafe while waiting to conduct a post-screening Q&A, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki isn't just on time but, startlingly, early. The 49-year-old Mexican-born cinematographer has earned raves for two very different films last year: Terrence Malick's earthbound romance "To the Wonder" and Alfonso Cuarón's outer-orbit survival epic, "Gravity," for which Lubezki has received an Oscar nomination. It's Lubezki's fifth collaboration with director Cuarón, and it's a relationship Lubezki cherishes, even if it's a little intense: "Many, many times making 'Gravity,' I thought if somebody else was directing, or if I was directing, I think I would have said, 'OK, stop it, let's just do it with whatever we have.' Alfonso's appetite is just so enormous, and, in a funny way, he's a tiny bit naive, and I think that allows him to have all these dreams and just push us, the technicians, to get where he's attempting to go. " I don't go to a movie expecting correct science.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 20, 2014 |
From the very beginning, Colorado Boulevard was all about the car. Pasadena residents so loved their Ford Model Ts that in 1915 the city was said to have the highest rate of automobile ownership in the world. Colorado was a leg in the famed Route 66 and evolved along with the car culture, with roadside businesses giving way to bigger department stores and eventually to shopping centers. But these days, officials want to tame the famed street. Pasadena is considering plans to narrow portions of Colorado by as much as two lanes and use that space to widen sidewalks and create tiny parks with seating and greenery.
January 19, 2014 |
Regarding "Next Stop Was America," by Jane Lavere, Jan. 12: The Red Star Museum asked for stories. Here's one I sent. We'll visit the museum later this year. My maternal grandparents, Itzig (Jacob) and Blima Dora Rebecca Haimotiz Pinkowitz, traveled from their village in Romania to Philadelphia via the Red Star Line at the turn of the 20th century. Their leaving was probably due to fear of anti-Semitism and a search for a better life. My grandfather and his eldest daughter crossed the Atlantic on the Red Star Line ship Switzerland, leaving Antwerp, Belgium, on Aug. 1, 1900, and arriving in Philadelphia.