June 3, 1986 |
Testing a product on the kind of people who eventually will use it is hardly a new idea. But at Protype, a Sun Valley company that makes an office machine that is a cross between an electronic typewriter and a word processor, testing is done with a twist. The company tries out its equipment on what Stephen Kurtin, Protype president, diplomatically calls the "most ordinary" secretaries. To find them, Kurtin every so often asks a temporary help agency to send over a group of bad secretaries.
January 28, 2009 |
Joyful, choreographed dance numbers staged in crumbling Mumbai train stations are not how most American films end. Yet when just such a scene crops up in "Slumdog Millionaire," the moment is perfectly apt. Sure, it's a Bollywood-meets-Hollywood ending, and the train station is key to the film. But those familiar with Oscar-nominated scriptwriter Simon Beaufoy's oeuvre may note that dancing-amid-decrepitude is almost a given.
July 31, 2013 |
It's not easy peddling fresh fruit to a nation of junk-food addicts. But in rural Kern County, David Cain is working to win the stomachs and wallets of U.S. grocery shoppers. Cain is a fruit breeder. His latest invention is called the Cotton Candy grape. Bite into one of these green globes and the taste triggers the unmistakable sensation of eating a puffy, pink ball of spun sugar. By marrying select traits across thousands of nameless trial grapes, Cain and other breeders have developed patented varieties that pack enough sugar they may as well be Skittles on the vine.
July 10, 2011
Question: On June 19, a relative staying at the Andaz West Hollywood called to ask my wife and me to pick her up. We were in church so my wife had turned off her cellphone. Finally our family member got through, but when she checked out, she was shocked to find she was charged about $200 for nine less-than-one-minute phone calls that went to our voicemail. English is her second language, and she didn't question the charge. Any advice as to how we should proceed? -- Paul Cross, Rancho Cucamonga Answer: Hold the phone.
June 30, 2012 |
HANFORD, Calif. - Combining the high sugar and flavor of cherries with the larger fruit size and extended season of plums has been a longstanding dream for fruit breeders, but such crosses are difficult to make successfully so that the hybrids yield abundant high-quality fruit. Zaiger's Genetics of Modesto, the inventors of Pluots and Apriums, managed the trick, and the fruit started showing up several years ago in very small quantities at upstate farmers markets; this year vendors at local farmers markets have begun offering plum-cherry hybrids, and the first commercial orchard has started bearing fruit.
July 6, 2009 |
'Are there not other alternatives than sending our armies to chew barbed wire in Flanders?" During the bitter winter of 1914-15, the first lord of the Admiralty posed this urgent question to Britain's prime minister. The eighth anniversary of 9/11, now fast approaching, invites attention to a similar question: Are there not other alternatives than sending our armies to choke on the dust of Iraq and Afghanistan?
July 30, 2009
When Californians voted to legitimize medical marijuana in 1996, they probably didn't realize they were stepping into a legal and regulatory minefield. Today, there are hundreds of medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives in Los Angeles, which are caught in quasi-legal limbo -- barely regulated, largely untaxed, sanctioned by the state but subject to raids by federal drug agents.
May 9, 2009 |
If foulmouthed, champagne-swilling Patsy from "Absolutely Fabulous" can shame and defeat your government, then is it time to throw in the towel? The answer from Britons of all stripes these days is an increasingly loud "yes" as Gordon Brown flails to stay afloat after possibly one of his worst fortnights as Britain's prime minister. There he was Wednesday in Parliament, looking as dark as a thundercloud as the opposition mercilessly baited him and brayed for his resignation.
May 26, 2013 |
Question: Can an employer cancel an employee's time off? In February, a friend of mine told his boss he was going to take off March 24-29. His boss said it was OK. The company does not provide paid vacation time, by the way. My friend bought a round-trip ticket. But two weeks before the trip, his boss told him he could not go and that if he did, he would be fired. Should my friend sue? Sam Schwiner San Francisco Answer: Your friend should not sue if he wants to keep his job, although he might want to evaluate whether he wants to work for someone who doesn't keep his word.