October 28, 2013 |
James Costos, the U.S. ambassador to Spain, was called on the Foreign Ministry carpet Monday to be informed of the Madrid government's anger over reports that U.S. intelligence spied on 60 million phone calls in Spain in one month alone. His counterpart in Paris, Ambassador Charles Rivkin, had his turn in the diplomatic hot seat a week earlier, when the French foreign minister summoned him to address similar reports of massive U.S. surveillance of French communications. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, upon hearing reports that the U.S. National Security Agency had been monitoring her personal cellphone calls as recently as 2010, went straight to the top, venting her ire directly to President Obama.
October 9, 2013 |
As a chemistry professor at USC, Arieh Warshel says he sometimes finds it difficult to convince his fellow scientists that computers have a place in experimental fields like his own. Many people, he laments, use them to make or watch movies, "but not to understand. " Though Warshel may hold a minority view on a campus with strong ties to Hollywood - visitors to his laboratory's website are informed that his animated computer simulations are not available on Netflix - he got a huge endorsement Wednesday from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in the form of a Nobel Prize.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 26, 2013 |
Christopher Koch, one of Australia's most acclaimed novelists, whose 1978 thriller "The Year of Living Dangerously" illuminated the political and cultural turmoil in Indonesia after World War II, died of cancer Monday in Hobart, Australia. He was 81. His death was confirmed to Australian news media by his agent, Margaret Connolly. During a 55-year career, Koch wrote at least eight novels, which often explored Australians' engagement with their near-neighbors in Asia. "Highways to War" (1995)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 25, 2013 |
Caltech behavioral economist Colin Camerer has researched a lot about how the chance of big financial gains affects the human brain. So he knew that his own brain area known as the nucleus accumbens was stimulated by the announcement that he won $625,000 as one of this year's MacArthur Foundation Fellows. That part of the brain "responds to surprise rewards, it produces the internal sensation of 'I won, I won,' " said Camerer, who is being given the so-called genius award for his work on human behavior during stock market bubbles and other economic events.
September 19, 2013 |
So what about that National Book Awards fiction longlist? It's a good one, and the last of the four longlists to be released by the National Book Foundation this week. The list includes one of my favorite novels of 2013, “The Flamethrowers” by Los Angeles' own Rachel Kushner , and Tom Drury's fifth novel, “Pacific,” which deals in part with a 14-year-old's experiences in Southern California. Also cited are George Saunders ' elegant and heartbreaking short-story collection, “Tenth of December,” which came out at the beginning of the year, as well as two of the most anticipated novels of the fall: “The Lowland” by Jhumpa Lahiri and Thomas Pynchon's “Bleeding Edge.” Pynchon, of course, is a former National Book Award winner; he received the 1974 prize for his landmark novel “Gravity's Rainbow.” So too is Alice McDermott , who won a 1988 National Book Award for “Charming Billy.” Her new novel, “Someone,” also made the longlist this year.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 9, 2013 |
Susan Cashion, a former Stanford University dance director and a key figure in the development of the Mexican folkloric dance movement in California, died Aug. 29 after being struck by a commuter train in Palo Alto. She was 70. The Santa Clara County medical examiner's office ruled her death a suicide. The Pasadena native spent more than three decades teaching Mexican, Latin American and modern dance at Stanford and founded or helped found a string of folkloric companies in the Bay Area that inspired similar organizations up and down the state.