Southern California Shaken By 5.1 Earthquake, Minor Damage Reported

A locator map showing Los Angeles County — in ...

A locator map showing Los Angeles County — in Southern California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A magnitude-5.1 earthquake shook buildings, ruptured gas lines and caused other minor damage and injuries in Southern California late Friday.

The quake, centered 2 miles east of La Habra, Calif, was reported at 9:09 p.m. according to the United States Geological Survey. The shaking originated about 5 miles underground. The 5.1-magnitude quake was followed two minutes later by another 3.4 quake, officials said.

Reports of natural gas leaks began flooding in once the shaking stopped, said Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Ed Pickett. Firefighter assessed the leaks as minor, Pickett said, but a broken water pipe did flood a CVS Pharmacy.

A rockslide in Brea, Calif. in Orange County caused a car to overturn, causing only minor injuries, officials said. Southern California Edison officials reported about 2,000 customers were without power late Friday because of the earthquake. The earthquake also sent rocks tumbling off the 10 Freeway, creating a traffic hazard, according to California Highway Patrol officials.

Read more: http://dfm.timesherald.com/article/los-angeles-county-shaken-by-51-earthquake-some-damage-reported/91bba0fe9d3a2d719a7a92ca7b7557fd

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Shirley Temple, Iconic Child Star, Dies At 85

Screenshot of Shirley Temple from the film The...

Screenshot of Shirley Temple from the film The Little Princess (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WOODSIDE, CA (AP) — Shirley Temple, the dimpled, curly-haired child star who sang, danced, sobbed and grinned her way into the hearts of Depression-era moviegoers, publicist Cheryl Kagan. She was 85.

Temple, known in private life as Shirley Temple Black, died at her home near San Francisco.

A talented and ultra-adorable entertainer, Shirley Temple was America’s top box-office draw from 1935 to 1938, a record no other child star has come near. She beat out such grown-ups as Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Robert Taylor, Gary Cooper and Joan Crawford.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1186586/Shirley-Temple-iconic-child-star-dies-at-85

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2nd Winner Of $636M Lottery Jackpot Comes Forward

Map of California showing the primary cities a...

Map of California showing the primary cities and roadways (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SAN JOSE, Calif.California Lottery officials say the second of two winners of the $636 million Mega Millions jackpot has come forward to claim the prize.

Steve Tran of Northern California came forward Thursday afternoon, 16 days after officials revealed there were two winning jackpot tickets.

The other winner, Ira Curry, is from Georgia and came forward to claim her prize Dec. 18. Lottery officials there say she opted to take the lump sum payment of about $120 million after taxes.

The winning ticket in California was purchased at a gift shop in San Jose. The gift shop owner will receive $1 million.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/nation-world/ci_24840456/2nd-winner-636m-lottery-jackpot-comes-forward

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Paul Walker Memorial In California Draws Thousands

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) — The sounds of high-performance car engines filled the air Sunday as thousands of fans, friends and car enthusiasts headed to the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Clarita to pay tribute to Paul Walker at the site where the “Fast & Furious” actor died in a car crash.

The memorial, planned through social media, was scheduled to begin at noon, but mourners began arriving hours beforehand to leave flowers, candles, stuffed animals and other tributes.

By afternoon, about 5,000 people, including entire families with children, dropped by, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker said, adding that the gathering was mostly peaceful. A man was arrested after deputies spotted him carrying a partially hidden, loaded gun, and 40 citations were issued for illegal parking, Parker said.

Many arrived in cars built for speed, and the sounds of engines revving echoed close to where Walker and his friend died on Nov. 30. The event concluded Sunday evening with a cruise through the area 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/arts-and-entertainment/20131209/paul-walker-memorial-in-california-draws-thousands

Supreme Court Strikes Down Defense Of Marriage Act

WASHINGTON — In a major victory for gay rights, the Supreme Court today struck down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples and cleared the way for the resumption of same-sex marriage in California.

The justices issued two 5-4 rulings in their final session of the term. One decision wiped away part of a federal anti-gay marriage law that has kept legally married same-sex couples from receiving tax, health and pension benefits.

The other was a technical ruling that said nothing at all about same-sex marriage, but left in place a trial court’s declaration that California’s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.  That outcome probably will allow state officials to order the resumption of same-sex weddings in the nation’s most populous state in about a month.

In neither case did the court make a sweeping statement, either in favor of or against same-sex marriage.  And in a sign that neither victory was complete for gay rights, the high court said nothing about the validity of gay marriage bans in California and roughly three dozen other states.  A separate provision of the federal marriage law that allows a state to not recognize a same-sex union from elsewhere remains in place.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=487453

Turning Cow Dung Into Electricity

Picture 487Dairy farmer Ron Koetsier’s 1,200 cows produce roughly 90 tons of manure daily, and for the last three decades, he has tried unsuccessfully to turn the stinky dung into energy to power his 450-acre farm in Visalia.

He installed a nearly $1-million renewable energy system in 1985 that used the methane from manure to create electricity for his farm.  In 2002, he replaced that system with newer technology, but he hit a snag when air-quality standards called for expensive retrofits to reduce air pollution; he eventually shut down the system in 2009.

In a few weeks, however, Koetsier’s renewable-energy efforts will get a reboot as a new company replaces his current system with one that is expected to satisfy strict air standards in the highly polluted San Joaquin Valley.

A decade or so ago, dozens of California dairy farmers built million-dollar systems called methane digesters that convert manure into power.  Then, unexpected pollution problems, regulatory roadblocks and low rates of return killed most such digester systems, leaving only a handful in operation.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/la-fi-dairy-digester-20130609,0,2083458.story

Faculty At State-Owned Universities, Including Millersville, In Line For Pay Raises

Get ready. The cost of a college education in Pennsylvania might be on the way up.

After 18 months of negotiations that included the threat of the system’s first-ever strike, unionized faculty at the 14 state-owned universities are hoping that on Wednesday the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education board ratifies its four-year contract proposal.

The most controversial element of the contract has been the need to raise salaries without causing significant tuition hikes, said state system spokesman Kenn Marshall.

Related: List of salaries at Pennsylvania’s state-owned universities for 2013

The deal calls for salary increases of 11.5 percent for senior faculty and 19 percent for junior faculty over the four years of the contract, with junior faculty members getting the higher increases. Faculty members now receive salaries ranging between $44,795 and $107,870 a year.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/827693_Faculty-at-state-owned-universities–including-Millersville–in-line-for-pay-raises.html#ixzz2O1Bmm4zt

Facebook To Change News Feed To A ‘Personalized Newspaper’

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Français : Logo de Facebook Tiếng Việt: Logo Facebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Facebook announced a revamp of its news feed Thursday, unveiling a minimalist design that puts a central focus on photos, graphics and video and that the company hopes will attract new advertisers.

The news feed, which provides a running list of updates from a user’s network, will serve as a “personalized newspaper” for Facebook’s 1 billion users, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said at a news conference at the company’s California headquarters.

The redesign is critical in Facebook’s effort to convince advertisers of the value of working with the social network.  The company already allows users to pay to promote posts, buy goods through its network and buy gift cards directly from the site.

Read more:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/facebook-to-change-news-feed-to-a-personalized-newspaper/2013/03/07/b294f61e-8751-11e2-98a3-b3db6b9ac586_story.html?hpid=z3

Mexico: The New China

3-D perspective image of the San Diego-Tijuana...

3-D perspective image of the San Diego-Tijuana area from NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In November I quit my job as the editor of Wired to run 3D Robotics, the San Diego-based drone company I started with a partner as a side project three years ago.  We make autopilot technology and small aircraft — both planes and multirotor copters — that can fly by themselves.  The drones, which sell for a few hundred bucks, are for civilians: they don’t shoot anything but photographs and videos.  And they’re incredibly fun to build (which we do with the ample help of robots).  It wasn’t a hard decision to give up publishing for this.

But my company, like many manufacturers, is faced with a familiar challenge: its main competitors are Chinese companies that have the dual advantages of cheap labor and top-notch engineering.  So, naturally, when we were raising a round of investment financing last year, venture capitalists demanded a plausible explanation for how our little start-up could beat its Chinese rivals.  The answer was as much a surprise to the investors as it had been to me a few years earlier:  Mexico.  In particular, Tijuana.

Read more:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/27/opinion/sunday/the-tijuana-connection-a-template-for-growth.html?_r=0

A Record Worth Wilting For: Death Valley Is Hotter Than …

USA-CALIFORNIA/DEATH VALLEY STS073-E-5119 UNIT...

USA-CALIFORNIA/DEATH VALLEY STS073-E-5119 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, CALIFORNIA/DEATH VALLEY (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

FURNACE CREEK, CALIFORNIA — For Death Valley, a place that embraces its extremes, this has long been an affront: As furnace-hot as it gets here, it could not lay claim to being the hottest place on earth.  That honor, as it were, has gone since 1922 to a city on the northwestern tip of Libya.

Until now. After a yearlong investigation by a team of climate scientists, the World Meteorological Organization, the climate agency of the United Nations, announced this fall that it was throwing out a reading of 136.4 degrees claimed by the city of Al Aziziyah on Sept. 13, 1922.  It made official what anyone who has soldiered through a Death Valley summer afternoon here could attest to.  There is no place hotter in the world.  A 134-degree reading registered on July 10, 1913, at Greenland Ranch here is now the official world record.

And while people were not quite jumping up and down at the honor, the 134-degree reading has inspired the kind of civic pride that for most communities might come with having a winning Little League baseball team.

“For those of us who survive here in the summer, it was no surprise that it’s the hottest place on the world,” said Charlie Callaghan, a Death Valley National Park ranger who personally recorded a 129-degree day here a few years back.

Read more:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/29/science/earth/death-valley-temperature-record-is-restored.html?hp&_r=0

Free Speech Is One Thing, Vagrants, Another

BERKELEY, CA — Hardly a stranger to political movements, this is a city that has championed free speech, no nukes, the antiwar movement and now: no sitting on the sidewalk.

During years of economic downturn, cities across the country have reported rising vagrancy and rushed to pass laws banning aggressive panhandling, giving food away in public parks and even smelling foul.

This bastion of populist politics is no exception.  The City Council and mayor have put a measure on the November ballot that would ban sitting and lying on commercial sidewalks from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., at the risk of a $75 citation.

“These laws are an example of a startling national trend to criminalize homelessness,” said Maria Foscarinis, executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, an advocacy group.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/20/us/berkeley-targeting-homeless-proposes-ban-on-sidewalk-sitting.html?pagewanted=1&ref=us&_r=0

Gas Prices Set A Record In California

This map shows the incorporated areas in Los A...

This map shows the incorporated areas in Los Angeles County, California. Torrance is highlighted in red. I created it in Inkscape using data from the Los Angeles County Website (Los Angeles County Incorporated Area and District Map (PDF). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

California’s average gasoline price set a record Saturday of $4.614 for a gallon of regular, up 12.8 cents overnight – but anyone who filled up in the last few days probably isn’t surprised.

Gasoline prices skyrocketed after the Exxon Mobile refinery in Torrance was knocked offline Monday by a power outage. Other lingering refinery and pipeline problems also contributed to the soaring costs at the pump.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/sns-la-fi-mo-gas-price-record-20121006,0,2206438.story