Los Angeles Times


NASA's InSight lander has likely detected its first 'marsquake,' seismologists say

Los Angeles Times

It sounds like a subway train rushing by. But it's something much more exotic: in all likelihood, the first "marsquake" ever recorded by humans. NASA's InSight mission detected the quake on April 6, four months after the lander's highly sensitive seismometer was installed on the Martian surface. The instrument had previously registered the howling winds of the red planet and the motions of the lander's robotic arm. But the shaking picked up this month is believed to be the first quake from Mars' interior.


Elon Musk claims a million Teslas will drive themselves in a year. Safety advocates have concerns

Los Angeles Times

Tesla, under pressure to show it can generate profits on its main business of making electric cars, on Monday trumpeted a custom-designed computer chip to let its vehicles drive themselves. Even with the new chip -- which comes with all new vehicles and can be installed in older ones -- Teslas still aren't yet fully capable of driving without human intervention. They now have "all hardware necessary," said Elon Musk, Tesla's chief executive officer. "All you have to do is improve the software." The software will be updated over the air to allow full self-driving by the end of the year, he said.


Her phone rang. It was her son, and he had big news about his future

Los Angeles Times

Eva Vazquez was at a bus stop on Wilshire Boulevard, on the way to work as a cashier at a discount store near MacArthur Park, when her phone rang. "I knew it was probably him," she said. It was Thursday, March 28. The day her son Oswaldo was expecting to find out if he'd been accepted to the universities at the top of his wish list. Oswaldo, sometimes called Ozzie by friends and family, had already gotten into several great schools on the strength of straight A's, a strong SAT score and his years of mentoring and community service.


The rise of robots doesn't have to mean the fall of human workers

Los Angeles Times

Hundreds, maybe thousands, of dockworkers, residents and business owners are expected to pack the Board of Harbor Commissioners hearing Tuesday morning in an attempt to block a permit for infrastructure improvements at one Port of Los Angeles terminal that they fear would pave the way for the loss of high-paying jobs and the economic decline of surrounding communities. This small project -- about $1.5 million worth of electric charging stations, poles for Wi-Fi antenna and the like -- would be a precursor to a big change in San Pedro and harbor communities. APM Terminals and Danish shipping giant Maersk intend to automate operations over the next several years, potentially slashing the number of dockworkers in the future. These are middle-class jobs that can often pay workers without a college degree more than $100,000 a year. But, really, this fight goes far beyond APM Terminals.


Removal of fuel at Fukushima's melted nuclear reactor begins

Los Angeles Times

The operator of the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant began removing fuel Monday from a cooling pool at one of three reactors that melted down in the 2011 disaster, a milestone in what will be a decades-long process to decommission the facility. Tokyo Electric Power Co. said workers started removing the first of 566 used and unused fuel units stored in the pool at Unit 3. The fuel units in the pool located high up in reactor buildings are intact despite the disaster, but the pools are not enclosed, so removing the units to safer ground is crucial to avoid disaster in case of another major earthquake similar to the one that caused the 2011 tsunami. TEPCO says the removal at Unit 3 will take two years, followed by the two other reactors, where about 1,000 fuel units remain in the storage pools. Removing fuel units from the cooling pools comes ahead of the real challenge of removing melted fuel from inside the reactors, but details of how that might be done are still largely unknown. Removing the fuel in the cooling pools was delayed more than four years by mishaps, high radiation and radioactive debris from an explosion that occurred at the time of the reactor meltdowns, underscoring the difficulties that remain.


As video games make billions, the workers behind them say it's time to unionize

Los Angeles Times

At an industry conference for video game developers in late March, the thousands of lanyarded attendees could try new games, swap business cards and hear from experts on rendering realistic blood spatter. Or they could talk about unionizing. Hundreds joined a series of standing-room-only roundtables on the topic of organized labor, taking time away from the Game Developers Conference to brainstorm ways to build worker power in an industry that is almost entirely nonunion. Organizers with Game Workers Unite, a group that has sprung up in the last year to push for wall-to-wall unionization in the $43-billion game industry, kicked off each session with an icebreaker: "Damn the man." "Damn the man" for making designers work 100-hour weeks for months on end to deliver a game on time -- a practice known as "crunch" that often comes without overtime or bonus pay.


Essential California: Nipsey Hussle's L.A. farewell

Los Angeles Times

His funeral took place at Staples Center followed by a 25.5-mile procession through the neighborhoods where Hussle grew up and called home. Inside the arena hundreds of roses surrounded his casket. The service, which was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., was delayed for nearly an hour as fans waited to get into the venue to honor the man, born Ermias Joseph Asghedom, who was gunned down in broad daylight outside his clothing store on Slauson Avenue on March 31. The 33-year-old rapper was shot nearly two week ago. Standing on Huawei Technologies Co.'s sprawling new campus near Shenzhen, it's hard to conceive that Ren Zhengfei, backed by five friends of friends, could have singlehandedly turned his tiny start-up into a technology-driven colossus.


Why Claire Denis cast Robert Pattinson in the sensual science-fiction fable 'High Life'

Los Angeles Times

Claire Denis is a filmmaker's filmmaker. Though the French writer-director has never had a commercial breakthrough in the U.S., she has been a steady presence in international cinema circles from her debut feature "Chocolat" in 1988 through such titles as 1999's "Beau Travail," 2010's "White Material," starring Isabelle Huppert, and "Let the Sunshine In," which starred Juliette Binoche and was released in the U.S. last year. In part, Denis is so well-regarded because she remains so unpredictable. There is no signature style to her work and it remains surprising with each and every film. Her latest, "High Life," which opens in New York and Los Angeles this week via A24, arrives with higher than usual commercial expectations.


'Too complex to fly'? Trump riff on planes shows aversion to technological change and science

Los Angeles Times

He has demanded "goddamned steam" to power the Navy's aircraft carriers and prefers a wall to drones and other technology to secure the country's southern border. He has rejected the scientific consensus on climate change and repeatedly, wrongly, pointed to occasional wintry weather as proof that he's right. And this week, amid a safety scare involving Boeing's 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 airplanes, President Trump complained that modern jets are "too complex to fly." He added: "I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better."


NYPD says its new software is helping analysts track crime patterns more quickly

Los Angeles Times

When a syringe-wielding drill thief tried sticking up a Home Depot near Yankee Stadium, police figured out quickly that it wasn't a one-off. A man had also used a syringe a few weeks earlier while stealing a drill at another Home Depot 7 miles south in Manhattan. The match, though, wasn't made by an officer looking through files. It was done by pattern-recognition computer software developed by the New York Police Department. The software, dubbed Patternizr, allows crime analysts stationed in each of the department's 77 precincts to compare robberies, larcenies and thefts to hundreds of thousands of crimes logged in the NYPD's database, transforming their hunt for crime patterns with the click of a button.