Southern California breaking news and trends

Heat hacks: How to stay cool without air conditioning

Heat Wave Hot Los Angeles

Mae Ryan/KPCC

File photo from 2013.

MAP: Where is the closest cooling center?

Are we in September? Yes. 

Are we heading away from the summer? Not really.

The Department of Public Health just declared a Heat Alert this Thursday, as high temperatures keep hitting Southern California as we head toward fall.

Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Thursday confirmed California has had the hottest year since they started keeping records 120 years ago, in 1895.

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department issued an updated list and map of community cooling centers and KPCC has curated some other stay-cool tips for air-conditionally challenged residents across the region. 

Below you'll find practical advice from health officials, local resources from safety professionals and questionable suggestions from formerly hot people. 

Read More...

Massive Arroyo Seco homeless camp cleanup continues

Arroyo Seco clean up

Pepe Garcia/ L.A. Bureau of Sanitation

A major clean up of the Arroyo Seco riverbed is underway near South Pasadena.

One of Los Angeles's largest and most complicated homeless camp cleanups in recent years will continue on Tuesday, as workers dismantle between 17 and 20 dwellings tucked along the 110 freeway near South Pasadena. 

"The complicated part of it is the remoteness of the area that we're cleaning up," said Jose Garcia, an official with Los Angeles city Bureau of Sanitation. 

The encampment area, which is hidden in spots wedged between the 110 freeway and the Arroyo Seco near South Pasadena, has for years been a makeshift home for people living outdoors looking to escape the heat and other dangers. On Sunday, large mounds of trash and personal items could be seen in heaps along the freeway. 

One pile was directly across the street from the manicured greens of the Arroyo Seco Golf Course.

Read More...

Quiz: How much water do I waste brushing my teeth?! 11 water stats you probably can't guess

Water

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Average individual water use estimates vary from California's coastal areas to its central valley. How much do you know about your water use?

Average individual water use is a tricky thing to figure, with estimates varying from 77 to 150 gallons a day in the coastal areas of Los Angeles to 264 gallons a day in Riverside and a whopping 736 gallons a day in Palm Springs, based on data from the California Department of Water Resources.

Part of the confusion is whether you irrigate a yard or use water-saving devices, but no matter how you measure it, California is in a serous drought. The governor has asked us all to cut our water use by 20 percent.

But what does that mean, exactly, if we're not really sure how much water we're using now?

On Thursday, KPCC will be hosting an event along with the Milken Institute featuring panelists from The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and L.A. Department of Water and Power, as well as representatives from advocacy groups and the private sector. The event is full, but we'll have live video available on the site!

Read More...

Happy birthday, Nikola Tesla! See a video of a working Tesla coil

The Tesla Collection

Nikola Tesla (center) and Mark Twain (left)

Eccentric physicist and inventor Nikola Tesla would have turned 158 years old Thursday, and though he might've lived long ago, he's just coming into his prime as a household name and scientific celebrity.

The technology Tesla pioneered has become the stuff of our everyday lives — our smart phones, cars and cutting-edge advanced technological systems.

On July 20, KPCC will honor him by throwing the prescient genius a party— complete with a working Tesla coil made by KPCC’s own Chief Engineer Lance Harper, which you can check out here.

Video: KPCC's Tesla Coil

There's no more room at the Crawford Family Forum event, but you can watch the live stream (and get notified beforehand) here.

Tesla’s ability to foresee technological developments was almost spooky, especially since he claimed to do all the planning, drawing and early testing in his head. For instance, he wrote this in January 1905, in “The Transmission of Electrical Energy Without Wires as a Means for Furthering Peace”:

Read More...

Sandra Tsing Loh's mad take on social media, menopause and middle age

If you haven't yet met her, author/performer Sandra Tsing Loh is a regular voice here on KPCC, where her "Loh Down on Science" and "Loh Life" air  regularly. She's also the publisher of a new book, and this weekend she got some bicoastal love from east and west coast papers of record.  (She'll also, just BTW, be at KPCC's Crawford Family Forum Wednesday for a live discussion with KPCC's Shirley Jahad).

Both the L.A. and New York Times devoted major profiles to her and her new book, “The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones.” Both pieces explored her thoughts on menopause, marriage and picking up the kids on time. To both, she sprinkled little bits of madwoman wisdom such as: 

From the L.A. Times Q&A:

Q: You mention that you found a lack of honest, true-to-life literature on the experiences of menopause.

A: Yes, I found a lot of books that say: ‘Just eat more kale, drink lots of water, do your yoga. There was a lot of ‘calm down. And cut out the sugar.’ One theory I might proffer to explain the lack of literature is: As women, we want to say, ‘we never go nuts. It’s never that time of the month.’ We’re afraid that we’re going to set back the advancements we’ve made if we admit certain things.”

Q: What were you most surprised to discover about menopause?

A: Your normal coping mechanisms of ‘I’m going to make a ‘to do’ list, and once I finish my ‘to do’ list I will feel better’ are not going to work anymore.

I mention in the book how therapy does and doesn’t work. Therapists have to give you pretty reasonable advice. But some of the midlife advice you need to hear is: I guess you need to divorce your husband, or have an affair or date a younger man, or go on a cruise or move to Africa.  You might actually need to do something extreme to change your life and a therapist really can’t give you advice that’s not healthy or sensible.”

Read More...