Southern California breaking news and trends

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


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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!


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”:


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.”


Could a nasal strip rule trip up California Chrome's Triple Crown chances?

139th Preakness Stakes - Previews

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

California Chrome is bathed in preparation for the 139th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 15, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland.

California Chrome (No. 3), ridden by Victor Espinoza, crosses the finish line to win the 139th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday in Baltimore.

Jim Dietz/Getty Images

California Chrome (No. 3), ridden by Victor Espinoza, crosses the finish line to win the 139th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday in Baltimore.

SoCal equestrian heartthrob and triple crown challenger California Chrome could face a problem in his bid to win all three major horse-racing championships: A New York state rule that bars the use of equine nasal strips.  

The L.A. Times reports Sunday that the horse's trainer raised the possibility that California Chrome may not race unless the race allows his horse to wear the adhesive, which is used by human and horse athletes alike to help them breathe during competition. 

California Chrome has won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness races. If he wins at New York's Belmont Stakes, he'd be only the 12th Triple Crown winner in horse racing history and the first since 1978.

The Times reported that trainer Art Sherman would be speaking with California Chrome's owners about the issue.


It's an expensive world after all: Disneyland hikes ticket prices

Disneyland California Adventure

Andy/flickr Creative Commons

Reflections of the Disneyland California Adventure rides before "World of Color" show.

It may be nicknamed the Happiest Place on Earth, but no one ever called it the cheapest.

Disneyland reportedly upped the prices for single tickets to its California theme park by $4 Sunday, and hoisted the cost for some its premium admissions considerably as well. Deadline Hollywood reports:  

Today the price of a one-day, one park ticket for visitors 10 years and older increased $4 to $96, with the cost of a Disneyland/California Adventures Park-Hopper shooting up to $150 from $137 for adults. Disney also bumped up prices for SoCal Select (+$10 to $289), Deluxe (+$20 to $519), Premium (+$30 to $699), and Premier (+$50 to $1,029) passes. 

The site reports that Disney has also suspended sales for its popular "SoCal Annual Passport," a favorite among Southern Californians who want regular weekend access to the park. Folks who've already purchased passes and those whose passports have recently expired will be able to renew.