Southern California breaking news and trends

KPCC DIGEST PM (Sep. 13)—Quake system, LAUSD resignation, 'Little Mermaid' is back, but everything else is dead in Hawaii harbor


1. Amid new teaching standard, top school official resigns (KPCC)

Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Jaime Aquino has notified the Los Angeles Unified School District that he plans to resign from his post at the end of the year, a district spokesman said.

The departure comes as a surprise to many as the district prepares to enter the first year of new learning standards called Common Core — an initiative Aquino is spearheading that emphasizes teaching critical thinking skills over rote memorization.
 

2. Under the sea(t)? Disney says bring an iPad to the theater (KPCC)

Disney is bringing "The Little Mermaid" back to the big screen. And the small screen. The other small screen. In some theaters, audiences will be able to watch the movie while interacting with a related iPad app. Says Disney:

"Bring your iPad to the movie theater for...'Disney Second Screen Live: The Little Mermaid,' where you become part of the story. Interact with Ariel, Sebastian and Flounder. Compete with the audience as you play games, sing-along, and collect hidden treasure".

3. Sound pioneer Ray Dolby dies (KPCC)

Ray Dolby died Thursday at the age of 80 after suffering from the Alzheimer Disease and leukemia.  Dolby was a sound pioneer, and took out the hiss in sound recordings. He founded Dolby Laboratories in 1965, and revolutionized movie theater sound.

Dolby acquired a network of $2.4 billion over the years, earning two Oscars, several Emmys and a Grammy. While he retired years ago, his company continued to thrive. Last year it had revenues over $900 million.

4. The big one: Bill would create California quake warning system (KPCC)

California could join Japan, Mexico and other earthquake-prone countries that alert residents to the approach of powerful shaking under a bill awaiting approval from Gov. Jerry Brown.

A public alert system could provide several seconds of warning after a fault ruptures — enough time for trains to brake, utilities to shut off gas lines or people to dive under tables. The state Legislature advanced the bill; Brown has until Oct. 13 to decide.

5. LA's economy still recouping losses 5 years after financial crash (KPCC)

Five years after Lehman Brothers filed the largest bankruptcy case in the nation’s history, Southern California’s economy is still recouping its losses. The state is adding jobs at a faster pace than most of the nation - second only to Utah. But when you break the economic numbers down by region, there are sharp contrasts.

L.A. County’s unemployment rate remains at 9.9 percent, 2.5 percentage points higher than the national rate.  Home prices in L.A. county, which plummeted 45 percent then stagnated for years, only recently showed a sharp, double-digit hike.

6. Molasses suffocates all marine life in Hawaiian harbor (NPR)

State officials in Hawaii say there's little they can do to clean up a molasses spill that's killed thousands of fish and every other marine creature in a harbor west of downtown Honolulu. Swimmers, surfers and snorkelers were being warned that the massive die-off could attract sharks.

Matson Navigation Co., the company that maintained the faulty pipeline, said the firm was taking responsibility for the leak "but hadn't planned ahead of time for the possibility of a spill."

7. Russ Stanton on NPR cuts and how they will affect KPCC (KPCC)

NPR announced it will ask 10 percent of its staff to take a buyout in order to balance its budget, which is operating at a deficit of $6.1 million. Paul Haaga was also announced as new acting CEO.

KPCC VP of Content Russ Stanton discusses why the $220 million KROC endowment doesn't prevent cuts, the distinction between NPR and KPCC, and how public media can sustain itself in an uncertain media landscape.

8. Ig Nobel winner: 'Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beer Holder' (NPR)

Researchers who came to the conclusion that "beer goggles" make you think YOU'RE better looking are among this year's winners of the "Ig Nobel" prizes — awards handed out by Improbable Research, a group recognizing "achievements that make people laugh, and then make them think."

The Biology/Astronomy Prize went to the team that discovered "when dung beetles get lost, they can navigate their way home by looking at the Milky Way," and the Peace Prize to "Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus, for making it illegal to applaud in public.

9. 7 cheap ways to get #LostinLA this weekend (KPCC)

Wonderful weather welcomes the weekend with art in Glendale, roller derby in Long Beach, a star party in the park, and a greasy ramen burger to be still your heart.

Griffith Observatory hosts a huge public star party starting Saturday afternoon. Later, Long Beach Derby Girls face the Breakwater Bombshells and Cyclone Racers at the Port of L.A., then ride the trend wave of "ramen burgers" at the first Yokocho Fest hosted by L.A.-based Japanese magazine Weekly LALALA.

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