The Latest

Southern California breaking news and trends

KPCC DIGEST AM (Oct. 4)—'Science' sets up a sting, Siri suffers an identity crisis, Maywood has a drinking problem, hola Walter Blanco

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1. Peer-review pressure: Fake science is being published, for a fee (NPR)

An experiment by "Science," a leading mainline journal, concluded that many online journals are ready to publish bad research in exchange for a fee. The result should trouble doctors, patients, policymakers, researchers cheated out of meaningful feedback, and anyone who has a stake in the integrity of science (read: everyone).

Deliberately faked research was submitted 305 times — more than half the journals accepted it, failing to flag the fatal flaws noticeable to "anyone with more than high-school knowledge of chemistry."

2. Latino education gap threatens California’s future (KPCC)

Despite a decade of effort, educators have failed to close the achievement gap for the state's largest minority group.

Latinos scored a hundred points less than their white counterparts, and more than 150 points below Asian students, on this year's California's Academic Performance Index. It could be years before the public knows whether Common Core will help Latinos.


3. They can't shut down resourcefulness: Locked out of a national park? Try a state one instead (KPCC)

The shutdown of the federal government has resulted in the furlough of more than 21,000 park service employees and the closure of 401 national parks — including nine in California — like Yosemite, Sequoia and Joshua Tree.

Luckily, California boasts a robust system of more than 270 state parks and other natural, cultural and recreational resources. A spokesperson for Mount San Jacinto State Park told KPCC the state park will remain open, but certain campgrounds had to cave to federal closures.

4. 'Siri, who are you?' (The Verge)

Siri may have outed herself. The Verge reports on a CNN article that reports on a Verge article about synthesized speech — a story that Susan Bennett says prompted her to come forward to CNN after being suspected of the voice behind Apple's virtual assistant, Siri.

Apple did not comment and her lawyer could not confirm, but Bennett says she's the voice, and that it was recorded in 2005 for an undisclosed project. As fate (?) would have it, today is the second anniversary of Siri's grand unveiling.

5. Maywood: A tiny town with 3 private water companies, and questionably drinkable tap water (KPCC)

In the southeast L.A. County town of Maywood, people have long complained about tap water being yellowed and smelling of rotten eggs. Now, there’s a bill awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown's signature that could provide funds to clean up the city’s water – and water politics.

For years people have been concerned about cost and quality. Neighbors are paying different rates and, at times, for varying quality of water described by residents as "dirty," "kind of brown," and "almost like tea."

6. Latin America gets its own 'Breaking Bad'— starring Walter Blanco and Jose (KPCC)

Goodbye Walter White and Jesse. Hola Walter Blanco and Jose. While we're still mourning the series finale of AMC's "Breaking Bad" from this past Sunday, there's a little comfort in knowing a spinoff of the Emmy-winning drama is on its way to Spanish-language television. Telenovela style.

"Metastasis" is Latin America's story of a struggling high school teacher who is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer and turns into a major meth kingpin. Sound familiar?

7. Healthier legislation on the transparency of 'Covered California' (KPCC)

Governor Jerry Brown this week signed legislation that removes a shield of secrecy around Covered California, the state-run health insurance marketplace.

The new law removes provisions, uncovered earlier this year by the Associated Press, that have allowed Covered California to conduct its business without public scrutiny or legislative oversight. The law empowers the Legislative Audit Committee to inspect all Covered California contracts.

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