The Latest | Southern California breaking news and trends

7 things to know before dinner—Internet balloon, immigration scam, followed felons, PS4, Hastings, Coolio's foodtastic voyage

Photo by Marianne Muegenburg Cothern via Flickr Creative Commons

1. Google is seeking Californians to test balloon-powered internet (The Verge)

Google's Project Loon is looking for a few good antennae.

With a goal of bringing internet to remote areas via giant connected balloons, Google is turning its testing efforts to residents of California's Central Valley. Loon antennas will be installed at select homes and businesses to test connections as balloons travel overhead. Volunteers needed.

2. What drives the urge to text behind the wheel? (KPCC)

The dangers and consequences of texting and driving have been well documented, yet people can't seem to resist the urge to pick up their phones behind the wheel.

"In a sense our brains are hardwired to text," said Dr. Gary Small, professor of psychiatry at UCLA. "We want to stay connected to others and we've found this device that we have with us all the time that allows us to connect with others." In essence, it's what Dr. Small calls a "battle of the brain."

3. 167 LAPD officers are monitoring released felons (KPCC)

Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck says in a new report that the state's prison realignment program is costing his department $18.1 million this year. The team monitoring the ex-prisoners have made 3,075 arrests since October 2011.

The program went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court found conditions in California's prisons unconstitutional, and upheld an order to reduce prison overcrowding.

4. Coolio cooks off his music catalog to finance foodtastic voyage (The Wrap/Huffington Post)

$140,000 is the opening bid for the music royalty rights to Coolio's 123-song catalog including "Gangta's Paradise" and "Fantastic Voyage." The five-time Grammy winner is selling his full song portfolio to finance a cooking career.

The rapper previously made an appearance on Food Network's "Celebrity Chefs," became a New York Times bestselling-author with 2009's "Cookin' with Coolio" and has a web series of videos with the same name.

5. Sony announces the release date for PlayStation 4 (BBC)

US and Canadian shoppers will be the first ones able to buy Sony's PlayStation 4 (PS4) when the next-generation gaming machine becomes available on Nov. 15 — European shoppers will have to wait until the 29th.

Microsoft said that its Xbox One will also go on sale in November.

6. Coroner: Michael Hastings had traces of drugs in his system when he died (KPCC)

Reporter Michael Hastings reportedly had traces of drugs consistent with methamphetamine use in his system when he died, according to Los Angeles coroner’s officials.

Hastings died on June 18 in fiery car crash after driving at high speeds through Hollywood.

7. New bill targets immigration 'priority' scams (KPCC)

A new bill targets scams that promise legalization priority for immigrants. The scam requires people to pay a fee that secures a place "in line" for when immigration reform occurs — although it hasn't and might not.

The California bill would "ban anyone from taking money promising legalization before immigration reform is actually in place."