KPCC Blogs


Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men

Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men

In nature, there’s a rigid human sex ratio of 105 boys for every 100 girls, but the invention of amniocentesis and the ultrasound in the 1970s led to massive skewing of these normal proportions, as couples around the world decided to abort their female fetuses. These sex-specific abortions—an estimated 163 million in the last 40 [...]

Afghanistan’s national sport – no rules, no ball, one headless goat

Afghanistan’s national sport – no rules, no ball, one headless goat

Buzkashi Boys is a forthcoming, American-funded film about Afghanistan’s national sport: spelt Buzkashi. This largely lawless game is kind of a cross between polo and rugby. But instead of using a ball, the Afghan horsemen play with a headless goat. Up to fifty riders compete for cash as they try to steal the carcass from [...]

Can grunting on the court score any love?

Can grunting on the court score any love?

The majority of Wimbledon’s fan mail is about it; there’s even a Wikipedia page dedicated to it, although no one can agree on how to characterize it. Grunts? Shrieks? Mating calls? Ian Ritchie, the head of the tennis tournament, has made his wishes clear: he’d like to hear less grunting on the court, particularly from [...]

Should older employees make room for younger workers?

Should older employees make room for younger workers?

Many baby boomers imagined they’d work for about 30 years then retire in their late 50s or early 60s with enough youth and cash to enjoy retirement. But in these tough economic times, it’s become increasingly difficult for older workers to quit their jobs when originally envisioned. As a result, they’re hanging on longer, often [...]

Govan’s LACMA will rock you…this November

Govan’s LACMA will rock you…this November

Michael Govan has been called a visionary, an advocate for artists and is credited with transforming the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). LA County supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky says Govan is to LACMA what Dudamel is to the Philharmonic. He has boosted attendance by 40%, expanded the museum’s collection and completed two new exhibition [...]

Why you can’t trust Google Inc.

Why you can’t trust Google Inc.

What does Google do with all the information it collects from us as we use its search? Nothing good according to the world’s leading Google critic Scott Cleland. Cleland is the author of Search and Destroy, a new book that warns against the power and influence of Google Inc. In Cleland’s view, Google’s sole aim [...]

Previewing President Obama’s Afghanistan speech: what happens to the region once American troops are gone?

Previewing President Obama’s Afghanistan speech: what happens to the region once American troops are gone?

In a few hours, President Obama will announce how many troops he will withdraw from Afghanistan over the next 18 months. Reporting has been all over the map—CNN cites 30,000 “surge” troops home by the end of 2012; The Los Angeles Times is reporting a withdrawal of 10,000 troops by the end of this year; [...]

Summer break: big fun or giant headache?

Summer break: big fun or giant headache?

Summer vacation is a time for school kids to stretch their legs, turn off their brains and run wild for a couple months before buckling down and getting back to learning. At least, that’s what it is now. Way back when, summer vacation was an economic and public health necessity. Schools in big urban areas [...]

Would you liquefy your body? In search of the green(er) funeral

Would you liquefy your body? In search of the green(er) funeral

It isn’t yet legal in the state of California but legislation has been introduced to make Alkaline Hydrolysis, a process of liquefying tissue, a certified way for making a greener exit from this life. The process accelerates the natural decomposition process, doing decades of work in a few hours by using a strong alkali (pH [...]

The liquid of life

The liquid of life

Every human society has been shaped by its relationship to water and in his new book Elixir anthropologist Brian Fagan traces the history of our involvement with this vital resource. Fagan goes back to the most remote period of human existence chronicling our struggle to tame a resource so mysterious and unpredictable. He sweeps through [...]