California Agriculture Is at Risk of Greatest Water Loss To Date

Kat Kerlin

The study found that the drought — the third most severe on record — is responsible for the greatest water loss ever seen in California agriculture, with river water for Central Valley farms reduced by roughly one-third. Groundwater pumping is expected to replace most river water losses, with some areas more than doubling their pumping rate over the previous year, the study said. More than 80 percent of this replacement pumping occurs in the San Joaquin Valley and Tulare Basin.

‘Transendence,’ ‘Heaven Is for Real’ Arrive on Home Video

The themes in “Transcendence” are every bit as complicated and engaging as those in Nolan’s movies. Unfortunately, the execution is less convincing. The focus is on Will and Evelyn Caster (Johnny Depp and Rebecca Hall), a power couple working on the most advanced artificial intelligence system in the world. Despite their ties to technology, Will and Evelyn are down to earth. 

High Rents Force New York Chinatown Retailers to Seek Out Other Locations

Rong Xiaoqing

Just a few blocks north of Chen’s crammed shop is a different world. Ten or so spacious storefronts are completely empty, with “for rent” banners on the awnings covered in dust. Some of them have been left like that for more than a year, as new tenants can’t afford the increased rents after former tenants are pushed out. Thanks to skyrocketing rents in recent years, this eerie contrast – shops crammed into tiny spaces next door to vacancies of spacious storefronts -- has become a fixed image in Chinatown. 

Facebook and the Powers of Media Manipulation

Marty Kaplan

The average Facebook user sees only 20 percent of the 1,500 stories per day that could have shown up in their news feed.  The posts you receive are determined by algorithms whose bottom line is Facebook’s bottom line.  The company is constantly adjusting all kinds of dials, quietly looking for the optimal mix to make us spend more of our time and money on Facebook.  Of course the more we’re on Facebook, the more information they have about us to fine-tune their formulas for picking ads to show us.  

The Life and Times of Paul Bowles: The Man Inside the Cage

Sandra Bertrand

It seems in many ways that Paul Bowles led a charmed life.  The new sounds of jazz had been forbidden in an inordinately strict household—though his mother’s reading of Edgar Allen Poe became an inspiration for his later stories.  A closeted homosexual and a fatalist at heart, he had tossed a coin:  heads he would take his own life, tails he would head for the City of Light.  His early musical talents caught the ear of composer Aaron Copland, his traveling companion for his first trip to Tangier.  But it was in Paris that Gertrude Stein discovered her “Freddie.”  

San Francisco Considers Resolution to Help Migrant Children

Elena Shore

About 200 to 250 children each month are coming to the Bay Area to be reunited with family members or sponsors, according to CARECEN. The organization has seen a tripling in the number of minors seeking its immigration legal services, from 20 to 60 minors per month – more than they have the capacity to serve. A resolution introduced last week by Supervisor David Campos would ensure that while these children await immigration proceedings, they have access to housing and social services.

Should Women Have Paid Menstrual Leave?

Stephanie Stark

A handful of East Asian countries seem to think so. Women in Taiwan get three paid days off per year for menstrual leave. Indonesian women are given two days per month. In South Korea, they are awarded back pay if they do not take their allotted days. The Philippines order “mandatory menstruation leave” to female private and government employees, and provide half pay for those who are menopausal and pregnant. And last year in Russia, a lawmaker attempted to pass two days off monthly for women during their menstruation cycle, claiming women’s memories and efficiency at work are deterred.

Manhattan’s Lower East Side: Land of Delicious Diversity

Beth Kaiserman

When touring guests around New York City, one usually hopes to spend ample time outside the hectic hoopla of Times Square, Midtown and Union Square. Food people know that the best stuff lies in the outskirts, and though it can still be difficult getting get people “all the way” to Brooklyn, most tourists will at least take a trip to the Lower East Side, just across the bridge from Brooklyn but still in Manhattan’s borders.

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