In some respects, it’s not a good idea to draw conclusions from the record-setting performance of “Harry Potter” this weekend, which took $169 million at the North American box office and $476 million globally. “ ‘Harry Potter’ is a franchise that does not come along often,” says Paul Dergarabedian, Hollywood.com box office analyst. “It took more than a decade to develop, and it reaches across wide segments of the moviegoing public.” Still, a few important trends are emerging from the eye-popping weekend. Here are three:
Horses have captured our imaginations, as children and adults, for centuries. Here are eight great reads about horses, both fiction and non-fiction, that will keep you entertained all summer long.
“Carmageddon” is upon us! The 53-hour shutdown of a 10-mile segment of the 405 freeway, Los Angeles’s busiest traffic corridor, began at 7 p.m., Friday evening. For months, bulb-lit billboards have warned the city of severe traffic delays, while newspapers and TV stations ask whether apocalyptic congestion will keep 500,000 travelers from getting where they need to go for nearly three days. How are Los Angelenos coping? Here are five ways:
Harry Potter fans just know they love the record-breaking series of books. But everyone from academics to mythologists, classicists to historians, and literary critics to, well, geeks have a special “template” they perceive at the heart of the tale. From positing Albus Dumbledore as the infamous Richard III to taking us aloft the scaly back of St. George’s dragon, here are five of our top takes on what’s going on behind the scenes in the Harry Potter narratives.
The 10-mile shutdown of Interstate 405 this weekend in Southern California is being called 'carmageddon.' Will Los Angeles set the new world record for worst traffic jam? Here are four of the worst traffic jams worldwide.
Eloisa James reviews five new romance novels for The Barnes & Noble Review.
How many ways are there to resolve the debt ceiling crisis? Negotiators meeting at the White House seem to hit one impasse after another, and frustration on both sides is mounting as an Aug. 2 deadline looms to avoid default on America’s debt obligations. Still, at least five options for handling the matter have been discussed in recent days and months. Other possible solutions may well emerge, but here’s the state of play on the options to date.
It hasn’t happened yet in the lower 48, Alaska, or Hawaii, but it’s bound to happen soon: major style guides lowercasing the word “Internet.” And on that day when the style desks of The New York Times and the Associated Press finally issue a press release about the need to start lowercasing Internet in all news articles, headlines, and blogs, we will know that America has finally woken up to web-based reality. We don’t capitalize words like Radio or Television or Motion Pictures anymore, do we? Once, of course, we did. Now, we know better. However, regarding the Internet, we are still behind the curve, behind the British, lost in capitalization land. The Guardian and the BBC websites got it right, long ago. We need to play catch up. Now. Here are four reasons to lowercase “Internet”:
Yesterday's blasts in Mumbai prompted Indian newspaper Hindustan Times to ask: "Why is Mumbai targeted again and again?"
Who thought that reading could be this much fun? Yes, this activity is still timeless, but e-readers (tablet-like devices used for reading electronic versions of books and periodicals) are taking the personal technology world by storm. Many e-readers have been put up for sale, but four companies have emerged to dominate this field. Keep reading to find out who comes out on top!
If angry messages on Twitter are any guide – and, honestly, when aren't they? – Netflix customers are acutely cheesed off at the company's decision to split its DVD and instant-streaming services. Up until now, you could have unlimited streaming plus one DVD out at a time for $10 a month. Under the new plan, the same package will cost you $16 a month. All said, it's still a pretty good deal. Remember what you used to pay for rentals at the video store? And if you're the type who only streams videos on Netflix, you can now get it for two bucks less. But let's suppose that Netflix has pushed you too far this time, driving you into the arms of a competitor. Which one should you choose? Here are five options.
Slowing down because of rising heat is the expected response in any summer heat wave. But in a week like this one, where high temperatures fanned across the country, sizzling toward 100 degrees F. from Texas to Boston, some things also go up. Here are four things to expect to rise along with our desire to stay indoors and beat the heat.
As the News of the World phone hacking scandal broadens, more people are getting swept up in the controversy. Here's a guide to 7 key figures.
Getting married? Congratulations! Your future spouse will be your business partner as well as your life partner. Your credit, good name, and financial future will be tied to this person, who may not hold the same beliefs about money that you do. Talking about money is difficult for anyone, and it may seem like a romance-killer. But it is a good test of your relationship. An honest discussion about finances before the wedding can help avoid one of the biggest causes of stress after the wedding. Here are six ways to help you confide in each other and create a financial plan:
Ten of the best moments from the Harry Potter books and films.
Former presidents, politicians, and the family of former first lady Betty Ford gathered today in Palm Springs, Calif., to celebrate her life. Mrs. Ford, who died Friday, is remembered for her honest demeanor and dedication to equal rights. Since her husband's presidency, Betty Ford has passed the mantle of first lady to six other women. Here are the contributions each made:
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America?
Many Americans across the US were feeling the heat Monday, but how hot is it? The National Weather Service issued heat-related advisories for residents in 17 states, forecasting temperatures close to 100 degrees F. in the central and southern plains, and the middle and lower Mississippi Valley. In some parts of those regions, it will feel as hot as 115 degrees. Conditions are expected to continue into Tuesday. So far, the heat wave at hand is nowhere near as severe as the worst recorded since 1980, when the National Climate Data Center began compiling such data. Here is a look at the five deadliest US heat waves/droughts since then.
On July 9, South Sudan became the world’s newest country when it separated from the North. It now needs to accomplish a host of nation-building steps big and small. From the new country’s to-do list:
The Obama administration has announced that it is suspending, and in some cases ending, millions of dollars in aid to the Pakistani military. The decision comes after substantial debate about whether that money is being used in the way that the US intended – a question raised in the wake of the American military raid that ended with Osama bin Laden's death.
Royal newlyweds William and Kate have a busy, business-first itinerary for their three-day visit to southern California, which begins Friday. If they had asked us, we’d have given them these 10 tips for how to savor the SoCal experience. For every obvious tourist gambit, we’ve thrown in some insider info about where to pan for the best Angeleno cultural gold.
Several civil-rights groups sued the state of Alabama Friday to block what some observers say is the toughest anti-illegal-immigration law to date. Among other things, it mandates that primary and secondary schools check residency status of students. Federal lawsuits have now been filed against the five states that have passed such laws during the past 15 months. The rulings that have come down, which have all been against the laws, have been appealed by the states' attorneys general in the hope that the Supreme Court will take up the issue. Here is the legal state of play for all five state laws:
When NASA's space shuttles launch into orbit, they don't just carry astronauts and supplies into the final frontier. There's a lot of other weird stuff that makes the out-of-this-world journey, too. NASA's last space shuttle mission will launch Friday, July 8 on the Atlantis orbiter to deliver spare parts to the International Space Station. The mission will be the 135th and last flight for the program, which began in 1981. But over the course of 30 years, the space shuttles have flown some peculiar objects into orbit. The list of odd stuff that flew aboard the shuttles is a long one, and includes the Olympic torch, a replica of the golden spike from the First Transcontinental Railroad, and rocks from the top of Mount Everest and the surface of the moon, just to name a few. Here nine recent space oddities carried into orbit on NASA shuttles:
On Saturday, after decades of civil war and almost two centuries of rule by outsiders, South Sudan will finally become an independent state. Here's a look at the road the fledgling nation has traveled to get to where it is today.
Seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong isn't riding this year, but there are plenty of other fast Americans in the race. Here are six of them, with their team affiliations: