Keeping an Eye on Hurricane Irene via Social Media and Open Data

Hurricane Irene August 26 NASA Satellite

A massive hurricane is swirling toward the eastern seaboard of the U.S. leaving 29 million people under a Hurricane warning on Friday night. Currently a category 2 storm, Hurricane Irene is forecast to straddle the coast before making landfall near New York City. Here in Southern California we don’t have many hurricane threats but then again it had been a while since the East Coast experienced a strong earthquake before this week. But in 1939 the only tropical storm to make landfall in California killed dozens at sea before coming ashore in Long Beach. 45 deaths were reported as a result of the flooding. And in 1858 a hurricane is said to have nearly made landfall off the San Diego coast, causing the 2011 equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars before turning back out to sea.

But in the 19th and even the 20th centuries we did not have the advanced warning and communications systems that we have today. Without even grazing land, Hurricane Irene is making history — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that today was the first time in the city’s history that mandatory evacuations had been ordered. About a quarter-million residents, primarily on the low-lying edges of Manhattan were urged to abandon their homes. New York’s subway system will be shut down Saturday at noon due to the threat of flooding.

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Interview: Elevator Labs’ Zack Zalon on New Funding, LA’s Innovative Tech Scene

The state of the economy may be a big question mark but one thing’s for sure: L.A. tech is hot. Westwood-based Elevator Labs received $20 million in funding this week in another example of investors putting money into innovative Los Angeles-based startups (just last week Santa Monica-based BetterWorks received an $8 million investment).

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News Corp.’s Phone Hacking Scandal and the Public Interest

The last edition of News of the World on July 10, 2011

I am now writing a weekly blog post on media in the digital age for KCET’s The Public Note and will also be contributing posts on local policy at 1st and Spring in addition to occasional posts for LAist.

The ongoing “phone hacking” scandal in the UK may seem like a distant and isolated issue considering how limited the reporting has been in the U.S. press but it’s possible that the media is shying away because it hits too close to home.

What’s come to light in the past month in Britain may be indicative of unethical — if not unlawful — behavior that’s become pervasive across all Western media in the digital age.

At the center of attention is News Corporation, owned by Rupert Murdoch. News Corp. executives will meet with board members in Los Angeles this week for the first time since the scandal, which had been brewing for years, finally broke.

Please click here to continue reading the full article at KCET.org. The following is a brief excerpt.

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