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Donald Trump picks a climate change denier and opponent of federal environmental rules to head the Environmental Protection Agency. What will California do to protect its air and water from what will likely be a loosening of federal rules?

The LA City Council approved a re-write of zoning regulations that would limit the size and height of new homes. Beverly Hills has already imposed restrictions aimed at so-called Persian Palaces.

The 808 drum machine was instrumental in the creation of hip-hop.

On Twitter, Donald Trump has targeted the president of the United Steelworkers Union, and a little girl from Aleppo has been getting attention.

Many of the New York Times’ best books of 2016 take on today's politics.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore. 

What Scott Pruitt as EPA chief would mean for California 10 MIN, 3 SEC

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt helped coordinate an ongoing lawsuit of 28 states against the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon emissions rules. He’s said repeatedly that states themselves should regulate local industries like oil and gas, and that the EPA was wrong to step on those state powers. Now Donald Trump has nominated him as the new head of the EPA.

Cara Horowitz, UCLA's Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment

Persian Palaces: expressions of Iranian culture 7 MIN, 43 SEC

When you see one of those massive homes with columns looming over small bungalows in L.A., you can see how they could be described as the Hummers of homes. This week, the Los Angeles City Council voted to find new ways to regulate them. The trend has roots dating back to 2004, when Beverly Hills residents banded together to impose restrictions on so-called Persian Palace.

Shaya Tayefe Mohajer, Writer (@Shaya_in_LA)

Why did Donald Trump call out Chuck Jones on Twitter? 6 MIN, 30 SEC

President-elect Donald Trump has been tweeting away again, and yesterday the president of the United Steelworkers Union became the target of his trolling. A spotlight has also been shined on a little girl who’s tweeting from Aleppo.

Xeni Jardin, BoingBoing.net (@xeni)

How a Japanese machine re-wrote American music 14 MIN, 18 SEC

The 808 drum machine created the speaker-shattering, low-end bass flavor of early hip-hop. It helped launch electronic genres like drum and bass, house and techno. A new documentary tracks the rise of the 808.

Alex Noyer, Executive Producer (@alexnoyer)

Catching up on the best books of year 8 MIN, 36 SEC

The New York Times’ 10 best books of 2016 include novels and nonfiction works. They range from a novel about a Korean housewife going vegetarian, to a memoir set in the chaos of Libya in 2012.

Radhika Jones, Time Magazine (@radhikajones)

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