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Los Angeles Times  News from L.A. and around the world 😎🌴☀️

One hundred miles to the southeast, masses of festival heads were gathering in the desert for @coachella’s first April weekend. But this small crew of space scientists, synthetic biologists, investors, entrepreneurs and one partygoer with flamethrower had higher ambitions. By jet, bus and more than a few Teslas, they came to this desolate valley for #betaspace: a one-night, invite-only confab for the not-quite-yet-burgeoning space settlement industry. The goal? To spawn the companies and concepts that could allow humanity to establish bases on Mars (or maybe the moon), and to mark the first step on a new path for the L.A. tech scene. Its invitation promised Betaspace would be the place where “Burning Man and the Consumer Electronics Show collide.” 📸:@kentnish

Bennett College, one of two all-women’s historically black colleges in the country, could be on the verge of closure. Years of financial woes have led recently to a federal court battle over its accreditation, without which the future of any college is dim. Pilar Hughes, pictured, plans to transfer from @bennett_college, as the struggles of the college became clear. “Having a degree from an unaccredited — or potentially unaccredited — university makes no sense,” Hughes said. Bennett’s story reflects that of many of the nation’s 102 historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs. In recent years, the institutions overall have seen enrollments plummet, endowments decrease and student bodies — once entirely black — become more mixed as HBCUs attempt to compete with schools that no longer shut out African Americans. 📸: @veaseyconway

Yoshihiro Sako brews small-batch, artisanal sake at @densakebrewery in Oakland. Den, which is Japanese for “rice paddy,” is what you might call a nano-brewery. @yoshihirosako released his first batch of sake in August 2018. Since then, he’s released about 1,500 500ml bottles every two months; his sixth batch will go out in the next few weeks. Swipe left to see photos of the brewery. 📸: @colinprice

After years of being known as the best friend and sidekick to celebrities like Michelle Williams and Courteney Cox, Busy Philipps has come into her own as the host of the late-night talk show "Busy Tonight," which has quickly evolved into the best party in town. “I … know everyone,” @busyphilipps, 39, said before laughing. “I’ve been here for a really long time. And I’ve managed to carve out this super-weird career that spans 20 years, and in those 20 years, I’m a person that’s able to maintain relationships, both at work and in my personal life. You know, I’m like a gatherer. I’m a keeper.” 📸: @jlcvisuals

In the shadows of Bangkok’s glinting high-rises, the plazas of sprawling shopping malls and the cozy courtyards of simpler neighborhoods sit countless tiny monuments to Thais’ enduring belief in the supernatural. These miniature shrines, perched on pedestals and topped with sloping roofs, are known as spirit houses. Government buildings have them. So do five-star hotels, apartment buildings, offices, cafes and beauty parlors across Thailand’s frenetic capital city. Resembling elaborate dollhouses, they shelter the spirits that are thought to watch over that piece of land — a deity, guardian of the soil or the ghosts of former inhabitants. 📸: Shashank Bengali

Wondering what’s happening at the second weekend of @coachella? Here’s a look. 📸: @kentnish

The L.A. City Council moved forward with a law that would bar landlords from refusing to consider tenants with Section 8 vouchers. Housing advocates say the law is needed because Section 8 bans are often used as a proxy to discriminate by race or class, and research has shown landlord acceptance rates are higher in places with the ordinances. “We have a significant barrier to affordable housing in this city and that is the denial of people who have Section 8 vouchers,” Councilman Paul Krekorian, who proposed the legislation, told the council before the vote. Janet Knoy, 85, pictured, had to move from this apartment in Anaheim to Desert Hot Springs to find a landlord who would accept her Section 8 voucher. 📸: Gary Coronado

The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration is a pilot program to test a universal basic income. For the next year and a half, 130 residents of the struggling Central Valley city will get $500 every month, with no strings — such as employment or sobriety requirements — attached, in a social experiment that is as much public relations as rigorous research. What happens in Stockton is likely to inform the national political conversation in the years ahead. The pilot program also could create a road map for implementing future basic income policies in other cities or on a national scale. 📸: @maxwhittaker

There is an evolution of the multibillion-dollar worldwide sneaker resale market, which is looking less like a hobby these days and more like an occupation. Most are small-time entrepreneurs hoping to earn some spending money on one or two pairs. But for others, it is a serious second-income business. The last study of the global reseller market estimated sales at $1 billion in 2016, a total that Matt Powell, vice president and senior industry advisor for the research firm NPD Group, said could be as high as $3 billion today but “no one really knows.” 📸:Ana Venegas

More than a dozen pastors presided over or aided with funerals and memorials for those slain at Columbine on April 20, 1999. Some have retired. A couple left the state. Others are pastors still. Like many who lived through it, they feel the tragedy regularly enough. Even though there were many pastors called upon for funerals of the slain, when they stood to deliver sermons — trying to shepherd families through grief, a community through mourning and a nation through shock — they stood alone. Visit the link in our bio to read their stories. 📸:@mattstaver and @mpiscotty

Fragments of actual eavesdropped conversations around Los Angeles come courtesy of @overheardla, an Instagram feed that makes light of the city’s affectations by posting “overheard” submissions from ordinary Angelenos. The account, which has more than 1 million followers, has become a kind of shorthand to describe the comically absurd exchanges you can’t help but notice in trendy neighborhoods like Venice, Melrose and Silver Lake. Jesse Margolis, pictured, with his back to the camera, is an L.A. native and runs Overheard LA as a full-time business. He’s launched spinoff Overheard accounts including Overheard New York, Overheard San Francisco and Overheard London. The entire network has more than 3.3 million followers, according to the company. 📷:Mel Melcon

Tired: Influencers. Wired: Plantfluencers. 🌱🌸🌿🌼🎍🌺🎋🌵 Meet Southern California’s Instagram gardening stars: @mrplantdad @workhardplanthard @jenssuccs @darlinggreenthings @foliacollective
Visit to see more. (📷: Ricardo DeAratanha)

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