Friday Must Read: ‘Apple Picking’ Surges on BART; State Lawmakers Introduce a Bevy of Gun Control Laws

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Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The theft of smartphones and tablets is skyrocketing in the Bay Area, particularly on mass transit, including BART, the Chron reports. The number of electronic devices stolen on BART doubled in 2012 compared to the year before. Thieves especially target iPhones and iPads. It’s called “Apple Picking.”

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2. State lawmakers have introduced a series of new gun-control measures that, if enacted, will give California the strictest laws in the nation, the Chron reports. The proposals include a ban on the possession of all high-capacity magazines (no matter when or where they were bought) and a prohibition on the sale of any long gun with a detachable clip.

3. A new petition is circulating in the state that would dissolve PG&E and other privately owned utilities and replace them with a publicly owned California Electrical Utility District, KCET reports (via Rough & Tumble). The measure is designed to take the profit-motive out of energy production and delivery and boost the use of green energy. But if the measure makes the ballot, it is expected to trigger the most expensive political war in the state’s history.

4. A massive solar farm in the Southern California desert proposed by Oakland-based BrightSource Energy would destroy half the population of a rare plant species, KCET reports (via Rough & Tumble), citing a report from the California Native Plant Society. The gravel milk-vetch only grows in eight locations and four of them would be wiped out by the 3,300 acre solar installation.

5. And Berkeley scientists have discovered new evidence confirming the theory that dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago as a result of a giant asteroid the struck Mexico and caused a massive dust storm that enveloped the earth, the Chron reports. However, the new findings have not settled the debate over whether the mass die-off instead was caused by series of volcanic eruptions around the globe.

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