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June 18, 2019

Lenny Pozner, the father of a 6-year-old boy killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, has won a defamation lawsuit against the authors behind a book that falsely claimed the massacre did not occur.

A judge in Wisconsin on Monday issued a summary judgment against the authors of Nobody Died at Sandy Hook, which has now been pulled by its publisher, The Associated Press reports. The book reportedly claimed that Pozner's son's death certificate was fake.

The principal officer at Moon Rock Books, Dave Gahary, said per AP that "face-to-face interactions" with Pozner have convinced him that he "is telling the truth about the death of his son." Gahary also offered his "most heartfelt and sincere apology to the Pozner family.” Pozner said that although the book's author "has the right to be wrong," he "doesn't have the right to broadcast those beliefs if they defame me or harass me." Damages are to be decided at an October trial.

This win comes amid an ongoing defamation lawsuit against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones brought by the families of Sandy Hook victims. Jones, who has been banned from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, has described the shooting as a "giant hoax." He has since backed down from his claims and chalked up his past comments to having a "form of psychosis." Lawyers for the families on Monday alleged that Jones sent them files that contained child pornography, which Jones has blamed on a malware attack. Brendan Morrow

August 29, 2018

When a 4.4 magnitude temblor hit the Southern California city of La Verne on Tuesday evening, the state's earthquake early-warning system successfully notified users a few seconds before the shaking started.

The system is being developed by the U.S. Geological Survey, and just a few users have access to warnings now. One user, seismologist Lucy Jones, said she was in Pasadena, about 25 miles away from La Verne, when she received a warning, and three seconds later, felt shaking. In April, the system was able to give a 10 second warning ahead of a 5.3 magnitude quake in Los Angeles; the amount of warning time is dependent on how close a person is to the epicenter.

The system works thanks to seismic sensors, which detect shaking. The shaking travels at the speed of sound through rock, which is slower than communications systems, meaning when a quake hits 100 miles away from Los Angeles, the warning reaches the city before the shaking is felt, giving people time to prepare, the Los Angeles Times reports. There are more than 850 quake-sensing stations in operation, but officials say at least 800 more are needed to cover the West Coast. It's estimated it would cost $38.2 million to build a full system, and $16.1 million annually for maintenance and operations. Catherine Garcia

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