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Life & Arts
4:31 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

'The World at War' Shares Harrowing Look at the Personal Side of WWI

Harry Ransom Center

World War I stands as a turning point of modern history – a point where industrialization and technology clashed with a bygone imperial policy.

The results were devastating: the four-year conflict involved over a 100 countries and claimed nearly 20 million lives. With its sheer scale it’s easy to forget about the human side of the conflict – the individuals, soldiers, loved ones, and family members who lived throughout the period. 

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KUT's Summer School
3:58 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Austin Kids Making Claymation Movies Teach Us How to Make One Too

Gabriella Meshako and Chiara Morel take pictures of their clay characters.
Laura Rice/KUT

With school out of session, lots of kids are filling their time with summer camps. But they’re not just playing with water balloons and eating s’mores. At the Austin Film Festival summer camp, some kids are learning how to make claymation movies.

KUT showed up on day four of the five-day camp … so we asked some kids if we could borrow their notes:

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Two Guys on your head
1:51 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Why We Can't Multitask (But Think We Can)

flickr.com/ryantron

Do you take pride in your ability to divide your focus and energy into more than one task at a time? Do you think you’re a good multitasker?

Chances are, you’re probably not.

We sat down with two experts – the Two Guys, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Robert Duke – to take a closer look at the topic of multitasking. Their take offers a perspective into some of the unique issues associated with multitasking.

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Austin
1:41 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Google Fiber's Slow Start to High-Speed Internet in Austin

High school students develop apps in a University of Missouri–Kansas City program. Kansas City was the first city to receive Google Fiber.
flickr.com/umkc

“We hope to have services to our first customers by the middle of 2014.”

As recently as May 17, this message was posted on the Google Fiber website for Austin, according to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

Well, July 2 marked the middle of 2014, and beside the announcement of a new employee, Austinites hungry for the tech giant’s ultra-fast Internet service – first promised in April 2013 – have received nary an update. Except for a vague update to the website, that is: “We hope to have services to our first customers later this year.”

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Austin to Angers
9:03 am
Fri July 11, 2014

What the 'Live Music Capital' Can Learn From Angers, France

The Skroks rock the Hole in the Wall with their brand of brass, ska and rock.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

The Skroks are here. They're a youthful, all-male brass band in town from one of Austin's sister cities, Angers, France.

So what brings an overseas band to Austin? Exactly what appeals to young bands across the world: touring, playing music and meeting fans.

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Immigration Reform
8:48 am
Fri July 11, 2014

How a Bush-Era Law Against Trafficking Impacts the Immigration Surge

Because of a 2008 law, thousands of children crossing into Texas illegally are not turned back right away.
flickr.com/cbpphotos

Because of a 2008 law, thousands of children crossing into Texas illegally are not turned back right away. That’s because they must get an immigration hearing first – due to a federal law that passed with bipartisan support.

The legislation in wound through Congress in late 2007. A year later, President George W. Bush signed it into law. So why is it coming up now?

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Obama in Austin
3:55 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

President Obama is Back in Austin Today

President Barack Obama addresses a crowd in the Paramount Theater in downtown Austin, Texas on Thursday.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Note: This post initially contained the White House livestream of Obama's speech. As the speech has concluded and is not yet archived, we have removed the embed.

A recap:

President Obama is flying back to Washington DC after spending the night in Austin. This morning, Obama attended a round table discussion at the home of Democratic activist Aimee Boone Cunningham and then drove the Paramount Theater to deliver a speech – the first time a president has spoken at the Paramount since it opened in 1915.

The president's speech focused on economic opportunity and the middle class. Obama attacked Congressional Republicans for not agreeing to increase the minimum wage, extend unemployment insurance benefits or pass equal pay laws. 

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Texas Transportation Funding
3:28 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

An 11,000-Mile Trip, a 1949 Car, and One Big Point About U.S. Infrastructure

Author Dan McNichol's "Dire States" tour of the U.S is drawing attention to the country's aging infrastructure.
Reynaldo Leanos/KUT

Can you compare a 1949 Hudson car to America’s aging infrastructure?

Best-selling author and award-winning journalist Dan McNichol thinks so – and says it's time to rebuild.

McNichol is driving an antique Hudson across the United States for several months, traveling 11,000 miles with stops in cities including Boston, San Diego, Washington and Austin to raise awareness about the state of America’s infrastructure – and what can be done about it.

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Obama in Austin
10:29 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Austin Says 'Thanks Obama!' for All the Traffic

Pres. Obama speaking at UT in 2010.
Caleb Bryant Miller/KUT

Normally the "Thanks Obama" meme is reserved for things beyond the president's control: paper cuts and infomercial disasters, to name a few.

But Pres. Obama's visit to Austin today – and its effect on morning traffic ­– has more than a few Twitter users directing their gridlocked ire at the president. To the surprise of no one stuck in traffic, #ThanksObama is trending in Austin this morning.

Here's a roundup of what's out there:

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Texas
10:35 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Attorney Impersonators 'Sell Hope' & Steal Money From Immigrants Looking for Help

Veronica Avila Zavala was the victim of an attorney impersonator that promised her husband's release, but took $14,000 from her.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

One of the biggest traps undocumented immigrants fall into is the advice of "faux" attorneys. They pretend to know the ins-and-outs of immigration law and often scam victims of thousands of dollars. 

For Veronica Avila Zavala, it seemed like an easy way out of a bad situation.

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Austin
4:09 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

UT President Bill Powers Will Stay One More Year

Embattled University of Texas President Bill Powers resigned today under the threat of firing from the university's board of regents.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers has announced his resignation, effective about a year from now on June 2, 2015.

Last week, U.T. System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa called on Powers to resign or face being fired at tomorrow’s meeting of the Board of Regents. Powers responded with a letter asking that he stay on until after the next session of the Texas Legislature. Cigarroa has accepted Powers' letter of resignation; the Board of Regents still needs to sign off on it. 

Below, you can listen to Powers' exclusive interview with Texas Standard's David Brown about what he wishes to accomplish in his remaining year and his future with the University of Texas.

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City Council
3:36 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Dais Gets Renovated Ahead of Changes at City Council

Crew members disassemble the dais on July 9, 2014.
Bryan Winter/KUT

Come November the Austin City Council is going to look a bit different. The council will expand from six at-large-elected  members to 10 members elected by citizens within their district — plus the mayor, naturally. In anticipation of the change, the city is revamping the council's dais. 

Immigration
2:06 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Austin Doctor Helps Central American Families Along the Border

Adam Rosenbloom cares for a patient at Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, Texas.
Credit Courtesy of Jose Delgado

  Adam Rosenbloom wasn't able to view fireworks from Auditorium Shores this past Independence Day. His Fourth of July weekend was less conventional.

Rosenbloom, a pediatrician at Dell Children’s Medical Center, spent the weekend volunteering at Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, Texas. Rosenbloom joined other volunteering with the group Circle of Health International, caring for over 50 patients and delivering over $5,000 worth of supplies to Central American children and families who crossed the Texas-Mexico border. 

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Energy & Environment
11:31 am
Wed July 9, 2014

BP Wants Unspent Spill Recovery Money Back

A BP attorney wrote a letter to Gov. Rick Perry requesting the state return a $5 million grant.
Photo Illustration: Todd Wiseman & Kris Krug

From The Texas Tribune

After watching a $5 million grant to Gov.Rick Perry’s office go unspent nearly four years after it was presented in the wake of the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, BP is asking Texas for its money back.

The funds were given to Texas in September 2010 to help with oil spill recovery, but few of the state and local officials who work on such projects were aware of the grant until a legislative hearing in May. Lawmakers at the hearing were angered and said the money should have been given to agencies with the expertise to spend it. BP was frustrated as early as last winter about the unspent funds and asked Perry to return the money, according to correspondence obtained by The Texas Tribune through an open records request.

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Energy & Environment
11:04 am
Wed July 9, 2014

A New Proposal For a Coal-Free Austin Could End the City's LCRA Partnership

Some say the city should cut ties with the Fayette Power Plant. Others say a binding partnership between the city and the LCRA legally prohibits any dissolution.
KUT News

Today, the group tasked with figuring out how to wean Austin off carbon dioxide-emitting coal power is scheduled to vote on its recommendations, and some members of that group think they  have found a new approach to the biggest road block between Austin and a coal-free future: the Fayette Coal Plant.

Austin Energy owns the plant along with the Lower Colorado River Authority, and gets about 20 percent of its electricity from it. While selling off the plant or retiring it completely has been a long held dream of city officials and environmentalists, city staff has warned that it could be prohibitively expensive and legally tricky. Previous plans to sell off that stake, or shut down the plant have also been opposed by the LCRA.

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Texas
10:19 am
Wed July 9, 2014

As Inmates Age, Prison Health Care Spending in Texas Could Grow

Researchers at The Pew Charitable Trusts have a new report out that suggests Texas will continue to spend more on inmate health care as prison population ages.
Photo by Caleb Bryant Miller for KUT News

Researchers at The Pew Charitable Trusts have a new report out on how much states are spending on inmate health care. Between 2001 and 2008, Texas had a decrease in this spending, but since then, it’s gone up again. 

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Traffic
6:06 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Think Traffic is Bad Now? By 2035, It Could Take 3 Hours to Get From Austin to Round Rock

Researchers estimate it could take as much as three hours to get from Austin to Round Rock in 2035.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

These days Austin is known as much for traffic as it is for live music or five-hour-long barbecue lines. 

If you've been commuting in Austin for a while, you might have noticed the traffic isn't exactly getting better. Despite flirtations with building a six-lane highway, constructing a long overdue urban rail system and even "sequestering" I-35 under concrete, commute times are not only stagnant, they're getting worse. In 2011, the state commissioned a study on major roadways which found — despite all those improvements — it could take Austin commuters up to three hours to get to Round Rock by 2035. 

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Affordable Care Act
5:36 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Many Texans Say Health Insurance Costs Too Much, Despite Obamacare Subsidies

A new report from Rice University's Baker Institute and the Episcopal Health Foundation suggests nearly half of Texans eligible for tax credits under Obamacare say health insurance is still too expensive.
healthcare.gov

Under the Affordable Care Act, tax subsidies for consumers who qualify are meant to make health insurance more affordable, but a new report suggests about half of eligible Texans say it still costs too much.

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Texas
4:30 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

You Only Die Once: How ISIS Recruits Young Muslims

Rebels ride a motorcycle in northern Syria
flickr.com/syriafreedom

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, grabbed international attention of media this year after inciting a rash of violence throughout Iraq, gaining momentum and inspiring young Muslims to take up arms, even some right here in Central Texas

Oxford Brookes University modern history professor Roger Griffin tells Texas Standard's David Brown that ISIS, unlike their predecessor al-Qaida, has cultivated an international online brand that glamorizes jihad.

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Crime & Justice
2:16 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

DFPS to Investigate If Sibling Drownings Were Result of Neglect

Credit WikiMedia Commons

An investigation has begun into the deaths of a 4-year-old boy and his 6-year-old sister who drowned in Lake Georgetown this weekend while under the care of a foster family. 

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) had placed the children under the care of a state sub-contractor called Providence Kids, an agency specializes in placing sibling groups with foster families.

DFPS spokesperson Julie Moody says the children had lived in the foster home since last August. 

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