Laura Rice

Producer, Texas Standard

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.

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From Texas Standard.

The U.S. Supreme Court just wrapped up a momentous term. Last month alone brought decisions on upholding the Texas ban on confederate license plates, provisions of the Affordable Care Act (or as Justice Scalia likes to call it “SCOTUS-care”), and then that little matter of same-sex marriage.

But now that the court is in recess we can calmly reflect on a few things at least. Whatever happened to that 5-4 conservative court? And what’s going to happen in a few months when the 2015 term gets underway? NPR’s Nina Totenberg discussed it all with the Texas Standard.

Photo via Flickr/plong (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

For the first time in a long time, the Fourth of July in Texas will be red, white, blue – and green. That's thanks to abundant rain so far this year.

The lower risk for wildfires means vendors across the state have the option to sell more types of fireworks. And they say they are also seeing more people interested in lighting up the night sky for this year's fourth.

Photo via Cody Rea/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Actor Jason Schwartzman is a Californian through and through. He was born in LA and is part of the storied Coppola film clan – led by Schwartzman’s uncle Francis Ford Coppola. Before he turned to film, he was a musician. And his band Phantom Planet’s most famous song? “California.”

But Schwartzman is Texan by association. He’s best known for his work with Houstonian Wes Anderson – and North Texas brothers Luke and Owen Wilson. One of the two films he was promoting at this year’s South by Southwest was filmed in Austin.

Allyson Holley/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

The game is tied. There’s five seconds left on the clock. A hush comes over the crowd and the defense seems to part as you make your way to the basket. You jump up and – your fantasy ends there.

Who are you kidding? Even in your wildest dreams you can’t dunk a basketball.

Or can you? That’s what Asher Price wanted to know. He writes about energy and the environment for the Austin American-Statesman, so he took a scientific approach to his quest to dunk a basketball. He stopped by the Texas Standard to talk about his book Year of the Dunk.

 

Photo via San Antonio Charter Moms/(CC BY 3.0)

From Texas Standard:

For more than 130 years, a mill has been a landmark of the Johnson City community. It’s served as a steam grist mill, cotton gin, feed mill and even a restaurant. But it was vacant for a while, until its latest tenant moved in: a science museum.

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From Texas Standard:

There are at least three things every Texan knows about Austin. 1) It's the state capitol. 2) It calls itself the live music capitol of the world. And 3) It seems like there's a festival nearly every weekend.

One of those festivals is all about television – a segment of the entertainment industry that used to have a Rodney Dangerfield complex – it "never gets no respect."

But as the Texas Standard's Laura Rice found out at this year's ATX Fest, the real story here is how much that's changed.

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From Texas Standard:

The ground is saturated, the grass is green and the state climatologist has declared the statewide drought as we’ve known it since 2010 effectively over.

But there’s at least one piece of the puzzle that’s not quite there yet: some of the state’s water supplies – including the lakes that supply much of the Austin area.

John Hoffman is with the Lower Colorado River Authority. He says the lakes are now more than 50 percent full – that’s up about 20 percent from where the lakes were earlier this year – but it isn’t enough.

Photo via Texas Tribune/Flickr

From Texas Standard:

The man who leads the flagship campus of the University of Texas is in his final week of the job.

University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers is stepping down June 2.

Powers spoke with Texas Standard about his upcoming plans, his journey to Texas and his own quest of perseverance.

Photo via Flickr/martin55 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

In case you missed it, Texas House Concurrent Resolution 130 is now law.

“WHEREAS, John Wayne is the prototypical American hero, symbolizing such traits as self-reliance, grace under pressure, resolve, and patriotism be it resolved that the State of Texas hereby resolves May 26th as John Wayne Day.”

John Wayne’s son, Ethan Wayne, is an actor himself – he joins the Texas Standard to talk about his father’s career.

Photo via Flickr/ryantron (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

In a new report from the University of Texas at Tyler, a trio of researchers asked nearly 1,000 undergraduates to keep track of their time. And to keep track of what they were doing when they were also doing something else.

“We basically found that multitasking is somewhat of a myth. People think that they are able to do it, but they really are not able to do it well," Kouider Mokhtari says.

Mokhtari co-authored with Julie Delello and Carla Reichard. He says one of the surprising findings of their study is that students know multitasking doesn’t work – but they do it anyway – and so, admittedly, do most all of us.

Courtesy Pixar Animation Studios

From Texas Standard.

Pixar has produced hit after award-winning hit. Films including the “Toy Story” series, “Cars” and many others. The company has arguably set the standard for computer-generated animation.

Jim Murphy has been at Pixar since 1996. He’s been an animator for Academy Award-winning films including “Finding Nemo “ and “The Incredibles."

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From Texas Standard.

Are “Texas Football Fans Trending Away From Burnt Orange“… UT Austin Athletic Director Steve Patterson says 'no way.'

@GlassMediaTX

This story comes from Texas Standard.

Remember the movie Minority Report? It’s kind of like that…

Imagine you’re doing a little window shopping and suddenly the ad on a screen in front of you changes… a cold front has blown through, so instead of showing iced coffee, it shows a steaming cup of hot chocolate.

This is the type of advertising that a Dallas Startup is at the forefront of. Glass-Media’s technology also has some ability to recognize you – or at least tell your age and gender.

Daniel Black is the company’s co-founder and CEO.

Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

From Texas Standard:

Walking out to get the mail? Put on some repellant. Seriously.

One type of mosquito you really want to avoid right now is one that is out and about in the middle of the day. It is the type that carries a painful disease that’s spread from South and Central America into Mexico and, perhaps soon, Texas.

@ArtAcevedo

From Texas Standard.

Austin Police returned a pretty special Gibson guitar this week. It was one of only three produced. Willie Nelson owns one, Dan Rather owns one, and now, Walt Wilkins has his back. Wilkins is a singer-songwriter based in the Texas Hill Country.

Via Pixabay

From Texas Standard:

The U.S. Drought Monitor puts out a map every week that updates drought conditions in Texas. This week’s map looked mostly white – which indicates no drought at all – with some peach, orange and red in the center – indicating moderate to exceptional drought.

Last year at this time, only small parts of the state were in the clear. Two years ago, 99 percent of the state was in some level of drought.

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From Texas Standard:

Mega-retailer Walmart has closed five stores across the country – two in Texas – for one reason:

“They came in and announced that they were going to close the store for at least six months due to extensive plumbing issues,” says Jim Wright, City Attorney of Livingston, Texas. 

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From Texas Standard:

On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded. Two days later, it crashed into the ocean. By mid-May, an underwater camera showed the broken pipe constantly gushing black liquid into the Gulf of Mexico.

As the oil spread, so did the panic. Crews tried several different methods to keep it from spreading across the Gulf and into sensitive ecosystems. Engineers tried everything from a containment dome to a “top kill” – sealing the pipe with cement. Nothing worked.

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This story comes from Texas Standard.

Do anti high-speed rail efforts in the Texas legislature and in DC mean it’s an idea that’s going nowhere fast?

Aman Batheja is following the issue for the Texas Tribune.

On Who is Opposed to High-Speed Rail:

“The issue here is the rural communities between Dallas and Houston … The mayors of Dallas and Houston and a majority of the elected officials there strongly support the train project – they’re very strongly behind it. It’s the rural communities that are trying to figure out what’s in it for them.”

Simon Crow/Colchester 101 Magazine

This story comes from Texas Standard.

Steven Walker has thick-rimmed glasses and full beard. He’s wearing a pearl snap shirt with a Western pattern sewn on the pockets. He looks right at home in artsy East Austin.

“People are shocked when they come in and they see all these amazing American artists on the wall and then the guy in the beard and the cowboy shirt comes up to them and says, ‘yuh alright?’ (in a British accent). It is a bit weird for them I guess,” Walker says.

Walker’s journey to Texas wasn’t direct.

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