Matt Largey

News Editor

Matt has been a reporter at KUT off and on since 2006.  He came to Austin from Boston, then went back for a while--but couldn't stand to be away--so he came back to Austin.  Matt grew up in Maine (but hates lobster), and while it might sound hard to believe, he thinks Maine and Texas are remarkably similar.

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Science
2:10 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

With Jell-O and Lasers, UT Scientists Build Tiny Cages for Bacteria

Rendering of a bacteria colony confined in a toroid-shaped gelatin "house."
Jason Shear/UT

Editor's note: This story was originally published Nov. 19, prior to being rebroadcast on WBUR's Here and Now.

When you think of bacteria, you might think about a bunch of mindless, single-celled bugs blindly roaming the world in complete ignorance. But over the past few decades, scientists have found bacteria are much more complicated than that.

Now, a group of scientists at the University of Texas at Austin has come up with a new way of studying how bacteria interact with the world – and each other.

You see, scientists have a couple of problems when it comes to studying bacteria.

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Formula 1
6:02 am
Fri November 15, 2013

F1 is Back in Austin – So What's Actually Happening On the Track?

An aerial view of the Circuit of the Americas racetrack.
Judi Radice Hays

A version of this story first ran Nov. 16, 2012.

Formula One events begin today at the Circuit of the Americas track.

F1 doesn’t have a huge following in the U.S. – it’s only in its second year in Austin – and a lot of people may not know the first thing about the sport. Here's what we learned about the basics.

First things first: what is the “formula”?

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Space
12:00 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Texas Astronomer Finds Most Distant Galaxy Yet

An artist's rendition of the newly discovered most distant galaxy z8_GND_5296.
V. Tilvi, S.L. Finkelstein, C. Papovich, and the Hubble Heritage Team

A team led by a UT Austin astronomer has identified and measured the distance to the most distant galaxy found so far.

The galaxy — designated z8_GND_5296 — is so far away from Earth that the light we are now able to see from it was emitted more than 13 billion years ago. So we're seeing it as it was in the distant past.

"We're seeing it very close to the Big Bang. About 700 million years after the Big Bang," says UT astronomer Steve Finkelstein, who led the project. He says ultimately, far, far away galaxies like this one may help us understand things closer to home. “We want to study very distant galaxies to learn how galaxies change with time, which helps us understand how the Milky Way came to be.” 

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Drought
5:30 am
Mon October 14, 2013

A Tiny Bit of Vegetable Oil Could Save Texas Billions of Gallons of Water

Right now, the Highland Lakes are only 34 percent full. In an average year, they lose about as much water to evaporation as the whole city of Austin consumes.
Lower Colorado River Authority

Parts of Central Texas saw as much as 12 inches of rain over the weekend. Water levels in the Highland Lakes  rose slightly, but the storm was far from a drought-buster.

Lakes Travis and Buchanan remain only about one-third full. 

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Higgs boson
8:32 am
Tue October 8, 2013

How Texas Lost Its Chance at Finding the 'God Particle'

The Superconducting Super Collider site in Waxahachie, Texas in 2008.
Wikimedia Commons

Update: Scientists Peter Higgs and Francois Englert have been awarded the Nobel Prize for physics for their quest for the Higgs boson – the so-called “God particle.”

The European Organization for Nuclear Research proved its existence last year with a massive particle accelerator. But as KUT reported shortly after the particle’s  discovery, some Texas physicists say the discovery could have been made here years ago.

Original story (July 4, 2012): Scientists in Switzerland announced overnight the discovery of what appears to be a particle that’s long been hypothesized, but never proven. It’s a bittersweet moment for some Texas physicists.

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Tom Delay
10:26 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Appeals Court Overturns Tom Delay's Money Laundering Conviction

Former House majority leader Tom DeLay (left) and his defense lawyer Dick DeGuerin at the Travis County Criminal Justice Center on November 1, 2010.
Photo by Matt Largey for KUT News.

A state appeals court in Austin has overturned the money laundering conviction of former Texas Congressman and House Majority Leader Tom Delay. 

Three years ago, DeLay was convicted for conspiring to illegally funnel $190,000 in corporate campaign contributions to Republican candidates for the Texas Legislature in 2002.

Delay has been free since his conviction while the case was appealed.

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Science
12:37 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Listen: 'Bending' Sound Makes It Difficult to Hear Firefighter Alarms

An unnamed Austin Fire Department member in a training exercise. This year, a standard alarm tone was set for firefighters’ Personal Alert Safety Systems (PASS).
KUT News

Virtually all firefighters rely on a simple device designed to alert their fellow firefighters when they need help.

It’s called a Personal Alert Safety System, or PASS.  It’s basically a sensor that measures whether the person wearing it is moving. If they're incapacitated or immobilized, the PASS sets off a 95 decibel alarm to draw the attention -- and assistance -- of other firefighters.

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Science
7:55 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Sounding Out a Better Beacon for Firefighters in Danger

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thewhitewolves/

Every year in the U.S., dozens of firefighters are killed in the line of duty. But there are hundreds more close calls, where a firefighter needs to be rescued after becoming injured or otherwise incapacitated. Virtually all firefighters, both volunteer and professional, rely on a simple device designed to alert their fellow firefighters when they need help.

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Fort Hood Shootings
2:17 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Hasan Sentenced to Death for 2009 Fort Hood Shootings

Brigitte Woosley

Army Major Nidal Hasan has been sentenced to death for the 2009 shootings at Fort Hood that left 13 people dead and 32 wounded.

The military jury deliberated for a little more than two hours before announcing their decision. Military law requires the panel be unanimous to impose the death sentence.

Hasan could be the first member of the military executed since 1961, though the sentence triggers an automatic appeals process that could stretch for years to come.

In representing himself during the trial, Hasan presented little in the way of a defense. In his opening argument, he admitted the evidence would show he was the shooter. He offered no closing argument and did not call any witnesses during either the trial or penalty phase. 

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Science
10:06 am
Mon July 1, 2013

This Austin Scientist is Scanning His Own Brain Over 100 Times

UT neuroscientist Russ Poldrack is studying his own brain, looking at how it changes over time.
Russ Poldrack

At 7:30 a.m. on pretty much any Tuesday over the past eight months, you'd find Russ Poldrack lying on his back in front of the MRI scanner in his basement lab at UT, waiting to scan his brain.

Poldrack, a neuroscientist, runs the Imaging Research Center at UT-Austin.

I meet him on the morning of his 58th scan.

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Fort Hood Shootings
11:38 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Accused Fort Hood Shooter Will Represent Himself

Major Nidal Hasan is accused of killing 13 people and wounded dozens in a shooting at Fort Hood in November 2009.
courtesy Bell County Sheriff's Department

The Army psychiatrist charged with killing 13 people at Fort Hood in 2009 will be allowed to represent himself at his trial.

The judge in the case, Col. Tara Osborn, ruled today that Major Nidal Hasan is both mentally and physically capable of acting in his own defense. His military lawyers will stay on the case, but will only act if Hasan asks for their help.

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Austin
1:54 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Under One Roof: Listeners React to KUT's Affordable Housing Series

KUT's listeners have their say on affordable housing in Austin.
flickr.com/speedye

Last week KUT News spent some time looking at affordable housing in Austin in "Under One Roof: Affordable Housing 101." We got into the nuts and bolts of how nonprofit developers build affordable housing for low-income Austinites and why it’s in such short supply.

We heard from quite a few people about this series and about some of the other issues around affordable housing as well.

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AFFORDABLE HOUSING 101
6:05 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Under One Roof: How Does Affordable Housing Get Financed?

The M Station affordable-housing complex on MLK Boulevard got financing from 17 places.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Real estate finance under any circumstances is complicated. When it comes to affordable housing, it’s even more so.

So to make this as simple as we can, we’re going to use Austin’s M Station as an example. The 150-unit apartment complex is right next to the Red Line tracks on MLK Boulevard.

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Texas
6:56 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Amber Alert for Missing Baby Discontinued

An Amber Alert has been issued for a baby from North Texas. Authorities did not provide images of the child or the suspected abductor.

Update: Police say the child has been found. The Amber Alert has been discontinued. 

Earlier: Police in McKinney, Texas -- north of Dallas -- have issued an Amber Alert for 10 month old Isabella Reyes. She has black hair and brown eyes and weighs 17 pounds.

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West Plant Explosion
5:45 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Anhydrous Ammonia, Ammonium Nitrate: West Explosion Chemicals

Explosion in West, Texas
Credit: www.businessinsider.com

Authorities have confirmed there were fatalities in the explosion at the fertilizer plant in the town of West – just north of Waco – though they have not said how many.

Today, Gov. Rick Perry has declared a disaster in the area.

As for the explosion itself, much of the focus has been on the chemicals stored at the West Fertilizer Company, where the massive explosion happened.

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Texas
12:16 am
Thu April 18, 2013

Powerful Explosion Rattles Small Town of West, Texas (Updated)

Public safety responders in West, Texas, following a blast Wednesday evening.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

UPDATE (12:15am): A Texas Department of Public Safety official says there were fatalities in a massive explosion in the town of West, Texas Wednesday evening. 50 to 75 homes were damaged, along with a 50-unit apartment complex, in the explosion at a fertilizer plant there.

DPS Trooper D.L. Wilson says all of the roughly 100 people injured have been removed from the scene. He could not say how many people may have died in the blast, though he did say there were fatalities.

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Sports
3:19 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Legally Blind Austin Man to Run Boston Marathon - With a Special Guest (Update)

Austinite William Greer, 43, will run his first Boston Marathon - his seventh marathon - later this morning.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

UPDATE 7:15pm: KUT News has spoken with William Greer, who says he is fine, after a pair of explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

He and his sighted guide, Peter Sagal, finished with a time of about 4 hours and 4 minutes. The explosions went off about 5 minutes later.

Greer said, from his vantage point, it wasn't clear at first just what was happening, but when multiple emergency vehicles started speeding toward the sound of the explosions, it became clear that something serious had happened.

UPDATE: Peter Sagal tells All Things Considered that he and William Greer are safe, following two explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Sagal says the pair had just finished the marathon and were making their way through the finish chute when they heard two explosions in quick succession. Marathon staff then told them and other runners to leave the area as quick as possible.

Original Story: Today, thousands will run in one of the country’s oldest and best-known road races: the Boston Marathon.

Among them will be a 43 year-old Austinite named William Greer. And he'll have a special guest along with  him that might be familiar to listeners to weekend public radio.

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Austin
11:21 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Travis County DA Arrested for Drunk Driving (Update)

The booking photo for Travis County D.A. Rosemary Lehmberg.
Travis County Sheriff's Office

UPDATE: Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg says she will plead guilty to a DWI charge and will accept whatever punishment is handed down.

Lehmberg sent the following letter to County Attorney David Escamilla over the weekend:

To: Mr. David  Escamilla and the Judge of any Court of Jurisdiction

From: Rosemary Lehmberg

Date: April 14, 2013 

Please accept this as my Plea of Guilt to the Charge of Driving While Intoxicated, arising from my arrest on 4/12/13, for whatever level of offense is determined to be justified by the facts.

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Science
5:10 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

UT Scientists Trace Genetic Origins of Longhorn Cattle

KUT News

New research out of the University of Texas at Austin finds Bevo, the school’s mascot, and other Texas Longhorn cattle are direct descendants of the first cattle to arrive in North America.

The study of the Longhorn genome finds the cattle’s lineage can be traced back 10,000 years to India and the Middle East. Researchers looked at 50,000 genetic markers of different cattle breeds. They used that information to track the Longhorns’ ancestors from the Middle East and India, to Europe and eventually to North America. 

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