Austin

Callie Hernandez/KUT News

Buzzfeed recently rounded up a list of "34 Things Austinites Love." While no list, no matter how long, will include all the things every Austin-dweller enjoys…  Buzzfeed's list left off more than a few local favorites.

1)   All Animal Shelters

kineticchild.com

Sure, art can be “heady” in the metaphorical sense. But few projects both metaphorically and literally embody that adjective like the Psychokinetic Child: a 20 foot tall, three-dimensional baby head.

Currently under construction, the exterior of the head will feature a fully mechanized mouth and eyes. But it's on the inside where things  get interesting: the curious may walk inside the baby’s head to contemplate five shrines to objects familiar to modern life – homes, clothes, cars, chairs and phones.

Google

Sometimes, what people are searching for on Google is as revealing as the results themselves. 

If you’ve used Google, you’re familiar with its autocomplete function – suggestions the search engine makes when you begin entering a search term. According to Google, the autocomplete suggestions reflect the search activity of its users – the terms and questions they are Googling – plus the content of web pages themselves. And what people are searching for often times says a lot about the subject.

Callie Hernandez for KUT News

Update: Capital Metro’s MetroRail Service is back up and running this morning. But trains are running behind schedule because of a technology problem earlier this morning.

Capital Metro says the first train will depart from Leander at about 6:50 a.m.

A Capital Metro spokesperson says crews will work hard this morning to get back on schedule.

Original Story (6:22 a.m.): Capital Metro’s MetroRail Service is down this morning because of a technology problem.

This summer, NPR's Cities Project has been looking at how cities around the world are solving problems using new technologies. And though there's great promise in many of these "smart" city programs, New York University's Anthony Townsend remains skeptical.

Townsend, whose book Smart Cities is due out in October, tells NPR's David Greene about the causes, benefits and potential dangers of the smart city boom.


Interview Highlights

On what caused the smart city boom

flickr.com/fiftypercentchanceofrain

A family of four needs to bring in around $67,000 a year to get by modestly in the Austin area.

That’s according to the recently-updated budget calculator put together by the Economic Policy Institute. The calculator takes into consideration things like housing, food, childcare and transportation.

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Rundberg Lane is one of Austin’s  highest-crime areas.

From 2007 to 2011, the Rundberg area accounted for 11 percent of violent crime, which includes murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

flickr.com/luna715

After influencing state policy at the Capitol, the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) – a non-profit conservative think tank – is now turning its attention to local municipal governments.

TPPF officials say its new Center for Local Governance will work on the local level to tackle issues including spending, funding, local control and government transparency.

YouTube, Amy Poehler's Smart Girls Operation Nice

Actor Amy Poehler of "Saturday Night Live" and "Parks and Recreation" fame, has a mission: encouraging women to be themselves. And to stay true to that person whether it be at a party, being a rock star or competing in a triathlon. 

Austin Fire Department firefighter, Xochitl Hernandez has joined a list of females to be featured in Poehler's video series: Smart Girls Operation Nice.

aquafly.com/gallery

With plenty of nearby water, Austin’s always been a great place for lake sports. This year there’s a unique new one to add to your summer to-do list: Flyboarding.  

The new sport uses the discharge from personal watercraft like Jet Skis to pump 1,000 gallons of water per minute through the bottom of a Flyboard strapped to users’ feet. The Flyboard – which looks like a wakeboard with two giant, 55-foot fire hoses attached to it – can turn almost anyone into a superhero capable of flying over 30 feet above the lake surface, according to Aquafly owner Bobby Vance. 

Andrew Weber, KUT News

An Austin police officer shot and killed a dog last night at a pet store.

At 7:30 p.m. last night, police say Officer Leslie Lyons shot a pit bull twice in an effort to save another a smaller dog being attacked at the Petco on Research Boulevard.

Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

More than 100 people rallied today on the south steps of the Texas Capitol, demonstrating against recently-publicized U.S. intelligence gathering methods such as PRISM, the digital surveillance program of the National Security Agency.

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Women dancing with lawn chairs, men dressed as Uncle Sam, and a rabbit in a mini army tank are just a few of the highlights from the scene of the Far West Fourth of July Parade.

courtesy Channel Austin

It’s been 40 years now for Channel Austin, the city’s only nonprofit that runs an independent television channel. And like people turning the big 4-0, Channel Austin is reflecting on its past and looking to the future.

Over the years, Channel Austin has had its brushes with fame.

U.S. Navy

City officials have confirmed that a military training operation took place over Austin today.

A U.S. Navy E-6, similar to a commercial Boeing 707, flew over Austin during a touch-and-go drill, a common exercise in which a pilot lands and takes off again without stopping. The plane was from Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. 

flickr.com/chrontourage

Hipsters are hard to find.

Or are they?

When they're not shopping for vintage vinyl or eating Moroccan soul food, they're probably at some place you've never heard of. But, thanks to Yelp's Wordmap, the uninitiated can now track the movements of ever-elusive Austin hipster.

flickr.com/bougher7

With a little help from mother nature and the Texas Legislature, fireworks retailers might see a sales boom in the Austin area this Fourth of July.

Last month, Gov. Perry signed HB 1813, which allows Texans to transport and possess fireworks in cities, eliminating previous fines that ranged from $50 to $2,000.

flickr.com/jeffgunn

Sure, Austin's got idiosyncrasies, which is a nice way of saying Austinites are "weird."

But, according to a survey from Travel & Leisure, Austinites have also earned another, less flattering, label: Snobby. 

flickr.com/nagamori

After an unprecedented outbreak of West Nile virus in Texas last year, the state has seen half of the reported cases compared to this time last year.

But, despite the decrease, the Department of State Health Services says environmental factors and the disease's unpredictability don't necessarily guarantee a safe summer for Texans.

This week, forty five Texas high school students participated in the Texas School Safety Center's third annual Youth Preparedness Camp. It's a week-long camp in Kerrville, Texas, aimed to teach students how to respond to emergencies and  increase disaster preparedness in Texas communities. 

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