Science

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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Two Guys on Your Head
2:33 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

This is Your Brain on Music

Learning an instrument, especially as adults, provides us with a type of "brain food" that can help to protect our brains against damage. Experiencing music together is also an important part of being human.

We like to be in sync. Experiencing live music with others, whether you're playing an instrument or not, provides a certain synchronized relationship that boosts our feelings of togetherness and enjoyment.

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Two Guys on your head
2:20 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

How Advertising Works On Your Brain

Don Draper from Mad Men may have been unaware of the neuropsychological reasons that he intuitively constructed advertisements the way he did, or he may not have cared, but there are reasons.

Have you ever found yourself in a shopping isle at the grocery store, mindlessly putting products into your cart? Why do you prefer one brand over another?  Why does one item seem to just call out your name? Effective advertising might be the reason.

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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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Two Guys on your head
12:58 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Why You're Not as Good at Multitasking As You Think

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.

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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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Two Guys on your head
4:54 pm
Sun June 9, 2013

What's Happening Inside Your Head When You Sleep

We need to sleep for a host of reasons, but what exactly is happening in our brains while we’re unconscious? We've only scratched the surface of understanding all that happens during sleep, but we do know that while our bodies are resting, our brains are very busy.

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Science
12:20 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Longhorn Astronaut Karen Nyberg Returns to International Space

The latest International Space Station crew (including Nyberg) blasted off from Kazakhstan on May 29, 2013 (Kazakh time).
NASA/Bill Ingalls

There’s a UT Longhorn in space right now.

This week, Karen Nyberg blasted off to the International Space Station. She was the sole NASA astronaut aboard the Russian Soyuz rocket that left May 28. She was joined by Fyodor Yurchikhin with the Russian Federal Space Agency, and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency.

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Technology
3:24 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Google's Privacy Shift Powers New Customized Maps

The new Google Maps features tailor-made results based on users' habits and search histories.
Google

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 10:15 am

This week, Google, already a leader in mapping, created more space between itself and its competitors by more deeply mining the data users provide the company when using its various services.

At the Google developers' conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, Daniel Graf, director of Google Maps, crowed about the company's mapping app for the iPhone — and couldn't quite stop himself from taking a dig at Apple.

"People called it sleek, simple, beautiful, and let's not forget, accurate," he said.

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Technology
4:57 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Interview: U.T. Law Student Fires First 3D-Printed Gun

Cody Wilson succesfully test fired a mostly plastic gun created with a 3D printer.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

 A University of Texas law student has become the first person to fire a bullet from a gun made with a 3D printer. Forbes reporter Andy Greenberg recorded a video of the test shooting, then wrote about it. 

Wilson says he did it partly to make a political point about gun control.

“Especially at a time when all these actors on the Hill are pretending that we can control firearms and we can better regulate them. I’m seeing a future, a vision of the future where that’s not really possible," he told KUT News. 

Listen to our interview with Wilson by clicking the player above. 

Technology
1:14 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Gun Made With 3-D Printer Is Successfully Fired

The Liberator — a plastic handgun made with a 3-D printer.
Defense Distributed

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 12:22 pm

The Texas-based company Defense Distributed is getting quite a bit of attention this week for its Liberator — a handgun made almost entirely by a 3-D printer.

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Science
5:08 pm
Sun May 5, 2013

Solar-Powered Airplane Completes First Leg Of U.S. Flight

The Solar Impulse takes off from Moffett Field NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., Friday, as a team member rides an electric bike alongside the plane.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 4:04 pm

The Solar Impulse, an airplane traveling across the United States using only solar power, is in Phoenix today, after reaching Arizona from California Saturday. It took the plane about 20 hours to travel from Mountain View, Calif., near San Francisco.

The aircraft is capable of flying at night as well as in daytime; the plane had about 75 percent of its battery power remaining when it landed in Arizona.

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Technology
5:00 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Computerized Rifle Makes Anyone an Expert Marksman - Should It?

Digital optics and tracking technologies enhance this long range rifle.
Photo courtesy of TrackingPoint, Inc.

An Austin-based company, TrackingPoint, has developed a high-powered, long-range computerized rifle that can turn anyone into an expert marksman. But some wonder whether putting that technology in the hands of everyday people is a wise idea. 

At shooting range just outside of Austin, I’m holding one of TrackingPoint’s top-of-the-line, $22,000 rifles. I have some shooting experience. But I’ve never shot a big rifle before. Three company representatives walk me through it.

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Science
9:29 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Supreme Court Asks: Can Human Genes Be Patented?

Artist's representation of DNA.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 7:45 am

Same-sex marriage got huge headlines at the Supreme Court last month, but in the world of science and medicine, the case being argued on Monday is far more important. The lawsuit deals with a truly 21st century issue — whether human genes may be patented.

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technology
7:32 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Elon Musk: The TT Interview

Entrepreneur Elon Musk talks to the Capitol press corps about his frustration in selling Tesla electric cars in Texas on April 10, 2013.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Elon Musk, the CEO of Silicon Valley-based Tesla Motors, came to the Texas Capitol this week to lobby legislators to allow his company to sell electric cars directly to customers, a battle that has become increasingly pitched in the face of opposition from car dealers. But his electric car enterprise is not the only legislative push he’s involved in this session: As head of SpaceX, he’s also hoping to open acommercial spaceport in South Texas.

On Wednesday, Musk talked with the Tribune about his effort to get an exemption from state antitrust laws, Texas’ reputation as a business-friendly state and why he wants to launch rockets from Brownsville.

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Science
10:37 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Obama Says $100 Million Will Be Invested In Brain-Mapping Initiative

Mauricio Lima AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 12:11 pm

Adding some details to an initiative he announced during his latest State of the Union address, President Obama on Tuesday said that federal agencies plan to spend $100 million to jump start an effort to map the human brain. It's research that could lead to breakthroughs in the treatment and prevention of brain disorders.

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Science
10:47 am
Sat March 30, 2013

Austin Student Scientists Get Major Recognition for Diabetes Research

A diabetes patient prepares to check her blood glucose level. A pair of Austin siblings are developing a program to mitigate diabetes.
CDC/ Amanda Mills

A brother and sister team of young scientists from Westwood High School are finalists in a national science competition.

Priya and Naveen Arunachalam are both finalists in the Exploravision contest. The contest attracted nearly 16,000 students nationwide in a competition to design future technologies that could change the world.

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Science
5:26 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

UT Scientists Look to Create an Invisibility Cloak (Update)

Researchers at UT tested the new 'invisibility cloak' on this thin metal cylinder.
Dr. Andrea Alu, UT

Update: Harry Potter fans and Muggles alike may be one step closer to getting their own invisibility cloaks, if researchers at the University of Texas can help it.

According to the New Journal of Physics, they’ve created a thin material called a “mantle cloak.” Right now the cloak can only make things invisible in a certain range of light waves. It also doesn’t look like a cloak you would wear. It’s a thin tubing made from polycarbonate film, wrapped with copper tape.

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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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