Texas Standard

Science
1:12 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

You Can Thank This Fly for Advances in Hearing Aid Technology

The 2-millimeter wide device, created by Professor Neal Hall and his group of graduate students, mimicks the Ormia ochracea fly's hearing ability. The diagram shows the seesaw-like mechanism in the fly.
University of Texas at Austin

Imagine being in a room full of people – a cacophony of conversations and noise. Despite standing right next to someone, you strain to hear her voice.

People who use hearing aids often struggle to focus on one voice – especially in noisy environments. They could crank up the volume on their hearing aids – but that would also crank up the volume of everything else in the background.

Professor Neal Hall and his group of graduate students from the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas offers a solution: a device that mimics the hearing powers of a fly.

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Life & Arts
4:31 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Tomlinson Hill: Book Explores a Family History of Slaves and Slaveholders

Chris Tomlinson in the KUT studios.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Chris Tomlinson spent most of his life comfortable that he knew who he was and where he came from. After all, a small part of Texas was named after his ancestors. Tomlinson Hill is a small town community in Falls County. It's a place where generations of his family carved out a comfortable living from the land.

Before the Civil War, they also owned slaves. But Chris grew up believing what he'd been told: that the slaves his family owned were happy – so happy they took the family name and settled the land after they were free.

It was not until after he returned from 11 years in Africa as the Nairobi Bureau Chief for the Associated Press that Tomlinson decided to delve into his family history. What he learned not only changed his sense of family, it changed his sense of history as well. The result of his search is the book, "Tomlinson Hill."

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Sports
5:05 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Is America Over the Tour de France?

Alessandro De Marchi, one of this year's competitors in the Tour de France.
flickr.com/aeroeths

This year's World Cup tournament captivated tens of millions of people around the country. Television ratings soared, prompting many to ask whether it was finally soccer's moment in America.

But there's another global sporting event taking place right now – one that years ago had folks saying the same thing about cycling.

The Tour de France, a three-week, 2,200-mile bike race through Western Europe, is past the halfway mark of its 21 stages – and headlines surrounding the event seem to have fallen off the sports pages of most American newspapers. 

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Education
1:38 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Is the News Too Scary for Your Kids? Here's What You Can Do

While many parents are concerned with disturbing content in entertainment, they may overlook news broadcasts.
flickr.com/mamchenkov

The 24-hour-news cycle is ingrained into most adults' lives. Global conflict, natural disasters and crime make their way into in our daily discussions with a sense of normalcy. But for the young and impressionable, the news can paint a rather grim portrait of the world. So how do you go about explaining disturbing world events to your children?

The Texas Standard's David Brown speaks with licensed family and children’s counselor Khris Ford, who gives us some insight on how children perceive the events in the news.

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Politics
2:50 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Downed Malaysian Jetliner: Does Russia Bear Ultimate Responsibility?

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed near the Ukrainian-Russian border today – reportedly brought down by rocket fire.
Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters /Landov

Both pro-Russian rebels and the Ukrainian government forces are denying any responsibility for downing the Malaysia Airlines jetliner carrying 295 passengers and crew. Multiple reports state the Boeing 777, traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, appeared to have broken up before impact, with the burning wreckage scattered over a wide area. All passengers are believed to have died. 

At a press event in Delaware, President Obama said he has directed national security advisors to stay close contact with the Ukrainian government. Reuters reports that just yesterday, the U.S. administration tightened its sanctions against Russia over the ongoing fighting in Ukraine. Shortly thereafter, Ukraine claimed that Russian had downed one of its war planes.

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Border & Immigration
12:25 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

La Bestia: Hit Song Warning Immigrants Was Made for U.S. Border Patrol

Many Central American immigrants catch freight trains on the way to the U.S.-Mexico border. These trains are commonly known as "La Bestia." A song of the same name refers to the dangerous journey many find aboard such trains.
flickr.com/peterhaden

There’s a new hit song in Central America. It’s called “La Bestia” and people in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador are requesting it from their radio stations.

But guess what? The U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioned it.

“La Bestia” refers to a dangerous train called “The Beast” where thousands of immigrants ride to cross the U.S. – risking assaults, robbery, murder, kidnapping and rape. The catchy, upbeat cumbia song is part of Border Patrol’s multi-million dollar Dangers Awareness Campaign, meant to deter immigrants from entering the U.S.

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Immigration
8:45 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Death on the Border: Trying to Identify the Youth Who Never Made It

Members of the Reuniting Families Project excavating bodies along the border.
Baylor University

With thousands of children being detained by the Border Patrol along the Texas border, most of the spotlight seems to be focused on government policy and economic response. The Obama administration believes the ongoing immigration crisis is one that will likely to continue, with estimates of up to 90,000 unaccompanied youth being detained by the end of this fiscal year, three times the amount of last year.

While thousands of undocumented migrants successfully make it across the border, many do not. This has led to an overwhelming amount of deceased, many whom are children, that local authorities are unable to properly identify or even bury. The Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks forensic anthropologist Dr. Lori Baker, who has been working along in South Texas in an attempt to locate and identify the scores of remains along the border.

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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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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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Life & Arts
1:54 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Austin Author Meg Gardiner Thrills with 'Phantom Instinct'

Meg Gardiner's "Phantom Instinct" is one of a dozen thrillers by the Austin-based author.
Credit Photo by Stuart Boreham

Imagine there was a disaster. You were there. But you saw something no one else saw—something that would change everyone else's mind about what really happened. That is, if they believed you. Now, imagine there's another person who saw exactly what you saw. But no one believes him either. What would you do?

Austin author Meg Gardiner's new book, Phantom Instinct, pursues that question through 356 action-packed pages. She spoke to the Texas Standard's Emily Donahue.

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Texas
3:05 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

For Trailblazing Texan Oveta Culp Hobby, a Long Overdue Biography

Col Oveta Culp Hobby (right) talks with Auxiliary Margaret Peterson and Capt. Elizabeth Gilbert in this 1943 photo at New York's Mitchel Field.
Al Aumuller/ World Telegram & Sun/Library of Congress

From the small Texas town of Killeen, Oveta Culp Hobby grew up into a remarkable woman, serving her country and opening doors for women in the military.  

She helped establish the Women’s Army Corps and received a distinguished service medal – the first woman in the army ever to do so. She also served as Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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Texas Standard
2:55 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Listen: A World Cup Translation for Texans

Sonny Carl broke Texas into five states in "Bernie." Listen to his take on World Cup Soccer, err, football.
Millennium Entertainment

Been following the World Cup?  If so, you can stop right here.  

This one's for the rest of us. 

Sonny Carl Davis (you know, that guy from "Bernie" who broke Texas into five states?) has been thinking about America's new love affair with what much of the rest of the world calls football.  

Sonny's been doing so much thinking, he reckoned it high time to offer something of an explainer for fellow Texans baffled by the phenomenon. Texans like … him. Take two minutes to listen:

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Texas
2:25 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Interview: Remember the Alamo? Phil Collins Sure Does.

Rocker and Texas Revolution expert Phil Collins (r) talks with Texas Standard's David Brown in the Alamo.
Rhonda Fanning/Texas Standard

On Thursday, Phil Collins – the multi-million selling British singer, former Genesis drummer, and Texas history buff – returned to the Alamo with an offer: his entire collection of Alamo artifacts, valued in the millions of dollars.

In exchange? Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who oversees the management of the historic site, pledged to build a new structure to display the Collins collection, telling a more well-rounded story of the seminal 1836 battle at San Antonio de Bexar. 

In an exclusive conversation with the Texas Standard's David Brown – recorded in  the Alamo's sacristy – Collins talks about how his fascination with Texas' Independence story blossomed into an adult obsession. 

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Author Interviews
2:57 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Author Graeme Simsion on Asperger's, 'The Rosie Project' and Its Sequel

Graeme Simsion talks about his breakout hit, The Rosie Project, with the Texas Standard.
Credit ChinLin Pan/KUT

If you read fiction, and you don’t know about  "The Rosie Project," you’re missing something. The book was a breakout hit all over the world, raking in reviews ranging from merely exuberant to down right delirious. So what’s all the fuss about?

"The Rosie Project" is a flat-out fun read by an author who appears to have a lot of different interests dosed with a healthy sense of humor. But believe it or not, the book started out as high drama.

"This is the story of Don Tillman," author Graeme Simsion tells The Texas Standard's Emily Donahue. 

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Texas
11:01 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Listen: Texas Veterans on ISIS and the Future of Iraq

Members of the 1st Air Cavalry on patrol near Taji, Iraq.
U.S. Army, flickr.com/soldiersmediacenter

Last week, the Obama administration announced their response to the unraveling situation in Iraq. The U.S. is sending 300 military advisors to help government forces battling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. The Al-Qaeda augmented militants have recently taken control of much of northern Iraq. 

The White House has not ruled out air strikes, and the possibility of further military action is the talk of Washington. But what about the men and women who served in Iraq? The Texas Standard's David Brown recently sat down with three veterans for a roundtable discussion of recent events.

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Texas
4:54 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Texas Oil Industry Keeps Wary Eye On ISIS

https://www.flickr.com/photos/chesil/

While the crisis in Iraq is half a world away, it’s impact can be felt here in the U.S.  The rapidly destabilizing region is a base for major Texas oil companies, some of whom have had to evacuate the increasingly hostile environment.  

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Sports
4:10 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

It's Our World Cup Too, Say More and More U.S. Soccer Fans

FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014
https://www.flickr.com/crystiancruz

If you were to ask someone on the street which country has brought more fans to the World Cup this year, many wouldn’t venture that it would be the U.S.

But with the close proximity of the World Cup this year the United States has sent more fans to Brazil than any other nation. U.S. fans also account for the second largest overseas television audience of the event. 

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Kirkus on the Standard
2:45 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Two Summer Reads You Won't Want to Put Down

Summer reading season is here. So what are you taking (metaphorically or not) to the beach? 

Fear not: In this edition of Kirkus on the Standard, David Brown speaks with Kirkus Reviews editor Clay Smith about a couple reading recommendations to get you through the heat.

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Life & Arts
5:04 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Author Cristina Henriquez Shares Her 'Book of Unknown Americans'

Author Cristina Henriquez appears at BookPeople tonight in support of her novel "The Book of Unknown Americans."
ChinLin Pan/KUT

People across the nation – especially here in Texas – have been riveted this past month by the crisis unfolding at the border as thousands of children arrive on their own. So desperate to flee their home countries in Latin America, children set off on a perilous journey, unsure of how they’ll be received once they get here.

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Author Interviews
7:45 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Joel Dicker Shares 'The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair'

Writers block, mentorship and murder are the subjects of Joel Dicker's breakout novel.
Photo Jeremy Spierer

Joel Dicker is the author of the international bestseller, "The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair." The 28-year-old author seems – on the surface – to have a lot in common with his protagonist. 

Dicker's novel is a blockbuster, first in Europe and now in the U.S. The same's true with the hero of his book, Marcus Goldman. But in the book, Goldman finds himself wrapped up in several layers of self-angst and mystery, at the center of which are 1) a murder and 2) his mentor.

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