Texas Standard

Coming soon: Get a behind-the-scenes peek into the planning and production of KUT's upcoming daily news program.

We're working to bring Central Texans crisp, up-to-the-moment coverage of politics, lifestyle, the environment, technology, innovation and money from a uniquely Texas perspective.  

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Life & Arts
12:01 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Here's a Look Back at Roy Orbison, an Unassuming West Texas Boy Turned Rockstar

Roy Orbison plays a show in Clearwater Florida in December of 1961.
flickr.com/rockinred1969

Fifty years ago this month, Roy Orbison had his break-out hit "Pretty Woman." The catchy tune about an attractive lady walking by his song became the influence of countless covers and catapulted him into rock-n-roll history. His 1964 song, along with eight other singles, gave the "British Invasion" of the 1960s a run for their money.

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Politics
10:48 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Should The GOP Rethink Gay Marriage?

Protestors gather in downtown Houston in support of gay rights.
flickr.com/us006409

Mark McKinnon is best known as a longtime advisor for President George W. Bush, but recently he’s been taking a surprisingly liberal stance on a popular topic – gay marriage. In opposition to many of his GOP compatriots, McKinnon has been campaigning to bring same sex marriage to the Lone Star State. The Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with McKinnon on his stance and how he plans to go about it.

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Politics
4:40 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Interview: Rick Perry's Indictment is About More Than a Veto

During a press conference at the Texas State Capitol, Gov. Rick Perry called the indictment against him a farce and an "abuse of power."
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

The indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry on criminal charges has gained national attention – particularly since Gov. Perry is being seen as a possible presidential contender.

In a speech given at the conservative Heritage Foundation, Perry defended himself by saying he was acting within the constitutional boundaries of his veto authority. While much of the debate has centered around Perry’s veto authority, the real legal debate is much more serious. 

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Texas Standard
4:12 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Is ISIS a Real Threat to the Texas Border?

U.S. Army soldiers in the Qarah Cham village in Iraq, March 27, 2007.
Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway/U.S. Air Force

Texans are still talking about Gov. Rick Perry's statements this week on the growing threat posed by the Islamic State terror group, known by the acronym ISIS.

Gov. Perry told an audience at the conservative Heritage Foundation that "ISIS or other terrorists" could have crossed into the U.S. through the Mexican border. "I think there is a very real possibility that they may have already used that," Perry said. 

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Texas Standard
2:47 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Evan Smith on the Rick Perry Indictment: 'Nobody Knows Anything'

Texas Tribune editor Evan Smith says Rick Perry's indictment – which launched many memes – will be settled in court. "These rallies and public relations efforts and expensive lawyers and ice cream cones … it does not make a bit of difference."

This week was a big week for Texas Politics. Evan Smith, editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune, joins Texas Standard host David Brown to talk about Rick Perry's indictment and whether or not the controversy will be a political win for the self-described "awesome" governor.

"They sound serious, but we don’t know what they’re about," Smith says of the charges. "The reality is that nobody knows what they’re about."

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Business
2:04 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Whole Foods is Facing a Bunny Meat Backlash

Whole Foods is selling rabbit meat in some stores.
Credit flickr.com/chiotsrun

Whole Foods has come under fire for launching a pilot program to sell rabbit meat in some of its stores. The Austin-based company says it's spent four years developing humane rabbit farming practices in response to consumer demand.

But regardless, some animal rights activists are hopping mad.

change.org petition asking Whole Foods to suspend its sale of bunny meat has garnered more than 13,000 signatures. A group calling itself the House Rabbit Society staged demonstrations at 44 Whole Foods Markets across the country. And PETA has announced it's joining the movement

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Texas Standard
9:31 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Would You Eat an Energy Bar Made of Crickets?

Would you eat an energy bar made out of this guy?
flickr.com/gemmastiles

Wake up, make yourself some coffee … and eat an energy bar made out of crickets?

One Austin company is betting that you'll change your habits, just as long as you don't mind eating bugs. John Tucker is the owner of Hopper Foods, which makes a protein-rich, gluten-free energy bar made out of cricket flour. 

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Texas Standard
2:49 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Texas Mineral Water So 'Crazy' it Comes in Different Strengths

Sunrise at Lake Mineral Wells State Park in Mineral Wells, Texas. The mineral-rich water in the area is renowned for its properties – and now it's being bottled.
flickr.com/dennisbehm

Anytime people talk about Texas and food, the usual suspects come up. (Brisket anyone?) Texas Standard is taking the road less traveled, in search of some uniquely Texas provisions worth discovering.

Bryan Black is our guide. Each month he shares something new from the pantries of the Texas Department of Agriculture with the Standard. This month: Crazy Water, bottled in the town of Mineral Wells, where the water is renowned for its rich, naturally-occurring mineral deposits.

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Science
3:18 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

How to Learn What's Real – and What Isn't – on Discovery's Shark Week

A Great White shark swims off Guadalupe Island on the pacific coast of Mexico.
flickr.com/elevy

Shark Week is winding down on the Discovery Channel, and with the annual televised ritual comes an uptick of interest in sharks. But with many scientists saying lots of Shark Week facts are dead in the water, how do you separate fact from fiction?

Texas Standard's David Brown recently spoke with freelance writer and evolutionary biologist Christie Wilcox to shed a little light on what's real and what isn’t. 

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Texas Standard
2:21 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Sorry, Bats: Purple Martins Rule Austin Skies in the Summer

Purple Martins hit the sky at dusk in this 2013 image captured at Austin's Highland Mall.
flickr.com/annharkness

Half a million Purple Martins have been migrating through Austin as they make their way to Brazil for the winter.

Austin – and specifically Highland Mall ­– is a way station for the birds and their young, letting them fatten up before the long trek south. And the swirl of purple and blue has become a popular spectacle – one that some audiences say rivals Austin’s popular bat departure from the Congress Avenue bridge.

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Crime & Justice
1:21 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

How Dallas is Trying to Prevent Another Ferguson From Happening

Protestors hold signs in solidarity with Ferguson, MO shooting victim Michael Brown.
Flickr user Light Brigading, https://flic.kr/ps/CcMsa

Police in Ferguson, Missouri finally released the name of the officer involved in the shooting death of Michael Brown this morning. Brown, an African-American teenager, was reportedly unarmed and with his hands in the air when he was killed August 10. The event has sparked public outrage in the predominately African-American community – outrage that has spread over the country.

The Ferguson Police Department has been criticized for its delay in releasing the officer's name, plus its militarized reaction to protestors including rubber bullets and tear gas. But officer involved shootings aren’t limited to Missouri – the reality is that they can happen anywhere.

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Texas
4:05 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Why a Tanker of Kurdish Oil is Stranded by the Galveston Coast

A stock photo of a ship in the Port of Galveston
flic.kr/p/5p2Sdj

Tensions between the government of Iraq and Kurds in the northern part of the country have once again reached a boiling point. Now, Baghdad is cutting off payments to Kurdistan, because of a controversy involving a tanker off the coast of Texas.

The semiautonomous region of Kurdistan has successfully exported several shipments of oil this year.  Baghdad opposed those exports, claiming that the oil belongs to the Iraqi people, and the use of its natural resources should be decided by the central government. Most recently, Baghdad successfully filed for a court order to keep one million barrels of crude oil from being unloaded in Galveston.

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Science
2:33 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Could Maker Culture Spark the Next Industrial Revolution?

A 3D As tools like 3D printers (pictured) drop in price, they increasingly fuel a maker culture, according to UT engineer Scott Allen.
flickr.com/creative_tools

Everyone has ideas. Machines, inventions, and improvements to everyday products: things that bounce around in everyone's mind. But unless that someone is an engineer, inventor, or tinkerer, those ideas stay just that … ideas.

Until now that is.  

A new, emerging "maker" culture encourages innovators to create as they wish with the help of 3D printers, laser cutters, and many other tools. The Obama Administration even recently hosted a nationwide "Day of Making" for these creators. 

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Life & Arts
10:23 am
Sat July 26, 2014

How Much Has Texas Shaped Modern Art?

Ben L. Culwell, Now II, 1960-1963.
University of Texas Press

When you think of modern art, does Texas come to mind? According to Katie Robinson Edwards, curator of Austin's Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum, it should.

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Border & Immigration
4:40 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

How Can You Measure the Success of National Guard Troops on the Border?

Members of the Texas National Guard
flickr.com/texasmilitaryforces

The eyes of the nation are focused on the Texas-Mexico border, due to the humanitarian crisis involving undocumented and unaccompanied minors. This week, Gov. Rick Perry announced the deployment of 1,000 Texas National Guard Troops to the border.

Politically speaking, Gov. Perry’s message is that the Federal Government is failing in its duties. But in a story set to be published in Sunday’s Austin American-Statesman, investigative reporters Jeremy Schwartz and Eric Dexheimer pose a question: just what constitutes “mission accomplished?” 

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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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