Alexandra Hart | KERA News

Alexandra Hart

Intern for Texas Standard.

From Texas Standard.

What’s the most popular cocktail in the U.S.? Here’s a hint: It’s one that holds a special place in the hearts of Tex-Mex fans – the humble margarita. But you better enjoy one while you can because we’re on the brink of a full-blown tequila crisis. Reuters reports that agave shortages have manufacturers of the spirit on edge, concerned about keeping up with demand as tequila’s popularity soars.

From Texas Standard.

One hundred years ago Sunday, a posse made up of Texas Rangers and the U.S. military raided the border village of Porvenir in the middle of the night. The lawmen took 15 boys and men of Mexican descent to a bluff and shot them. The Porvenir Massacre is a little-known dark stain on Texas’ history.

Historian Glenn Justice says the massacre happened during a chaotic time.

From Texas Standard.

Does it suddenly seem like people are posting a lot of fine art on social media? Over the past few days, Google’s Arts and Culture app has exploded in popularity – even though it’s been around since 2016 – thanks to its viral selfie feature. You take a picture of yourself and the app locates a work of art that’s similar. It’s currently at the top of both iOS and Android’s most-downloaded lists.

But if you’re trying to access the app in Texas, you might notice that the popular feature is curiously missing. Texas is one of two states in the U.S. – Illinois is the other – where people can’t use it.

From Texas Standard.

You almost can’t talk about the Texas economy without mentioning the oil and gas industry. Much of the state’s wealth, and its global image, is tied to energy production. But the oil market is a fickle beast.

In a new piece for The New Yorker, staff writer and native Texan Lawrence Wright tracks the boom and bust cycles of the state’s energy industry, and looks at whether the state’s fortunes might always be beholden to black gold.

From Texas Standard.

Multiple school districts in north and northeast Texas were notified by the Texas Department of Agriculture recently that they were likely exposed to a data breach. The warning estimates that personal information of some 700 students across 39 districts could have been leaked when an employee’s state-issued laptop was hit with a ransomware attack.

From Texas Standard.

Much debris has been cleared out, but three months after Harvey’s landfall, the ecological damage is still being assessed. Not long after the storm clouds cleared, oyster and shrimp farmers lamented the hit to their livelihoods from extensive rains and runoff.

But researchers at the University of Houston at Clear Lake have been looking at the storm’s effect on other marine life, too – and they’ve discovered that bottlenose dolphins, have developed some puzzling ailments after the storm. Kristi Fazioli, a research associate with the Environmental Institute of Houston at the University of Houston Clear Lake, helps study this population.

The cost of college continues to creep higher and higher – and financial aid isn’t keeping up.

More Texans are receiving those hefty student loan bills in the mail after graduation, but is college still worth the investment?

Nonprofit online college WGU Texas took the temperature of how Texans are feeling about the state of higher education in their annual poll, which you can read here.

Josh Blank of Strategic Research Associates conducted the study, and he says most Texans are still on board with higher ed.

From Texas Standard:

Texas A&M–Corpus Christi is going from the Gulf Stream to the TV screen.

The coastal university will be featured on the  "Shark Week" television series Wednesday, displaying artificial reefs for the Gulf Coast that are designed to attract wildlife in areas where the ocean floor is largely made up of mud or sand.

From Texas Standard:

Walking outside lately, you've probably noticed Texas' triple-digit temperatures. For those living or working in some of the state's prisons, going outside isn't even required to feel the heat, because some units do not have air-conditioning. Inmates have sued to get some relief, and this week they were handed a victory of sorts.

From Texas Standard:

The 2016 election campaign featured much concern for the fate of coal miners and auto workers, whose jobs have been swept away by automation and globalization. Today, there may be another group at risk for large-scale cuts – retail workers.

From Texas Standard:

By now you’ve likely heard of fentanyl, one of the narcotics at the center of the nation’s opioid crisis. But now, authorities in Houston are issuing an urgent warning that goes beyond the narrative of addiction. Officials have found a powerful analogue of fentanyl, carfentanil, a drug so powerful that mere skin contact can lead to lethal exposure.

From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump has called the North American Free Trade Agreement "the worst trade deal in the history of the world." But a group of Texas business leaders begs to differ. In a step toward preserving what works about NAFTA, the Texas Association of Business and Texas Business Leadership Council have formed the Texas-Mexico Trade Coalition.

From Texas Standard:

in 46 states, texting while driving is illegal. But not in Texas. It appears that could change on Tuesday. Though many cities in Texas ban using smartphones while driving, a bill is en route to the governor's desk that specifically outlaws texting while driving. But your apps and GPS might still be within legal reach.

From Texas Standard:

The end may be near for straight-ticket voting in Texas. House Bill 25, which would ban the practice, passed out of the Senate on Thursday. It's got one more stop in the lower chamber before heading to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk. Prominent Democrats are decrying the bill – saying it would dilute Democratic votes.

From Texas Standard:

Conflicts among drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians lead to hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries each year. Transportation researchers want to solve the problem by redesigning intersections so that all kinds of traffic have their place, and can keep an eye on one another.


From Texas Standard:

Fake news is all over the place – you've probably got at least a few people in your Facebook feed that share it. Even some of our elected officials Tweet it out.

But across the nation, educators are ramping up efforts to teach students how to discern real the information from what’s fake. Librarians are at the forefront of that fight for media literacy in schools, colleges and beyond.

From Texas Standard:

Texas A&M University has a new partner – in North Korea. The nation’s only private university has reached out to ask for help teaching students how to grow food in a nation of persistent shortages and high food insecurity.

Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, which was founded and is mainly funded by American evangelical Christians, will receive donated teaching materials from the Aggies.

From Texas Standard:

A new Title IX lawsuit was filed late last week against Baylor University – the latest of six federal lawsuits against the school, and the second in a week. It alleges staff encouraged football players to commit sexual assault and that staff used female students to have sex with football recruits to make sure they had a “good time.”

The attorney who filed the case claims their investigation found at least 52 acts of rape committed by no fewer than 31 football players between 2011 and 2014 – including five gang rapes.

From Texas Standard:

Activists gathered on the south steps of the Texas Capitol Wednesday morning to pressure lawmakers to keep fighting human trafficking during the 85th Legislative Session.

Advocates say there’s lots of work left to be done to curb trafficking. Now there are hard numbers to show by how much.

From Texas Standard:

House Speaker Paul Ryan has said repealing the Affordable Care Act – or Obamacare – is a day-one priority for President Donald Trump and Republicans have already taken the first step towards repealing it.

Why The Words We Use After a Tragedy Matter

Jun 14, 2016

From Texas Standard:

After yesterday's broadcast, which concluded with a roundup of reaction to the Orlando shooting from Texans on social media, Texas Standard received a comment from a listener who noted what he considered to be a conspicuous absence of something in the conversation – the mention of words like "ISIS" and "terrorism."

This comment plays into something bigger: how we choose what words to use when speaking about an unspeakable tragedy. What's the significance of the rhetoric surrounding events like the Orlando massacre?