Michael Marks, Texas Standard

Mark/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The term "socialism" seems to be an early front-runner for the top buzzword of the 2020 election season. Democrats and Republicans have been using the word a lot lately, but what does it really mean?

At the recent Conservative Political Action Conference, President Donald Trump told the crowd, "Democrat lawmakers are now embracing socialism. They want to replace individual rights with total government domination."

But Jennifer Mercieca, associate professor of communication at Texas A&M University specializing in political rhetoric, says the way Trump characterizes socialism is different than its technical definition.

Pexels

From Texas Standard:

In the United States, over 10 million children live below the federal poverty line, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It's the lowest child poverty rate in decades, but researchers and public policy experts are determined to bring down that number even further.

In a recently published report called "A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty" from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, its co-authors suggest policy changes that they claim could cut child poverty in half in just 10 years.

Cynthia Osborne contributed to the report. She's associate dean and director of the Center for Health and Social Policy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Osborne says the irony of child poverty is that it's expensive.

Pexels

From Texas Standard:

The total market value of the video-gaming industry reached almost $135 billion in 2018, and with that growth has come an increased demand for game developers. In hopes some of its graduates stand out in that market, the University of Texas at Austin is launching a new degree program in video game design and development.

Di Qiu/Flickr

From Texas Standard:

Ever heard of bartonella henselae? It’s the bacteria behind an illness you’re probably more familiar with – cat scratch fever. What about this one: bovine spongiform encephalopathy? You may know it better as mad cow disease. As you can see, nonscientific names for certain afflictions tend to stick. But sometimes, their meanings may get lost in translation.

Pexels

The Calhoun Port Authority has spent $360,000 in taxpayer money to defend itself against a lawsuit filed by the Victoria Advocate newspaper. The suit alleges the authority violated open-meetings rules during the hiring process of disgraced Congressman Blake Farenthold.

Mali Mish/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Where do tornadoes come from? It's not a riddle or a trick question, although the answer may seem obvious: the sky, right? Evidently, that's not the case.

U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (public domain)

From Texas Standard:

The border, the wall, the immigration issue – they're all front and center right now in Washington, as they have been almost every day of 2018.

Ida Ten Eyck O'Keeffe, Creation, date unknown, oil on canvas, Gerald Peters Gallery

From Texas Standard:

The name Georgia O'Keeffe probably brings to mind images of giant, brightly-colored flowers, or the artist's famous skulls, sunsets or the Southwest. Many people don't realize that Georgia's sister was also an artist in her own right. But that's changing, thanks to an exhibition of Ida O'Keeffe's work at the Dallas Museum of Art It's called "Ida O'Keeffe: Escaping Georgia's Shadow."

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

On Election Day in Stanton, just north of Midland, Ron Black was skeptical that a particular measure on the ballot would pass.

“Well, I think at first it was - uh, nobody thought it would go through because they’ve tried it so many times, you know? I can’t tell you how many times it’s gone to the ballot,” he says.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

When it comes to crops, Texas has one of the most diverse portfolios around. But here's one commodity you won't find: industrial hemp. The square cousin of marijuana has no psychoactive properties, but it does have a whole range of practical applications for things like textiles, food and fiber. The problem is that in most places, it's illegal to cultivate it. But a bill currently being considered by Congress could change that, and it has the support of Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller.

THC, the chemical that gets marijuana consumers high, is only present in minute amounts in hemp, Miller says.

Nancy Newberry Photography

From Texas Standard:

First, to make sure we’re all on the same page, homecoming mums are something that vaguely resemble a chrysanthemum corsage. From this fluffy centerpiece comes a stream of decorations: ribbons, braids, trinkets, pennants, teddy bears, Christmas lights – the gaudier and bigger the better. Giving a mum or a garter – that’s the smaller version boys wear on their arms – to your homecoming date is a uniquely Texas tradition. It is the type of thing that, when presented to non-Texans, typically elicits this kind of response:

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

When we think of cotton we just think of the fiber – the white fluffy stuff you see while driving down the highway. But there's a lot more to the cotton plant than that. In fact for every one pound of fiber cotton plants produce, about 1.6 pounds of cotton seeds are grown. And there's just not a lot you can do with cotton seeds other than plant more cotton.

But Keerti Rathore has been working for almost a quarter century to change that. He wants you to be able to eat cotton seeds.

Rathore, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant biotechnologist, has received approval for his genetically modified cottonseed from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

AgriLife Today/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Raising cattle anywhere is hard, but it’s especially hard in the Rio Grande Valley. And that’s thanks to fever ticks. They can spread a fatal disease that decimated cattle herds through the 1900s and is still feared today. And it’s not just the ticks themselves that can cause headaches, but the regulations designed to control them.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard: 

You may have heard that term ‘heat advisory’ quite a bit during this latest heat wave. It’s a notice the National Weather Service sends out to tell people that they need to take precautions to stay safe in the heat – especially people who work outside.

In the Dallas Fort Worth Area, a heat index of 105 degrees triggers a heat advisory. And the reason it’s 105 degrees has to do with geography and, well, you. 

From Texas Standard.

When Jessica McClure, an 18-month-old girl in Midland, was stuck in a well for 58 hours in October of 1987, CNN carried most of the rescue effort live. There was an international sigh of relief when a crew of roughnecks and first responders finally brought Baby Jessica to the surface.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard.

Women make up only about 20 percent of the worldwide oil and gas workforce, according to a 2017 study by the Boston Consulting Group and the World Petroleum Council.

KUT News

From Texas Standard.

There’s nothing new about plastic straws. They’ve been around for decades. But there has been a recent backlash against them.

Eric Hamerman, a marketing professor and expert in consumer behavior at Iona College in New York, says the change has to do with a new awareness of our impact on the environment.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Most of President Donald Trump's attention this week has been occupied by the southern border. But on Monday, he took some time to address his plans for another frontier: the great beyond. He said it’s not only important for the United States to be present in space, but to be dominant.

Ken Piorkowski/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

Danny Bible is scheduled to die on June 27. He was sentenced to death in 2003 for murdering Houston resident Inez Deaton in 1979. Bible’s attorney, Jeremy Schepers, recently filed a lawsuit alleging that a lethal injection would almost certainly constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Schepers is a federal public defender in the Northern District of Texas.

Steven Depolo/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

For the next month, the eyes of the soccer world will be on Russia, the site of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The 32-team tournament, which does not include the United States, will decide which country will reign over the world’s game for the next four years. Every soccer fan has their prediction of who will win the cup, but nobody could tell you for sure, right?

Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

From Texas Standard.

Before sunrise on July 16, 1945, a bomb exploded in the New Mexico desert. It was a new weapon so powerful that at the time it almost seemed like science fiction – the atomic bomb. Scientists built it in a secluded laboratory in Los Alamos where physicists from around the world hoped to invent something strong enough to end World War II – maybe even all wars.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 on Monday that it was OK for Ohio to remove people from voter registration rolls if those voters skip a few elections and then fail to respond to a notice from election officials. Ohio claimed this was necessary for the proper upkeep of voter registration lists and to prevent voter fraud.

Republicans have been pushing for such restrictions without much actual evidence of fraud, while Democrats have often seen such moves as attempts to suppress voting. What does the ruling mean for Texas?

Wikimedia Commons

From Texas Standard.

Last week, the Illinois State Legislature ratified the Equal Rights Amendment, an addition to the U.S. Constitution that would provide protection from discrimination based on sex.

Public Domain Photos.net

From Texas Standard.

More than 40 percent of Texas is in some stage of drought right now, according to the latest data from the U.S. Drought Monitor. Some parts of the state are especially dry, like the Panhandle and the plains south of the area. That has caused some farmers and ranchers to face difficult choices – like what to do with cattle when there’s not enough grass to graze.

Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

From Texas Standard.

For 20 years, Rafael Palmeiro terrorized major league pitchers. The hard-hitting left-hander from Miami by way of Cuba is one of only six players to record over 3,000 hits and 500 home runs in his career. That’s part of a resume that could make most ball players proud.

Stephen Bieda/Twitter

From Texas Standard.

As everyone in the Panhandle knows, it’s wildfire season. Just southeast of Amarillo in Armstrong County, a blaze called the Mallard Fire has consumed over 75,000 acres. It’s mostly contained now, but last Friday, the flames were so out of control that they even affected the weather.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

On October 2, 1989, the Texas Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the state’s school finance system was unequal. The case was Edgewood ISD versus Kirby, pitting San Antonio’s Edgewood Independent School District against the state education commissioner at the time, William Kirby.

Lee Leblanc/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

In Lawrence Wright’s new book “God Save Texas,” he begins his ode to the Lone Star State with a place that may be among the most Texan of all retailers – Buc-ees. That little beaver in the logo may be cute, but it’s got teeth. A lawyer for the roadside destination told a federal jury Tuesday that San Antonio-based Choke Canyon Bar-B-Q is using a similar cartoon critter in its logo to confuse drivers into pulling off the highway to shop at its travel stop instead.

Daphne Zaras/NSSL

From Texas Standard.

Tornadoes have an unmistakable sound – but scientists are learning that the tornado also makes other sounds that you can’t hear. That’s what has seized the interest of Brian Elbing, because those inaudible sounds could save lives.

Flickr/Thomas Hawk (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

Some people are convinced that hypnosis is real: they’ve seen it done, they’ve experienced being hypnotized. But is it science? Is it so reliable that we should be able to use it to help make life or death decisions? Two death row inmates have had their sentences delayed as they make the case that they were convicted on the basis of evidence obtained through hypnosis. They say – and other states would agree – that amounts to junk science.

Pages