Austin

Photo by Huma Munir for KUT News

With rain blanketing much of Austin, and reports of hail in the area, the city is getting inundated in the wet stuff.  But is it enough to impact the Texas drought?

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

A wave of coordinated protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the companion PROTECT Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) are “blacking out” popular sites across the Internet.

Wikipedia is the highest-profile site to completely darken their site in protest. Google has “censored” their logo, and created a page urging Congress to “End Piracy, Not Liberty.”

The SOPA strike is being felt in Austin, too, with local sites darkening in solidarity, and Twitter users voicing discontent with Representative Lamar Smith, the Central Texas legislator who introduced SOPA.

Image courtesy Yan Zhang, UT School of Information

Two University of Texas professors are developing a game that could affect the lives of children diagnosed with autism.

Yan Zhang, an assistant professor at UT-Austin's School of Information and engineering professor J.K. Aggarwal are working to create a free online game called "LifeIsGame" designed  to help autistic children communicate.

Zhang said the game may address a component of autistic children's lives that often gets overlooked: their emotions.

Image courtesy of Austin Energy

As record temperatures continue to bake Texas and air conditioning units run at full throttle across the state, Austin Energy is trying to reduce the potential impact of rolling blackouts.

Rotating power outages are preventive measures taken by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. Austin’s utility will now spread the effect across 71 areas in Austin. On the above map, these areas are colored green. You can see a more detailed version of that map here.

The reason for this development: a flood of complaints when 20 percent of Austin Energy customers suffered extended (and repeated) power outages during rolling blackouts in February.

Photo by Nicogenin http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicogenin/

It looks like world number one Rafael Nadal will not be joining his racquet-wielding Spanish cohorts in Austin in a couple of weeks.  The 2011 Davis Cup World Group Quarterfinal between the United States and Spain will take place as scheduled at the Frank Erwin Center July 8-10, but will not feature Nadal, Spanish newspaper Marca reports. 

The news is a bummer for spectators, but should prove advantageous for the American squad.  U.S. Davis Cup stalwart (and Austinite) Andy Roddick will anchor a team that features up-and-comer John Isner the #9 ranked player in the world, Mardy Fish and doubles specialists Bob and Mike Bryan.  This is the first home tie for new captain (and former Davis Cup champion) Jim Courier.

Photo by Broken Piggy Bank http://www.flickr.com/photos/jremigio/

San Antonio tourism officials are hoping to attract the international travelers who could flood Austin during Formula One events. Casandra Matej, executive director of the San Antonio Visitors and Convention Bureau, says the ideal international visitor would stay a few evenings in Austin and then head to San Antonio.

“There will be San Antonio opportunities to kind of create synergy for that," she said. "We can provided that extended stay for the people that are going to enjoy the race.”

Caleb Bryant Miller for KUT News

Japan Continues to deal with the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that destroyed whole towns, left more than ten thousand dead and crippled a nuclear facility in Fukushima.

Beth Cortez-Neavel

Austin City Council members will hear from Austinites this afternoon on the Imagine Austin Plan Framework. Imagine Austin is the city's comprehensive roadmap to what Austin's will grow up to look like by 2039. As SXSW crowds swamp Austin this weekend, take note; then imagine five SXSW conferences going on all at one time and you'll get a sense of the 750,000 additional people planners expect Austin to absorb by 2039.

Photo by KUT News

Hundreds gathered around the Martin Luther King, Jr. statue on the UT campus this morning for a ceremony before the community march to Huston-Tillotson University. Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, some state lawmakers and Austin school officials were there.

Photo courtesy the City of Austin Website

The Trail of Lights has hit a wall...at least for this year and until the city's budget recovers.  But Austin’s Zilker Tree is lighting the Zilker hill side up, as it has since 1965. Each year, thousands of Austinites travel to the historic holiday display to take a spin, and then another, and another under its lights.

The city website says the Zilker tree is 155 feet tall and has 39 streamers. Each holds 81 multicolored, 25 watt bulbs, totaling 3,309 lights.

The Zilker Tree is lit every night through December 31. If you can’t make it there, take a spin here.

Mack Brown, Texas football
Photo by KUT News

Multiple sources have indicated to orangebloods.com as well as hookem.com that former University of Florida football defensive coordinator, Teryl Austin, will take over the recently vacated defensive coordinator position at UT.  If hired, Austin would take over for Will Muschamp, who accepted the head coach position at the University of Florida on Saturday.

Photo by Erika Aguilar for KUT News.

Heavy Travel Day

Today is another heavy travel day at the Austin Bergstrom International Airport. And travelers who didn't have to go through tough security screening on the way out of town, likely will have to go through a body scanner or enhanced pat down if they're flying home from a big city airport.

Urban Rail

http://www.flickr.com/photos/atmtx/4164741015/

The annual Chuy's Children Giving to Children Parade will tie up traffic downtown Saturday morning. The parade kicks off at 11 a.m.

Streets will close as early as 6 a.m. and will reopen around 2 p.m

San Jacinto Blvd. will close at 6 a.m., as will East 15th through East 10th and the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge.

Congress Avenue between 11th Street and the River will close at 9 a.m.

Austin's Rally will take place at the Capitol.
Photo Courtesy of the Austin Rally to Restore Sanity

The Rally to Restore Sanity will is not only happening in the nation’s capital this Saturday, but it's also going down in Austin. The uncharacteristic move to rally behind political moderatism will happen at the State Capitol.

Pages