The Conversation

Making Masks At Home — What You Need To Know About How To Reduce Transmission Of The Coronavirus

Apr 16, 2020
An Austinite makes a homemade mask for health care workers.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation to use cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19 has generated numerous how-to articles and videos. As academics who focus on personal protective equipment (PPE) research and development, we are concerned about the lack of information about two critical features of home mask design: fit and fabric selection.

Why Wear Face Masks In Public? Here's What The Research Shows

Apr 14, 2020
People wear face coverings at Mueller Lake Park on March 27.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

With the coronavirus pandemic quickly spreading, U.S. health officials have changed their advice on face masks and now recommend people wear cloth masks in public areas where social distancing can be difficult, such as grocery stores.

But can these masks be effective?

Social Distancing Comes With Social Side Effects. Here's How To Stay Connected.

Mar 16, 2020
The Travis County Tax Office has signs posted to encourage people to prevent the spread of disease.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

To fight the spread of coronavirus, government officials have asked Americans to swallow a hard pill: Stay away from each other.

Hispanics Are The Largest Minority In The U.S. But They Hold Less Than 5% Of Executive Positions

Jan 24, 2020
Buildings in downtown Austin.
Luis Perales for KUT

Many organizations have prioritized workplace equality and access to high-paying, executive level jobs for minority groups in recent years.

Commentary: Why Support For The Death Penalty Is Higher Among White Americans

Nov 30, 2019
Protesters hold signs proclaiming Rodney Reed's innocence.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Sentencing a person to die is the ultimate punishment. There is no coming back from the permanence of the death penalty.

In the U.S., the death penalty is currently authorized by the federal government, the military and 29 states. The primary rationale for using the death penalty is deterrence.

A woman gets a flu shot
Mary Mathis / NPR

Flu vaccination prevents millions of flu-related illnesses and deaths annually, but vaccination rates are low for many reasons.

During the 2018-2019 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 45% of U.S. adults received the flu vaccine. While this is an increase of 8% from 2017-2018, it falls way below the national goal of 70% of American adults receiving a flu shot.

Every Dog Has Its Day, But It's Not The Fourth Of July

Jul 3, 2019

The Fourth of July can be a miserable day for dogs. The fireworks make scaredy-cats out of many canines.

Austin Price for KUT

June 19 marks Juneteenth, a celebration of the de facto end of slavery in the United States.

For hundreds of thousands of African-Americans stuck in pretrial detention – accused but not convicted of a crime, and unable to leave because of bail – that promise remains unfulfilled. And coming immediately after Father’s Day, it’s also a reminder of the loss associated with the forced separation of families.

Raccoons sitting on a fence
Andy Langager via Flickr

I heard a local story of a man who, in his excitement to kill a rattlesnake, used the only thing he had available ─ his thermos bottle. The next scene in this drama has the man in the hospital receiving anti-venom to treat a snake bite.

Commentary: We're In A Golden Age Of Black Horror Films

Jun 9, 2019
Octavia Spencer
Universal Pictures/YouTube

In the horror genre, black is definitely back.

The movie “Ma,” which premiered May 31, stars Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer as Sue Ann, a lonely middle-age woman who clings to a group of teens to the point of obsession.