The Daily Texan

All content by Ellen Airhart
2016-05-02_ELLEN_30_Rachel

Science writer leaves behind succulent, new department

May 6, 2016

Editor’s note: A 30 column is a chance for departing permanent staff to say farewell and reflect on their time spent in The Daily Texan’s basement office. The term comes from the old typesetting...

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Science Scene: Biological tattoos communicate vital healthcare information

March 24, 2016

Some tattoos just look cool. Others save lives.  Soon, doctors may use biological tattoos instead of blood pressure cuffs or thermometers to monitor vital organs. Nanshu Lu, assistant professor...

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Austin CEO talks about artificial intelligence

February 4, 2016

Austin is known for live music, Barton Springs and breakfast tacos. Few students realize that it’s a hub for artificial intelligence research.  Michael Stewart is the CEO of Lucid, an artificial...

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Study shows chimpanzees with more friends have healthier guts

January 25, 2016

Eight years of feces reveals a lot about a primate: what it eats, its general health — and even how many friends it has. In a recent study published in the journal Science Advances, UT professor...

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Minds Over Matter: Students discuss mental health struggles, recoveries

December 1, 2015

Check out our video recap of the Texan Talks: Mental Health and Suicide Prevention: If you or someone you know would like to talk to someone about mental health concerns, contact the UT Counseling...

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Mind Over Matter: Student discusses drug addiction, recovery

December 1, 2015

Editor's Note: This is one part in a series about students and mental health. To check out the other stories, click here. Benjamin H. Batjer barely survived his heroin addiction. Now, nine months...

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UT researcher’s app keeps track of monarch butterfly migration

November 25, 2015

Every year, millions of monarch butterflies fly from Mexico to Canada. But some don’t make it, and UT researchers are trying to figure out why. Pictures of monarch butterflies on ships and oil...

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Science Scene: Cell phones hinder struggling students

November 19, 2015

Constant notifications from texts, emails and Facebook might be responsible for students’ poor grades. Those struggling to pass may benefit the most from turning off their phones. UT assistant...

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UT UAV team designs drones for research, rescue

November 13, 2015

Ten years ago, hummingbirds inspired engineering professor Maruthi Akella and his coworkers to create drones that can move quickly and sense their surroundings. Now NASA, the City of Austin and the U.S....

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Science Scene: Internalized gender roles affect STEM performance, attraction

November 5, 2015

When Cady Heron failed calculus in order to impress her crush, Aaron Samuels, in the film “Mean Girls,” she showed how detrimental internalized gender roles can be. Men often dislike when...

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Google chooses UT-Austin as testing ground for new app

November 4, 2015

Even tech employees sometimes feel guilty about how phone screens have replaced conversation. Last Friday, Google launched a new app at UT called Who’s Down, which is meant to get people off their...

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Science Scene: Halloween Edition

October 30, 2015

In celebration of Halloween, Science Scene writers Ellen Airhart, Maluly Martinez Benavides and Eva Frederick explain the science side of three creepy phenomena that might otherwise have you looking over...

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Science Scene: Scared Witless

October 30, 2015

Editor's note: This is one part of a three-part Science Scene in celebration of Halloween. To see the other two parts, click here. Few clowns, zombies or witches could make jaded college students...

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Science Scene: Texas capitol’s granite emits trace radiation

October 22, 2015

There may be more addling the minds of legislators in the Texas State Capitol than the quagmires of politics — radiation.    The Texas State Capitol gets its distinctive color from...

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Science Scene: Searching for the perfect sound wave at ACL

October 1, 2015

Austin City Limits festivalgoers who hope to bask in the sweat of rock stars force their way to the front of the stage. But fans searching for the perfect sound might want to settle back into the crowd.  To...

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60 Seconds: UT lecturer Travis LaDuc at the Turtle Pond

September 23, 2015

Editor’s Note: 60 Seconds is a recurring series that peeks into the lives of professors across campus. This Q&A has been edited for brevity and clarity. Herpetology curator and lecturer Travis...

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Science Scene: Bad Habits | Test Anxiety

September 11, 2015

Anxious pencil-tapping, nail-biting and cold sweat haunt testing rooms and student nightmares. “I feel it all over my body,” psychology senior Jennifer Smith said. “My heart pounds,...

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Science Scene: Bad Habits | Not Sleeping

September 11, 2015

Low grades, weight gain, cell damage and a decreased ability to tell what the opposite sex is thinking all have one thing in common — they’re symptoms of a college students’ bad night’s...

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Science Scene: Bad Habits | Fear of the Freshman Fifteen

September 11, 2015

There’s nothing fresh about the dread of weight gain that haunts students during their first year of college. The infamous term “Freshman Fifteen” is misleading, but not completely...

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Science Scene: Bad Habits

September 11, 2015

  College students struggle to keep good habits, especially with obstacles such as Netflix, buffet-style cafeterias and 30-page essays constantly getting in the way. Students can draw upon the...

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Science Scene: Extinction accelerates evolution

September 3, 2015

Mass extinctions have changed the face of the Earth five times during life’s 3.5-billion year history, and some scientists argue that we are on the brink of another. Researchers are scrambling...

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Science Scene: Studying with tunes can give students the blues

August 27, 2015

Students can use music to get hyped for a workout or to turn cleaning into a dance session, but they should think twice before putting in their earbuds while they study. In the early 1990s, scientists...

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Ten best back-to-school apps

August 26, 2015

Skip the notebooks, flash cards and multicolored pens this semester. With these 10 apps, you can keep all school necessities in the palm of your hand. CourseSmart – Free Textbooks are heavy and...

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Science Scene: The exercise sweet spot

August 2, 2015

Scientists have shown exercise can help people avoid depression and live longer. However, students who are constantly at the gym may be experiencing fewer health benefits per hour than those who exercise...

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Earthquakes, amphetamines, cancer and ice: 5 books about history of science and technology

July 29, 2015

School supplies are on sale again and it’s time to start planning for education domination. UT students who still have a little time on their hands can read these books to gain a better understanding...

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Science Scene: Competitive eating can bring fame and fortune but at a heavy price

July 17, 2015

There is a sport for UT students who can’t throw a frisbee, kick a soccer ball or run a mile: competitive eating. While local speed-eaters can contend for glory and profit at 16 different Austin...

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Science Scene: Theories inside Inside Out

July 2, 2015

The newest Pixar film, “Inside Out”  —  called “a delight,” “thrilling,” and a “stunningly original concept” by critics — offers a...

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Science Scene: Mosquitoes suck, but they probably can’t transmit HIV

June 25, 2015

At best, mosquitoes are a nuisance. At worst, they are the deadliest animals on the planet – killers deeply attracted to the smell of dirty socks. Mosquitoes are known as carriers of deadly...

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Science Scene: The darker side of sunshine

June 13, 2015

UT students ready for a long, hot summer need to be careful about sun exposure. For those who aren’t, one UT professor is on the case. Since 2005, biomedical engineering professor James Tunnell...

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Science Scene: Peeing in the pool is an act of chemical warfare

June 4, 2015

UT students will have to make a choice when nature calls at Gregory pool this summer: walk across the carpeted door mat to be blasted with air conditioning while dripping, miserable and distracted from...

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The next Bill Nye: six communicators that explore science on modern platforms

June 3, 2015

Bill Nye, host of the PBS show “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” is now available 24/7 to anyone with a Netflix account and a passion for scientific adventures. For the generation that grew up glued...

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Science apps let users participate in research, explore stars

May 7, 2015

There are better ways to procrastinate than mindlessly swiping fruit with your finger. A variety of iPhone and Android apps provide a portal into fascinating scientific research. Even the laziest emoji-users...

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Science Scene: In midst of ice cream recall, researchers work to improve gut health with listeria

May 6, 2015

The bacteria listeria caused one of the worst events on campus in 2015 — the removal of Blue Bell ice cream from UT shelves. However, not everyone is avoiding the bacteria. Researchers at the UT...

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Science Scene: Abbreviated courses aim to increase number of CPR-certified people

April 23, 2015

One hundred years ago, a failing heart meant a death sentence. Now, with cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, a pulse can be restored.  CPR is an emergency procedure for people who have stopped...

Locally produced podcasts offer diverse storytelling options

April 21, 2015

Austinites looking for a good story needn't look beyond the city limits. These locally produced podcasts offer listeners stories about topics as diverse as film, sex and murder from storytellers in...

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Science Scene: Cryonics present the possibility of immortality

April 9, 2015

Cryonicists do not believe in the word death. These scientists prefer the word deanimation, a term that implies reanimation is possible.  Cryonicists believe cryonics, the preservation of humans...

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Researchers aim to better understand effects of alcohol

April 8, 2015

Despite alcohol's pervasive influence on human history, scientists still do not fully understand the substance's effects. Each of the following studies, which University professors and graduate...

Public radioshow Radiolab creates GPS-tracked podcast “The Year That Broke Austin”

March 31, 2015

The new Radiolab podcast “The Year That Broke Austin” takes listeners on a walking tour of Austin that doesn’t require a tour guide. But as the story unfolds, some listeners may wish...

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Science Scene: Everything you know about the albino squirrel is a lie

March 25, 2015

There is no albino squirrel at UT. There have never been any albino squirrels at UT. I know you probably don’t want to believe this.  According to local legend, students who see the albino...

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Nipping: the next frontier of bioprinting

March 12, 2015

The printers in the TeVido Biodevices office don’t print concert tickets or English essays — they use live fat cells to print nipples and areolas.  TeVido, a technology company that...

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Science scene: American Psychological Association study finds link between empathy barriers and cyberbullying

March 12, 2015

One hundred forty characters composed in 20 seconds can ruin someone’s day.  Nearly half of all adolescents have experienced online bullying, according to a study by the American Psychological...

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Scientists protect the student body from on-campus diseases

February 19, 2015

There are deadly diseases on campus. They are not carried by birds, squirrels or freshmen — they live in a few of the hundreds of labs. Scientists at UT take the strictest precautions to ensure these...

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Proper training, caution can prevent running injuries in Austin Marathon

February 12, 2015

This Sunday, 18,000 runners will participate in the 24th annual Austin Marathon — a 26.2-mile footrace around the city — in which some will experience cramps, vomiting and loss of bladder...

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Five best running trails near campus

February 10, 2015

UT students can find a number of well-maintained, safe trails that start or end near campus. Many of the trails are bike-friendly and are often crowded with runners — especially as the Austin Marathon...