Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

All content by Robert Starr

Murder mystery’s expected plot lacks urgency

Robert Starr April 2, 2012

Several characters together alone in a mansion, all with a hidden motivation to kill and one dead body: it’s formulaic, sure, but why fix what isn’t broken? Especially when it works well, as...


Cameras construct 3-D images with lasers

Robert Starr March 29, 2012

Developed theoretically two years ago, a new camera prototype has now been developed that can see around corners. The camera works by firing laser beams at a wall, which then bounce off and hit an object...


Recent advancements delve into sea of discovery

Robert Starr March 22, 2012

Director Journeys into The Abyss Oscar-winning filmmaker James Cameron, who has directed some of the biggest movies of the past 25 years, including “Titanic” and “Avatar,” will...

Live album presents great collection of The Decemberists’ songs throughout career

Robert Starr March 20, 2012

“I just thought I’d mention before we begin: This is not the Keith Urban concert. If you mean to be at a Keith Urban concert, you will be sorely disappointed.” So said lead singer Colin...


Discoveries shed light on human habits

Robert Starr March 8, 2012

Iceman had brown eyes, liked long walks Scientists learned more about the Iceman, a frozen specimen of an ancient human found over 20 years ago, by applying the most modern DNA analysis available today....


Band readies for several SXSW performances after new album

Robert Starr March 6, 2012

Editor’s Note: The Daily Texan talked with Adam Levy, singer-songwriter and bandleader for The Honeydogs, to discuss the band’s latest album, What Comes After, released today. Levy will be...

The Honeydogs’ tenth album returns to the band’s roots

Robert Starr March 6, 2012

With an opening track titled “Particles or Waves,” alluding to quantum duality and other songs that make references to Greek mythology and philosophy, one may be tempted to say that The Honeydogs’...

‘Hockey Stick’ shoots and scores for climate science

Robert Starr March 5, 2012

Science and politics make poor bedfellows, particularly when the former is debated in the arena of the latter. The two major areas where the pairing seems particularly gruesome are evolution and climate...


Lab-grown burgers avoid killing, male gene remains safe for now

Robert Starr March 1, 2012

Hamburger Without the Cow It’s been the subject of science fiction in the past, but a Dutch group is finally in the process of making lab-grown meat a reality in the form of a $330,000 hamburger....

‘Voices’ has little literary value, contains entertaining thrills

Robert Starr February 27, 2012

As far as literary value goes, “Voices of the Dead,” a new pulpy revenge thriller by Peter Leonard, doesn’t have much to offer. The prose is terse, telling the reader exactly what’s...


Alcohol provides pleasant environment for fruit flies

Robert Starr February 23, 2012

Documents from Heartland Institute, a climate change-denying think tank, have leaked and suggest that the organization is attempting to bring their position into the public arena using the public school...


From On-Line Dating to Woolly Mammoth Fakery

Robert Starr February 16, 2012

Computer Knows Not How to Love While many dating websites, such as eHarmony or OkCupid, profess to use scientific algorithms to find you that perfect someone, a recent review in the journal “Psychological...

Author says secrets of brain most likely lie in connections

Robert Starr February 13, 2012

As science progresses further and further along, it's remarkable how little we still understand about the big questions of consciousness, which are simple enough to ask, but downright confounding to...

Authors clarify quantum mechanics

Robert Starr February 13, 2012

The last word a physicist wants to hear at a cocktail party is “quantum.” The science of quantum mechanics has been so badly butchered and misrepresented by well-meaning writers, that others...


From flying robots to men showing-off

Robert Starr February 9, 2012

Robot Swarms The General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania has put together small flying machines that travel in complex formations while...


New discoveries in science range from space to skulls

Robert Starr February 2, 2012

Man's Oldest Friend? The dog may have been domesticated earlier than we previously thought. Two 33,000-year-old dog skulls have been found in Siberia and Belgium with shortened snouts, indicating...

Authors addresses questions regarding universe’s formation

Robert Starr January 30, 2012

One of the most baffling philosophical questions of all time is why we’re here. Or, to put it another way, why is there anything instead of nothing at all? Why does the universe exist and if there’s...


Physicist finds dark matter galaxy

Robert Starr January 26, 2012

Editor’s note: This is a semester-long column recapping some of the exciting new scientific developments of the week. Robert Starr is a Ph.D. student studying physics. Scientist Sees Dark Galaxy:...

New album falls short of Michaelson’s talent

Robert Starr January 24, 2012

With a watercolor painted album cover by Joe Sorren evoking early Joni Mitchell, one could be forgiven for thinking that Ingrid Michaelson’s latest album, Human Again, might be an artistic foray...


‘Raylan’ keeps up Western plots, thrills

Robert Starr January 23, 2012

After writing novels for more than 50 years, it might seem like Elmore Leonard would run out of steam or lose the spark that gave him a unique voice, but if his latest, “Raylan,” proves anything,...


Advances span scientific spectrum

Robert Starr January 20, 2012

The Secret to Multicellular Life, Revealed?: Scientists at the University of Minnesota have created multicellular life from single cellular yeast in the lab. Starting with the yeast and artificially...

Smashing Pumpkins rerelease burst of alt-rock nostalgia

Robert Starr December 6, 2011

In the realm of ’90s alternative rock, few bands stand on the same tier as the Smashing Pumpkins. Led by guitarist and vocalist Billy Corgan, they produced a body of work epic in scope, focusing...

Study methods prove to be more effective than all-nighters

Robert Starr December 1, 2011

It’s the end of the semester and, though you promised yourself that this time would be different, you’ve let your work slide, and you’re not prepared for the final at all. Without a minute...

Kate Bush’s 50 Words for Snow is about 45 words too long

Robert Starr November 22, 2011

Music is a fairly subjective art form. A piece that somebody may love will leave someone else cold. It doesn’t transcend generations very well, with parents and children forever fighting over which...

Rhett Miller’s ‘Live at Largo’ bittersweet, inconsequential

Robert Starr November 22, 2011

The Largo on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles was a magical place — a small hole in the wall with terrible food, no comfortable seats and filthy restrooms that somehow managed to attract impressive...

Silent movie ‘Metropolis’ mixed with new wave music is strange, but successful

Robert Starr November 17, 2011

“Metropolis” is one of those movies that any cineast should see before he or she dies. It’s a remarkable piece of work, released at the tail end of the silent period of cinema and featuring...

Gazzaniga’s latest book compellingly explains ‘Who’s In Charge?’

Robert Starr November 14, 2011

Why are you reading this article? It’s a simple question, but if there’s any truth to the findings of neuroscience, the answer you give is a justification by a part of your brain that had...

‘Why Can’t Elephants Jump?’ offers answers, lacks explanations

Robert Starr November 14, 2011

While scientists are out there working on the big questions like the nature of matter, the meaning of time and what dark energy is, they’re not working on the truly important questions that affect...

Randy Newman’s ‘Live in London’ a solid, if unremarkable, release

Robert Starr November 8, 2011

Randy Newman is something of an unconventional singer-songwriter. Aside from his voice, which only really works for Randy Newman songs, his songwriting is difficult to pigeonhole. While many know him for...

Long live the Decemberists

Robert Starr November 1, 2011

 Though The Decemberists released a few albums before Picaresque, that was the one that put them on the map. Strange and wonderful, the album began with whale songs and each track came up with new...

New Criterion Blu-Ray Release of Dazed dazzles

Robert Starr October 27, 2011

Physical media may be dying, but it’ll be a tragedy for the collector if it ever does. Sure, one could go to Amazon and download a digital copy of Richard Linklater’s “Dazed and Confused,”...

Physicist Discusses Mysteries of the Universe in “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”

Robert Starr October 24, 2011

With talk about neutrinos, bosons and muons, the field of particle physics often sounds less like science and more like something out of a Lewis Carroll poem. It’s not just that the field is abstract...

Ben Folds’ retrospective exceeds expectations

Robert Starr October 18, 2011

Ben Folds loves his fans, and if they needed any proof, they now have it in the form of his new release, The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective. Not content just putting together a simple “best-of”...

Rachael Yamagata’s Third Album, “Chesapeake,” a Genre-Mixing Success

Robert Starr October 12, 2011

 Give a pretty girl a guitar and tell her sing to about heartache, and that seems like all you need to make a solid pop album. Or at least it seems that easy when that girl is Rachael Yamagata. Her...

Spiritual, scientific writers engage in ‘War of Worldviews’

Robert Starr October 12, 2011

Fairness isn’t always fair, but sometimes it can be interesting. “War of the Worldviews” pits two writers against each other, each with a different idea of what reality means and how...

Steven Pinker takes unpopular stances in new book

Robert Starr October 11, 2011

Other than sex, few things are more interesting to humans than violence. We pay good money to watch gory movies and video games, deplore the acts of violence we see on the news (but still can’t...

Dawkins’ latest somewhat successful in showing the “Magic of Reality”

Robert Starr October 4, 2011

Children often find themselves drawn to the sciences. Three-year-olds incessantly ask their parents a never-ending series of “whys,” only to be told over and over again to stop asking questions....

Graphic novel presents life of renowned physicist, ‘Feynman’

Robert Starr September 30, 2011

The mere mention of the name Richard Feynman causes any physicist’s eyes to brighten. No doubt, Feynman was one of greatest thinkers of the 20th century, but he never acted like one. He was a goofball...

24-hour science podcast seeks to inform, entertain audience

Robert Starr September 23, 2011

Science has had a tough time in the popular media. On TV for instance, every “Cosmos,” “Mythbusters” or “Planet Earth” has about a dozen Fox specials about alien abductions,...

‘Straw Dogs’ remake not original enough

Robert Starr September 16, 2011

Rod Lurie’s remake of “Straw Dogs” makes many changes to Sam Peckinpah’s original, some of which improve the story and some that don’t make much of a difference. The biggest...

‘Contagion’ depicts realistic viral chaos

Robert Starr September 9, 2011

[Corrected Sept. 11: Changed Lauren Meyers title] Monster movies are scary, but they aren’t that scary. Sharks, snakes, spiders, mutant beasts — sure, they can kill you, but that’s about...

Magician, psychology professor reveals tricks and truths behind paranormality

Robert Starr August 30, 2011

A man takes your hand, tells you to relax and then traces the lines on your palm to uncover the mysteries of your past, present and future. He tells you that you’re a kind person. That the line over...

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