Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Friday, July 29, 2022:
Understanding prisoner exchange talks between U.S., Russia
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said earlier this week that the United States and Russia had discussed a prisoner exchange that would bring Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan back to the U.S. William Inboden, executive director and William Powers, Jr. Chair at the University of Texas at Austin’s Clements Center for National Security, talks to Texas Standard about the negotiations and their relationship to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Texas is one of 13 states that does not have air conditioning in all of its state prisons. Temperatures inside units have regularly reached 110 degrees, and in at least one unit heated up to 149 degrees. J. Carlee Purdum is the lead author of a new report on heat in Texas prisons and an assistant professor at Texas A&M University. She joins to talk about the dangers of extreme heat.
Service providers raise concerns about the new manager of Austin’s homeless shelter
The Austin City Council unanimously approved a contract with a California-based nonprofit to manage the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless. KUT’s Andrew Weber reports that local service providers have questions about the city’s quick decision on the contract after deciding earlier this month to end its partnership with Front Steps, the nonprofit that’s managed the shelter since it opened in the mid-2000s.
How wildfires are affecting livestock
Wildfires have raced across Texas this summer, burning acreage and destroying homes. But it’s not just property that’s at risk. Animals, including livestock and birds, can face danger too, even if they survive the fire itself. But as the size and frequency of fires grows, scientists are just now beginning to understand how exposure to smoke and fire could impact animals’ long-term health. Matt Simon, a staff writer at Wired, talks to Texas Standard about his reporting on wildfire and livestock.
Is Russia leaving the International Space Station?
Despite tensions on Earth, so far, there’s been no interruption in cooperation between the United States and Russia when it comes to the International Space Station. But earlier this week, a Russian state news site reported that officials for the country’s space program planned to withdraw from the ISS after 2024. Just a few days later though, Reuters reported that Russia planned to continue cooperating after all – at least until its own, stand-alone space station is up and running. Loren Grush of The Verge breaks it all down.
Changing your default tech settings
When you get a shiny new phone or computer, adjusting default privacy settings probably isn’t top of mind. But perhaps it should be: Default settings on apps cause us to inadvertently share a lot of data about ourselves – perhaps more than we’d like to. The challenge is knowing which settings to change, and how to change them without messing something else up. Brian Chen, lead consumer technology writer for The New York Times, talks us through some settings adjustments.
The Typewriter Rodeo poets share this week’s on-the-spot poem.
This Week in Texas Politics
The Texas Tribune’s James Barragán rounds up the biggest news in Texas politics this week:
– Uvalde elementary principal reinstated after school shooting investigation, lawyer says
– Texas AG Ken Paxton bans staff lawyers from speaking at state bar events, escalating feud sparked by 2020 election
– Ted Cruz says Texas should repeal its now-defunct law banning gay sex
All this, plus the Texas Newsroom’s state roundup and Michael Marks with the Talk of Texas.