Here Are Some Professors With PhDs in Selena

On Tuesday, it’ll be twenty years since the death of Selena Quintanilla Perez. Her influence on pop culture continues to loom large: Katy Perry still talks about Selena’s performance on the Grammys and the impact it had on her as a child, and Drake posted a photo on Instagram last month of himself in a Selena T-shirt. (Drake was eight years old when Selena was killed.) Solange Knowles covered “I Could Fall in Love” on her 2013-2014 tour, and last year rapper King Louie dropped a single called “Till I Meet Selena.” There’s plenty to say about Selena, and one thing we can all recognize is that even two decades after her death, Selena still matters.

SXSW 2015: Meet Some Faces Of The SXSW Economy

Taylor Mowrey Burge and her husband, Austin Burge, are having a baby in September. That’s an expensive proposition for anyone, but especially for people who work in the service industry. Taylor works with Coté Catering. Austin runs a coffee business that sets up shop at farmer’s markets and other events, and he does landscaping on the side—and they’re going to pay for all of their baby-related expenses with money that they make during SXSW. 

“Next week, I’m going to write a check to our midwife to pay for everything up front,” Taylor says as she walks down Sixth Street to a space above El Sol Y La Luna that, for an 8-day stretch of SXSW, is the Camel Lounge. “Otherwise, we’d be setting up a payment plan.”

Why Professor Dumpster's Gimmicks Are a Bunch of Trash

For the past year, Huston-Tillotson University associate professor Jeff Wilson has been the subject of more than two hundred articles thanks to his unusual living arrangement: the dude has spent most nights between February 2014 and February 2015 sleeping in a 33-square-foot dumpster on the school’s campus. The dumpster has got little but a mattress, A/C window unit, and a false floor under which he can keep his clothing and cooking equipment.

The backstory on Wilson’s decision to begin the experiment is basically what you might expect, if you had to guess. As the Washington Post explained in its exit-interview with Wilson, after he moved out of his dumpster home: 

Demolished East Austin Piñata Shop Is the New Center of Austin's Gentrification Debate

The gentrification of East Austin is a well-told story and hot-button subject. The 1928 Austin master plan placed most residents of color on the east side of the city (beyond what is now I-35). The current property tax structure in Texas, however, makes it difficult for longtime residents to keep their homes as taxes go up while wages don’t. And the basic cultural forces that have made hipster havens out of neighborhoods like Oak Cliff, in Dallas, and Lower Westheimer, in Houston, are at play. 

What Does It Mean that Some High-Profile Sponsors Have Pulled Out of SXSW?

People have been making predictions about the end of SXSW for a very long time. Back in 2011, technology blog TechCrunch mocked the rush to declare that the conference had tipped past its point of relevance with the headline, “Saying ‘SXSW Is Over’ Is Over.” For SXSW co-founder and managing director Roland Swenson, those predictions go back even further. 

“We’ve had twenty years of people saying that it’s over,” Swenson says. “Every year, in the five weeks leading up to SXSW, we have a meeting where we bring in all the staff—which is now about 200 people—and one of the things that I’ve been doing for the past few years is I put up a projection of a headline from the Austin American-Statesman that says, ‘SXSW: How Big Is Too Big?’ and everybody looks at it like, ‘Oh, okay,” and I tell them, ‘That’s from 1991.’” 

Pro-Russian Ukrainian Separatists Are Aligning Themselves with Texas Secessionists

What do Texas, Scotland, Ukraine, Catalonia, and other regions have in common? A not insignificant number of separatists. And this commonality is giving rise to surprising bedfellows. 

Take for instance, a new alliance between pro-Putin separatists in Ukraine and our own brand of local secessionists. Newsweek reports that the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) is seeking to create a “League of New Nations” that brings together separatists from Texas, Ukraine, Scotland, the Basque region of Spain, Venice, and Flanders in Belgium—and apparently the Texans that Alexander Kofman, the  DNR’s foreign minister, has reached out to are into the idea: 

“We already have agreement from representatives of these states,” Kofman said, arguing the only reason such a meeting has not yet happened is out of fear the movements will make it easier for political opponents to attack them at once.

The interviewer took particular interest to the mention of Texas and asked Kofman whether there were indeed “seeds of support for DNR in Texas.”

“They are more than seeds. The representative of Texan independence fully supports the Donetsk People’s Republic,” Kofman responded, although he didn’t identify the representative.

A Gun Rights Organization Staged a Re-Enactment of the "Charlie Hebdo" Shooting

Regardless of how you feel about their cartoons, no one has argued that the murder of 12 people in the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is anything less than a tragedy. But aside from the debate of whether we should all be proud to declare “Je Suis Charlie” or not, another question has emerged here in Texas: How would the cartoonists and editors at the French magazine have fared if they’d all been armed?

A Whataburger Customer Gave The Lady At The Drive Thru A $10,000 Mink Coat

‘Tis the season for kindness and generosity toward strangers, absolutely. And sometimes that kindness and generosity toward strangers is a bit more, shall we say, random and weird than other times. 

Take, for example, the story of a woman who, while in Liberty (between Houston and Beaumont) last week, drove thru the local Whataburger while picking up breakfast. This woman—identified by ABC 13 only as “Nadine”—was passing through in her $10,000 mink coat when the woman working the window, Cheryl Semien, complimented her on her style. Moments later, Nadine removed the coat, slid it through the window, and told Semien that if she liked it so much, she should keep it.

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