• Harry Ransom Center acquires McSweeney archives

    UT's Harry Ransom Center has acquired the archives of the McSweeney's publishing company, which contains manuscripts of books, essays, short stories, correspondence from many writers and award-winning design materials.

    The McSweeney's publishing company was formed in 1998 by Dave Eggers, an American writer who most recently published "A Hologram for the King." 

    "We're very happy to have the McSweeney's archive at the Ransom Center," Eggers said in a press release. "McSweeney's is celebrating our 15th anniversary this year, and we've had the honor and pleasure of publishing hundreds of authors, established and upcoming, while navigating the choppy seas of independent publishing."

    The archives include correspondence with writers David Foster Wallace, Michael Chabon, Heidi Julavits and more.

    Correction: This blog has been updated to reflect the correct date that the McSweeney's publishing company was formed.

    Follow Bobby Blanchard @bobbycblanchard.

  • Starbucks to improve Wi-Fi speed

    Starbucks’ locations around the country will get a Google upgrade beginning in August to improve customer Wi-Fi speed.

    Starbucks spokesperson Lily Gluzberg said customers can expect the new Wi-Fi service to roll out to more than 7,000 company-operated stores in the United States. The new service, partnered with Google, is set to make connection speed 10 times faster.

    Starbucks and Google are working with Level 3 Communications to make the faster speeds available.

    The upgrade will be implemented over the next 18 months. Gluzberg could not provide information on upgrades in the Austin area.

    Follow Christine Ayala on Twitter @christine_ayala.

  • The Morning Texan: Third special session underway

    Today is expected to be mostly cloudy, but still warm. According to the National Weather Service, the high is 101 degrees.

    Here is some morning reading:

    Yesterday's most read story: The City of Austin is currently planning where the Urban Rail may go. While the University wants it to go along San Jacinto Boulevard, students may prefer it in West Campus.

    What you have to read: Texas Gov. Rick Perry has announced a third special session. While transportation is the only item on the call right now, lawmakers are pushing Perry to add tuition revenue bonds and campus carry to the call. 

    In case you missed it:​ A UT graduate student has discovered water systems underneath glaciers in Antartica, potentially changing the way climate scientists understand how sea levels can rise around the world.

  • Some lawmakers hope for campus construction money in third special session

    Gov. Rick Perry called lawmakers back for third 30-day special session Tuesday to deal with a $4 billion hole in transportation funding. Although Perry has only put transportation funding on the agenda, some lawmakers hope they will be able to pass key measures in higher education policy this time around.

    Minutes after the governor decided to keep them in Austin, lawmakers filed at least three bills to fund campus construction projects at the state's higher education institutions. Perry has given no indication that he will add the so-called tuition revenue bonds to the agenda but has said in the past he would keep an open mind after the Legislature passed a transportation bill. The Legislature can only act on items the Perry puts on the agenda.

    SB 10, a campus construction bill, was filed on Tuesday with 22 senators signed on as authors. Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, and Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, also filed bills for campus construction projects. UT-Austin is currently hoping to receive $95 million for a new engineering building. 

    Rumors were rampant on social media that the governor would add campus construction projects and measures for a concealed firearms on campus to the agenda, but by Tuesday evening only transportation was on the call.

    "When it comes to transportation, the stakes facing our state could not be higher, and a failure to act now could take years - if not most of a decade - to correct, as traffic congestion increases and harms our quality of life," Perry said in a statement. 

  • Third special session looms for Texas Legislature

    House speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, said Gov. Rick Perry would immediately call a third special session later this evening after transportation funding was left unsolved at the closure of the second special session on Tuesday.

    The second special session called by Perry was first initiated to address transportation funding as well as abortion restrictions. The bill on the floor Monday would have raised about $900 million for the Texas Department of Transportation from money intended to go to the Texas Rainy Day Fund, fulfilling the state’s most pressing road construction needs. The House vote on the bill fell 16 votes short from the required 100-vote consensus.

    State Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, authored the bill and has asked Perry not call another 30-day session immediately and instead wait until after the 2014 primaries.

    “Legislators have been in Austin for nearly seven months now, and to go home without dealing with one of the most pressing issues facing all Texans is simply unacceptable,” Perry said in a statement after transportation bills failed Monday. “I join Texans across the state who appreciate the 84 members of the House who voted today to keep Texas moving.”

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