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Aliens Love Us: Texas Is A UFO Hotspot


Five stories that have North Texas talking: Texas is a hotbed for UFO sightings,  the Dallas mayor apologizes for a 40-year-old killing, VideoFest is just a couple weeks away, and more.

Texas is hoppin’ with UFOs: Three of last year’s “strongest cases” for UFO sightings happened in the Lone Star State. That’s according to a list compiled by the California-based Mutual UFO Network. One Texas sighting happened when jailers at the Johnson County Correctional Facility in Cleburne spotted a triangular floating object with a dark surface and series of circular lights, The Dallas Morning News reported. Across the country, MUFON reported a record 7,182 sightings of unidentified flying objects last year — a 27 percent increase over 2011. Texas trailed only California in the number of sightings. The other two strong Texas cases occurred in the Milam County town of Milano in Central Texas, and in Van Alstyne, near the Texas-Oklahoma border, the newspaper reported.

  • Forty years later, an apology: Four decades after a Dallas police officer shot 12-year-old Santos Rodriguez in the head, Mayor Mike Rawlings apologized. On Saturday, Rawlings spoke at the first of a series of events called Conversations About Race: “I don’t have any clue why this city hasn’t apologized for that,” The Dallas Morning News quoted Rawlings. “There’s no excuse for that. And on behalf of the citizens of Dallas, the Dallas City Council, the Dallas Police Department, we wholeheartedly apologize for the death of Santos Rodriguez.” WFAA-TV got reaction from Rodriguez’s mother. Over the summer, KERA’s Lauren Silverman reported on the 40th anniversary of the shooting.

  • A big anniversary for the Latino Cultural Center: The Dallas center marked its 10th  anniversary over the weekend. The center has brought in several events, including the Big Squeeze accordion competition. But drawing visitors has been challenging, The Dallas Morning News reports. About 30,000 people attend the center each year – about the same number of visitors that attend Bath House Cultural Center, a smaller facility at White Rock Lake. Latino Center officials say they’re trying to attract bigger audiences by bringing in a bigger variety of art and author events.

  • Get your popcorn ready: Dallas VideoFest organizers have released the full list of films that will be shown at the 26th annual festival. This year’s films include "As I Am," about a young man trying to escape poverty; "City of Hate," about Dallas’ connection to the Kennedy assassination; and "Mercy Mercy," which follows all participants in the adoption process. The festival starts Oct. 9 at Gilley’s in Dallas, then heads up to Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Richardson on Oct. 10, where it will host more than 140 screenings through Oct. 13.

  • The science behind Siri and her voice: What does it take to get your smartphone or GPS device to spit out directions with a human-sounding voice? The Verge explores the topic in a fascinating story. Voice actors, long used to voicing 30-second commercials, now are holed up for weeks as they talk and talk and talk. The magazine reports: “After the script is recorded with a live voice actor, a tedious process that can take months, the really hard work begins. Words and sentences are analyzed, catalogued, and tagged in a big database, a complicated job involving a team of dedicated linguists, as well as proprietary linguistic software.”
Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.