Axios Austin

Newsletter branding image

Happy Tuesday.

β˜€οΈ Today's weather: Becoming sunny, with a high of 80.

πŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios Austin member Kendall Garrison!

Today's newsletter is 905 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Bill Nye's tips for eclipse viewing

Bill Nye, sporting a pair of eclipse glasses. Photo: Courtesy of the Planetary Society

Bill Nye β€” yes, the science guy β€” will head to Central Texas this weekend as part of the Planetary Society's two-day camping festival in Fredericksburg for the April 8 total solar eclipse.

What's happening: Nye, the group's CEO, spoke to us ahead of the family-friendly cosmic camping adventure about what he's learned from watching other total solar eclipses.

What they're saying: Nye tells Axios he chose Fredericksburg for the event because it's even closer to the path of totality than Austin, which will see about 1 minute and 40 seconds of darkness.

  • "Two minutes is not four minutes, my friend. We wanted to be where it probably, almost certainly, will not be cloudy."
  • Fredericksburg is expected to experience 4 minutes and 24 seconds of darkness, among the longest in the country.

Here are Nye's tips for a spectacular solar eclipse:

πŸ‘‚ Stop and listen: "When it really goes completely dark it's just amazing. The birds chirp, the crickets cricket. There's usually a bit of a breeze because the ground gets cool and then that cold air is squeezing the warm air up."

🀳 Skip the selfie: "Try to be in the moment. Do not focus β€” pun intended β€” on taking pictures. Try to just really be there. It's cool."

πŸ‘₯ Enjoy it with friends: "You want to share the experience. That's why we go to the football games instead of just watching it by ourselves on our phones."

πŸŒ™ Make a pinhole viewer: Nye recommends making a pinhole viewer, or just "take your fingers and interlace them and look at the ground just for a moment."

πŸš— Take a road trip: "Be careful out there, but it is worth it. Pack a lunch, go to the washroom before you leave, but go out there and enjoy the thing."

What's next: Local officials will hold a press conference at 1pm today to discuss preparations for the crowds and traffic the eclipse is expected to bring.

More of Nye's tips

2. We're getting scammed

Illustration: AΓ―da Amer/Axios

Texans lost over $1 billion to internet scams last year, ranking second behind California in cases reported to the FBI and tracking with population size.

Why it matters: If you've ever been the victim of a scam, you know how awful the feeling is.

The big picture: Americans lost over $12.5 billion to cybercriminals in 2023, according to new FBI data.

How it works: Scammers pretend to be a government official, tech support agent or customer service representative to trick people into sending money or other sensitive information.

  • The impersonators typically call with fake stories that motivate someone to share their private identifiable details.

Zoom in: The FBI received 47,305 complaints from Texans last year.

  • Last fall, Austin police warned of spoofers impersonating police personnel to collect fines over the phone.
  • Scams involving the impersonation of public officials were also reported in Gillespie and Burnet counties in the fall.

Of note: Scams can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission.

The bottom line: Many victims won't call the police after a scam or cyberattack because of either shame over falling for the ruse or fear of retaliation, but the FBI encourages reporting.

3. 🀠 The Roundup: Wrangling the news

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

πŸ“’ University of Texas students have launched a tenants union to press student renters' needs and improved housing conditions in West Campus. (Austin American-Statesman)

🩺 A Leander eclipse watch party will raise money to support a toddler with a kidney transplant. (Fox 7 Austin)

Quote du jour

"We don't expect everybody to have the most professional voice, but we want confidence, strength. We need it to be march-like so an audience can follow along."
β€” Laurie Winckel, a vocal coach based in Hutto and a judge for auditions to sing the national anthem before Round Rock Express games, as told to KUT.

4. Desert Island Dish with Grant Richardson

Image credit Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Dani Parsons via Stef Shapira Consulting

As part of our continuing Desert Island Dish series, we caught up with Grant Richardson, who owns the Violet Crown Wine Bar & Coffee Shop with his husband, Chris Nagelhout.

  • Opened last May, the Crestview spot has become a neighborhood favorite.

Background: Richardson also owns Pangea Selections, a natural wine importer and distributor, but wanted to start the wine bar partly because he "missed the customer-facing aspect of the wine industry."

  • "Here you can have fun, joyous conversations about why you care about this product so much β€” instead of just the wheeling and dealing of wholesale," he said.

You're headed to a desert island. What's the one dish you take with you?

"The duck carnitas taco from Nixta. It's at such a high caliber but also done so casually. They're using these rich ingredients, but also maintaining such freshness. I could eat a mountain of these."

What about to drink?

"I'm going strategic on this one, as a wine professional. Since it's a desert island, I'm choosing something fortified, not just a one-and-done bottle, so I'll go with the Maderized from Alta Marfa, from out in West Texas. It's a Madeira from the grapes of the Robert Clay Vineyards in Mason County. You could drink it over the course of a month.

How to run an eatery with your spouse

Sponsored job listings

New jobs to check out

πŸ’Ό See who's hiring around the city.

  1. Associate Director, Web Strategy at Cornerstone On Demand.
  2. Content Business Director at The Weather Company.
  3. Media Budget Coordinator at GSD&M.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Use code FIRST50 for $50 off your first job post.

5. 🍻 Eclipse suds for sale

Meanwhile Brewing and Zilker Brewing have collaborated to market a beer for the eclipse. Photo: Bob Gee/Axios

This Monday afternoon's eclipse is definitely going to be a beer-chips-and-guac event.

Why it matters: Everyone is cashing in on our astronomical moment.

Zoom out: The Simons Foundation, which promotes science and math research, has partnered with breweries across the path of totality β€” including Meanwhile Brewing, Zilker Brewing and Austin Beerworks β€” to create special edition eclipse-inspired beers, like the above 1:36pm Hazy IPA we found at H-E-B.

Thanks to Chloe Gonzales for editing and Kate Sommers-Dawes and Yasmeen Altaji for copy editing this newsletter.

🎧 Asher is listening to the latest "Serial" podcast, about the U.S. detention center at GuantÑnamo Bay.

πŸ’• Nicole is celebrating her best friend's final round of chemotherapy!