TECH: What is a chief innovation officer anyway? I’m still not sure after meeting’s Austin’s newly appointed chief. Perhaps that’s part of the point, since Kerry O’Connor says that uncertain outcomes are key to innovation. When she studied foreign policy, for instance, her teachers were baffled by the collapse of the Soviet Union, and when she joined the foreign service, its leaders were undone by 9/11. So O’Connor knows the value of good and bad disruptions. A pack of techies, designers and entrepreneurs liked what she said at the Capital Factory about working inside and outside government. She also advocates radical openness, bound to please any journalist. O’Connor professes to be allergic to buzz words, but, perhaps because of her designated audience, she couldn’t avoid them on Monday. It sounds like her main job will be bring bright people together to figure out the city’s big problems and solutions. (That sounds like what Carol Thompson, who welcomed O’Connor warmly, has been doing in the business community for years. Good. We need more Thompsons.)

CITY: Bring on the micro-apartments. From Sarah Coppola’s story in the Statesman: "With housing in Austin becoming more pricey, city leaders are looking to a very small idea to cut costs: micro units. Micro units are apartments or condos that are less than 500 square feet— some, no bigger than the typical hotel room — with creative layouts that pack in essentials like a kitchenette, bed and bathroom. These tiny dwellings are usually built in or near a downtown area for single people or couples who want to downsize and lead a more urban lifestyle, including potentially giving up a car. Austin City Council Member Chris Riley wants the city to relax some development rules to encourage builders to construct more micro units. With 110 people moving to Austin each day, the city needs affordable, creative housing options, he said." http://shar.es/BlhYI (But, of course, some people reflexively oppose them.)

TRANSIT: More toll roads on the way. From Ben Wear’s story in the Statesman: "A second wave of tollway construction is about to wash over Central Texas, more than $1 billion worth. By late next year, there could be as many as four such projects underway, with more coming. And unlike the first toll go-round last decade, when most of the pay-to-play roads popped up in Williamson County and other corridors far from the Capitol, these projects are all in Travis County. The pace has picked up over the past few months. Along with two projects already slated to begin construction late last year and this year, the schedule accelerated on two others. The $200 million North MoPac Boulevard express lane project, as sorrowful commuters well know, is underway. It should be done late in 2015 or early 2016. And the $140 million Texas 71 project, adding toll lanes from west of FM 973 to east of Texas 130 and straightening out a dogleg in FM 973, might begin construction late this year." http://shar.es/Bl455(Alternatives to 35 sound smart.)

HEALTH: Why the spike in pertussis? From Alex Hannaford’s story in the Texas Observer: "More than half the infants younger than a year who get pertussis must be hospitalized, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Half will have apnea (either their respiration will slow or they’ll stop breathing altogether). One in five will get pneumonia. One in 300 will develop encephalopathy, a brain disease, and one in 100 will die. Brooks Hale was one of the 3,621 cases of pertussis in Texas in 2013—the majority in the north and west of the state—and 804 (22 percent) of them were children younger than 1. Of the 3,621 cases, more than 400 people were hospitalized, and five children died. It was the largest outbreak in Texas since the 1950s. Pertussis, like measles and other diseases that vaccines nearly eradicated, is once again a major public health threat. The question is why." http://www.texasobserver.org/worth-shot/(Compelling story.)