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Deep Thoughts

Some of the topics we looked into while you were reading last month’s issue

Ocean Currents

Underwater volcanoes generate so much energy that they could power entire continents. But there’s a catch, say the British scientists researching such eruptions.

“I would say there is effectively zero chance of capturing the energy for all sorts of reasons, such as we don’t know when or where the eruptions will happen, very tricky to access, etc.,” volcanologist David Ferguson, of the University of Leeds, told Vice. “The point of the comparison was really just to illustrate how powerful/energetic these things are.”


Worth Repeating

“I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.”
—Albert Einstein


Step Up to Safety

Aluminum ladders can conduct electricity and so can nonmetallic fiberglass ladders when they’re dirty or wet. When working outdoors with a ladder, keep it at least 10 feet away from power lines and always carry it horizontally to avoid hitting a line.

Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Futures, a recently published book, explores a subject that author Merlin Sheldrake says surrounds us yet too few of us think about.

Domnitsky |

Fungi to the Rescue

Don’t ever underestimate the power of a fungus, the extraordinarily versatile life-form that produces mushrooms. Fungi can be trained to eat cigarette butts, used diapers, oil spills and even radiation.



Jerry LeVias of Beaumont made history in 1966, becoming the first Black scholarship athlete and second Black football player in the Southwest Conference.

LeVias, who turns 75 this month, became an All-America wide receiver and academic All-American at Southern Methodist University before spending six seasons in the NFL. He was an unlikely football star after contracting polio and experiencing a stroke as a child.

LeVias was born September 5, 1946.


Noodle (Nurdle?) on This

Standard plastic takes 450 years to degrade in ocean water, and every minute, the equivalent of one garbage truckload of plastic is dumped into our oceans.

That plastic starts out as nurdles, which also end up in oceans, and citizen scientists are determined to do something about that. Read Channel Your Inner Scientist to learn more.

Next in Line

Latexo High School, a 124-student school in East Texas, plans to add electrical training to its college and career readiness program this fall. So last spring the school invited Houston County Electric Cooperative lineworkers to speak to students about the rigors of their job.

Chris Cravens, Latexo High’s career and technical education program director, said the training will prepare students to obtain their Class A commercial driver’s licenses and offer them a basic electricity course through Angelina College in Lufkin.


Sweet Joe Greene

NFL star and Temple native “Mean” Joe Greene starred in a Coca-Cola commercial that debuted in fall 1979 and became an instant hit.

In the spot, Greene, a fierce defensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s, limps toward the locker room after a game when he coolly and reluctantly accepts a bottle of Coke from an idolizing young boy and then, as an afterthought, tosses his jersey to the youngster.

Greene, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, turns 75 on September 24.

Off the Rails

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the ill-fated publicity stunt called the Crash at Crush.

Promoters staged a head-on collision of steam locomotives on the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad at a nonexistent town they named Crush, 15 miles north of Waco. More than 40,000 people gathered to watch it.

The resulting fiery explosion, September 15, 1896, was certainly a sight to behold, but flying debris killed three people and injured six others. You can read our August 2011 piece The Deadly Crash at Crush for the full story.


The Fab Fifth

The Texan who is often considered the fifth Beatle would have turned 75 this month.

The Beatles invited Billy Preston, who was born September 2, 1946, in Houston, to join the recording sessions in London that produced the albums Let It Be and Abbey Road. The New York Times wrote that Preston “helped hold together the band” during those sessions in 1969 as the group was on the verge of breaking up.

Preston’s own career flourished afterward, and he was the musical guest on the first Saturday Night Live episode, broadcast in 1975.

Preston died in 2006.