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Hyperloops and Super Hoops

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

Hyperloop One could reduce long-distance travel in Texas to a matter of minutes. That’s in the future. Looking to the past, a remarkable basketball game took place 50 years ago on an indoor baseball field in Houston. From the hardwood to the Piney Woods, we take you to the arts scene in Crockett.

Hyperloop Highway

Elon Musk, he of Tesla and SpaceX, is behind Hyperloop One, a transportation system that he hopes will propel pods of people through vacuum tubes at more than 700 mph. The pods would float in the tube via magnetic levitation or an air-bearing system (like an air-hockey table) and be propelled by an electric linear motor.

A Texas vision for Hyperloop anticipates endpoints in Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, Houston and San Antonio, with a leg down to Laredo. People could zoom from Austin to Dallas in 19½ minutes.

The scientific community is energized by Musk’s dream and has been trying to advance the idea since about 2012. Two University of Texas teams participated in August 2017 in a competition, won by a German team, to design and build the best transportation pod. The highest speed reached at a test track near SpaceX headquarters in California was 220 mph.

A Hoops Home Run

Fifty years ago this month, a college basketball matchup called the Game of the Century took place in Houston. No. 1 UCLA, riding a 47-game winning streak, faced No. 2 Houston.

Why was it the Game of the Century? The January 20, 1968, game was in the Astrodome, before a crowd of 52,693— unprecedented at that time. It was televised live to a prime-time audience, which had never happened before. The Houston Cougars won 71-69, ending the UCLA Bruins’ winning streak.

The court was set up in the middle of the stadium, more than 100 feet from the spectators. “We played the game at second base in the Astrodome,” said UCLA star Lew Alcindor (who later became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). “It was weird. It was like playing out on a prairie someplace.”

Legendary broadcaster Dick Enberg remembers Houston fans storming the court, racing past the press and officials, who were positioned in 18-inch-deep trenches dug at the court’s edges.

“When Houston won, it was like the return to the Alamo,” Enberg said. “People were leaping over us in the foxholes. It was just this thundering herd.”

Destination: Crockett

A Larry Gatlin show January 27 is one of several the Piney Woods Fine Arts Association brings to Crockett as part of its 2017–18 event series. The goal is to make Crockett a destination for the arts in East Texas, says Glenn Barnhart, executive director of the association.

Upcoming shows at the Crockett Civic Center, a member of Houston County Electric Cooperative, include The Great Gatsby and Wynonna Judd. The co-op is a longtime sponsor and supporter of the association.

Piney Woods also features an arts-in-education program, including a Houston County youth talent show. “I’m most proud of the children’s programming,” Barnhart says. “Being able to bring artists from all over the world to share their music, art and talents with the kids is a wonderful experience.” For more information, call (936) 544-4276, or go to


The number of milk cows in Texas as of July 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Pour yourself a glass and celebrate National Milk Day on January 11.

Before Air Force One

Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first American president to travel by airplane 75 years ago. He flew in a Boeing 314 Clipper Flying Boat to a World War II strategy meeting with Winston Churchill at Casablanca in North Africa.

He and his entourage left Florida on January 11, 1943. After a stop in the Caribbean, they flew down the coast of South America to Brazil and then flew across the Atlantic to Gambia, then Morocco. They reached Casablanca on January 14.

Did You Know?

Theodore Roosevelt flew in a plane in 1910, but it was after he left the presidency. He flew in a Wright Model B biplane.

Worth Repeating

“Electricity seems destined to play a most important part in the arts and industries. The question of its economical application to some purposes is still unsettled, but experiment has already proved that it will propel a street car better than a gas jet and give more light than a horse.”

— Ambrose Bierce, American Civil War soldier, author and wit