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Keeping Score and Keeping Cool

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

Chess Royalty

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley chess team won its third consecutive national championship, defeating Webster University in April for the President’s Cup.

Our June 2012 story The Kings and Queens of Brownsville told how young students made all the right moves to turn the U.S.’s southernmost border town into a chess powerhouse.


Score One for the Co-op

When Hereford Sports & Wellness took delivery of two digital scoreboards for its soccer field in the Panhandle town, the nonprofit community center realized it didn’t have the means to install them.

Deaf Smith Electric Cooperative did. The co-op sent a bucket truck outfitted with an auger and a crew of linemen, who drilled a half-dozen 6-foot-deep holes to securely mount the new displays.


Dental Doling

The tooth fairy forks over an average of $4.70 per visit in the U.S., a recent poll shows. That’s a far cry from the nickel recommended more than a century ago.

The Chicago Tribune carried the first published mention of the tooth fairy—in 1908. Writer Lillian Brown advised that parents might have an easier time persuading children to have loose teeth pulled if a “tooth fairy” left a small gift of 5 cents under youngsters’ pillows for each tooth lost. These days, National Tooth Fairy Day, August 22, commemorates the practice.

The white paint created by Purdue University engineers could be available in stores in a couple of years and promises to make a difference in indoor temperatures. “On certain days in the summer, you probably don’t need to turn on your air conditioner at all,” said the lead scientist in the project. “If the days become extremely hot, you’d need to turn on air conditioning, but our paint will still help offset a large portion of the cooling demand you would need.”

Garsya |

Cool Coat

Engineers have created the whitest paint ever—a paint so white that building surfaces coated in it are 8 degrees cooler than the air on a sunny day. The innovation could reduce air conditioning demands and mitigate the effects of climate change, Vice reports.

The new paint, developed by a team at Purdue University, reflects 98.1% of sunlight. Researchers used barium sulfate, a powder that’s reflective across all wavelengths of sunlight, to pigment the new paint—unlike most white paints, which tend to use titanium dioxide as pigment.


Worth Repeating

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
—Stephen King


Yankin’ Yankee

The simple pull-chain electric light socket turns 125 years old this month. Connecticut inventor Harvey Hubbell patented the socket August 11, 1896. It’s a design that remains in use today.

A Texan Who Boldly Went

The Texan who created the TV series Star Trek was born 100 years ago this month. Gene Roddenberry was born August 19, 1921, in El Paso. Star Trek debuted in 1966 and ran for three seasons.


Sullied Governor

The only Texas governor to be impeached and removed from office was born 150 years ago this month. James Edward Ferguson was born August 31, 1871, near Salado. He was impeached in 1917 on charges that included misapplication of state funds and falsification of records.

Barred from elected office, he later managed the political career of his wife, Miriam “Ma” Ferguson, helping her to become governor in 1924 and 1932.