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Measuring Up

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

Groundbreaking Cougar

Warren McVea was a high school football phenom—arguably the best running back in the country—at San Antonio’s Brackenridge High School in 1964, when he turned down more than 70 other scholarship offers and elected to play for the University of Houston.

The decision was historic, making McVea, who turns 75 this month, the first Black player to receive a scholarship to play football at any of the major college programs in Texas. He was a two-time All-American for the Cougars and later played six seasons in the NFL.

McVea was born July 30, 1946.


July 5 Is National Bikini Day

This year’s celebration takes on special meaning as it marks the 75th anniversary of the skimpy swimsuit.

Dancer Micheline Bernardini debuted the bikini, designed by Louis Réard, at a poolside photo shoot July 5, 1946, in Paris. A world just emerging from World War II considered the suit scandalous because it showed a woman’s navel.

Réard named the swimsuit, which used about a napkin’s worth of fabric, after the Bikini Atoll, the Pacific Ocean coral island where the U.S. tested nuclear weapons for more than a decade starting in 1946.


By the Numbers: 25,000

That’s roughly the number of times a person breathes in a day.


Fertile Feline

No cat on record has given birth more than a tabby born in 1935 in Bonham, in North Texas. Dusty produced 420 kittens during her life, according to Guinness World Records, giving birth to her last litter, a single kitten, in 1952.


One foot used by surveyors varies by another foot used by other surveyors by 0.12672 inches per mile. That doesn’t sound like much. But in once city, the construction of a downtown high-rise that sat in the approach path to an international airport was delayed while the building was redesigned to be one floor shorter.

Boot print: Kzww | Tape measure: Oh Studio Image

Best Foot Forward

Some people in this country have two feet, and it’s causing all kinds of problems. That’s about to change, however.

Wait. What?

One foot is the old U.S. survey measuring foot from 1893, according to The New York Times, that takes Earth’s curvature into account. The other is the shorter and slightly more exact international foot from 1959, used by nearly everybody in the U.S. except surveyors in some states. The two feet differ by about one-hundredth of a foot per mile, or 2 feet for every 1 million feet.

But come January 1, 2023, the old foot gets the boot when the National Institute of Standards and Technology adopts the international foot as the official standard in the U.S.



The Hottest Thing in Email

Hotmail launched 25 years as one of the first public webmail services. Users of the service, originally stylized as HoTMaiL to highlight its web-based existence, could access it from any computer worldwide.

Microsoft acquired Hotmail, which debuted July 4, 1996, the next year and later relaunched it as Outlook.


True Blue

The world first learned of Texas teen LeAnn Rimes 25 years ago with the release of her debut album, Blue, on July 9, 1996. Rimes, then 13, went on to win Grammy Awards for best new artist and best female country vocal performance for her rendition of the title song, Blue. Texan Bill Mack wrote Blue and offered it to Patsy Cline in 1963, but she died before she could record it.


Good as Gold

Only a handful of athletes have won gold in two different Olympic sports. Texas can claim one of them.

One hundred and one years ago, at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, Morris Kirksey, who was born in Waxahachie, was part of gold-medal efforts by the U.S. men’s rugby team and the 4-by-100 relay.

When the 2020 Games, postponed last July because of the COVID-19 pandemic, kick off July 23 in Tokyo, athletes will compete in new Olympic sports climbing, karate, skateboarding and surfing.