Out of 26 million Texans, you may have an idea to change the world. You may have had several ideas to change the world. But only a tiny minority of you pushed through the U.S. Patent office from application to successful patent. We've seen Texans change the world many times over. Jack Kilby did it with Texas Instruments in 1958 with the integrated circuit, causing the start of the digital revolution, which, in part, is why you can read these words over your electronic device.
Over the last few years, Texas Business has brought its feature: Texas Business Patent of the Day. This list is of the ones that were either extremely clever, odd or strange. One thing becomes apparent from these patents and the patent that runs daily in Texas Business—Texans have a unique mind set.
Though the history of the Corn Dog is disputed, the State Fair of Texas claims to have introduced the Corny Dog sometime between 1938 and 1942. As a paean to that invention that now sits in the freezer section of every grocery store in the southwest, here are the fried foods the State Fair of Texas has introduced, or tried to introduce, in the last seven years.
Don't get caught up with John Wayne religion. For one thing, he's not Texan. He's in some fine movies involving Texas, most notably The Searchers, but none of his movies can make the best cut of Texas movies. Here's the short list.
Unsung Texas Business Journalists Mention that one is a reporter, and there's a spark of interest. Mention that one is a business news reporter, and watch the eyes glaze over. Except to the players, business and economic journalists are unappreciated. While many wish to become sports reporters when they grow up, most do not realize that business journalists cover the Real Game. Mention that reporter covers business, and watch the eyes glaze over. A toast to these below on the short list and the numerous unnamed ones slogging away. Full Story » TexasBusiness.com
Best Texas Mexican Food: The Short List No, we're not going to debate the difference between Tex-Mex, Mex-Tex, Mexican and Texican food. Just know these establishments are the pinnacle of Texas Mexican fare. No brag, just fact. Full Story » TexasBusiness.com
Best Texas Burgers Texas Burgers. . While a hamburger is merely sustenance and gratification for a meal, the memory a good Texas burger can give rise to Homeric odes. The short list. Full Story » TexasBusiness.com
David Lowry, a post-doctoral researcher in the lab of Tom Juenger, stands in one of the lab's experimental switchgrass plots.
Texs Business reports: AUSTIN—A biologist at The University of Texas at Austin has received a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to study native prairie grasses as potential sources of biofuel.
The project, which is being led by Tom Juenger, is looking in particular at “panicgrass,” which is native to Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico. The grass is useful as a proxy for studying the genetics and physiology of switchgrass, one of the most likely sources of biofuel in the near future.
“Switchgrass shows enormous potential as a source of biofuels,” said Juenger, associate professor of integrative biology in the College of Natural Sciences. “It’s a beast to study, though. It is a very large perennial plant, requiring a lot of space to grow, and has a very complex genome and breeding system.”
Juenger and his colleagues chose to study Panicum hallii, panicgrass, because although it’s a close genetic relative to switchgrass, it’s much smaller and has a simpler genome.
“We are looking for genes that underlie plant growth, architecture, and response to environmental stresses,” said Juenger. “We will then translate our findings into the more agronomically important switchgrass, Panicum virgatum.”
The grant is part of a larger $41 million investment from the DOE and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 13 projects that will drive more efficient biofuels production and feedstock improvements.
“If we want to develop affordable alternatives for oil and gasoline that will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we need investments like these projects to spur innovation in bioenergy,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “By producing energy more efficiently and sustainably, we can create rural jobs, boost rural economies and help U.S. farmers, ranchers and foresters prosper.”
In 2009 Juenger and his integrative biology colleagues Christine Hawkes and Tim Keitt received a $4.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation to explore how switchgrass will fare under future climate change.
This grant will further that research and promote investigations of the genes involved in biomass production and tissue quality, both of which are important factors in selecting and breeding potential bioenergy crops.
The Texas News Scrawl is a handy reference to stories Texas Business recommends from other news sources. Some of the stories that Texas Business currently suggests include: The West News proves the value of a great weekly newspaper in a community torn up with grief and chaos; Chinese investors checking out Texas, Austin; Texas makes bounce house operators carry liability coverage, but not plants like West Fertilizer; bSpaceX’s Grasshopper leaping to NM spaceport;American Airlines, US Airways to name post-merger leadership within weeks; Texas power cushion seen at lowest level in a decade; Media outlets reflect Houston's diversity; and more.