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
Texas Business reports: HOUSTON—A $1 million INSPIRE award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to Rice University will fund research on how bacterial decision-making occurs at the molecular level.
A better quantitative analysis of integrated biological systems could impact medical applications and the removal of pollution and other contaminants from the environment.
Rice was one of 11 institutions chosen for the NSF’s first round of INSPIRE (Integrated NSF Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research and Education) awards, which were established to address some of the most complicated and pressing scientific problems that lie at the intersections of traditional disciplines. NSF announced the first awardees July 18.
“We’re going to explore the fundamental question of how intricate protein-based molecular machines can determine cellular-level dynamics for living systems,” said principal investigator José Onuchic, Rice’s Harry C. and Olga K. Wiess Chair of Physics and a professor of physics and astronomy, chemistry, biochemistry and cell biology. “Our team will apply an integrative approach that combines computational and experimental techniques to bridge the huge gap in our understanding of and ability to predict the quantitative functionality of biological systems.”
Herbert Levine, the Hasselmann Professor of Bioengineering, is co-principal investigator for the project. He and Onuchic are also co-directors of the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics at Rice.
Their team of researchers at the center plans to create a framework for quantitatively predicting functional consequences of designed changes in protein systems. For their test case, they will focus on the decision-making circuitry of Bacillus subtilis, a bacterial microorganism that is commonly found in the soil.
“Although biology starts from the molecular scale, it is only at the cellular and multicellular levels that we see life in action, as a distinct form of matter that has goal-oriented behavior,” Levine said. “So the dynamics at higher levels must be directly determined by their molecular underpinnings. But exactly how this works has not yet been understood even for simple forms of life such as bacteria. Such knowledge could show us how to intervene at the molecular scale to engineer the performance of quantitative systems.”
Onuchic said the research is “inherently multidisciplinary” and combines protein chemistry with signal transduction, molecular biology and biophysics with complex pattern-formation physics, and nonequilibrium statistical mechanics with synthetic biology.
He said the basic knowledge gained from this work could revolutionize the ability to control biofilms by molecular manipulation. “Biofilm control is crucial for medical applications, for bacterial-based environmental remediation and for modern desalination,” he said.
Only Rice and Tufts University received the maximum amount — $1 million – allotted for INSPIRE awards in the first round. The INSPIRE awards that will be distributed this fiscal year are expected to total about $30.4 million.
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