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The Quick 10: 10 Things We Got from Texas

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1. Deep-Fried … Anything?
Salty, pretzel-like pockets filled with Guinness and deep-fried? I’d try it. The ravioli-shaped Fried Beer debuted last year at the Texas State Fair, alongside deep-fried frozen margarita, and the year before, deep-fried butter. Before that, the fair boasted deep-fried latte, cookie dough, Coca-Cola, Pop Tarts, lemonade and chocolate. No word yet on Deep-Fried Lipitor.

2. Dr Pepper
In the 1880s, Charles Alderton developed the 23-flavored soft drink in Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in Waco. The origin of Dr Pepper’s name is hazy – some think the “pep” is for pepsin, and others believe it refers to the early marketing of the soda, which like most others was called a “brain tonic” or “energizing tonic.” What we do know for certain is that the period after “Dr” was dropped in the 1950s for stylistic reasons.

3. Mary Kay Cosmetics
In 1963, Mary Kay Ash launched her company, Mary Kay Inc., in Addison. Today the company operates in 35 countries and boasts $2.8 billion in annual earnings. GM estimates that they have produced about 100,000 of the signature pink Cadillacs for top-earning Directors or Nationals.

4. Networked ATMs
Though previous versions of self-service banking machines existed, most required single-use tokens or paper vouchers and were only designed to dispense a fixed amount of cash. The first incarnation of the modern, networked ATM came in 1969, from Dallas and a guy named Donald Wetzel. He headed up Docutel, which until then had produced automated baggage-handling machines. In 1971, the company had developed the “total teller” model, which could take deposits, transfer money from checking to savings, savings to checking, get cash advances to from credit card, and take payment. Their patent was secured in 1973 and in 1995, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History recognized Wetzel and Docutel as the inventors of the networked ATM.

5. The Rodeo
Pecos, TX, claims to be the Home of the World’s First Rodeo, held on July 4, 1883. The event is still held every year on Independence Day, but the first official rodeo competition was held in Cheyenne, WY, in 1872. (Sorry, Texas.)

6. Jalapeno Jelly
Some enterprising and adventurous soul in Lake Jackson developed a mixture of jalapeno and bell peppers, sugar, gelatin and vinegar. Rather surprisingly (to me, anyway), it was a hit, and the concoction was first marketed commercially in 1978. Jalapeno jelly is a bit of, um… an acquired taste, but fans spread it on everything from biscuits to burgers.

7. Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM)
Perhaps one of computer technology’s more important developments, dynamic RAM, was invented by Dr. Robert Dennard of Terrell, TX, in 1968. The Intel 1103, the first piece of hardware incorporating Dennard’s design, was released by IBM in 1970. By 1972 it was the best-selling semiconductor memory chip in the world, completely obliterating the previous magnetic core technology.

8. Liquid Paper
Bette Claire Nesmith, single mother of Monkee Michael Nesmith and native of Dallas, was a part-time artist and the executive secretary at Texas Bank and Trust. The early-model electric typewriter she used at the bank made correcting mistakes extremely difficult, but she drew on her experience painting windows to come up with an easier method. Said Nesmith, “[W]ith lettering, an artist never corrects by erasing, but always paints over the error. So I decided to use what artists use. I put some tempera water-based paint in a bottle and took my watercolor brush to the office. I used that to correct my mistakes.” In 1956, she had a perfected formula, which she marketed under the Liquid Paper brand. In 1979, Nesmith sold the company to Gillette for $47.5 million.

9. The Most Powerful Laser in the World
After establishing the Texas Center for High Intensity Laser Science at the University of Texas at Austin (or UT), the research center developed and constructed a 1.1 petawatt laser, the most powerful currently in use. (Previously, a system installed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory broke the petawatt barrier, but it was dismantled in 1999.) For a tenth of a femtosecond (or one tenth of one-trillionth of a second), the Texas Petawatt Laser’s pulse is as powerful as all the power plants in the US. Also, the beam reportedly “is brighter than sunlight on the surface of the Sun.”

10. The Adopt-A-Highway Program
For more on that, read fellow _flosser Scott Allen’s article, “Own the Road: A Brief History of the Adopt-a-Highway Program.”

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Little Baby's Ice Cream
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Food
Pizza and Cricket Cake Are Just Some of the Odd Flavors You'll Find at This Philadelphia Ice Cream Shop
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Little Baby's Ice Cream

Ice cream flavors can get pretty out-there, thanks to the growing number of creative scoop shops willing to take risks and broaden their customers’ horizons beyond chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Intrepid foodies can cool off with frozen treats that taste like horseradish, foie gras, and avocado, while Philadelphia's Little Baby’s Ice Cream is pushing the boundaries of taste with chilly offerings like everything bagel, Maryland BBQ, ranch, and cricket cake.

Cricket-flavored ice cream, created by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

Everything Bagel-flavored ice cream, created by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

As Lonely Planet News reports, Little Baby’s Ice Cream launched its first signature “oddball” ice cream—Earl Grey sriracha—in 2011. Since then, its rotating menu has only gotten quirkier. In addition to the aforementioned flavors, customers who swing by Little Baby’s this summer can even try pizza ice cream.

The store created the savory flavor in 2011, to celebrate neighborhood eatery Pizza Brain’s inclusion into Guinness World Records for its vast collection of pizza memorabilia. The savory, Italian-esque snack is made from ingredients like tomato, basil, oregano, salt, and garlic—and yes, it actually tastes like pizza, Little Baby’s co-owner Pete Angevine told Lonely Planet News.

Pizza-flavored ice cream, made by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

“Frequently, folks will see it on the menu and be incredulous, then be convinced to taste it, giggle, talk about how surprised they are that it really tastes just like pizza … and then order something else,” Angevine said. “That’s just fine. Just as often though, they’ll end up getting a pizza milkshake!”

Little Baby’s flagship location is in Philadelphia's East Kensington neighborhood, but customers can also sample their unconventional goods at additional outposts in West Philadelphia, Baltimore, and a pop-up stand in Washington, D.C.’s Union Market. Just make sure to bring along a sense of adventure, and to leave your preconceived notions of what ice cream should taste like at home.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

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Warby Parker
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Space
Warby Parker Is Giving Away Free Eclipse Glasses in August
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Warby Parker

When this year’s rare “all-American” total solar eclipse comes around on August 21, you’ll want to be prepared. Whether you’re chasing the eclipse to Kentucky or viewing it from your backyard, you’ll need a way to watch it safely. That means an eclipse filter over your telescope, or specially designed eclipse glasses.

For the latter, you can just show up at your nearest Warby Parker, and their eye experts will hand over a pair of eclipse glasses. The stores are giving out the free eye protectors throughout August. The company’s Nashville store is also having an eclipse party to view the celestial event on the day-of.

Get your glasses early, because you don’t want to miss out on this eclipse, which will cross the continental U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina. There are only so many total solar eclipses you’ll get to see in your lifetime, after all.

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