Cooke County Rep. Drew Springer loves freedom, and freedom’s just another word for “hating reusable bags so much that he’s filed the Shopping Bag Freedom Act.” It’s wordy, but effective.
The act, in part, reads:
A business that sells an item to a customer may provide to the customer at the point of sale a bag, package or other container made from any material.
An ordinance or regulation adopted by a local government purporting to prohibit or restrict a business from providing to a customer at the point of sale a bag, package or other container made from any material is invalid and has no effect.
It’s designed to combat Austin’s new ban on plastic bags, which followed similar bans from across the country, most notably San Francisco. Ahhh San Francisco, that liberal bastion of salmonella-ridden reusable bags, toting organic turnips and unlicensed, raw muskrat milk. That’s Springer’s belief, at least. From the Texas Observer:
Springer said reusable bags pose a serious health risk that could end in illness, or even death. He told the Observer that there are studies that show rising sickness due to E. coli and salmonella where the bag bans have implemented.
“From a Medicaid standpoint … the City of Austin’s bag ban will cost the state of Texas $345,000,” Springer said. “I’m going to look to make sure that if the bag ban doesn’t pass, that we find a way to make sure the City of Austin pays the taxpayers around the state for that increase of Medicaid cost.”
Yes, it is spring break. I get that. Humans are everywhere, out in force, trailing their offspring, trying like hell to keep the little monsters entertained, praying there’s enough red wine on store shelves to make it through the week. And the Perot Museum of Nature and Science is a newfangled attraction perfect for passing such a time (except that, unless I missed it, the Perot stocks zero red wine). I understand all this. Patience is required. Deep breath.
But you inconsiderate sonsofbitches who stare at your phones while your ill-behaved children run amok, you oblivious bastards who zigzag through crowded spaces as if you were the last person on earth — I hope all you people develop a bad case of gout. I hope the uric acid crystals (that’s science) stab your every joint so sharply that you are forced to sit on your couches and watch reruns of Ow! My Balls!
Brad’s been at home sick the last couple days, which is why you’ve heard relatively little from him on FrontBurner. He did manage to crawl out of bed long enough yesterday to post about a fellow who’s been calling the Perot Museum’s exhibits “fairy tale propaganda.”
Brad sent this fellow, a “street preacher” named Jesse Morrell, several follow-up questions. Morrell has taken it upon himself to post his responses on his own website, soÂ I’d like to address a couple of the highlights. He writes:
And for the Big Bang to be promoted as an argument against God, as the Perot Museum present it is itself a fallacious argument. Even if all of the universe existed in a single molecule that exploded, this does not necessarily exclude the existence of a Creator and Designer at all. They are trying to explain the “how” but the “how” does not necessarily exclude the “who” that was behind the “how.”
I don’t believe the museum is arguing against God’s existence by explaining the Big Bang theory, but other than that, I agree with this point. And I say that as someone who knows that evolution is as much a fact (not a theory)Â as anything in the realm of scientific knowledge is fact, and someone who doesn’t doubt that something along the lines of the Big Bang correctly explains the development of our universe.
But the “how” doesn’tÂ necessarily exclude the “who.” I’d bet many of the people responsible for the creation of the Perot’s exhibits would agree with that sentiment as well. Â If Morrell would only listen to his own point, he might not consider his religious faith so terribly under attack by the museum’s presentation of scientific knowledge and wouldn’t wrongly accuse them of pushing a purely atheistic agenda.
The new Perot Museum of Nature and Science hasn’t opened yet–it’s scheduled to do so, debt-free and ahead of schedule on Dec. 1–but Ross Perot Jr. is already eyeing an expansion. The facility needs to grow to compete long-term, the Hillwood chairman told D CEO’s Glenn Hunter at a “Night at the Museum 2012″ fundraiser Saturday.
Available land surrounding the museum could allow it to easily triple or quadruple in size, said Perot, who also shared his thoughts on the next wave of Dallas office development. Read Hunter’s report over at RealPoints.
Okay, as Bradford and Tim pointed out, there is one sort of amusing fracking video at the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science. It’s located inside the Trevor Rees-Jones Foundation Dynamic Earth Hall (pictured), named for Rees-Jones of Dallas’s Chief Oil & Gas. But other fracking exhibits there–including a giant horizontal drilling rig–are pretty straightforward, fascinating even, certainly appropriate to a Texas science museum.
But if you’re going to label the fracking stuff “propaganda,” as Tim did in the comments, there’s also propaganda I guess in the Texas Instruments hall, where you learn to build a robot. In the Tom Hunt Energy Hall, where you crank the valves of a full-size wellhead. In the Children’s Museum classrooms, which is outfitted “proudly” with products from The Container Store. And at the Green Mountain Energy display, where you’re taught the virtues of the museum’s Green Mountain solar hot-water system.
UPDATE: The fracking video and other fracking exhibits are adjacent to, not actually inside, the Rees-Jones’s Dynamic Earth Hall. They’re located in the Tom Hunt Energy Hall, which was funded with a $10 million gift from Dallas’s Hunt Petroleum Corp. Mea culpa.
It’s happening soon.
Like, at 3 today. [UPDATE: Or maybe already happened? I don't know. Countdown clock was for today. I will take the word of the two-thirds of the people who commented on this already, not counting me.]Â It has a camera attached, or something. Honestly, I’m not positive what’s going on. Is anyone? Anyway, this reminds me the Mavs kick off their season in just about a month. And, also: I SEE YOU (in space), (little) BIG GERMAN.
Well, folks, David Flick over at the Dallas Morning News is either the fastest typer known to man or he has ESP. As he reported early this morning (24 minutes after the press conference began), the Perot Museum of Nature and Science will open its doors on December 1, one month earlier than originally planned. The announcement was made this morning to applause and cheers at a media sneak peek.
Tickets will go on sale online Tuesday, October 2, at www.perotmuseum.org. The five-floored museum will have 11 permanent exhibit halls, an education wing equipped with six learning labs, and a 297-seat multimedia theater that will screen Meerkats 3D, among other movies.
Although the announcement was exciting, I couldn’t stop gawking at the interactive features surrounding me. The “dancing water” molecules that hung above my head during the presentation kept me preoccupied the entire time. The 88 floating spheres are motion sensitive, and the animated movements were a fun diversion. I kept walking around under them to trigger the sensors, and I think I started a trend because it didn’t take long for others to do the same.
There is also an enormous Malawisaurus fossil in the main lobby that grabbed my attention. The 35-foot-long fossil was dug up in Malawi, and the head-to-body ratio is unbelievable. Dinosaurs must not have had much to think about back then. Considering I can barely pronounce the scientific name, I think we need to come up with a nickname for our new friend. Any ideas for what we should call it?
Other interactive features outside include a forest that houses large musical instruments for visitors to play, a leapfrog forest where children can run around and learn about species mutation, and a rooftop observation deck.
All in all, the museum looks like it will be a great addition to downtown Dallas, and I can’t wait to check it out when it opens.
Caitlin Adams is a D Magazine intern for fall 2012.
I’m not a big fan of the Omni Hotel,Â whichÂ I’ve called “booster kitsch”. MyÂ skepticism of these kinds of animated buildings dates to aÂ Dallas Architecture Forum event a few years ago in which one of the speakers extolled the virtues of using building facades as new venues for advertising. It seems a logical, though repulsive, next step in the convergence of technology and consumerism: a world in which everything — including our homes or offices — is turned into an advertisement. Little can inspire quite like the sight of a Toyota logo scrolling across the face of the Dallas skyline.
On September 26, however, that changes — at least for a long weekend. That’s when the Omni’s digital skin will be taken over not byÂ advertisements, but by video art, part of a kick-off event to this year’s Dallas Video Festival. The festival is calling the program “Expanded Cinema,” and on that day at 8:30 p.m. , the four curved walls of the Omni Hotel will become a digital “canvas” for fourteen artists. Sound for the installations will be simulcast on KXT 91.7, and the Video Fest promises to update their website with information about where to best view the program. In addition, “Expanded Cinema” will continue to play on the Omni from sundown to sunrise throughout the duration of the festival (which runs from September 27 through September 30). For more on that centerpiece event, as well as to see the festival’s full program, go here.
My wife has been blowing up my cell today. “What do we do about this aerial spraying? I’ve read that we should turn off the AC during the spraying. And what about the kids tomorrow? Should we let them outside? I’m telling you, it’s like Agent Orange. A few years from now, when we’re all about die, I’ll have the last laugh.” I’m not making any of this up.
So, to appease my wife and help you, the dear FrontBurnervian, I asked an expert. No, not the city of Dallas. A real expert. In his rants against the aerial spraying, Jim Schutze has referred to the work of a UT Austin scientist named Andrea Gore. She’s a professor of pharmacology and toxicology. I asked Dr. Gore what she would do if she lived someplace where they were about to spray this poison from planes. Her response:
Thanks for your email. David Crews just happens to be sitting next to me, as not only are we scientific collaborators but we are also married. We discussed your question and we do have some recommendations.
Ideally, all people should avoid contact with pesticides during periods of active spraying by staying indoors.
Imagine a time when eager young Republican congressmen from TexasÂ pushedÂ strongly for government spending on things like science and research. When conservatives actually thought that could mean an abundance of high-paying jobs and a stimulus to both the national and local economies. Crazy, right? It wasn’t so long ago, actually.
My friend Brantley Hargrove wrote the cover story in this week’s Dallas Observer, about the Super Collider, and how this region missed being on the forefront of history. From his story:
Thousands of physicists from all over the world, including [SMU physicist Ryszard] Stroynowski, pulled up stakes and migrated to the North Texas site as though it were Mecca, a holy place where the future of the field lay. They established physics departments at nearby universities and began construction of the Super Collider and the components they had to literally invent as they went along. But in 1993, after more than a decade of work and $2 billion spent, Congress canceled it. Its death rendered stillborn American hegemony in the physics world and drove a host of promising young minds from the field.
We also learn what’s become of the giant tunnels that would have led to one of humanity’s greatest discoveries. (Hint: it involves the mixing of fracking fluids.) Read Brantley’s entire story here.
Mayor Rawlings’ office called the TV stations yesterday to ask for their help in getting the message out about West Nile virus. We didn’t get any such call here at D HQ. But we still want to help. So here’s a helpful video. Watch. Learn. Then take a look at the spray map to see if the poison will rain down tonight on your veggie plants and herbs. Then know that, according to North Haven Gardens, frost cloth or floating row cover will protect your plants from the poison. Then, finally, know this: only female mosquitoes bite. Not males. Just females.
An alert FrontBurnervian brings to our attention the fact that a Garland company manufactured part of the Mars Curiosity rover. From the release issued by Micropac: “The Mast Cameras (Mastcam) uses Hall Effect position sensors to provide precise indexing of Mastcam’s filter wheel to align 1 of the 8 filters to the lens assembly.” If you’re Micropac, you gotta be kicking yourself for those seven filters that got away from you. Full release after the jump.
Usain Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter who’s the current world record holder in the 100-meter and 200-meter distances. He won another 100-meter Olympic gold medal the other day, and ran a race today as well. (I’m sure most of you already know how well he did today, but I’m not going to say here, lest some poor FrontBurnervian out there is anxiously waiting to watch the tape-delayed broadcast tonight.)
Point is, the guy is fast. But is he as fast as humans can ever hope to be? The Economist has an article detailing the statistical model of a biologist that suggests human beings have nearly reached the peak possibilities of speed. Bolt’s 100-meter record, set in 2009 in Berlin, is 9.58 seconds. If this model is to be believed, the fastest we can ever expect anybody to run that race is 9.48 seconds. We’re running out of room for improvement.
Only maybe not.Â Peter Weyand, a physiology professor at Southern Methodist University, is cited as believing that may not be the case. His research indicates we may have untapped muscle power that the world’s greatest athlete just haven’t yet devised a technique to take advantage of. He’s shown that:
whereas the peak force which elite sprinters apply to the track is more than four times their body weight, they can squeeze even more out of their muscles. Dr Weyand found that the forces generated while athletes hopped on one leg as fast as they could on a high-speed treadmill were roughly twice as high as during running at top speed. This translated into 30% more ground force.
Since ground force is the main determinant of sprinting speed, Dr Weyand’s results imply that human muscles are capable of producing enough oomph to propel sprinters one-third faster than Mr Bolt’s 2009 record.
Orange Line Opens: While I know we’re all excited we can now take DART out to the beautiful canals at Las Colinas and take a tour of the city’s defunct monorail, WFAA asks the real question regarding the opening of the first leg of DART’s Orange Line: When will we be able to ride it to DFW Airport?
Burglars Steal Gear From Dino Dig: Yes, it is really terrible that some crooks nabbed about $1,000 worth of gear from the site of an Arlington fossil dig. But I can’t get over the fact that researchers may have found a new species of Protohdros and a new species of Theropod in north Arlington.
Sports Bits: Granbury Native Wins Gold, Sets World Record; Cowboys Start Training Camp: Eight years after medaling at the Olympics as a teenager and four years after almost quitting the sport, Granbury’s Dana Vollmer took home a gold medal in the 100 meter butterfly Sunday after setting a world record in the final and becoming the first woman to swim the race in under 56 seconds. Speaking of closing windows of opportunity, there’s a sense of urgency at Cowboys camp, which kicks off in Oxnard today.
So listen, the other day I was watching Superman II and I totally came up with an idea that will fix everything.
It happens toward the end of the movie, when General Zod is using his laser beam eyeballs to heat up semi trucks and make them explode. So then Superman comes in and uses his freeze-breath thing to cool the truck down, and bends the truck’s mirror to reflect the laser beam burny thing back on Zod.
And then it hit me. All the Nasher needs is a carefully placed mirror reflecting toward the Museum Tower. Then it can fry them right back.
You’re welcome. Just tell me where to send the bill.