Five stories that have North Texas talking: North Texas welcomes August with triple-digit temps, Texas makes big money off of “sins," Texas researchers hack a yacht, and more.
North Texas has been enjoying cooler-than-average summer temperatures, but the first week of August greets us with triple-digit heat. Texans are used to the hot summers, but that still doesn’t prevent heat-related deaths from occurring. The Dallas Morning News reports that Dallas County has registered two heat deaths this year even with the slightly cooler temperatures so far.
Humidity plays a big role in heat-related illnesses. It makes it difficult for sweat to evaporate, which prevents the body from cooling itself. With a heat advisory and an ozone action day in effect, take particular caution these next few days. We know, we know, it's an age-old reminder, but it bears repeating. Drink plenty of water and avoid drinks with high amounts of sugar and caffeine.
- Absentee Lawmakers Could Pose Issues For Votes: 35 lawmakers were absent in the first day of the Texas Legislature’s third special session. The Texas Tribune reports the absenteeism could pose problems for a transportation funding bill to get off the ground. State Representative Tony Dale (R-Cedar Park) suggests that the vote could’ve passed with more lawmakers present. Because the bill will ultimately alter the state constitution, it requires a two-third vote in both the House and Senate.
- Texas Cashes In On Sin: Texas ranks 4th on a list of the top states banking on so-called “sin taxes”; taxes on transactions such as alcohol, cigarettes, and racetrack betting. Texas revenue from sin taxes has risen 107.7 percent in the past 10 years, bringing in $1.4 billion in revenue from cigarette and tobacco taxes alone. [Bloomberg Via MSN Money]
- Is Bike Sharing Picking Up In Texas?: Bike sharing racks have become the norm in places like Washington, D.C. and New York City, but the idea is starting to pick up in some Texas cities. We previously reported Fort Worth recently won a grant from the Texas Transportation Department to expand their bike sharing program, but it looks like Austin is hoping to launch its own bike sharing program as well. The city has opened a sample kiosk and organizers are accepting suggestions on where to put those kiosks.
- Researchers Turn Into High-Tech Pirates: Researchers from the University of Texas hacked the GPS of a yacht in the Mediterranean and were able to bring it off its course using a homemade spoofing device. Todd Humphreys, an assistant professor of aerospace engineering and mechanics, took part in the experiment. He believes the system can also be used to throw aircraft off-course, which hijackers and pirates could take advantage of. Watch the video below for an explainer on the experiment. [Fast Company]