Five stories that have North Texas talking: Dallas 10 year-old was almost one in 8 million, Plano based J.C. Penney fires and re-hires, chocoholics break out the bubbly and more.
A lot of big time gamblers watched last night’s NCAA championship with white knuckled intensity. A Dallas 10 year-old was just as invested, not because he had money on the line, but because he was one victory away from making bracket history. Before Louisville downed Michigan last night, Brayden Schager had the top ranked bracket out of all 8.15 million in ESPN’s tournament challenge.
Schager accurately predicted 12 of the Sweet Sixteen and seven of the Elite Eight. His Final Four predictions were spot on and he prophesized it would come down to Louisville and Michigan in the finals. Gearing up for last night’s game, there was no prize on the line; he was only after bragging rights. “I want to win because I want to go to school and tell all my friends,” Schager said. “They don’t believe me.” Unfortunately, Louisville topped Michigan 82-76 and Schager’s bracket ranking fell to 38,292. But when you’re being measured against more than 8 million opponents, that’s still pretty legendary. [SportsDay DFW]
- A Portent Of Things To Come?- From the hard court to the diamond we go. En route to the ballpark last night, the bus transporting Tampa Bay players and coaches from the hotel to the field got into a fender bender. The bus was hit by another vehicle as it made a left turn, and while no one was injured, it might have been a sign. The Rangers ended up topping the Rays 5-4 in a close game, but even the umpire has now admitted, the final strike call was a bad one. The last pitch, which was low and outside, would have been ball four, but the official call was strike. That sealed the game up for the Rangers, giving Joe Nathan his 300th career save. Watch the pitch in question for yourself below. [Dallas Morning News]
- Out With The Old, In With The Older- Just 17 months into his three year plan, CEO of Plano based J.C. Penney, Ron Johnson, is out. And his predecessor, Mike Ullman, has been hired back. Johnson’s aggressive reconfiguration of the retailer included ditching deep discounts for everyday low prices and new brands. The chain saw a sharp decline in sales as a result. So far, investors aren’t sold on the shakeup. J.C. Penney shares tumbled $1.39, or 8.8 percent a few hours before the market opened today. Ullman was CEO of the department store chain for seven years until November 2011. [AP via NPR]
- Square Footage Isn’t Everything, Unless You’re A Texan- Tim de Chant and his blog Per Square Mile recently crunched some fascinating numbers about population density. Because cities allow us to, literally, live on top of each other, how tight a space could we pack the world into if we stuck to high-rises? The answer depends on what city philosophy you subscribe to. If all 6.9 billion of us lived like New Yorkers, we could cram into a city the size of Texas, a little over 250 square miles. But Texans love their wide open spaces. If the citizens of earth want to live like Houstonites, we’d need more than 1.7 million square miles. [NPR]
- The Micro Bubble Diet- Slashing half the fat of chocolate without changing the texture? Could it be? Researchers think they’ve done it, by infusing chocolate with “micro bubbles” of fruit juice. So far researchers have tried it with apple, cranberry and orange juice, which does give the chocolate a subtle fruity flavor. And scientists say they’re just getting started; they plan on trying this technique with other beverages like diet soda and even alcohol. The concept of micro bubbles isn’t brand new. A Baylor doctor in Dallas is using them in tandem with ultrasound to fight diabetes. Learn more here about how he’s using bubbles loaded with genetic material to help the pancreas produce insulin again. [NPR]