One of my favorite blogs happens to be local to me. Eric Berger, the Houston Chronicle's "SciGuy" usually reports on the weather. But he also posts entertaining and serious stuff as well. [more inside]
The Sheriff's Office in Montgomery County, Texas near Houston has become the first law enforcement agency to buy a weaponizable Shadowhawk MK-III UAV. [more inside]
The Texas Gulf Coast is no stranger to disaster - both natural and man-made. The 1900 Storm (previously). The Texas City Disaster (previously). Hurricane Ike (previously). Tropical Storm Allison (previously). New digital media collections, made available through the the University of Houston, shed light on previously overlooked events such as the Hurricane of 1915, and allow a fresh look at well-known disasters such as the Texas City Disaster. A digital slideshow of images and information about The 1900 Storm is also available through the Rosenberg Library in Galveston, Texas. [Please note that some links include images of the deceased which may be NSFW or unsuitable for some audiences.]
For many people who lived in Houston in the early 1970s, trick or treat brings up memories of "The Candy Man," serial killer Dean Corll. He, along with accomplices David Brooks and Wayne Henley (YouTube), kidnapped, raped, and tortured to death 27 boys between the ages of thirteen and eighteen between 1970 and 1973. Thirty-seven years after the bodies of their victims were discovered in mass graves in southwest Houston and the Bolivar Peninsula, three still were unidentified until recently when the efforts of forensic anthropologist Sharon Derrick identified victim ML73-3349, now known to be Randall Lee Harvey.
Today is Texas Independence Day On March 2, 1836, the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed at Washington-on-the-Brazos. The document was created by the Convention of 1836 while almost a couple hundred brave Texans at the Alamo held Gen. Santa Anna's army of several thousand at bay for 13 days. On March 6, the Alamo finally fell, slaughtered to the last man. On March 27, 352 Texas soliders were slaughtered at the Goliad Massacre. Finally on April 21, the untrained armies of Texas, outnumbered and under the command of Sam Houston, decisively defeated the much larger and better trained and equipped Army of Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto and captured the Mexican dictator Santa Anna. Happy Texas Independence Day.
On September 17, 1998, in response to an armed robbery call, Houston police burst in to the home of John Lawrence. The police didn’t find a robber (nor would they – the call was deliberately false), but they did find Lawrence having sex with another man, Tyrone Garner. Lawrence and Garner were promptly charged with “engaging in homosexual conduct,” a misdemeanor under Texas law. They paid their fine and began a long legal challenge to Texas’ anti-sodomy law. That challenge has finally reached the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, which today agreed to hear their appeal early next year. Standing in the way is the Court’s own 1986 decision in Bowers v. Hardwick, in which it held that anti-sodomy laws are constitutional. That may be about to change.
Lesson learned in Houston, Texas yesterday: shop at a 24-hour Kmart in the middle of the night, go directly to jail. If you're a 10-year-old girl having a late dinner with your father at the next door Sonic, well, it's off to jail with you, too.
Ex Enron Vice Chair Commits Suicide J. Clifford Baxter was found dead in his car in a Houston suburb Firday. Texas police said the cause of death was suicide.