March 30, 2022
Happy Wednesday! Forgiveness is for the forgiver.
🌤 Today's weather: Rainy in the morning. High of 69.
🎵 Sounds like: “Paper Planes”
💉 Situational awareness: The CDC is recommending second booster shots for Americans over 50.
Today's newsletter is a futuristic 908 words — a 3.5-minute read.
1 big thing: Food drones are coming to North Texas
One of the first companies to deliver food by drone in the U.S. is expanding to North Texas, where residents of Granbury will be able to satisfy their cravings with a drone-dropped meal in about five minutes.
Why it matters: Drone delivery, still a novelty in the U.S. because of regulatory limits, could address America's growing demand for instant gratification while making roads safer and less congested, reports Axios' Joann Muller.
Driving the news: Flytrex, an Israeli startup already making drone deliveries in North Carolina under a pilot program, is establishing a new outpost in Granbury.
- It's part of an expanded partnership with Dallas-based restaurant chain Brinker International, the parent of Chili's Grill & Bar, Maggiano's Little Italy and two carry-out brands, It's Just Wings and Maggiano's Italian Classics.
How it works: Cofounder and CEO Yariv Bash describes Flytrex service as "DoorDash, but with drones."
- Customers use the Flytrex app to place their order from the menus of participating restaurants. In Granbury, they're starting with It's Just Wings.
- Flytrex employees, working out of a parking lot, grab the food, clip the bag to a cable and load it into the drone delivery box. It can handle up to 6.6 pounds — enough for a family meal of burgers, fries and beverages or a motherlode of wings.
- The drone flies autonomously to the destination, which must be within a mile of the takeoff location, while a trained drone operator monitors the flight.
- Upon arrival, the drone hovers about 80 feet off the ground, lowers the bag to the ground via cable, then releases the clip. (Hangry customers never interact directly with the drone.)
State of play: Flytrex's expansion into Texas comes on the heels of receiving a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration to expand its service to 10,000 homes across North Carolina.
What to watch: The FAA is working on regulations that would permit drones to fly longer distances — beyond the line of sight of the operator, which would clear a major hurdle for more widespread deliveries.
2. 🏢 Dallas office occupancy rates are above national average
Dallas' office occupancy levels are at 46.6%, seven percentage points above the national average. But that still means more than half of local office space is unoccupied.
Why it matters: If this keeps up, it's a game-changing shift for the economics of Dallas and cities nationwide.
The big picture: The threat of COVID-19 may fade but the days of most office workers going to a physical space for five-day, 40 hour weeks are over, writes Axios' Erica Pandey.
- 17% of workers say they're teleworking because they moved away, per a Pew study published last month.
- Workers want more flexibility. Half of workers said they'd rather quit than return to work full-time, according to a recent survey from Robert Half, a global human resource consulting firm.
Between the lines: An emptied-out downtown has a ripple effect on restaurants, music clubs, coffee shops and other lifeblood businesses.
3. 🧠 Local whiz kid wins national science prize
A Euless high schooler used a mathematical concept to study braids, which could help researchers understand how fluids mix.
Driving the news: The research netted Luke Robert Robitaille $40,000 at the Regeneron Science Talent Search.
Details: Robitaille used the concept of topological entropy to study braids and found that a low number of strands mostly led to orderly braids, but the intertwined twists became chaotic with a large number of strands.
Of note: The 18-year-old homeschooled senior took the sixth-place prize in the talent search, the nation's oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors.
- Sponsor Regeneron is a publicly traded biotech company.
What they're saying: Robitaille said strands "can intertwine and make all sort of weird mathematical patterns."
- "You think of braids as related to mixing up fluids."
Go deeper: Watch Robitaille explain his project here.
Fresh job openings around town
4. 📰 Burnt ends: Bite-sized news bits
🔎 Child welfare monitors contradicted the Texas Rangers’ findings and said there is “ample evidence” that sex trafficking victims were abused at a foster care facility. (Texas Tribune)
💰 Jerry Jones asked a judge to dismiss a paternity suit against him, saying the woman who claims to be his daughter made one of "multiple monetary extortion attempts" against him and the Dallas Cowboys. (ESPN)
🗞 The Texas Observer, long known for its commentary and investigative reporting, has been plagued with staff departures amid a clash with board members who oversee the magazine. (The Objective)
🏫 A Mesquite ISD administrative assistant who has served under five superintendents will have a building named after her. (WFAA)
📚 Dallas libraries might soon offer enhanced library cards that could serve as identification in the city, which could help unhoused people or formerly incarcerated people. (Advocate)
5. 🚂 One train station dining hall to go
Harvest Hall in Grapevine is part European-style dining hall, part nostalgic-American train station.
- It's basically all the food and drink you might find at an upscale food truck yard, neatly situated in an Edward Hopper painting.
If you're on an expense account: The Magnum Room — a speakeasy-style hotel bar that opened in December — also serves cocktails that start at $15 and top off at $55.
- Yes, that's $55 for one drink.
💆 Mike is thinking about getting a professional massage for the first time. Got recommendations or tips?
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