Arizona is home to the jaw-dropping Grand Canyon, crazy desert wildlife, and very hot summers.
Did you know that TASER is actually an acronym? We didn’t either. In the future, you can impress your friends by knowing that it stands for Tom A. Swift Electric Rifle. Which might seem odd, because former NASA employee Jack Cover invented the original taser, which actually still relied on gunpowder. The Tom in the weapon’s name came from one of Jack’s childhood book heroes! This was in 1874, but during the early 1990’s, the taser was developed drastically in Arizona. Five guys joined together in Tucson and set themselves to improving the taser. The designed a new taser, powered by compressed air, and were soon out marketing it in every venue they could. Today, you can buy tasers in 107 countries!
#2 Miranda Rights
If you’ve ever considered taking up the life of a criminal, you can rest assured that you’re now entitled to your Miranda Rights, thanks to Arizona! It was way back in 1966 that the U.S. Supreme Court made a decision in the Miranda vs. Arizona case, which resulted in a Maricopa County Superior Court conviction being overthrown. Ever since, if you’re ever arrested, “You have the right to remain silent…” Sound familiar? Yeah, we’ll let you finish the rest.
Dendro-whaaaa? If you know this one, we’ll admit it, we’re impressed. Dendrochronology is the scientific term for tree ring dating! People have taken note of the rings in trees as long ago as Ancient Greece, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that A.E. Douglas, who was actually an astronomer, began to study them seriously. How Douglass went from gazing at the stars to scrutinizing tree rings, we’ll never know, but in Flagstaff in the 1890’s, he did! He even founded the Laboratory of Tree-ring Research at the University of Arizona in 1937. Ever since, scientists have been using tree rings — the growth patterns of the tree — to pinpoint important scientific dates. Dendrochronology goes hand in hand with paleontology, ecology, and archaeology. In recent days, it has become a great tool for studying climate change, too!
At least we know you’ve heard of this one. If you haven’t, you must not be living in the great state of Arizona! For all the poor, unfortunate souls that have never experienced the glory of a chimichanga, it’s basically a burrito that has been deep fried. With any luck , you’ll find some guacamole and sour cream on the side to go along with it. Rumor has it that, in the early 90’s, the Center of Science in the Public Interest declared Mexican food a health hazard. We can imagine how they might have been pushed over the edge by the sight of the artery-clogging chimichanga. Worth is? We certainly think so. There are more than a handful of restaurants across Arizona who claim to be the creator of the chimichanga, but who know’s which of them is the true original. Perhaps a foodie tour to try each of them is in order…
#5 Rubberized Asphalt
That smooth, silent ride you enjoy on the highway everyday? You can thank Charlie McDonald for that! Back in the 60’s McDonald created a formula that combined scrap material in with asphalt, and he became the “Father of Rubberized Asphalt.” In the beginning, this formula was just used to fill pot holes, but, in 2002, the Quiet Pavement Pilot Program put down an inch of this new, quieter pavement over many of its concrete roads. Results were good, and every since, the Arizona Department of Transportation has been using the concoction for all of their new highway projects. Not only is the ride smoother and quieter, but the mixture also saves old tires that may otherwise have been left to rot in landfills. Awesome!
#6 Keystone Kool Deck
If you live in Arizona, or you’ve ever visited, you know that the heat there is no joke. Even lounging around the pool can be less than refreshing if the searing sun has turned your pool deck into a human-sized skillet. In 1962, Max Deason saw the problem and jumped to remedy it! In Tucson, he founded Mortex Manufacturing Company and created the Kool Deck. His design features a half inch of beige material that worked to combat the blistering heat of the sun. Not only did the Kool Deck formula absorb heat, but it also helped to prevent those notorious slippery surface falls. The Kool Deck was a hit– and an obvious choice for making the poolside cool again. Max’s son, Ted Deason carries on the legacy as the president of the company today.
#7 Holiday Light Sliders
Depending on your location in Arizona, there might not be any snow for Christmas, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t decorate to your hearts content! Thanks to inventor Karen Moreland, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as it used to be. Moreland herself was easily frustrated by the tedious task of climbing up and down a ladder if you wanted to adorn your house with festive lights. As a child, she also noticed that her widowed neighbor kept her lights up year round, but didn’t understand why until she reached adulthood. Finally determined to make life easier, in the late 90’s, Moreland set out with a drawing and, with the help of her father, built a huge prototype of her idea. With over 10,000 sold, it’s clear that Moreland’s ingenious track system — inspired by your everyday curtain rod — does indeed make life easier. Happy decorating from Arizona!