This Week In History

• On April 20, 1998, physicists at the International Slumber Research Center broke the 5,000 thread count barrier. Bedding of such magnitude was previously thought to be impossible. Early experiments yielded sheets that remained stable for mere fractions of a second, and required the use of massive hyperbaric chambers. It wasn't until the ISRC developed so-called "quantum thread" in 1995 that the 5,000 mark came within realistic reach. The sheets remain highly experimental to this day, producing comfort levels not yet deemed safe for consumer use. • On April 22,1971, the first Starbucks opened in Seattle. By the end of the following day, over 500 were in business nationwide; another 1,100 greeted customers the day after that. The chain went international inside of 72 hours, establishing themselves in 35 countries including the then-Soviet Eastern Bloc. They reached China by the end of the month. Despite reduced growth in the wake of the current economic crisis, it is estimated that six Starbucks open somewhere on Earth every second.

• On April 20, 1908, Cardinals pitcher Reginald "Pants" Dixon began a bout of hiccups that lasted nine days. In his two starts over that period, he went 0-2 with a 19.34 ERA and 58 balks.