Starbucks is going strawless in 2020

By 2020, recyclable lids that look like sippy-cups will be de rigueur.

Consider the green Starbucks straw. Sure, it might be an afterthought now. But you've seen hundreds of them before. Since the mid-2000s, there has been nary a celebrity who hasn't been with a skinny green tube near their mouths. And now—just like Von Dutch hats and affordable rent—those days are over. 


Starbucks has pledged to stop using disposable straws by 2020. The reason? Think about the millions of iced drinks Starbucks serves each day. Cold drinks—which use those straws—make up over 50% of Starbucks' business, and the straws are only used once. They end up in landfills and eventually the ocean. Simply put: those straws can accumulate fast and can cause a lot of damage to the environment. Instead of the green straws, we'll have recyclable plastic lids. If you've ordered a Nitro Latte recently, you've probably seen them. And if you haven't ordered a Nitro Latte yet... you're not living your best life, are you? 

Starbucks' hometown of Seattle just implemented a ban on single-use straws and cutlery, with a $250 fine if regulators find a store peddling an iced beverage with a plastic straw. New York City is working on a similar ban. And quite honestly, those personal beverage containers all the cool celebs are caddying are pretty sweet, too.  

Will it make a difference in the long run? In your correspondent's opinion (presented to you as a reward for reading all the way to the bottom)... sure. It might not feel like you're doing much to save the planet, but consider the ozone layer for just a second: earlier this year, scientists measured the hole in the ozone layer and it's actually getting smaller thanks to conservation efforts

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

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Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

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  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.

Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)
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In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.


Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Do human beings have a magnetic sense? Biologists know other animals do. They think it helps creatures including bees, turtles and birds navigate through the world.

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