Starbucks is going strawless in 2020

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

Starbucks coffee without a straw, sip cup
Picture of your coffee future c/o Starbucks

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

3,000-pound Triceratops skull unearthed in South Dakota

"You dream about these kinds of moments when you're a kid," said lead paleontologist David Schmidt.

Excavation of a triceratops skull in South Dakota.

Credit: David Schmidt / Westminster College
Surprising Science
  • The triceratops skull was first discovered in 2019, but was excavated over the summer of 2020.
  • It was discovered in the South Dakota Badlands, an area where the Triceratops roamed some 66 million years ago.
  • Studying dinosaurs helps scientists better understand the evolution of all life on Earth.
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An Olympics without fanfare: What would the ancient Greeks think of the empty stadiums?

In ancient Greece, the Olympics were never solely about the athletes themselves.

Photo by Despina Galani on Unsplash
Coronavirus

Because of a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases, the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2021 Olympics will unfold in a stadium absent the eyes, ears and voices of a once-anticipated 68,000 ticket holders from around the world.

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Bad at math? Blame your neurotransmitters

A new brain imaging study explored how different levels of the brain's excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters are linked to math abilities.

Signal burst illustration

Mind & Brain
  • Glutamate and GABA are neurotransmitters that help regulate brain activity.
  • Scientists have long known that both are important to learning and neuroplasticity, but their relationship to acquiring complex cognitive skills like math has remained unclear.
  • The new study shows that having certain levels of these neurotransmitters predict math performance, but that these levels switch with age.
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