banning (plastic) straws

August 15, 2018

A video claiming plastic straws is destroying our oceans – “In the USA alone, over 500 million straws are being used every single day, most of which are going into our oceans.” Celebrities, politicians, news media hopped on the 500 million straws claim. In obedient response, Seattle banned plastic straws. Starbucks announced it is abandoning straws altogether.

Plastic garbage in oceans is a genuine problem. But US contributes only about 1% of that pollution, and a tiny fraction of that is plastic straws. But, but, but, over 500 million straws are being thrown away every day! Where did that 500 million figure come from? It turned out, it came from a 10-year-old who, for a school project, telephoned some straw makers. Local TV picked it up. The 500 million straws per day is born. It’s sensational news. Why bother to check the facts?

Replace the plastic straws with paper straws. Paper bio-degrades and is therefore more environmentally friendly. Is that really true? Paper straws are not as robust as the plastic ones. Paper straw probably won’t hold up through your super-sized drink, so you’ll have to use more. And paper waste – our landfills are filled to the rim with paper wastes. They are not bio-degrading nearly fast enough. Also, here is one inconvenient fact – paper straws require more energy to produce. You will end up with a negative impact in that environmental equation.

As for Starbucks abandoning straws, the inconvenient truth is that by ditching plastic straws, Starbucks will actually be increasing its plastic use. The new strawless lids that Starbucks is counting on to replace straws, contain more plastic than the company’s current lid/straw combination. Right now, Starbucks customers with their cold drinks are using either 3.23 or 3.55 grams of plastic, depending on a small or large straw. Meanwhile, the new strawless lid weigh in either 3.55 or 4.11 grams, depending on lid size.

File this under – inconvenient truth, be careful what you wish for.


{sf} if so what 2018

May 15, 2018

At the end of last month, my friend and I had the opportunity to attend a pretty random event. It’s supposed to be this new kind of art experience called If So What: A New Art and Design Destination. Held at the Palace of Fine Arts, it certainly had a cool venue. The actual concept was a bit confusing. Part of me thinks that’s part of the point because it’s a new concept where visitors are able to completely immerse themselves in and/or interact with the art that they are not just seeing, but experiencing. A few of the exhibits were super interesting. Being able to tweet and having your hashtags affect the colors reflected onto a car is neat. Having the opportunity to experience 3D art through virtual reality headsets is also a neat experience. Being able to explore art pieces up close using iPad and various apps also very cool. So all in all, this event was interesting, but I’m really glad we got free Goldstar (only paying for handling) tickets, otherwise I might have been more disappointed!

A so what photo adventure:

I recently realized that I had never read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I did end up seeing all the movies on tiny screens a number of longer airplane flights so definitely didn’t get the full effect of the movies, but I generally enjoy books more than movies anyway.

With this recent realization, I decided to take on the trilogy, which I didn’t think would be that difficult since they were written originally for teenagers anyway. It turns out I was right. They were a definite easy read. Because I had seen the movie first, all the characters bouncing in my head during the games were actually the movie actors, which may or may not be a good thing. Since it is a teen novel, I realized how it actually worked out well as a basis for a movie. The plot is not so complicated like Red Rising by Pierce Brown or so long like Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling that a movie would either be cutting down on the plot too much or oversimplifying the story line. Katniss is for sure a fierce female character though and so young if you think about it … just trying to figure it all out in a dystopian society. Aren’t we all?


Ever since reading The Handmaid’s Tale, I”d been thinking about reading more Margaret Atwood books, but hadn’t been actively searching. Recently, I happened upon Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood and realized that it was the same author so of course I had to read it. Margaret Atwood must really love writing about dystopian societies because this one was a very dystopian society to the point where the main character Jimmy (who also goes by Snowman) didn’t even though if there were other real people left on the planet.

In the book, you are pulled back and forth from the present when Jimmy has named himself Snowman to the past during which Jimmy is growing up with his parents, going to college, and operating in a world he thinks is normal. To us today, the world seems horrible though not entirely impossible. Corporations have taken over everything. There are all kinds of genetically created food processes. There are crazy cross-breeds of animals that scientists created to get rid of one problem but as a result created a new problem. They then try and solve that problem by cross-breeding other animals. As you can imagine, the result is chaos. For a good chunk of the book, you don’t even know who Oryx and Crake are or if they’re people or characters at all. Eventually you do though and the story line becomes even creepier. Yikes! Dystopian societies where animals and humans are modified to be specific way are scary to think about!

You have a bucket already, why get another container for soda? That restaurant management may not agree.

On the other hand, maybe he just want his fried chicken marinated with soft drink. That appears to be a clear drink. From KFC’s website, their clear drink is Sierra Mist. Just call it misty fried chicken. He is just making a customer suggestion, to the management!

Wait! That’s not actually a KFC, but some burger place??

That looks like a Burger King or maybe McDonald’s poster. However, both of those serve Coca Cola, not Pepsi. Supposedly, these restaurants serve Pepsi. None has a burger poster like that.

Maybe it’s the old defunct Gino’s – a fast food joint that combines KFC with a burger place.

In any case, this is a guy filling up his KFC bucket with soda, at another burger joint? That restaurant management may not quite see it as genius.

Although from the fuzzy letters on wall sign, this may not be in U.S. Maybe there, it’s customary to use KFC bucket for soda. Maybe there, it already offers “Misty Fried Chicken.” Maybe there, they don’t wear any fast food chain uniform, he is just a restaurant worker flushing out the soda machine. Nice try, but busted!

Who knew that picture offers so much information and intrigue?