Map of the day

I’m sure I’ve posted similar maps before, but when one considers the extremely distorted representation we have in this country, maps like this never get old to me.  Via some person on Reddit:

And, again, this is very political, because those people who live in the red have dramatically more political power and influence than those who live in the orange.  And that’s no way to have a democracy.

And while we’re at it, a friend recently shared this nice video on the Trouble with the Electoral College.  It’s good, but I’d argue that, if anything, it understates just how wrong the Electoral College is.

They’re coming for your straws

So, I often come to class after lunch with my Diet Dr Pepper cup remaining to be finished with my standard two straws.  I started using two straws so long ago I cannot remember, but as I’ve mentioned, I drink a lot at lunch, and you can literally drink twice as fast with two straws instead of one.  Why use straws at all?  For all the reasons people like to use straws.  Anyway, within the past year, this has apparently turned me into an environmental heathen.  And given my habits, I’m a double heathen.

Anyway, the anti-straw campaign is really catching on. NYT:

Finally, it’s warm enough to walk the streets of New York while nursing an iced coffee, a chilled juice or a cold soda. It’s straw season.

But in many quarters, the ubiquitous plastic straw has suddenly become a pariah for the harm it can do to the environment.

The United States alone uses and discards millions of plastic straws every day, according to Eco-Cycle, a nonprofit group that promotes recycling. While straws account for only a small fraction of the single-use plastics in circulation or in landfills, their size and shape make them a threat to marine life; the straws can entrap animals and be swallowed whole by fish.

Online campaigns like Stop Sucking and the Last Plastic Straw have declared war on the straws. Some cities, including Seattle and Malibu, Calif., have banned them. Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, has vowed to outlaw the sale of plastic straws before the end of the year.

To be fair, we do waste so much plastic and it is good to look to cut back where we can, but I would love to know how the waste from straws compares to other waste.  Like how’s that straw compare to a single thrown-away plastic cup (which I see my students do all the time).  Or how’s the straw compare to a single trip of re-usable shopping bags.  Sure, I’m self-justifying, and I’ll even consider my love of straws a semi-vice, but as damage to the environment goes, I imagine there’s dozens of ignored things that have way more impact than straws.  I’ve even been encouraged by my students to buy the $20 re-usable straw.

All of us who believe in a perfect environment are surely far from doing all we can.  And, I really try in lots of ways, but this is going to have to be my environmental vice.  Also, perfectly happy to use paper straws, which seems pretty cool.

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