A Ten Year Old Took Our Straws!
Happy HumpDay! Don't let the transition from Summer to Fall bum you out! Put on a cozy sweater and curl up with this week's edition of the HumpDay Newsletter! As always, check out the HumpDay website at HumpDayNewsletter.com and follow the official HumpDay Instagram!
Astronomy In the early 1800’s people would believe anything. When a failing New York newspaper known as The Sun was struggling to find interesting news to cover, they decided to make something up to draw in new readers. People believed the papers phony stories and came back week after week to read more.
In 1835, The Sun published six articles allegedly written by the world-famous astronomer Sir John Herschel (they were not) describing recent discoveries found on the surface of the moon. The articles claimed that the moon was inhabited by all kinds of exotic animals including bison, goats, unicorns, beavers with no tails that stood on two feet, and human like people that had leathery bat-wings. The articles began by sounding somewhat scientific and slowly transitioned into absurdity. The series ended with a final article that said the telescope used to make the amazing discoveries was tragically lost in a fire and could never be rebuilt.
The Sun’s sensational stories about fantastic civilizations on the moon captured readers imaginations and caused sales of the newspaper to sky rocket. Even though it was revealed to be untrue, The Great Moon Hoax perpetrated by The Sun saved a failing newspaper and got people staring at the moon to try and find Bat-People flying around.
History Since HumpDay is technically a newsletter, we figured we should probably talk about the news at least once. The topic we want to cover is the current discussion over whether a sitting president can be indicted and arrested for a crime or not? We have the answer… yes! A sitting president can be arrested. How do we know? Because it already happened after one of the wildest nights in presidential history.
Franklin Pierce was the 14th President of the United States and his accomplishments (or lack thereof) have been mostly forgotten by history. Today Franklin Pierce is only known for two things. One, Pierce is widely considered to be America’s best-looking president. Two, he was once killed an old lady while driving a horse drawn carriage drunk.
Our 14th president was charismatic and outgoing which made him popular around the Washington social scene, but he had one major flaw, he was a drunk. Pierce had lost three children and his wife was a reclusive hermit, so he spent much of his term in office drinking away his sorrows and struggling to prevent the Civil War.
One night, while at a Washington D.C. Saloon drinking with his constituents, Pierce decided to head home early and drove his horse drawn carriage through the streets of the capital. Drunk, he lost control of his horse and began galloping wildly through the streets until the run-away carriage eventually struck and killed an elderly woman.
Onlookers saw that the carriage that struck the woman was driven by their alcoholic president and they told the local sheriff that Pierce was to blame for the woman’s murder. Police showed up a hotel where Pierce was hiding out and arrested him from public intoxication and manslaughter. The next day, the police agreed to release Pierce and no formal charges were ever filed against the president.
Upon leaving office in 1856, Franklin Pierce was quoted saying “There is nothing left to do but get drunk”.
Crime & Punishment
In a quiet Burlington, VT restaurant in February of 2011, a 9-year-old boy named Milo Cress sat eating lunch with his mother. Little did Milo know, he was about to spark an environmental revolution that would span the globe and frustrate a lot of future restaurant goers.
Milo’s mother did not like using straws and preferred to drink her drinks straight from the glass. Whenever she received a glass of water with a straw already in it, she took the straw out and laid it on the table. The ever-observant Milo noticed that his mother always took her straws out of her drink and wondered why restaurants wasted so many straws by giving them to people who don’t want them?
At lunch in 2011, Milo asked his Mom why the wait staff didn’t ask if she wanted a straw before giving her one. He figured the restaurant could hand out straws to people who wanted them and not give straws the people who didn’t want them saving straws and money. At Milo’s insistence, the waitress serving Milo that day called for the manager and Milo shared his idea to reduce waste. The manager wanted to support Milo’s passion and thought that it was a good cost saving measure so he began having the restaurant staff ask if customers wanted straws.
The idea to reduce straw waste didn’t stop that day at Lunch, when Milo was just 10 years old he did a school project where he estimated that over 500 million straws are used in the U.S. every day (This number is often quoted by environmentalists but is believed to be inaccurate). The 10-year-old took his school project and created an environmental activist group called Be Straw Free that aimed to reduce the number of straws thrown away to limit the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills and in the ocean.
The young activist message soon gained national attention for his anti-straw movement and his campaign became a featured story on national news stations. The campaign cast a spotlight on the amount of plastics Americans use each day and raised awareness of the large impact that small decisions can make on the environment.
Later, a video of a zoologists pulling a plastic straw out of a sea turtle’s nose created even more of an uproar over the wasteful nature of plastic straws and soon restaurants stopped serving straws all together. Today, major cities are banning the use of plastic straws in restaurants and many places have switched to biodegradable paper or bamboo straws.
Milo’s school project started a nationwide conversation about the use of plastics and eventually changed the way Americans consume drinks. It just goes to show that kids can change the world when they set their mind to something. Also shows that kids can be really annoying and make something simple like enjoying a drink even more difficult.
This Week in History
On this week in 1908, the Ford Motor Company launched their Model T automobile which was manufactured using Ford’s assembly line process. Before the Model T automobiles were considered luxury items but by making the manufacturing process more efficient, Ford was able to bring cars into the main stream. Over 15 million Model T’s were built in the longest production run of any automobile.
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