Last year Shelby O'Neil founded an ocean conservation group named Jr. Ocean Guardians and asked Alaska Airlines to avoid using plastic stir straws on its flights, noting their adverse effects on the environment.
Now Alaska Airlines has obliged, announcing that in July they will completely stop using plastic stir straws and citrus picks and instead offer compostable straws made of white birch. The airline will also replace its large juice boxes with recyclable aluminum cans.
Naturally, O'Neil was elated to hear the news, saying that she's "so proud" of the airline for the switch.
The famous Fortune 500 list measures the top companies in the US in terms of revenue. Interestingly, only three companies have topped the list since it was first published in 1955 - General Motors (cars), Exxon (oil), and Walmart (retail).
In 2018 Walmart leads the list by a large margin, with approximately $500B in revenue. Following it are Exxon Mobil ($244B), Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway ($242B), and Apple ($229B). Amazon joined the list's Top 10 for the first time in the 8th place with a yearly revenue of $178B, growing rapidly from its 2016 revenue of $136B.
The list's biggest leap in 2018 was Tesla's, 123 spots to no. 260, whereas the biggest fall was Xerox's, 129 spots down to no. 291.
Notably, revenue isn't necessarily correlated with market cap. Apple's market cap is 4x Walmart and Amazon's market cap is 3x Walmart.
The West Virginia 2018 Senate race was already considered one of the more intriguing ones, with Democratic Senator Joe Manchin running for reelection in a state which Trump won by a 39-point margin.
The recent Republican primary featured coal baron and ex-convict Don Blankenship challenging the preferred establishment nominee - Patrick Morrisey, a challenge which included harsh personal attacks on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and elicited the intervention of President Trump in favor of Morrisey.
Morrisey eventually won by a large margin but Blankenship isn't giving up. He has left the Republican party and plans to run in November as the nominee of the Constitution Party.
West Virginia voter guidelines do not allow primary losers to run for Senate by representing another party but Blankenship plans to challenge the guidelines in court. The Democratic party is undoubtedly rooting for him to join the race and divide the Republican vote.
Hillary Clinton is set to announce that she's backing incumbent New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in his re-election bid.
The move is almost certain to annoy the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, especially in light of the Clinton team's handling of the Bernie Sanders insurgency during the 2016 campaign.
Cuomo's primary opponent is Cynthia Nixon of "Sex and the City" fame, who is running on a platform opposing economic inequality, affordable housing reform, and fighting Republican dominance of the state legislature. She says Cuomo has exacerbated those problems in "governing like a Republican," according to the Atlantic.
Clinton seems determined to slowly reassert herself in the political arena following a self-imposed exile after the 2016 loss; she also recorded a robocall for Georgia House candidate Stacey Abrams.
Currently, Cuomo is polling 22 points ahead of Nixon in the New York race.
The U.S. Supreme Court decided on Monday that employers can require employees to sign away their ability to bring a class-action lawsuit against management. While these type of agreements are already in place for about 25 million U.S. employees, today's ruling is a notable blow to workers' rights.
The decision passed 5-4 with the court's conservative justices in the majority. The ruling upheld the legality of companies forcing workers to sign arbitration agreements waiving their right to class-action claims on various matters, mostly wages and hours.
The court did not specifically address discrimination claims, but technically this ruling could apply to those as well.
This is just the latest in a series of pro-business decisions issued in recent years by the conservative-majority Supreme Court.
Liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called the ruling “egregiously wrong."
Online streaming giant Netflix announced on Monday that it had entered into a multi year agreement to produce movies, documentaries, and series with former President Barack Obama as well as former First Lady Michelle Obama.
The Obamas will produce their work under the name Higher Ground Productions.
“One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience,” Barack Obama said in a statement.
“That’s why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix - we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world,” he added.
Netflix had previously produced a film entitled "Barry" about the former President's college years.
On Monday, a group of securities regulators in the United States and Canada launched an "international crackdown" on scams in the cryptocurrency trading world.
Entitled "Operation Cryptosweep," it was announced Monday as a joint operation by the North American Securities Administrators Association, or NASAA. The investigations preceding it began in March, when regulators started "to begin a coordinated series of investigations into ICOs and cryptocurrency-related investment products."
The operation already includes "nearly 70 inquiries and investigations and 35 pending or completed enforcement actions since the beginning of the month," according to the group.
"The actions announced today are just the tip of the iceberg," TDCI Assistant Commissioner Frank Borger-Gilligan said.
With annual shareholder meetings coming up for many oil companies, a group of investors with collective holdings worth $10 trillion has sent an open letter calling on oil and gas companies to take responsibility for their role in climate change.
The letter, signed by representatives from heavy-hitter investors like Fidelity and Legal & General, noted that estimates say the oil and gas industry is responsible for 50% of global carbon emissions, and insisted that the industry "must be more transparent and take responsibility for all its emissions,” according to Quartz.
The investors group said that shareholders were ready to accept the dictates of the Paris Climate accord, and added, "It is time for the entire oil and gas industry to do the same.”
China has announced that it will cut auto import duties on July 1. This announcement comes after China promised to buy more US goods on Saturday.
The Chinese Finance Ministry said on Tuesday that many imported vehicle charges will be reduced from 25% to 15%.
President Xi Jinping had said in April that China would reduce ownership restrictions in the Chinese auto industry, as well as cut import duties.
China has been under pressure from US President Trump to shorten its several billion-dollar trade surplus with the United States.
Elon Musk said on Sunday via Twitter that employees at Tesla's production plant haven't unionized because "they just don't want to".
"They can form a union whenever they want & there's nothing I can do to stop them, California is a very pro-union state. They just don't want to" Musk wrote.
Tesla has been accused of firing workers over attempts to unionize in the past, and last October the UAW filed a formal complaint against Tesla with the National Labor Relations Board.
Tesla has denied the allegations, and now Musk has addressed them on Twitter. Musk acknowledged that a small group of employees were fired after performance reviews.
"About 2% of Tesla salaried & hourly, union & non-union were let go in annual review. Only known union person fired was a guy who repeatedly threatened non-union supporters verbally & on social media & lied about it."
Guests of the royal wedding between Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were given out gift bags on May 19, and are now selling the contents online through eBay.
Though the 600 chapel guests who were present at the ceremony aren't the ones selling the bags, 2,640 members of the public were invited into the grounds of Windsor Castle where they received the bags, and some of them decided to put the items up for auction.
Currently, there are nine auctions up on the website, with some of the listings reaching more than £1,000 (a little over $1,300).
As for what's inside the bags, contents include:
A coalition of progressive groups including Demand Progress, Jewish Voices for Peace, MoveOn and the Content Creators Coalition amongst others, is launching a new campaign urging the Federal Trade Commission to break up Facebook. The campaign is being called "Freedom from Facebook."
“The five members of the Federal Trade Commission, which is the part of our government tasked with overseeing Facebook, can make Facebook safe for our democracy by breaking it up, giving us the freedom to communicate across networks, and protecting our privacy,” the group said on its website.
One ad will read “Mark Zuckerberg has a scary amount of power. We need to take it back,” though there are other advertisements planned too. Ironically, some of the ads will appear on Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook has been under increased scrutiny lately, as it deals with fall out from the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
India's Taj Mahal, one of the seven Wonders of the World, is turning green and yellow due to the severe pollution in India. The white-marble 17th century mausoleum sits in the world's 8th most polluted city, Agra.
The Taj Mahal stands next to a garbage filled river, and is often enveloped by smog from nearby smokestacks and car exhausts.
An environmental lawyer told India’s Supreme Court that insects from nearby sewage often crawl into the Tag Mahal, further staining the marble with excrement.
Restorers are using a clay mineral paste to clean the marble, but activists and lawyers say that not enough is being done. The Indian Supreme Court says the Indian government is not doing enough to preserve the monument.
This is not a new development, activists and environmentalists have warned of the risk of pollution on the Taj Mahal for decades.
In a build up to what Bill de Blasio sees as a bridge toward full legalization of recreational marijuana, the NYC Mayor has ordered all police to stop arrests of people smoking weed in public. Instead, police are to give out summons, not arrests.
de Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo are both against marijuana legalization. The New York Times found that black people are eight times more likely to get arrested on a misdemeanor marijuana charge than white people in NYC with Newsweek reporting that de Blasio and Cuomo's sudden policy change is to reduce that statistic.
Cuomo, who's currently running against Cynthia Nixon, also suddenly changed his beliefs just one day after Nixon said in a video, "We have to stop putting people of color in jail for something that white people do with impunity."
A Californian man has accidentally caused $11,000 in damage to an apartment after he used a torch lighter to kill a huge spider on Sunday afternoon. The spider, lit in flames, ran under a mattress in his home, which caused a fire to break out. The flames then caught onto a nearby flag collection and then his drapes.
Firefighters in Redding, northern California were called to put out the flames after the man and his neighbors attempted to put the fire out with a garden hose. Occupants of the flat were told they would have to find a new apartment as the damage was irreparable. No one was injured and it is still unclear if the spider survived.
In the past two weeks Ethereum gas prices have soared as usage of the network increased significantly. The reason - four similar games named Ether Cartel, Pepe Farm, Eth Dragon Farm, and Ether Shrimp Farm are gaining traction on the network, managing tens of thousands of transactions.
The four games, in which you can buy and sell random 'assets', are being promoted on 4chan as an overt attempt to troll Ethereum and grab money from gullible buyers. Unfortunately, they have increased fees for regular Ethereum transactions to $0.15 and significantly higher for contract transactions like decentralized exchanges. Like CryptoKitties in the past, these games show the importance of Ethereum scaling to manage future use cases.
Representatives of the Bitcoin Cash mining community (Antpool, BTC.top, Bitcoin.com, Bitcoin ABC, and others) met in Hong Kong after the CoinGeek conference to discuss how miners could help promote Bitcoin Cash development.
The result is a plan to allocate 1%-5% of the block rewards to Bitcoin Cash development, with each development proposal voted upon by miners and requiring 75% support. At current prices, the dev reward would be worth approximately $650K-$3.25M per month.
The meeting is a unique cooperation between cryptocurrency miners, signaling their control over the BCH network. This shouldn't be surprising considering that BCH is promoted by some of Bitcoin's top miners, who were disillusioned with the direction of Bitcoin development and forked off the network.
IOTA, a cryptocurrency aiming for the Internet of Things industry, has been the focus of many researchers due to its controversial decision to "roll it's own crypto," meaning to invent new cryptography methods instead of using well established ones.
Indeed, in the past year researchers have found several vulnerabilities in IOTA's design and implementation, and in contrast to industry custom, IOTA developers repeatedly attempted to discredit the researchers or downplay the issues. In one case, IOTA co-founder Sergey Ivancheglo even threatened legal action against a researcher.
Despite not being officially affiliated with the IOTA Foundation, Ivancheglo's comments caused fear among researchers, who are wary of studying IOTA. Now the prestigious University College London (UCL) has joined the ranks of researchers who have decided to completely cut ties with the IOTA Foundation in fear of legal retribution.
A new study seems to indicate that a drug cocktail of Viagra and a flu vaccine can reduce or even prevent the spread of cancer following surgery.
Published in the journal OncuImmunology, the study on mice showed that the unexpected drug combination may help patients' immune systems kill off any remaining cancer cells after a tumor has been excised surgically.
And while the researchers acknowledge that surgery “is very effective in removing solid tumors,” by performing invasive surgery to remove the bulk of the cancer, doctors are unwittingly promoting the growth of any cancer cells they left behind.
“[T]ragically, surgery can also suppress the immune system in a way that makes it easier for any remaining cancer cells to persist,” study lead Dr. Rebecca Auer told The Independent.
The research is next being evaluated in a clinical human trial of 24 patients suffering abdominal cancer.
A bill has passed in Missouri stating that meat grown in a laboratory is not real meat. This is the first time a state has decided that plant-based products grown in a lab will not be labeled as meat on store shelves.
According to the bill, meat must be "derived from harvested production livestock or poultry."
The debate over what can and can not be labeled as meat has become worldwide. In April, France passed legislation against vegan and vegetarian sausages from being labeled as meat.
A new study shows that 43% of US households don't make enough money to afford necessities like rent and food, despite the economy as a whole doing well, and official unemployment numbers falling below 4%.
The research, commissioned by United Way's ALICE Project, found that nearly 51 million US households can't afford to pay monthly bills for things like rent, food, childcare, healthcare, transportation, and a cell phone.
Those numbers include the 16.1 million US families living in poverty, as well as 34.7 million that the United Way dubs “ALICE” households, an acronym for “asset-limited, income-constrained, employed.” The threshold is defined as the “bare-minimum economic survival level” in a given area, based on local cost of living figures.
“Despite seemingly positive economic signs, the ALICE data shows that financial hardship is still a pervasive problem," said project director Stephanie Hoopes.
Swedish energy company Vattenfall on Monday brought its largest battery system to date online Monday in the U.K. The 22-megawatt system is one of the world's largest.
Six shipping container-sized units housing batteries will store energy generated by Vattenfall’s Welsh onshore wind farm Pen y Cymoedd, and provide backup energy to the community when the wind doesn’t blow. Five of the units contain BMW’s i3 battery packs, and the installation totals 22 megawatts.
It’s the latest instance of energy companies pairing large-scale battery storage technology with renewable energy sources. Late last year, for instance, automaker and energy storage company Tesla installed the world’s largest solar storage system in Australia. The 100-megawatt project generated over $1 million in just a few days.
As climate change continues to accelerate, threatening biodiversity and ecosystems around the world, it’s undeniably clear that humans are the biggest threat to life on Earth. But a new study underscores exactly how damaging the long-term effect of human activity on the planet has been.
According to research led by Ron Milo, professor of plant and environmental sciences at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, 83 percent of all wild mammals and about 50 percent of all plants lost since the dawn of civilization have been wiped out due to humans.
The research also found a dramatic mismatch between humanity’s massive ecological footprint and its actual biomass, which equals just 0.01 percent of all life on Earth.
Plants claim the biggest slice of biomass on the planet, representing 82 percent of all life. Bacteria, which comprise 13 percent of all life, claim second place, while animals comprise the remainder.
Research teams in Wales and India have conducted studies that were published in Applied Nano Materials, and that suggest that tea leaves can prove to be effective futuristic cancer treatments.
Specifically, the scientists were looking at tiny nanoparticles that are found in tea leaves. Their research suggests that those nanoparticles can hinder the growth process of lung cancer cells, destroying up to 80% at a time.
The discovery came from research that dealt with quantum dots, tiny particles that are 4,000 thinner than human hair. Pertaining to healthcare, they can mimic a reaction of a person's immune system, raising the possibility of replacing antibiotics.
Researchers have also confirmed that the extract from tea leaves isn't toxic, and can be used as an alternative in producing quantum dots through chemicals.
Though the researchers say the method looks "very promising," it'll still take time until it can be used on patients.
The Houston Texans have confirmed that star defensive end J.J. Watt will pay for the funerals of all 10 people killed in the shooting at Santa Fe High School.
A 17-year old opened fire at the high school on Friday morning, armed with a shotgun and a revolver. Ten others were injured during the attack, which occurred about 30 miles from downtown Houston.
Watt tweeted that the school shooting was “Absolutely horrific,” shortly after the news broke.
The star NFL player is well known for his charitable efforts, he raised over $37 million for Hurricane Harvey aid earlier this year.
A cyclist suspected of striking another rider and sending him to the hospital while riding on a Virginia trail has been arrested after police found him via his Strava fitness app.
The accused, 48-year-old Edward Shortnacy, allegedly reached out and struck an oncoming cyclist who was attempting to pass another rider. The blow knocked the man off his bike and his injuries required hospitalization. Meanwhile, Shortnacy rode away.
However, based on the victim's description – the attacker was wearing a racing helmet and his bike was equipped with “aero bars” – police identified Shortnacy, and found he was one of several riders using fitness app Strava that day in that area. Eyewitnesses then identified him from a line-up.
Police say they didn't ask Strava for assistance, as they could simply access publicly uploaded user data.
Shortnacy is free on $5,000 bond.
Gianluigi Buffon ended his 17-year Juventus career as they crowned a seventh straight Italian title with a 2-1 win over relegated Verona.
The 40-year-old keeper was substituted just after the hour, and was in tears as he embraced his team-mates while the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
He did a lap of honour while the match continued in Turin, accepting gifts and congratulations from fans.
The text of the royal vows, which origins from the 1662 Anglican Book of Common Prayer, includes the bride vowing to obey her husband. The text survived for centuries but in recent decades has been criticized for being sexist and is gradually coming out of favor.
The first time the word 'obey' was omitted was in the 1981 wedding of Princesse Diana and Charles, and later Kate Middleton followed Diana's lead when marrying William in 2011. Now Markle, who is known for her feminist activism, has chosen to avoid the word too.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding was one of the most talked about events of the year - and one of the most expensive.
The Royal Wedding costed almost $45 million. About $40 million went to security.
The royal family says they will be paying for the church service, reception, music, and flowers. The security will be paid largely by taxpayers in the UK.
Deadpool 2, the not-so long awaited sequel to 2016's smash hit Deadpool, has taken down its Marvel brethren at the box office this weekend, with its $125 million opening weekend outgrossing the seemingly unstoppable Infinity War.
However, the movie could not beat its predecessor. While the original took in a fabulous $132.4 million two years ago, 2 was unable to come out on top, even falling short of the $130 million Fox projected.
Despite this, the film did manage to make the record for the second highest grossing opening weekend for an R rated movie, just behind the original Deadpool.
Analysts believe the film has a chance to recoup any lost dollars during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, despite potential competition from Star Wars' Solo: A Star Wars Story.
The small baltic nation, home to 1.3 million people, has been trying out free public transport in its capital city Tallinn for five years and considers the experiment a success.
Now it plans to expand free rides to any state-run Estonian bus service, across the country. Visitors will still be required to pay bus fares but Estonia is considering making visitor rides free as well, hoping to encourage tourism and allow the complete removal of bus passes.
While no other country has gone as far as Estonia in free public transport, Paris is now considering a similar model, which would support 10x the number of people in Estonia.
Google and Microsoft announced today that they have discovered a flaw in the processors contained in many computers which can be exploited by hackers or by malware running inside the system.
This is the fourth such design flaw found in recent months, referred to as Spectre 1 and 2, and Meltdown, respectively. Although there is no known code in circulation to exploit this problem, and any patches put in place to protect against the Spectre 1 should also make exploiting this one more difficult.
The flaw allows hackers to glean sensitive information because of a storage method called Speculative Store Bypass, which might allow for placement in less-than-secure places. This flaw is present in hundreds of millions of processor chips, going back as long as 20 years and made by major companies such as Intel and AMD. It was exposed by Jann Horn of Google, who helped discover the others.
In the first public warning campaign of its kind since the Cold War, Sweden is advising people via pamphlet on how to deal with the outbreak of war, as it faces an increasingly bellicose Russia just across the Baltic Sea.
“If Crisis or War Comes” is the title of the 20-page booklet, containing advice on how to get potable water, how to identify propaganda, and where Swedes can locate a bomb shelter.
The pamphlet also offers some Cold War-esque words of patriotism and encouragement, saying “If Sweden is attacked by another country, we will never give up,” according to Reuters.
Publisher Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency didn't specify the potential source of an attack, but Sweden and other regional countries have been on heightened alert since the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Wildlife protection for coyote pups, black bears, and a number of other Alaskan animals are likely to be stripped away under a new National Park Service rule proposed on Monday. The rule would reverse Obama administration protections from 2015 that prohibited certain hunting practices in Alaska.
The Obama-era rule included a ban on hunting wolves or coyotes or their pups during denning season, and using bait to hunt brown bears, among other prohibitions.
The new proposed rule would allow states to govern their hunting practices and ignore any federal wildlife protection laws.
According to the NPS, the new law is intended to conserve wildlife while simultaneously improving hunting practices. Many environmentalists, though, say the new rule is intended to boost hunting profits.
"The proposed regulations cast aside the very purpose of national parks to protect wildlife and wild places," Jamie Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife, commented.
Juan Carlos Cruz, a Chilean man who suffered sexual abuse from a Catholic priest, met with Pope Francis two weeks ago to discuss the trauma he suffered and the subsequent attacks he underwent from bishops who claimed he was lying. He also discussed attacks he suffered for his homosexual orientation.
Cruz told Spanish newspaper El Pais that the Pope was very understanding, saying "Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care. The pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are."
The Vatican won't say if the Pope believes that LGBT orientations are innate and given by god but he has shown liberal tendencies in the past - in 2013 he was asked about gay priests and famously responded "Who am I to judge?"
Kami Rita, 48, just returned from climbing Mount Everest for the record 22nd time on Sunday, and says he is already planning his next trip up the mountain. The veteran Sherpa guide says he is not ready to retire.
“I will continue to climb. I have not reached my retirement age, and until I retire I will continue to be a guide on Everest,” Rita said.
Rita says he will be climbing other mountains in the mean time, and plans to return to Everest in 2019. “I really don’t need to prepare for Everest since I will be climbing other peaks later this year,”
The Everest veteran first climbed the mountain when he was 24, and has made the journey up almost every year since.
Kami Rita is the first Sherpa guide to scale Everest 22 times, two other guides had climbed the mountain 21 times, but they have retired.