There I was minding my own business when my wife asked if I had loose nuts. For those of you who are not married, this is a public service announcement. When your wife asks you a question like this,
Rule one is:
Do not under any circumstances answer it
with the first thing that pops into your head.
The second thing that popped into my head was that she should look in California where they seem to have a plethora of loose nuts.
It turns out that she was looking for a solitary nut to replace one that had fallen off of a bolt. However, in my defense, at the time I was reading an article about a bill proposed by Ian Calderon, the Democratic majority leader in California’s lower house in which a waiter who serves a drink with an unrequested straw in it would face up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
In addition to the California state government, straws have become a major concern of cities like Seattle, Washington, San Luis Obispo and Davis, California as well as such media outlets as The Los Angeles Times, CNN and The San Francisco Chronicle. Celebrities such as Adrian Grenier and Neil Degrasse Tyson have appeared in videos to demonstrate their support for this monumental problem. After all if you can’t rely on an astronomer’s knowledge of sucking implements, who can you believe?
These robust scientific experts state that Americans use 500 million plastic straws a day, many of them ending up in waterways and oceans. The 500 million figure is often attributed to the National Park Service; it in turn got it from the recycling company Eco-Cycle.
Shockingly, Eco-Cycle does not have any data to back up this number. It is relying on the research of Milo Cress. Milo apparently arrived at the 500 million number from a phone survey of straw manufactures he conducted in 2011.
In 2011, Milo was NINE years old.
Now to be fair, it is hard to fault a nine year old for not questioning whether it is reasonable for all 326 million men, women and children in the country to actually use 500 million straws a day, much less how they all ended up in the ocean. While we are waiting for Calderon’s next bill to require the tagging and tracking of straws in the wild, the best we can come up with is the California Coastal Commission which counted 835,455 Straws/Stirrers between 1988 and 2016. (For non-math majors, 835 thousand straws is less than 500 million, and the period between 1988 and 2016 is more than a day.)
I know you will be disappointed, but my little rant here is not about straws.
It is not about polluting the environment.
It is not about a Democrat politician proposing ridiculous laws. If California had not banned Republicans, I am sure they would be busy regurgitating separate but equal stupidity.
This particular rant is about the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Santa Clause.
People over the age of five who still believe in them should not carry, vote, procreate or operate heavy machinery.
Those of us over the age of five need to be able to perform reality checks on what we are told and what we believe. This is doubly (maybe quintupley) true if we are being told by a politician or media outlet. Trust, but verify – and verify the verification.
If something sounds too good (or bad) to be true, the odds of false multiply like rabbits wearing chiffon prophylactics.
If what we are being told seems too good/bad to be true and supports what we already believe, we need to check our blind spot for objects that are larger than they appear.