Now the prairie dogs are out to get us

I think it's fair to say at this point that the earth is rising up in self defense and will soon devour every last one of us. Read the rest

Woman killed by metal drinking straw

I'm all for stainless steel straws of the sort that we sell in the Boing Boing Store. They're an environmentally-friendly way to stop yourself from making the idiot-stick move (unless you need to use a straw, due to medical issues, then we're cool) of using one of the 175 million plastic straws that end up in landfills each year. If you opt for a metal straw, fair warning: don't pop it into your drink until you're seated and ready to sit and sip.

From The Boston Globe:

A British woman was impaled by a metal straw after falling at her home, a coroner said in an inquest this week that warned about the dangers of metal straws. Such straws have surged in popularity as cities, states, and even countries have banned single-use plastic straws.

The woman, Elena Struthers-Gardner, 60, who had a disability, fell and sustained a traumatic brain injury in November when the 10-inch straw pierced her eye, according to the coroner’s report.

“As a consequence of the fall, a stainless steel straw that was in a glass Kilner-style cup Mrs. Struthers-Gardner was carrying penetrated her left eye,” the report said.

Sadly, Mrs. Struthers-Gardner, died as a result of her injury.

Now, here's the thing and, don't ask me how I know, but you could very easily do the same thing with an OG plastic straw, so long as one end of the appliance has an air-tight seal. Are the odds as high of a plastic straw will fucking you up like stainless steel can? Read the rest

Puget Sound mussels are failing drug tests

If you’ve been using or abusing an opioid, then your pee’s been full of opioids. When your opioid-laced pee gets flushed away, those opioids wind up in our water: our reservoirs, streams and oceans.

And that, friends, is why mussels are failing drug tests.

According to CBS News, scientists at Washington’s Department of Fish & Wildlife have found evidence that the dregs of the opioids we consume and then whiz out are now present enough in the waters around Seattle that mussels are testing positive for oxycodone. As mussels are filter feeders, they tend to soak up environmental contaminants into their tissues in large concentrations.

From CBS News:

Happily, mussels don't metabolize drugs like oxycodone and thus wouldn't necessarily be physically harmed by the presence of it in their tissues, studies show that fish are not so lucky. In fact, scientists at the University of Utah recently discovered that, if given the opportunity, zebrafish will willingly dose themselves with opioids. Scientists say salmon and other fish might have a similar response.

The Puget Sound Institute notes that the amounts of opioids detected were thousands of times smaller than a typical human dose. And none of the mussels tested are near any commercial shellfish beds.

So the shellfish are safe, but man are we screwed.

That the opioid levels in the mussels have become high enough to be detectable says a lot about the amount of painkillers that we, as a society, are using and abusing, let alone the environmental impact we as a species can have, simply by going to the bathroom. Read the rest

The environmental costs of "safari selfies"

Everyone loves sloths, and that has led to a huge black market in their capture for use in "safari selfies," where eco-tourists travel to exotic locales and pose for social media posts with local fauna. Read the rest