Tag: plastic

John Tierney joins Brian Anderson to discuss the campaign to ban the use of plastic products and the flawed logic behind the recycling movement—the subjects of Tierney’s story, “The Perverse Panic over Plastic,” from the Winter 2020 Issue of City Journal.

Hundreds of cities and eight states have outlawed or regulated single-use plastic bags. But according to Tierney, the plastic panic doesn’t make sense. Plastic bags are the best environmental choice at the supermarket, not the worst, and cities that built expensive recycling programs—in the hopes of turning a profit on recycled products—have instead paid extra to get rid of their plastic waste, mostly by shipping it to Asian countries with low labor costs. However, the bans will likely continue as political leaders and private companies seek a renewed sense of moral superiority.

Micromanaging Prole Life Is Hard


I was reading a twitter thread last night started by a film critic whose work I admire and enjoy. Occasionally he gets political. This time he really booted the hornet’s nest, asserting that “paper straws are fine, Unless you gnaw on them or manhandle them, they last a long time. Plastic or metal straws *should always be available upon request, no questions asked.* But paper should be the default.”

This is a moderate liberal position, no? To save the earth, which is choking to imminent death on plastic, we should move to paper straws, but permit the use of plastic with no opprobrium attached to the moral stragglers or those who require a stiffer means of conveying liquids to one’s mouth.

He quickly added that he knew this tweet would be “moral quicksand,” and added that “it should be illegal to deny somebody plastic or metal straws on request, or even ask them why they want it.”

Environmentalism: A Long View


“Sustainable.” People seem awfully fond of that word, using it more and more to the point where the XKCD guy figured out when the English language becomes only the word “sustainable” over and over and over again.

The problem with sustainability is that it assumes that, well, things can be sustained. That there exists a possible steady-state future where the environment isn’t harmed by mankind. We assume that, left to it’s own devices, the environment stays the same. The environment will change, and it will change in spite of our attempts to sustain it.

How to Build a Computer 8: Organic Chemistry


I started with a discussion of the magic of photoresist, however (say it with me!) it got long-winded and I cut it down to the organic chemistry review. Next week photoresist. This week we’re going over some basic organic chemistry. Sounds fun, right? It’s going to be even more fun than that! You wait and see. We’re going to start small though, with methane.

You smell something? No? It’s probably just me.

Death of the Flockfather


Union-Products-Flamingos-960x691Donald Featherstone, father of the plastic lawn flamingo, died Monday. He spent his final days in a room with pink sheets and a pair of his long-necked, spindly-legged creations flanking the fireplace. His wake is tomorrow, and his funeral mass will be held this Saturday. Millions of his pink children, the tribe of Phoenicopteris ruber plasticus, will survive him.

My family taught me to sneer at the plastic flamingo. To look down my nose at it. Lowbrow. Trailer-trash kitsch. The problem with a flamingo, though, is you can’t really win a sneering contest with that hooked beak. Flamingos spend their lives looking down their noses at everything. Even the plastic ones, whose facial features are subtly altered to give them a cuteness few live flamingos truly possess. Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, how often in the staring contest between good taste and simple happiness, happiness ultimately wins. As their creator would put it, “I loved what I did. It’s all happy things… They have been called very tacky, but more than not, they’ve been called fun.” His wife of 40 years would add, “Donald always said, ‘You don’t take yourself too seriously because you’re not getting out alive anyway.’”

Featherstone was a classically trained painter as well as a sculptor, who in his free time filled his own home with paintings that “looked like they were done by a master from the Renaissance”. But he filled his backyard with plastic flamingos. 57 of them, to be exact, in honor of the year they were first manufactured. Humble and good-humored, he happily attended flamingo-themed events, keeping his highbrow side quite private. “He decided it would destroy the illusion and pleasure for people who knew him for the flamingo.”

Member Post


Our betters in the California state legislature have passed a ban on plastic grocery sacks. Signed into law by Governor Brown redux, the law begins to take effect next July.In a state where budget realities force Democrats to choose between boondoggles, this should come as no surprise. As a Californian and grocery shopper, the ban will […]

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Member Post


In Sonoma County in Northern California, a plastic bag ban went into effect Monday. My wife and I usually have cloth bags in the car now, but on occasion we forget to bring them into the store. You can, of course, pay in most places for paper or cloth bags. Already seeing people trying to […]

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