Starbucks’ holiday cups: Anatomy of an outrage

Chances are you’ve seen the news about this year’s holiday cups at Starbucks.

Rather than continuing past design trends and having snowflakes or ornaments on the cup, it’s a gradient red with the only decoration being the company logo.

This has, somehow, become national news, because it is being reported as a controversy. Let’s examine that take. Continue reading

Point/Counterpoint: Lemonade Stands

Overzealous law enforcement has been a controversial issue in this country recently, from Ferguson to Baltimore, and now to Overton, Texas.

It was there that police shut down the lemonade stand of sisters Andria and Zoey Evans, 8 and 7 years old. This has happened time and time again.

In a departure from our usual format, SCS has brought in an outside expert who wished to remain anonymous, but whose name rhymes with Tallman Slushie. This way both sides of this argument can be heard.

This is Point/Counterpoint. Continue reading

How about a three-quarters measure?

Last week, Soft-Core Sophistry implored the slacktivist community to not take any half measures in their quest to defeat intolerance toward the gay marriage issue.

In doing so, we suggested some of the obvious targets: anyone who donated money to California’s Proposition 8 (former Mozilla CEO and co-founder Brendan Eich’s sin), anyone who voted for Proposition 8, and anyone who voted for president before 2012, as every president in U.S. history was against gay marriage.

But now a juicier target has presented itself: OkCupid co-founder and current CEO Sam Yagan. Continue reading

No half measures

For years now, people have tried to affect change in the world without doing much of anything, such as changing their Facebook profile picture to bring awareness to child abuse, or posting videos of Joseph Kony to bring awareness to the terrors he has inflicted.

This “slacktivism” has done little except make the person feel good about their action, which can lead to less actual positive contributions later.[1]

But now slacktivists have caught their white whale: they forced Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich to step down as CEO. Continue reading

Preventing the nation from being caught in a poverty trap

Like all good-thinking Americans, I’ve always considered the food stamp program to be a terrible burden on this country. It forces the nation’s poor into a poverty trap and puts a serious strain on the country’s taxpayers.

That’s why I applauded when Congress came to a bipartisan agreement in January that would cut food stamp benefits by up to $90 a month for around 850,000 families, on top of the $36 a month cuts (the average for a family of four) from November.

But now new information is coming out that shows there might be a cost to these cuts.

Continue reading

Ears are the new gateways to the soul

Scientists have made a recent discovery that puts our privacy at even greater risk.

The next time you throw away a used Q-Tip, just know you’re giving the NSA details about yourself you never thought possible.

Like how gross you are.

Like how gross you are.

Continue reading

The War on Germs

Ever since the germ theory of illness was confirmed, man has been trying to eradicate the pesky buggers. One of the ways us common folk have tried to fight germs is through the use of antibacterial soap.

Science for years has tried to take this weapon out of the plebe’s hands by saying it creates superbacteria that are resistant to the antibacterial properties. They also say it kills the good germs that live on our skin, making room for bad germs, and that it is no more effective than regular soap and water. They even have the audacity to claim that it doesn’t prevent people from getting sick, since most illnesses are caused by viruses (virii?), which antibacterial soaps don’t affect.

That hasn’t been working. About half all liquid and bar soaps sold in the United States have some sort of germicidal agent. The most common chemical dedicated to killing germs in soaps is triclosan, and Big Science has latched onto that in their latest attack on those outside their ivory tower. Continue reading

The Simple Joy of Pushing a Hoop with a Stick

The Federal Trade Commission recently levied a $35.2 million fine against Apple, following complaints that the company didn’t do enough to warn parents about the potential problems with some of their apps.

Most notably, when their child was playing a game, a parent would enter a password to let their kid buy something in the game, but were not told that password would remain valid for 15 minutes, allowing the child to make continuous in-game purchases for that entire time. According to one of the complaints filed, a kid playing the game Pet Hotel ran up a bill of $2,600 before those 15 minutes expired. Continue reading

The Spirit of Giving

The holidays are fast approaching. With the first month of the Christmas season nearly over, that means Thanksgiving is almost here. It’s a time to appreciate what we have and think of those less fortunate. This is a popular time for donations to people who cannot afford to have a Thanksgiving celebration of their own.

On an overall level not necessarily connected to the holidays, retail mega-conglomerate Wal*Mart looked out and saw some of its own in need of a helping hand. They have set up The Associates in Critical Need Trust to provide grants to employees who have fallen on hard times, such as through the death of a spouse or a natural disaster, to provide some relief when it’s needed most. But that’s a corporate undertaking, and sometimes the holidays demand a local touch.

One store in Ohio is making the news for its charity. As an example of a store-wide, rather than company-wide, initiative, it is running a food drive to provide help for those who can’t afford a Thanksgiving meal. The drive is to benefit Wal*Mart employees. The people being asked to help out are also Wal*Mart employees. Continue reading

Big Discounts on Values

The Affordable Care Act, known mostly as Obamacare, has been in the news a lot lately, probably because it’s a large piece of legislation causing sweeping changes throughout the country as it changes how health insurance is handled at a federal level, affecting nearly everyone.

While most people are content to mock the terrible website problems as the most visible failure of the program, the most nefarious part of this new law is the flagrant violation of religious freedom of this nation’s voiceless: our corporations. Continue reading