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Starbucks Unveils a New Symbolic Cup Design for the Holidays

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Starbucks

November has barely begun, but some companies are already using the month's arrival as an excuse to ring in the unofficial start of the holiday season. That includes Starbucks, the national drink chain that’s turned their seasonal drink offerings into an impressive customer draw. For the 2016 holidays, Starbucks is ditching their traditional red cup for a green one symbolizing unity, TIME reports.

The cups, which began appearing in stores on Tuesday, November 1, feature a “mosaic of more than a hundred people drawn in one continuous stroke,” according to a press release. It was designed by artist Shogo Ota, a Japan native who moved to the U.S. 14 years ago. The cup is meant to evoke feelings of community and togetherness, something Starbucks says our country needs to be reminded of now more than ever.

“During a divisive time in our country, Starbucks wanted to create a symbol of unity as a reminder of our shared values, and the need to be good to each other,” chairman and CEO Howard Schultz said in the statement.

Conflict around the holidays is something Starbucks is familiar with: Last holiday season the brand came under fire for their stripped-down red cups, an aesthetic choice some consumers characterized as an attack on Christmas. This year, the company is prepping for a different reaction, championing the new design as "a symbol for stitching people together as a united community."

[h/t TIME]

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Why You Might Not Want to Order Tea or Coffee On Your Next Flight
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iStock

A cup of tea or coffee at 40,000 feet may sound like a great way to give yourself an extra energy boost during a tiring trip, but it might be healthier to nap away your fatigue—or at least wait until hitting ground to indulge in a caffeine fix. Because, in addition to being tepid and watery, plane brew could be teeming with germs and other harmful life forms, according to Business Insider.

Multiple studies and investigations have taken a closer look at airplane tap water, and the results aren’t pretty—or appetizing. In 2002, The Wall Street Journal conducted a study that looked at water samples taken from 14 different flights from 10 different airlines. Reporters discovered “a long list of microscopic life you don’t want to drink, from Salmonella and Staphylococcus to tiny insect eggs," they wrote.

And they added, "Worse, contamination was the rule, not the exception: Almost all of the bacteria levels were tens, sometimes hundreds, of times above U.S. government limits."

A 2004 study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that water supplies on 15 percent of 327 national and international commercial aircrafts were contaminated to varying degrees [PDF]. This all led up to the 2011 Aircraft Drinking Water Rule, an EPA initiative to make airlines clean up. But in 2013, an NBC investigation found that at least one out of every 10 commercial U.S. airplanes still had issues with water contamination.

Find out how airplane water gets so gross, and why turning water into coffee or tea isn’t enough to kill residual germs by watching Business Insider’s video below.

[h/t Business Insider]

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Design
This Concrete Block Makes a Fine Espresso
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Montaag

Have you ever thought your kitchen could use more of a Soviet Union vibe? Do you find the fixtures in abandoned buildings charming? Then the AnZa espresso machine—essentially a coffee maker encased in a concrete block—may be for you.

According to Curbed, the AnZa is part of the art and installation aesthetic dubbed Brutalism, an architectural movement using spare, blocky designs. Moving away from the sleek, shiny appearance of most modern appliances, design firm Montaag crafted a rough block with simple knobs. As post-apocalyptic as it may look, it’s reputed to make a very good cup of espresso. And it’s “smart”: a smartphone app can adjust the brewing temperature to the user’s preference.

A close-up of the AnZa's knob
Montaag

The project’s Kickstarter recently met its $145,000 goal and is now accepting preorders at Indiegogo for $799. You can hoist this subjectively beautiful appliance on your countertop beginning in March 2018.

[h/t Curbed]

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