+

Chris Gove loves the ocean so much, he named his brewery after it.

Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, Florida. Photo via Saltwater Brewery, used with permission.


Gove, who opened Saltwater Brewing in 2013 with four childhood friends, is an avid surfer and devotee of all things aquatic, including marine life.

The problem? Selling six-packs of beer meant producing a lot of plastic waste...

These things. Photo by Staecker/Wikimedia Commons.

...which all too frequently finds its way into the sea.

That didn't sit right with Gove and his cofounders, who decided to make ocean conservation part of Saltwater Brewing's mission from the very beginning.

"The jewel of Florida is the ocean, so we all grew up seeing tar and different plastic on the beach and when we’re surfing and fishing we’ll catch plastic bags, and it’s horrible," Gove told Upworthy.

Enter the edible six-pack ring.

A mock-up of the prototype. Photo via Saltwater Brewing, used with permission.

The rings, which Saltwater codeveloped with a New York-based ad agency, are made of spent grain leftover from the brewing process, much of which would otherwise go to waste.

The company is still perfecting the design but were encouraged by the successful production and testing of 500 prototypes last month. The rings are designed to be disposed of, but should they find their way into the ocean, they can be eaten safely by marine life.

Wait a sec, you might be thinking, "I haven't heard squat about plastic six-pack rings in forever. Didn't we solve this problem in, like, the '80s?"

Only sort of. In 1988, alarmed by reports of fish, sea birds, and turtles becoming ensnared by the rings, Congress passed a law requiring all plastic ring carriers (the industry term for those six-pack thingies) to be naturally degradable. Most are now manufactured to be photodegradable (meaning they split into tiny pieces when exposed to prolonged sunlight).

It's not a perfect solution. According to one major manufacturer, their plastic carriers take — at best — between three and four weeks to break down. But it does mostly solve the problem of animals getting trapped.

The problem now is, even after the rings break apart, the pieces can still be ingested by sea life — and wreak some major havoc.

Stuff that used to be inside a fish. Photo via Saltwater Brewery, used with permission.

A 2014 study, published in the journal Science, found that 99% percent of the plastic waste that should be in the ocean based on the most accurate available estimates — including those little tiny six-pack ring pieces — is missing, most likely because marine animals have eaten it.

"Turtles and certain fish eat jellyfish, and a lot of times balloons or pieces of plastic or plastic bags in the ocean can look like jellyfish," Neil Hammerschlag, a marine ecologist at the University of Miami, told Upworthy.

According to Hammerschlag, consuming discarded plastic can lead to serious injury — or even be a death sentence — for the animals that do so. Worse yet, discarded plastic often leeches toxic chemicals like mercury and DDT from the ocean, which then filter up the food chain, causing health problems for the larger sea creatures — and, ultimately, humans — that eat them.

Saltwater's prototype rings could be far better than the alternative.

A watermark on an illustration of the saltwater prototype rings. Photo by Saltwater Brewery, used with permission.

"I think it could be very beneficial," Hammerschlag said.

He believes that the less plastic that makes its way into the stomachs of fish, sea turtles, and sharks, the better — even if the material doesn't represent an ideal diet for those creatures.

"It’s kind of like having a Sour Patch Kid," Gove said. "You’d rather have your kid eat a Sour Patch Kid than a Lego. That’s kind of how I see it."

Gove hopes that, should the project succeed, other breweries — even major ones — will eventually follow Saltwater's lead.

Once the design is perfected, the brewery plans to run off thousands more of the rings in the next stage of development.

"We really want to inspire the whole industry and all beverage, all styles of packaging too," Gove said. "This is just the beginning."

It's a move that could earn Saltwater the gratitude of thousands of happy, unexpectedly satiated sea creatures.

Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Flickr.

"The best thing is when your garbage gets thrown into a garbage can," Hammerschlag said. "But not everyone throws their garbage in the garbage can, and sometimes when it gets thrown in a garbage can, it gets blown out, or it goes straight to the ocean. So I think this could be a great thing."

via FIRST

FIRST students compete in a robotics challenge.

True

Societies all over the world face an ever-growing list of complex issues that require informed solutions. Whether it’s addressing infectious diseases, the effects of climate change, supply chain issues or resource scarcity, the world has an immediate need for problem-solvers with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills.

Here in the United States, we’re experiencing a shortage of much-needed STEM workers, and forward-thinking organizations are stepping up to tap into America’s youth to fill the void. As the leading youth-serving nonprofit advancing STEM education, FIRST is an important player in this arena, and its mission is to inspire young people aged 4 to 18 to become technology leaders and innovators capable of addressing the world’s pressing needs.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Marlon Brando on "The Dick Cavett Show" in 1973.

Marlon Brando made one of the biggest Hollywood comebacks in 1972 after playing the iconic role of Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather.” The venerable actor's career had been on a decline for years after a series of flops and increasingly unruly behavior on set.

Brando was a shoo-in for Best Actor at the 1973 Academy Awards, so the actor decided to use the opportunity to make an important point about Native American representation in Hollywood.

Instead of attending the ceremony, he sent Sacheen Littlefeather, a Yaqui and Apache actress and activist, dressed in traditional clothing, to talk about the injustices faced by Native Americans.

She explained that Brando "very regretfully cannot accept this generous award, the reasons for this being … the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television in movie reruns, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee."

Keep ReadingShow less

Co-sleeping isn't for everyone.

The marital bed is a symbol of the intimacy shared between people who’ve decided to be together 'til death they do part. When couples sleep together it’s an expression of their closeness and how they care for one another when they are most vulnerable.

However, for some couples, the marital bed can be a warzone. Throughout the night couples can endure snoring, sleep apnea, the ongoing battle for sheets or circadian rhythms that never seem to sync. If one person likes to fall asleep with the TV on while the other reads a book, it can be impossible to come to an agreement on a good-night routine.

Last week on TODAY, host Carson Daly reminded viewers that he and his wife Siri, a TODAY Food contributor, had a sleep divorce while she was pregnant with their fourth child.

“I was served my sleep-divorce papers a few years ago,” he explained on TODAY. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to us. We both, admittedly, slept better apart.”

Keep ReadingShow less