The bottom line
Starbucks is eliminating plastic straws from all of its stores by 2020 to reduce environmental waste. The coffee chain currently uses 1 billion plastic straws annually. The move means the company will also eliminate dome lids from all its beverages, with the exception of Frappuccinos, replacing them with plastic sip lids.
The average cost of buying a home, taking into account mortgage and insurance costs, has risen in all but one of the 50 largest U.S. metro areas over the past 12 months. In Philadelphia, the median home price fell 5.79 percent, to $196,900. The most expensive area was San Jose, Calif., where the median price jumped 28 percent, to $1.37 million.
The New York Times
As consumers grow tired of the inconsistent service provided by cellphones and the constant distractions of texts and alerts, many Americans are holding on to their landlines. Roughly 44 percent of households still retain landline service.
The Wall Street Journal
Crypto thieves stole $761 million from exchanges around the world between January and June this year, almost three times the $266 million stolen throughout the whole of 2017.
The cost of living has become so expensive in the Northern California counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin, families earning up to $117,400 annually qualify as low-income.
Flush with cash from the recent corporate tax cut, U.S. public companies allocated a record $436.6 billion to stock buybacks in the last quarter. That is nearly double the previous record of $242.1 billion, set during the first quarter of this year.
The USPS’s fake Lady Liberty
In 2010, the U.S. Postal Service went looking for a “patriotic image to replace a popular Liberty Bell stamp,” said Avi Selk in The Washington Post. A stamp designer was particularly taken with a “unique” close-up of the Statue of Liberty he found online. So the agency paid Getty Images $1,500 and began cranking out nearly 5 billion “Forever” stamps featuring the pic. The only problem? It wasn’t a photo of Lady Liberty, but one of her 150-foot-tall knockoff in Las Vegas. By the time the USPS realized the error, the stamp had “proved so popular that it was known internally as the agency’s ‘workhorse.’” So the post office kept on printing it. This month, a judge ordered the USPS to pay the sculpture’s artist, Robert Davidson, $3.5 million. Davidson always maintained he hadn’t simply copied the original, but added “sultry lips and retro-modern bangs.” The inspiration? His mother-in-law.