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Coffee Lids, Cupholder Cuisine, and America's Obesity Crisis

What the history of cups and cupholders tells us about one of the driving forces behind obesity—and a simple solution.

Over at Edible Geography, our friend Nicola Twilley recently wrote about the fascinating historical evolution of the coffee lid, from its early days as a disposable plastic drink-through lid for cold beverages to its current ubiquity.


According to Harpman, “the true efflorescence in drink-through lid design and production can be traced to the 1980s, when we, as a culture, decided that it was important, even necessary, to be able to walk, or drive, or commute while drinking hot liquids.” Twenty-six new patents were issued in the 80s alone, for refinements in “mouth comfort, splash reduction, friction fit, mating engagement, and one-handed activation.”

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The disposable cup lid is a design reflecting our car-centric "cupholder cuisine," or what Business Week recently dubbed the "Golden Age of Drive-Thru," where food and drink are designed for eating and drinking on the go. As Jon Mooallem wrote in Harper's magazine in 2005 (subscriber's only):

Research by Culinary Institute of America food historian John Nihoff shows that 19 percent of meals in this country are currently guzzled in cars, a trend reflected both in the variety of foods being shaped into cup holder-friendly packages and in the demand for vehicles that accommodate such expedited eating. A recent study found that a new car buyer is less likely to care about a vehicle's gas mileage than about the versatility of its cup holders.

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More recently, statistician Sheldon H. Jacobson observed a correlation with driving and obesity in the journal Transport Policy (PDF), suggesting that if every licensed driver in the United States drove one less mile per day, five million fewer adults would be classified as obese within six years.

Given the attention we've given to designing disposable cups and cars adapted to hold them, I wonder what would happen if cars just came with fewer cupholders.

Drawing via R. I. Stubblefield, 1935. Cap for Drinking Glasses. US Patent 2003657.

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via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

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Politics
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.

Culture

In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

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Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

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