1. RIP Sudan the Rhino
The last Northern White Rhino, Sudan, died yesterday at age 45 in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. He had been in poor health in recent days and was being treated for age-related issues and multiple infections. When his health condition started deteriorating quickly, the veterinary team decided to euthanize him. “He was a gentle giant, his personality was just amazing and given his size, a lot of people were afraid of him. But there was nothing mean about him,” said Elodie Sampere, a representative for Ol Pejeta. With Sudan gone, there are only two females left in the world. Researchers were able to save some of Sudan’s genetic material in the hopes of successfully artificially inseminating one of the two females left.
The only hope to save all the rhinos is to end rhino horn trade. While prices of rhino horn are falling in China and Vietnam, poaching for horn still threatens all rhino species. Apparently, rhino horns are becoming more lucrative than drugs. All five remaining rhino species worldwide are considered threatened, according to the conservation group Save the Rhino.
The company has been going through a major crisis this past week due to security breach concerns and sharing users private data. Cambridge Analytica is a political consulting firm that helped the Trump campaign with targeted ads. In 2015, a psychology professor at Cambridge University gave the company access to over 50 million people’s info on Facebook, some of whom had given the professor permission most did not, and none of them gave permission for Cambridge Analytica to use it. The major issue is Facebook new that this data was being wrongly used but didn’t do much about it after learning about it 2 years ago.
After 5 days of silence, Mark Zuckerberg finally spoke up yesterday apologizing for the “major breach of trust.” Facebook has already taken the most important steps to prevent a recurrence but Zuckerberg acknowledged that there is still more to do. An app’s developer will no longer have access to data from people who haven’t used that app in three months. Data will also be generally limited to user names, profile photos and email unless the developer signs a contract with Facebook and gets user approval. For Facebook users, making sure to limit public data and watch what apps you’re giving permission to.
3. #BetterCup Campaign
Two Grade Six girls from Calgary have called upon Starbucks to make 100% recyclable cups. Mya Chau and Eve Helman launched their #BetterCup campaign after researching disposable coffee cups for a school science project. Their disposable cups are lined with polyethylene which in Calgary is accepted in the recycling program but in cities like Toronto it’s not so all those cups end up in the landfill. As the students’ petition gained more signatures, the girls received an invite from Starbucks to attend a shareholders meeting and to personally meet CEO Kevin Johnson in Seattle, WA. Their visit coincided with a major sustainability announcement of the launch of the “NextGen Cup Challenge”; a Starbucks initiative tasked with developing a “fully recyclable and compostable cup” within three years. Although the girls were excited about the launch, they still want Starbucks to do more in reducing waste like offering ceramic mugs to people who are staying to drink it.
4. Save Toys R Us
Bratz Dolls Billionaire Isaac Larian and other investors have pledged a total of $200 million in financing and hope to raise four times that amount in crowdfunding in order to bid for up to 400 of the Toys R Us stores being liquidated in bankruptcy. This is the first public plan to keep the brand alive in the United States. Bratz Dolls sales rely on Toys R Us for nearly 1 in every 5 sales. According to Larian, the chain’s liquidation will have a “devastating effect” on the toy industry and the planned liquidation would have a bigger impact on smaller toy makers that rely more on the chain for sales. The company said last week it’s trying to bundle its Canadian business with about 200 U.S. stores and find a buyer. #SaveToysRUs has been trending on social media in the States and Larian is hoping that nostalgia will help raise money toward their $1 billion goal.
5. Star Wars Land Footage
Last week Disney released drone footage showing the construction site for the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction in Anaheim. The expansive 14 acre lot will soon be transformed into the planet of Batuu, a depot at the edge of the galaxy that is home to adventurers and smugglers throughout the universe. The attraction was announced in 2015 and began construction in 2016, it is scheduled to open in 2019 at both Disneyland in Anaheim and Disney World in Orlando, Fla. The two lands will give guests a chance to take the controls of the Millennium Falcon on a secret mission and experience a “climactic battle” between the First Order and the Resistance. May the force be with us as we book our flight to California.