Inverse Daily: What Does a Lab-Grown Burger Taste Like?

The meat, grown in a bioreactor from stem cells, may help spark an eco-friendly food era.

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INVERSE QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I think Thanos has a much tougher anus than anyone ever thought.”

— Jim Starlin, the writer who created the iconic Avengers bad guy, on a weird fan theory involving some private parts.

Ambition Condition

This past Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon. The Apollo program was conceived in the early ‘60s under the Eisenhower administration, building on the technology and momentum from Project Mercury, which put the first Americans in space. It took roughly nine years from conception to lunar landing on July 20, 1969. This year, the Trump administration announced it wanted to do the same in five years.

NASA is tasked with the project of getting Americans back on the moon by 2024, which is a monumental task, even though we’ve done it before. As Scott Snowden reports, even former NASA flight director Milt Winder, who worked on the Apollo 13 mission, says: “Landing someone on the moon by 2024 is going to be extremely tight.” That said, he remains optimistic, saying he “didn’t think we were going to make a lunar landing in the decade of the ‘60s, and we did.”

Learn more about what makes NASA’s new mission such a tricky one.

The more you know:

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Taste Test

It’s looking like the meat of the future will take one of two forms: plant-based “meat” and lab-grown meat. To be sellable, taste is paramount. Companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have succeeded in making sufficiently convincing beef-flavored products out of soy and pea protein, as the success of plant-based meat at fast food chains like Burger King and White Castle suggest. But what about lab-grown meat?

In theory, the lumps of real cow muscle cells and fat grown in dishes should be more naturally beef-like in flavor than anything made from plants. To find out whether that was the case, Mike Brown talked to some of the only people in the world who’ve ever tried the stuff. Tasting the just-fried patties fresh from the pan in 2013, one said it was “certainly comparable to, say, a McDonald’s patty.”

Find out how long it’ll take before these burgers make it to your grill.

The more you know:

Unfolding Further

Remember the great Samsung Galaxy Fold debacle of April? How time flies. It seems like it was only yesterday that millennials, nostalgic for the folding phones of their youth, had their dreams shattered along with the Galaxy Fold’s screen, which turned out to be much less foldable than its creators thought. Now, Danny Paez tells me, we know it’s because the phone’s screen protector didn’t do its job of keeping dirt and gunk out.

But as a Korean news outlet recently reported, the Galaxy Fold might soon get a second chance. Apparently, a revamped version aced a durability test, suggesting that it might hit shelves after all. What is even less clear is whether its price will be revamped. At $1,980, the folding phone was prohibitively pricey, even for the most nostalgic buyers.

Read up on the “Foldgate” saga here.

The more you know:

Don’t Try This at Home

A recent retrospective on “beezing,” a troubling trend from the early 2010s in which people claimed to get high on minty Burt’s Bees lip balm applied to the insides of their eyelids, was a troubling prelude to the story that Peter Hess wrote about today. Since 2018, law enforcement officials in West Virginia have reported that people are trying to get high on wasp spray by using it as a meth substitute, a practice known as wasping. Unsettling as those reports may be, they don’t seem to tell the whole story.

An addiction psychiatrist and toxicologist both told Inverse that they’re not buying these claims and suspect that wasping might not be happening at all. If it is going on — and that remains unclear — it’s unlikely that people are using the drugs as meth. They might be using it to make meth instead. “As I’m sure you’re well aware, drug reporting on the news is almost always totally false,” said one expert.

Learn more about this problematic trend here.

The more you know:

Future 50: Kyle Hill

The latest addition to Inverse’s Future 50 is Kyle Hill, host of a million-subscriber YouTube science show called Because Science. Imagine the love child of this newsletter and our Multiverse newsletter — which you should totally subscribe to if you love sci-fi and superheroes — and you’ll get a rough idea of what his show is all about, the meticulously researched science behind your favorite moments in pop culture.

Hill sat down with Emily Rome to talk about the future of science communication and the reason why he doesn’t talk about politics or climate change on his show (he saves it for other venues); the challenges women and people of color face in STEM; and why Wikipedia is actually super helpful despite what your teachers told you in school.

Read the Future 50 profile of Hill here and his essay on the importance of reading YouTube comments here.

Check out more Future 50 below:

Today’s Good Thing

Because life on this planet is only going to get better if we try to make it better, each day I’ll be presenting One Good Thing humans are doing to create positive change.

Today, that’s the government of Costa Rica, which has just announced that it’s banning all polystyrene products starting in 2021. Polystyrene, commonly known as styrofoam, is not biodegradable and breaks down into microplastics, which affect all organisms that rely on Earth’s waterways — including humans.

Share to Win

This week, we’re giving one lucky Inverse reader a $200 Amazon gift card. All you have to do is invite your friends to read Inverse Daily.

How it works:

  • Use your personal referral code to enter our raffle.
  • Each time you refer a friend to Inverse Daily, you get a ticket entered. 1 referral = 1 ticket.

Click to Share

We’ll accept entries for the rest of the week and announce the winner in our Friday newsletter. Good luck!

Meanwhile …

  • Marvel Studios just announced 10 new movies and TV shows that will make up Phase 4 over the next two-and-a-half years.
  • Sunday Scaries: A glacier scientist explains how to deal with climate change anxiety.
  • Apple Arcade will be the most genius gaming service of 2019 for two reasons.
  • Does age difference matter in a relationship? A social psychologist weighs in.
  • Netflix’s The Witcher is like “Game of Thrones on steroids.”

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Thanks for reading, gang!

Do you think NASA can make it back to the moon by 2024? Let me know at yasmin@inverse.com.

I’ma take this with me to the moon,

— Yasmin