7.25.2019 2:30 PM

Science

Inverse Daily: Chemicals Used to Replace Toxic Common Plastics Not Safe After All

“Replacing BPA with similar chemicals does nothing to mitigate the harms chemical exposure has on our health.”

Hello, Inverse Daily fam. Take a minute to look at this very creepy ventriloquist doll in Timothée Chalamet’s likeness, then join me for a dive into today’s news.

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INVERSE QUOTE OF THE DAY

“There’s something real here.”

— Randel Swanson, D.O., Ph.D., professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, on the truth behind the “Havana syndrome” that affected American diplomats in Cuba.

Stream Scheme

Here’s a hot take: “YouTube for many people is the new Wikipedia.” That’s a quote from a scientist from Aachen University who recently made a troubling discovery about climate-related videos on YouTube. Using 10 search terms that people usually use to look for climate videos — “climate change,” “geo-engineering,” and so on — he analyzed 200 of the videos that YouTube pulled up. What he found was not good for anyone who looks to YouTube as an educational resource.

The vast majority of the videos contained views that conflict with the scientific consensus, and many were about conspiracy theories related to climate. He argues that YouTube has the power and responsibility to push accurate videos to the front. “If they have the means and know how to do it, they should make sure that the algorithms prioritize scientifically accurate videos if people are looking for scientific or biomedical issues,” he told Sarah Sloat.

Here’s how YouTube could change its algorithm for the better.

The more you know:

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Not-So-Fantastic Plastic

In the late aughts, a compound called bisphenol A became a major news item. BPA, as it’s often referred to, is commonly added to plastics used to make water bottles and line aluminum cans. Valid concerns that exposure to EPA disrupts the body’s endocrine system led to its demonization — and, in some cases, replacement with related chemicals known as bisphenol S (BPS) and bisphenol F (BPF).

These days, BPS and BPF are becoming more common among plastics manufacturers — a good thing, if we can assume that they are safe.

Unfortunately, the evidence suggests otherwise. As Peter Hess reports, new research is showing that BPS and BPF have similar effects on childhood obesity as BPA. Kids with high levels of these chemicals in their urine, scientists found, were more likely to be obese.

Find out what this means for your reusable water bottle.

The more you know:

Fuel Duel

The possibility of becoming a planet-hopping civilization is very much within reach, but to make that happen we’ll have to figure out the question of fuel. SpaceX’s plan to shuttle humans to Mars involves the massive, stainless steel Starship and its fuel tanks of methane and liquid oxygen. With that kind of power, that flight will take roughly three to six months. There is another option that could get us there much faster, but it’s a controversial one.

A nuclear-powered rocket for “fast transit around solar system,” as Elon Musk tweeted this week, would be a “great area of research for NASA.” One estimate says it could even cut down a trip to Mars to 100 days. Such a rocket would use the fission of uranium to heat fuel, thereby blasting propellant through the nozzle. Sounds simple, but nuclear reactions are risky. How safe is it for human passengers to be so close to all that radiation? If NASA doesn’t find out soon, there’s a chance Russia’s Roscosmos might beat them to it.

Here’s why nuclear-powered rockets would be a game changer.

The more you know:

Not That Hungry

We’ve talked a lot about intermittent fasting and its role in weight loss here at Inverse Daily, but not so much about how the popular diet achieves those effects. Eating fewer calories and burning more of them is one part of it, but as Emma Betuel reports, some forms of the diet actually seem to reduce appetite.

There’s one version of the diet known as “time-restricted feeding,” which basically means a person is only allowed to eat during a set period of a few hours. A new trial shows that this type of diet doesn’t help people burn more calories, but it does seem to affect appetite and the way that the body burns fat. Before you try this at home, the people involved in the study ate all their meals in a six-hour window before 2 p.m. — which the scientist calls “aggressive” and would not recommend.

Learn more about how your appetite can be manipulated.

The more you know:

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 scientists everywhere, who (finally!) have surpassed a 99 percent consensus over whether climate change is real. “There is no doubt left,” said one researcher behind the finding.

Share to Win

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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 …

  • Musk Reads: Tesla Roadster hover test set for liftoff soon.
  • Scientists discover a trick to make you laugh, even at the corniest dad jokes.
  • Marvel’s Phase 5 is still a mystery, but here’s everything we know so far.
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker may finally reveal that Finn was a Jedi all along.
  • Netflix is set to bring back a classic, underrated Tarantino movie on August 1.

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Thanks for reading, gang!

Do you think we should use nuclear-powered rockets to zip through space faster? Let me know at yasmin@inverse.com.

That nuclear power flowing under your skin,

— Yasmin

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