Inverse Daily: Relive Earth's Most Chaotic Day Ever

The day a massive asteroid hit our planet about 65 million years ago may have been the most chaotic day on Earth, and we’re not just talking about the mass extinction part.

Welcome to Inverse Daily! I’m Sarah, and I’m excited to share with y’all what we’ve been cooking up at Inverse.

Speaking of cooking — Tim Cook’s Apple is telling the world today all there is to know about the iPhone 11. If you want to be the first to know, the event’s livestream kicks off at 1 p.m. Eastern. Tune in here.

This article is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day.

INVERSE QUOTE OF THE DAY

“It turns out answering that is much harder than I thought it had any right to be, but along the way we got this result, which is way cooler.”

— Luke Daly, research associate at the University of Glasgow’s School of Geographical and Earth Sciences.

Exoplanet Elements

When you think of potassium, you probably think of the electrolyte that’s found in foods like spinach and oranges. But deep out in space, there’s potassium as well, existing as a chemical element. Potassium is of interest to space scientists because its presence is a sign that large, gaseous exoplanets called hot Jupiters are orbiting trillions of miles away from Earth.

Potassium has been theoretically proven to exist in the atmosphere of hot Jupiters, but scientists have never been able to prove its presence. That is, until just recently: In August, a team of researchers announced they used a technique called transmission spectroscopy to successfully detect potassium in a hot Jupiter planet named HD189733b, which orbits a dwarf star every 53 hours.

By observing the planet as it traveled in front of its host star for a little less than five hours, the team was finally able to detect the element potassium using an instrument that measured the properties of light. Now the team hopes it can use the same tool to better characterize the other thousands of exoplanets out there.

Read more about the element that leaves a “fingerprint” on starlight.

The more you know:

Crater Chaos

Around 65 million years ago, a massive asteroid slammed into what’s now the Gulf of Mexico and snuffed out 75 percent of life on Earth. While an asteroid pummeling into the planet is a scary enough thought, a recent examination of the scar that asteroid left — the Chicxulub crater — revealed its impact was just the first of a handful of immensely gnarly events.

Since its discovery in the 1970s, the Chicxulub crater has been a helpful tool for scientists seeking to understand the past — and understand what could happen if another asteroid ever comes our way. In this case, analysis of samples from the crater revealed that it was formed within seconds of the impact, as an influx of rock fragments and seawater flooded into the 180-kilometer-wide space, only to then be churned up by a tsunami. Meanwhile, evidence of charcoal in the samples indicates that wildfires must have spread into the surrounding forest landscape, while sulfate aerosols flooded the atmosphere, blocked the sun, and ignited a cooling effect.

Fun stuff. Now why didn’t they ever mention this in The Land Before Time. . .

Take a peek into the past with Inverse.

The more you know:

Strength in Numbers

With so much emphasis on STEM (or STEAM) educations these days, it may feel especially cruddy to be “bad at math.” For some people, being bad at math may come from genuinely lacking math skills, but for others, it’s more about confidence. Unfortunately, even when you’re objectively good at math, simply feeling like you’re bad at it can reduce your skills. Damn you, math!

In a new study of lupus patients, researchers observed that people who were good at math and felt confident about their abilities had better health and financial outcomes than those who weren’t good at math and didn’t have confidence in their abilities. Most surprisingly, they saw that people with mismatched traits (bad at math and confident in abilities, or good at math and lacking confidence) had even worse health and financial outcomes.

As humans live longer and longer, financial literacy and its effects on our savings will increasingly determine our quality of life as we get older. For those of us whose math skills aren’t the greatest, having a realistic sense of our abilities can help us manage money better — and for those of us who are good with numbers, building confidence in our abilities can allow us to take control of our finances.

Learn more about the importance of numeric confidence here.

The more you know:

Musk Reads

Elon Musk is pushing the boundaries of where we can go and what we can do. Don’t miss a beat by signing up for Musk Reads, our newsletter about all things SpaceX, Tesla, and The Boring Company.

Sign up here.

Common Ground

Statistically, gun owners are more supportive than non-gun owners of concealed carry on college campuses, school grounds, and in public without a license. But this doesn’t mean there isn’t some common ground in the concealed carry debate.

In a study released Monday; John Hopkins University researchers found that both gun owners and non-gun owners supported the requirement of safety training when applying for a concealed carry license. Overall, 73 percent of gun owners said they would support that requirement, while 83 percent of non-gun owners reported the same.

Currently, every state permits civilian concealed gun carrying but no states require civilians to show that they know how to safely use a gun before they carry. If they did, some researchers think gun related deaths and injuries would go down — which is something all sides can agree is a good thing.

Find out what policies gun owners and non-gun owners agree on.

The more you know:

Today’s Good Thing

Today, that’s nearly 1,000 Amazon employees joining the Global Climate Strike on September 20. According to a circulate petition, the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice want the company to achieve zero emissions by 2030, eliminate contracts with fossil fuel companies, and end any funding to “climate denying lobbyists and politicians.”

Meanwhile …

  • A new study attempts to explain why men send “d*ck pics.”
  • The third Rise of Skywalker trailer will be more violent than any we’ve seen from the entire sequels trilogy.

Inverse Loot

Subscribe to Inverse Loot and learn about these deals first.

That’s it for Tuesday, folks! Have any of you taken a supplement and felt positive effects? I’m curious to know! If you want to share your experience, email me over at sarah.sloat@inverse.com.

In the meantime, I’ll be thinking about the time Inverse applied some science to that whole “30-50 feral hogs” thing.