While I wonder if our ranking of the best pits in Star Wars is accurate, let’s get you caught up on the news of the day.
To send you into the weekend, we’ve got breakthroughs-on-breakthroughs. New findings about nature’s hidden creatures, robots that will teach your kids, and nanotech that could help millions enjoy pizza will make you think more deeply about the world and our collective future.
I’m Nick Lucchesi, executive editor at Inverse. Keep sending suggestions for how to make this newsletter better and follow me on Twitter, where I retweet the best of Inverse during breaks in my day.
INVERSE QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Surviving high school is like surviving the apocalypse.”
— Aron Eli Coleite, showrunner for the new Netflix series Daybreak.
Pizza for everyone
Diseases like celiac, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis have no cure and are notoriously hard to treat, but a sneaky way to trick the immune system could help millions of Americans.
Scientists at Northwestern University have discovered that nanotechnology could help treat autoimmune diseases and allergies, which plague tens of millions of people in the US. The tiny tech could transform the way we treat a vast array of autoimmune diseases and allergies.
Scientists used nanotech to reset the immune system, and reversed celiac — a disease where the immune system attacks the small intestine after consuming gluten — for two weeks.
This is the first clinical trial that showed it is possible to induce immune tolerance to gluten, the study authors say.
Pixelbook Go review: Google’s best in years
For Input, Raymond Wong has one big takeaway about the new Google Pixelbook Go laptop: “Could this be the perfect Chromebook?”
Google’s Pixelbook Go, which starts at $649, is a no-nonsense Chromebook. No 360 hinge that flips the screen back, no detachable keyboard, and no stylus support. Just a simple, thin-and-light notebook that runs Chrome OS and has a reliable keyboard, trackpad, and touchscreen.
But the best reason to buy the Pixelbook Go instead of a MacBook or Windows 10 laptop is its stellar battery life. You really can use it all day on a single charge.
More fresh consumer tech reviews:
Tesla self-driving moves ahead
Tesla’s plan to automate its electric cars took further shape this week, as CEO Elon Musk shared his prediction for how the company will offer feature-complete self-driving software.
Note that this is not the same as full hands-off-the-wheel driving. Based on Musk’s comments, it seems that drivers can expect the car to drive them from place to place in many circumstances, but they have to pay complete attention and take over the wheel in case of errors. It’s essentially bridging the gap between Smart Summon, which drives the car around a parking lot at low speeds, and Autopilot, which drives along a highway at high speeds. The new version will be able to drive at those intermediate speeds, along local roads and the like.
Musk is claiming that the software could ship to early-access testers before the end of this year, but even he admitted that this is “tight.” As the company previously promised — and failed to deliver — a coast-to-coast autonomous drive by the end of 2017, there’s a high chance that Musk’s ambitious target could slip back further amid planned refinements to the recently launched Smart Summon.
More Tesla timelines:
If you’re craving more extremely nerdy news, Input brings you everything from drone reviews to next-gen console rumors and, frankly, we think you’ll love it.
Humans taught a robot how to be a teaching assistant in just 3 hours
Teachers are superheroes, but even the best heroes need a sidekick. The autonomous robot teaching assistant could be the answer.
Research published this week describes a robot that is designed to be easily taught unique tasks by users, making it much more suitable for a classroom setting than other A.I., which require technical knowledge and training. In this case, a teacher guided a robot through learning tasks to help it learn the process and then allowed the robot to take over the best it could.
Admittedly, the robot didn’t work perfectly. Nevertheless, it did learn quickly — three hours — kind of like an actual human student.
More robotics advancements:
Nature’s squishiest boys
Hidden in the ground beneath our feet is a vast world of microorganisms and other critters that are key to the rest of the planet’s health. But we know very little about how those networks work compared to species above ground. Enter: the earthworm.
They may be squishy and weird, but don’t sleep on these key ingredients to soil health. Earthworms play a big role in crop yield and even climate control, but scientists need to know more to better understand biodiversity on Earth. So they looked at thousands of datasets from around the world and turned up some unexpected discoveries in a new study.
The findings show everybody how these mysterious underground networks of life might change as the Earth gets warmer and wetter.
More natural news:
Today’s Good Thing
A viral video on reddit this week show how a community of people in east India rescued an elephant that had fallen into a well. Released by the news agency ANI, the video was shot on Thursday. It reportedly took five hours for rescuers to get the elephant out of the well. After it was freed, the elephant triumphantly trumpeted, and proceed to run into the dense forest. It’s arresting stuff. Watch the incredible footage.
- The UN has put a number on how much it would cost to stop climate change.
- Lab-grown meat also creates an unexpected benefit: Ethical zebra burgers.
- Jaguar’s Vision GT Coupé is a bold vision of the future of electric cars.
- Watchmen Episode 2 preview could tease that Will Reeves is Hooded Justice.
- Star Wars IX: A trippy George Lucas idea could shape the ending.
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That’s it for Inverse Daily today.
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