Inverse Daily: Please look at this tiny mouse deer

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Before I catch up with Rick and Morty, allow me to get you caught up on the best of Inverse this week.

I’m Nick Lucchesi, executive editor at Inverse, and this is Inverse Daily. Let’s get into it.

But first: We’re hosting an AMA on Reddit’s r/Futurology with Hypergiant Industries CEO, Ben Lamm. Stop by and ask a few questions about intergalactic internet and more at 12PM EST.

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

“There’s been a surging of Colombian riders, all of whom were born at altitude and most of whom have some native ancestry, as do most people in the Andes.”

— Tom Brutsaert, an evolutionary biologist and professor at Syracuse University.

  • Read more about his new study on the “genetic adaptation” of the indigenous peoples of the Andes Mountains, like Tour de France winner Egan Bernal.

SpaceX flies ahead

Liftoff! SpaceX sent up a second batch of 60 Starlink satellites Monday morning, taking another big step toward its plan to use thousands of satellites to provide low-latency internet access.

“These 60 new satellites will make Starlink one of, if not the largest, satellite constellation to date,” Lauren Lyons, an engineer with the Starlink team, said during the company’s live coverage.

Inverse staff writer Mike Brown reports that the 60 satellites lifted off at 9:56 a.m. Eastern from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and the mission used a Falcon 9 rocket booster. It’s the first time ever that SpaceX has flown the same booster four times, and it’s also the first time that SpaceX has reused a fairing protection shield from a previous mission, a big step forward in the company’s goal to make more parts of a rocket reusable.

Read more about Monday’s big SpaceX launch →

Read more about Starlink:

Baby fish are “preying” on microplastic, and it will end up in your stomach

In their earliest days, most ocean-faring fish actually reside in calm ribbons of water at the surface, taking advantage of the food and shelter they can provide. Unfortunately, these aquatic nurseries are also home to a shockingly high concentration of plastic particles — many of them the same size, shape, and color as a baby fish’s favorite foods.

Researchers found that larval fish living off the coast of Hawaii are eating an enormous amount of plastic at a time in their lives when nutrition is especially crucial, reports Nina Pullano for Inverse.

The results suggest that the plastic accumulating in young fish could end up in humans’ bellies.

Read this new story here →

The more you know:

What gives high-altitude populations the athletic edge?

If you’ve ever hiked the Inca Trail in Peru or visited the Himalayas, you may have wondered how locals seem to run circles around tourists who trudge, out of breath, slowly up the steep inclines.

High-altitude communities, where people live above 2,500 meters or 8,200 feet, show developmental changes in their bodies. They have bigger lungs, higher aerobic capacity, and more hemoglobin in the blood, traits that help them perform in harsh environments.

Alexandra Pattillo reports for Inverse that a new study illuminates another possible contributing factor to the aerobic capacity of high-altitude communities: genetic adaptation.

While studying more than 400 people living in the highlands of Peru and 94 lowland people, they identified five genetic markers near the EGLN1 gene associated with increased aerobic capacity at altitude.

The study doesn’t pinpoint a so-called gene for athletic performance but instead adds compelling evidence suggesting natural selection around the EGLN1 gene may help Andeans survive and thrive in low-oxygen places.

Read more about high-altitude exceptionalism →

More health news:

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Look at this tiny mouse deer

A kind of mouse deer that was thought to be “lost to science” for 29 years wasn’t actually so lost after all. It had been hiding in the country’s forests the whole time.

The animal is a silver-backed chevrotain. The silver-backed chevrotain, or mouse deer, is a hoofed mammal about the size of a rabbit or small cat.

Until earlier this year, there had been little sign of the mouse deer since 1990 — when a dead mouse deer’s pelt was found. But after analyzing six months of camera trap data, scientists can now say that a population of the animals is in fact living in a region of Vietnamese woodland.

Read more about this rediscovered species →

More headlines about the chevrotain:

New study paves the way for “quantum internet”

It’s no secret that the internet isn’t always the most secure place, but researchers hope they may be able to change that with the introduction of a “quantum internet.”

Quantum computers have long been toiled over, but researchers say this would be one of the first attempts to use quantum computing to form a communication network similar to the internet, reports Sarah Wells for Inverse. Scientists have found that these quantum models were better than their classical counterparts at handling data safely and effectively.

While computational problems like those presented in the study may seem trivial, the ability of these quantum networks to solve them could pave the way for more efficient and safer web surfing in the future.

Read more here →

More on quantum computing:

Meanwhile …

  • Kevin Feige confirms three new Disney+ characters will appear in MCU movies.
  • One of Yoda’s most iconic lines may get a wild new meaning in Star Wars IX.

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That’s all for today!

Thank you for reading, and if you have a suggestion for how to make this newsletter better, drop me a line at nick@inverse.com. And follow me on Twitter, where I retweet the best of Inverse every day.