What’s up, fellow “Baby Yoda” fans. We’ve got a wild new stat on how few Americans actually value online privacy; a revelation about the drug DMT; a revisitation of the open question regarding aliens on Europa; and news that should interest you if you’ve ever wondered if the bridge you’re crossing is about to tumble down, down, down.
I’m Nick Lucchesi, executive editor at Inverse, and this is Inverse Daily. Let’s get into it.
INVERSE QUOTE OF THE DAY
“It would be a terrible mistake to give up on privacy, and it would be just what marketers and the government want.”
— Rebecca Jeschke of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Incognito mode means zilch
Our data is constantly being collected, whether it’s by private companies or the government. Though Americans are uneasy about this, and think it does more harm than good, they’re also feeling hopeless about doing anything about it. That’s not a good sign.
Thor Benson writes about a new Pew Research Center survey that found 62 percent of Americans think it’s pretty much impossible to live a normal life without having data collected.
Evan Greer, deputy director of the internet activist group Fight for the Future, tells Inverse that the largest tech companies are investing in getting as much data as they can.
“The largest tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google are doubling down on their surveillance-based business models,” Greer says. “We’re seeing more and more corporate data harvesting, which in turn enables even more government surveillance.”
DMT me ASAP
DMT, short for N,N-dimethyltryptamine, has such a powerful effect on the human brain that it’s called the “God Molecule.”
It’s famous for inducing a transcendent psychological experience, and some liken their DMT trips to a near-death experience, complete with encounters with mystical beings or entry into an all-encompassing “new realm.”
Now, scientists might finally know why the chemical substance can push people into seemingly new cognitive dimensions. According to new research, that experience likely stems from DMT’s ability to create specific patterns of brain waves, reports Inverse staff writer Emma Betuel.
These changes in our brain activity may help us create an extremely realistic new reality that exists entirely inside the mind.
More on the science of DMT:
Ultra-cold ice aliens
Scientists have long suspected that beneath the cracked, icy surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa lies a vast ocean of liquid water, twice as large as the oceans on Earth. And that ultra-cold water may harbor alien life.
Today, we are one step closer to confirming if water flows on Europa, reports Passant Rabie for Inverse.
A team of researchers confirmed this week in the esteemed pages of the journal Nature Astronomy what they learned more than three years ago: There is water vapor on Europa.
And in the cosmos, water can mean life.
Read more about Europa:
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A.I. could predict a bridge collapse
A team from the University of Surrey and King’s College London have developed an A.I. system dubbed SHMnet that can understand the subtle changes in structures over time, identifying when a bridge is in danger.
If successful, it could help preempt major issues in some of the world’s biggest structures. These impressive old structures have withstood the test of time, but some require maintenance to continue supporting daily traffic.
More engineering stories:
Musk cheers China
Elon Musk has praised China for taking a big step forward in the emergent new space race, even as his own firm SpaceX races to send humans into space and place a city on Mars.
The CEO responded to a new series of figures that suggest China is about to claim the accolade for more launches than any other country for the second year in a row. The country beat out the United States and Russia to claim the top spot.
There’s plenty more “firsts” to come, though, and China has big plans. It’s already become the first country to send a probe to the far side of the moon. It also has plans to build a lunar base at the South Pole.
Although the emergent second space race is regularly characterized as one between private companies, the reality could be a bit more complex.
Read more about China’s space ambitions:
- China rolls out rules to guide development of SpaceX-style rocket (South China Morning Post, June 2019)
- Say goodbye to casts: This “magic” material can heal bones in mere days.
- Down on the body farm: Unlocking the forensic secrets of decaying corpses.
- A seductive new villain could shake up Thor: Love & Thunder.
- Did Damon Lindelof just confirm when Doctor Manhattan is coming to Watchmen?
- Baby Yoda clone theory could bring [spoiler] back for Rise of Skywalker.
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That’s all for today!