The future of week

Inverse Daily: The future of dating

It may seem like a secondary concern when there is a global pandemic, but the need for love is pretty real.

As part of our future series, today we’ll be diving into the future of dating. (Read Monday and Tuesday.)

Last summer, according to social media, was hot girl summer. Unfortunately, this summer is looking like it will be pandemic summer, which I truly hope doesn’t become a hashtag. A question I ask myself about 20 times a day is how long I will need to continue social distancing, but experts don’t have a clear answer to this. As the World Health Organization has warned, there could be a resurgence like we’ve already seen happen in other countries if restrictions to curb the spread of the virus are lifted early.

So, what exactly does this mean for dating? It may seem like a secondary concern when there is a global pandemic, but the need for love is pretty real. The coronavirus has led to a surge in the use of dating apps, including leading people to have longer conversations than before. So what’s next after a long-winded banter on Tinder? A virtual date.

In a survey, 94 percent of users said they’ll be continuing to date virtually. (I, for one, would truly like to know what that six percent is up to.) This may sound a little too close to a Zoom meeting, but people who are better at giving dating advice than me have said it could be still fun. Ok, but what about sex? That’s where this becomes particularly hard. New York City’s Department of Health has issued really helpful guidelines on this, advising against hookups and noting that “you are your safest sex partner.” So, the near future is looking like a lot of sexting.

This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for April 15, 2020. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day in your inbox.

Coronavirus is also leading couples who are already dating to make hard decisions, like shacking up earlier than intended or spending so much time in quarantine together, they realize it wasn’t meant to be. There’s no such thing as a casual “fling” during the coronavirus, because all of these decisions have to be made really intentionally. Yet this isn’t entirely bad. Maybe this could lead to a future where dating becomes more meaningful and we learn how to communicate more clearly about what we want, even virtually.

I’m Greta Moran, your interstellar guide to all of Inverse’s latest science and technology stories at Inverse Daily.

Coronavirus resources from Inverse staffers

SNIP, SNIP — There's a strange psychology of to quarantine cuts. As the days drag on at home, you may be experiencing serious cabin fever. And what do you do with all this antsy energy? Maybe it’s time to dye your hair purple, shave your head, or chop some fringe. So marks the age of the #quarantinecut.

It turns out, undergoing an aesthetic overhaul can give people a sense of control, normalcy, and empowerment, psychologist Patricia Farrell tells Mind & Body staff writer, Ali Pattillo. But if you do reach for the scissors, avoid these three mistakes outlined by New York hairstylist Neil Grupp: cut hair dry, not wet; use sharp haircutting scissors, not kid scissors; and maybe pass the scissors to a family member or partner.

With days of social distancing ahead, now may be the perfect time to reinvent yourself. Hell yes, #quarantinecuts. Click here to read more →

More balms for boredom below:

TFW SAVING LIVES SAVES MONEY — Climate change isn’t all about cost. It can be about gain, too. A new study reveals following one climate change-mitigation strategy could save the world as much as $616 trillion. In the study, researchers simulate a number of possible scenarios to determine the ideal way the world can combat the worst effects of climate change — and what might happen if we don’t do anything to curb its insidious effects.

It comes down to countries cooperating at a global scale. If that happens, every country in the world stands to potentially benefit economically in the long run.

To avoid the worst effects of climate change, countries have to establish their own national goals to reduce the amount of climate-warming emissions they produce, the study authors say. Over time, these regulations would not only protect against climate change but also save money. Ultimately, the world could gain between $127 and $616 trillion over the next century under the best possible outcome, the study shows. Continue reading →

More on the Green New Deal’s economic benefits below:

A POLLUTION LULL — NASA visualization reveals a dramatic, hidden effect of the coronavirus on the United States. As the majority of the US goes under lockdown to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, the effect of decreased human activity can be seen from space.

New satellite imagery released by NASA revealed a dramatic drop in the levels of air pollution above major metropolitan cities in the Northeast like New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington. The data shows a 30 percent decrease in the amount of nitrogen dioxide in March 2020 compared with the average amount of March 2015-2019.

Further analysis is still needed to confirm this drop in air pollution levels on the ground, but satellite data provides a good initial proxy on how the shutdown has affected the air quality surrounding us. Read up on this surprising dip in air pollution →

More on Covid-19 and pollution below:

FRESH START — Magic mushrooms are able to rebalance the brain in a positive way. Psilocybin and other similar psychedelics are increasingly being taken seriously as a treatment for depression, PTSD, and other psychiatric conditions. These effects, in part, come down to transformative effects the drugs can have on the brain. The drugs can reshape neurons, or in some cases, destabilize existing brain networks and open up entirely new ones. In a new model, scientists use brain scans from nine healthy people on psilocybin to show how the drug exerts its effects on the brain.

Taken together, the model shows that the drug exerts its effects through a one-two punch. It changes the way that neurons fire, and in turn, affects levels of neurotransmitters. One effect without the other, and the drug isn’t able to leverage its effects, the authors propose based on their model. The hope is that we might use this model to understand why psilocybin could be a powerful form of medicine. Read up here →

More on psychedelics and the brain:

Meanwhile …

  • 3 charts that show a global slowdown in COVID-19 deaths.
  • Ford and 3M are combining to make 100,00 respirators. They’re calling it Project Apollo.
  • Tesla Cybertruck: Elon Musk reveals how color options will work.
  • New Dune 2020 photos reveal 3 ways Villeneuve will radically change the book.
  • Mandalorian leak claims a “dead” villain will return to hunt Baby Yoda.

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