Inverse Daily: The future of weekends

Did you know today is Friday? Does it matter?

Mladen Sladojevic/E+/Getty Images

As part of our Future of Week (read Thursday, Wednesday, Tuesday, Monday,) I’ll be exploring the future of weekends today.

The coronavirus pandemic has essentially thrown the concept of time out the window. Did you know today is Friday? Does it matter? Do weekends exist? Now that social distancing has swept most Americans indoors and apart, the way they spend their leisure hours has been quickly reshaped.

There are no more weekend trips, summer BBQs, or a Sunday lounging in the park. It will be a while until we see kids running through fountains in playgrounds, pets (and their human companions) repopulating dog parks, and crowds gathering to celebrate birthdays, graduations, and reunions. But traditions and leisure time are all so essential to mental health. Given that we’ll be social distancing for an indefinite amount of time, it’s important to figure out how to still celebrate and relax with each other while apart. Here are some tips for not letting the coronavirus ruin your weekend.

This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for April 17, 2020. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day in your inbox.

As a friend of mine recently pointed out, now might also be a great time to expand weekends, i.e. shorten the workweek. “This would be a great opportunity for progressive employers to pilot a four-day workweek and enjoy the known productivity gains rather than just recreate the workplace dynamic everyone hates but in our apartments,” tweeted Abie Sidell. Microsoft Japan, for instance, found that a four-day workweek boosted productivity by 40 percent.

It might also be a time to do away with weekends altogether and instead create more flexible schedules. As an article in The Muse predicts, “by around 2030, the millennial majority will likely have done away with the 9-to-5 workday entirely.” In the future, as office life and work is reimagined, so too may be the provincial weekday.

But for now, can you remind me what day it is?

HEY THERE — We want to hear from you. We have a couple of fun surveys for you to take to help us with our stories!

First: If members of your quarantine pod no longer want to hear about your coronavirus nightmares, you can share them with Inverse in this Google form. We’re reporting a story on the science of these strange dreams and how they may be impacting you during the day.

Second: It was one year ago when we all gathered with our friends and fellow nerd brethren to witness Avengers: Endgame, the once-in-a-generation culmination of 11 years of interwoven superhero movies. Now that we’re all forced inside, we want to reminisce with you over a semi-recent time when we went out into the world, together. Visit this Google form to share your memories of Avengers: Endgame opening weekend in an upcoming story for Inverse.

TFW EVERY TOOTH IS A SWEET TOOTH — Every animal on the planet has a hardwired preference for sugar. In fact, the average American eats 152 pounds of sugar every year.

Now, researchers have gotten closer to understanding why we crave the sweet stuff so terribly. Scientists discovered a powerful gut-brain axis that’s activated by sugar, even when taste receptors are knocked out in mice.

In the future, manipulating this gut-brain sugar sensor could help people enjoy — and be satisfied by— sweet substances without risking their health. Read up on why sugar tastes so good →

More on sugar and your health:

THE CLOCK TICKS — SpaceX’s Mars-bound ship, the Starship, has seen a number of failures during its early development. The company blew up prototype models in tests held in September 2019, February, and April – including the “Mk.1” model demonstrated at a Texas press conference. But while failures may seem like setbacks, Elon Musk is not worried.

In his words, “production is by far the hardest part.” But as the clock ticks, SpaceX will need to improve if it wants to host an orbital flight in the next few months. Read up on the future of the SpaceX Starship bound for Mars →

More on SpaceX below:

SAVE THE CORALS —The ocean’s corals face major threats, including coral bleaching and warming waters. These dangers cause ripple effects across the ocean. When corals die off, it critically affects other marine species — and humans, too. A new study sheds light on what people can do to help the fate of corals, and in turn, life beyond the reef.

Scientists collected data from 1,800 tropical coral reef sites around the world. The researchers determined three major ways to tell if coral is healthy — and exactly how to track how healthy they are. These involve measuring the health of reef fisheries, ecological function, and biodiversity.

The study helps fill the “critical gap” between the ways we manage coral reefs and actually meet sustainability goals, the scientists say, providing guidance on what people charged with reef protection can realistically achieve. Read up on this new insight into saving coral reefs and all the life they shelter →

More on coral reefs below:

THE LONG HAUL — Scientists are starting to pose an answer to the question of when we will finally leave quarantine? Unfortunately, it’s not the answer we hoped for. A new model by scientists at Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health suggests that we might be “intermittent” social distancing until 2022.

Intermittent social distancing means that we may get to relax some restrictions. For instance, kids might go to school a few days per week, and restaurants may let a few people dine in at once. But we’ll have to be ready to go back into quarantine if cases appear to pick up. The new normal may not look much like regular life, but it may be better than total lockdown. Here’s what the new normal could look like →

More Covid-19 news:

MASKED HEROES — Weeks ago, you probably weren’t worried about wearing a mask or bandana when you went outside. Now, the CDC has shifted its stance: cloth face coverings are now recommended. It’s an abrupt change, but if you knew where to look, you could have seen it coming on Twitter.

In the weeks before the CDC shifted its stance on masks, a photoshopped Financial Times graph went viral on Twitter and has since been shared on Tunisian television by the Mayor of Medellín Colombia and appeared in French news reports. That graph has become the calling card for an interconnected series of pro-mask movements that gained traction just weeks before the CDC changed their policy.

These groups have already changed policy in the Czech Republic and are pushing the World Health Organization from three sides. Here’s how one graph has helped make that all possible →

Read up on Covid-19 and masks below:

Meanwhile …

  • Experts reveal 4 powerful ways you can strengthen your immune system.
  • A private rocket firm, which recently successfully recovered one of its vehicles using a helicopter, has drawn praise from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
  • Sony is reportedly on track to release the PS5 during the 2020 holiday season, but there’s going to be a “limited” supply.
  • HBO Max has announced a live-action Justice League Dark series produced by J.J. Abrams.
  • The Clone Wars finale just answered 4 pesky questions from Revenge of the Sith.
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