Inverse Daily

Miles Morales might change video games forever

Making history with every swing.

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Have you ever gotten an email you didn't want? If you have, it proves the struggles of today's anniversary, the signing of 2003's CAN-SPAM Act. Short for the "Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act," President George W. Bush hailed the legislation as a "framework of administrative, civil, and criminal tools to help America's consumers, businesses, and families combat unsolicited commercial email, known as spam."

Critics at the time vociferously disagreed, with Professor Lawrence Lessig calling it an "abomination at the federal level." State legislators complained that it took their state-level powers to fight spam out of their hands. In the modern era, it's almost universally agreed that CAN-SPAM was a failure. At least 45 percent of all email worldwide is spam. What most can agree now, with hindsight, that CAN-SPAM was a failure. But the question of how to fix CAN-SPAM, and your inbox, is still up for much debate. Of course, you'd never consider your old friends at Inverse Daily spam, right?

As the year ends, we're expanding our question of the week to the rest of December. In one sentence, what's your prediction for 2021? Shoot us an email at newsletter@inverse.com and we'll be publishing our favorites at the beginning of the new year.

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

Today on The Abstract — Killer cats: The surprising behavior of your favorite pet

While house cats are some of the most popular pets around the world, the story of how they came to be domesticated is even more mysterious than our favorite fickle feline in question.

Feral, yet people-friendly, science says it was cats that ultimately made the choice to coexist with humans. And with this unexpected, ancient discovery, key questions remain: Are you the owner of a cat? Or are you simply your cat’s chosen human?

In this episode of The Abstract, we explain the feral nature of house cats and their dangerous, mysterious ways.

43,000 — Pfizer vaccine: New decision means a critical population gets the shot

On Friday, in a historic first, the United States' Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization of Pfizer’s vaccine for Covid-19.

It was a long-awaited decision, but one group arguably had the most to gain: The 43,000 vaccine trial participants who had been left to wonder when they could have the shot their bodies helped test for the masses.

Amid the breaking news, the answer to that question wasn't so plain.

On Monday, Pfizer attempted to clear up the matter. The pharma giant emailed participants to confirm those who live in long-term care facilities — or are healthcare workers — can get the vaccine now as part of the trial. Everybody else in the trial would have to wait for about six months, or after their fourth visit to the doctor as part of the study. That's according to an email sent to trial participants Monday, reviewed by Inverse.

Many questions remain

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Ice Ice Baby — Future missions to Mars could depend on newly discovered water ice reservoirs

Mars holds many mysteries deep within its dusty world. For decades, scientists have wondered how the Red Planet lost its water and became the dry, desolate land it is today.

As space agencies set their course towards Mars for future exploration, they need to find ways to support astronauts on the planet — not least by providing a stable source of water.

Now, scientists think they have found a reservoir of water ice in Mars' southern hemisphere which could enable these future missions. The discovery not only has implications for human exploration of Mars, but it also helps scientists reconstruct the history of water on the Red Planet.

Here's what NASA's Martian observers are seeing

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Space Jam — One type of indoor area is especially high-risk for Covid-19 — study

Life often pushes people close together. But during a pandemic, social distancing can be a lifesaving tactic.

A now-infamous rule is the need to stay at least six feet apart from others — a CDC recommendation based on the idea most large droplets expelled by a cough or sneeze fall within six feet.

A new study suggests it may be vital to adjust that six-foot rule hyper-locally depending on the shape of a space. Data indicates the six-feet-apart rule isn't far enough in a narrow, enclosed hallway.

The findings suggest places like narrow school hallways, enclosed airport boarding zones, and office corridors pose a higher risk when it comes to transmission.

How close is too close for comfort during Covid?

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Coming soon ...

One thing you can expect in the 2020s will be a much-needed breaking of the lunar glass ceiling. NASA, as well as other space organizations, has made it a priority to land the first woman on the surface of the Moon. NASA recently announced nine finalists for the position. But that's the thing about being first — there can only be one. Coming soon on Inverse, a look at the nine women with a chance to make history for all of humanity.

Alone together — Lonely people's brains are different in 3 major ways

When the health insurance giant Cigna surveyed 10,000 adults in 2019, they found a surprisingly lonely world; 61 percent of people surveyed said they felt lonely. That loneliness is more than a feeling.

Scientists have discovered that loneliness lights up the brain the same way basic human needs, like hunger, do. Newer research is showing it's also related to changes in the brain. According to a new study, there’s a rich inner world inside every lonely mind.

All the lonely people, where do their brains come from?

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Spider-verse — Spider-Man: Miles Morales reveals the power of representation

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a bold step forward for representation in AAA games.

Insomniac Games’ latest leap into the Spider-Verse is full of all the comic book action and thrills you’d expect from a big-budget Marvel project. But Miles Morales' focus on a Black Puerto Rican superhero also affords the developers the opportunity to break new ground by including more characters from diverse backgrounds.

Miles Morales is a love letter to New York’s culturally vibrant Harlem neighborhood, and ever since the PlayStation exclusive’s November 12 release, scores of gamers have praised and celebrated the game’s portrayal of underrepresented communities on social media, including Puerto Rico-based blogger Christian Quiles.

“My playthrough was more enjoyable because I saw a bit of myself there,” Quiles tells Inverse. “While I don't share the same skin color as Miles, this game is a way that I can attest to the Black community's cause for more representation in media and how it truly matters.”

“I was witnessing myself in a video game.”

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And that's it for the Daily! If you're looking for more, check out our review of Wonder Woman: 1984, which really floored our reviewer Eric Francisco.

Thank you for reading! Follow me on Twitter if you want, where I tweet too much.

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