Inverse Daily

Who's behind deep-web crime? A new study has the answer

Deep web crimes aren't as anonymous as some think.

Full Frame Shot Of Purple Onions. Fresh whole purple onions and one sliced onion.

Sometimes science means blowing stuff up. That was certainly the case on this date in 1984, when NASA and the FAA collaborated for a unique joint experiment known as the Controlled Impact Demonstration.

Looking to test a jet fuel additive that had the potential to put out fires during a crash landing, the two agencies got hold of an old Boeing 720 and gave it a total upgrade. From top to bottom, the old plane was given new seat designs, flight data recorders, galley and stowage-bin attachments, cabin fireproof materials, and burn-resistant windows.

Four years of work went into upgrading the Boeing 720, and on December 1, it was remotely controlled, filled with test-dummy passengers, and reached a fiery demise. That was disappointing to scientists who hoped that the fuel additive would put the fire out. Instead, it took over an hour to extinguish the massive fireball.

While the fuel additive was a wash, the study had some side benefits: cameras observing the test dummies and all the new upgrades were able to inform future fire-safety decisions. There's no replacement for real-world testing.

Our question of the week looks into the past: What was your first gaming console?

We want your early gaming memories! Shoot us an email at and we'll post our favorite answers at the end of the week.

And as a new month begins, we want to say thanks for reading another month of ID! Here are our winners from November: Brad Read, Sarah Kaplan, Emily Carkhuff. Good luck to everyone in December!

This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for December 1, 2020. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day in your inbox.

Star power — SpaceX Starship: watch incredible static fire ahead of 15-kilometer jump

Starship, SpaceX's rocket designed to send humans to Mars and beyond, could reach all-new heights next week.

On Tuesday, reported that the Starship "SN8" prototype completed a static test fire at 6:23 p.m. Eastern at SpaceX's Texas facility. This was the fourth such test for the prototype — it is a procedure held before a launch in which the engines are fired but the vehicle is held in place.

The successful fire is another step toward Starship's biggest "hop test" yet.

Let's go to the hop

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Dream catcher — The benefits of coronavirus dreams, explained by 3 theories

The Covid-19 pandemic introduced to the world a new threat and a new social reality. In turn, dreams may reflect these novel sources of fear and frustration.

By looking at the dream diaries of people living in Brazil both before and during the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, researchers reveal these dreams can serve a counterintuitive purpose. Though there is some debate over the exact function of dreams, a study published Monday in the journal PLOS ONE argues three theories can help explain why Covid-19 is altering dreaming and help interpret these dreams' true purpose.

How has Covid gotten into your head?

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Everyone's a critic — Amazon rock art offers a window into Ice Age artists

Ancient people fascinate us, but we have so little evidence to rely upon that would help us understand how they thought about the world around them.

But an exciting new discovery of ancient rock art sheds light on the relationship between ancient people in the Amazon and the flora and fauna around them, including now-extinct Ice Age creatures.

A groundbreaking look at ancient art →

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Coming soon ...

Dealing with daily systemic tremors, fatigue, brain fog, and heart palpitations, an estimated 10 percent of patients are suffering so-called “long Covid" weeks and months after infection. While these lingering physical symptoms are painful and, at times, debilitating, the psychological toll of isolation and chronic illness can be worse. To stay mentally healthy, long-haulers are connecting online, finding solace in virtual support groups.

Coming soon on Inverse, a look at what happens when Zoom becomes a lifeline to survive chronic illness.

Breathe in — Scientists have designed a way to transform water into fuel on Mars

In July 2008, NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander tasted Mars' soil. The soil, collected from the surface of the Red Planet, revealed the elements embedded in the Mars' surface, offering a clue to how humans might one day make a life there. Soon after, scientists confirmed what the lander had found: the presence of water ice on Mars.

The discovery changed how scientists study the Red Planet and attempts to reconstruct the history of water on Mars. But it also opened up a new possibility: Could humans make use of this water?

Water, water, everywhere

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Layers — Study finds freest nations cause most harm on the dark web

There are two sides to the internet. One is littered with cookies, targeted adware, and other tracking devices. The other is dark. So dark, you may remain anonymous.

Anonymity is Tor's calling card. One of the key parts of the dark web, the Tor anonymity network can grant users freedom from government censors and technology giants alike — a kind of Libertarian utopia. But the dark web is also where the online sale of firearms, drugs, and child abuse content typically takes place. It's called "dark" for a reason.

But to scientists, the activity on Tor is somewhat traceable. In a new study, a team of researchers peel back the layers to reveal how Tor's users across the world browse the dark web. They found roughly one in every 20 Tor users employed the network to view illicit or illegal content.

Breaking the law, breaking the law

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And that's it for ID today! Check out our recommendation for the weirdest movie leaving streaming soon! It's very weird.

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

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