Elon Musk’s Twitter deal could set SpaceX’s Mars ambitions back — here’s why
Plus: Another study pokes holes in the BMI as a health predictor.
You know, I know, your dog probably knows: On Monday, Elon Musk bought Twitter and everyone has an opinion about it. Are you among the Twitter users now bewailing the impending doom of the platform? Or are you among the never-Twitter folks who feel vindicated? Perhaps you are among those who think this can only be a good thing — just look at Tesla. The electric-vehicle maker hasn’t always been under the auspices of Elon Musk, but since coming under his wing, it has undeniably thrived. Yet Musk’s Twitter buy may have unwelcome ripples for Tesla in store.
In today’s newsletter, read all about the potential consequences of Musk buying Twitter for SpaceX and Tesla. You can also find stories on a strange and severe disease outbreak in kids, the discovery of new building blocks of life in space, and the relationship between exercise and cancer risk. Happy Thursday.
Acute hepatitis outbreaks have affected kids throughout the world.
On Saturday, the World Health Organization said that it had received reports of the illness in 169 children across the United States, the United Kingdom, and Northern Ireland. The affected children range in age from one month old to 16 years old.
The WHO said that the adenovirus — a virus that can cause the common cold — had been detected in 74 of the children affected and SARS-CoV-2 was detected in 20 cases. In 19 of the 20 cases, both viruses were detected.
“The WHO is being cautious and saying they don’t know if it’s really an increase in cases or just increased awareness,” William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, tells Inverse. “The notion that in 17 of these cases the children have received liver transplants is striking to me. Something is going on.”
How will owning Twitter affect Elon Musk’s other billion-dollar companies? Musk will have to sell shares to partly finance his offer of $44 billion(ish), although it is unclear which shares he will sell. SEC filings also reveal that a $12.5 billion loan will be secured against his holdings in Tesla.
But more significant consequences of Musk’s financial machinations could be felt by SpaceX.
Unlike Tesla, which is publicly traded and profitable (the carmaker banked $3.3 billion profit in the first quarter of this year), SpaceX is not as mature and still functions like a start-up. For example, the company is seeking funding from private investors to finance its highly-experimental Starship project.
Musk’s Twitter deal means the company’s single largest investor (he owns 47.4 percent of SpaceX and 78.3 percent of the votes on its board) has a greater portion of his wealth tied up in other companies.
The reality is that SpaceX is not profit-motivated in the same way as Tesla. Musk’s self-proclaimed mission for SpaceX is to get humans to Mars, not sell products. If the company needs another bailout — to pay for the development of a highly experimental Mars rocket, for instance — Musk may face constraints due to his new financial situation.
The molecules that form our DNA are also found in meteorites, according to a new study. These nucleobases could prove that meteors seeded life on Earth.
In a new paper published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, Japanese scientists describe how they analyzed samples of three different meteors gathered in different locations across a 70-year span. They found the presence of nucleobases, one of three components that form a molecule called nucleic acid, which possesses the genetic information for all living organisms.
The team looked at two samples from the Murchison meteorite, which fell in Australia in 1969. They also looked at Tagish Lake meteorite fragments, which fell in Canada in 2000, and specimens of the Murray meteorite, which fell in the United States in 1950.
Obesity and the main tool used to measure it, the body mass index, are both controversial. Some health experts think BMI (one’s weight in kilograms divided by their height in meters squared), is a simplistic and incomplete way to measure overall health.
Case in point: A study published in the International Journal of Cancer this month indicates that to reduce the risk for these “obesity-related cancers,” how much you exercise might be more important than how much you weigh.
The researchers analyzed health records from 570,021 people, some of them going back to 1972. On average, the subjects were followed for 20 years.
People who engaged in moderate or “hard” levels of physical activity had a lower risk of developing any cancer associated with obesity compared to those who were sedentary or did light physical activity.
What is interesting is that this association was similar between those in the “normal range” of the BMI index (less than 25) and those in the “overweight” (25 to 29.9) or “obese” (30 and higher) categories.
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- On this day in history: On April 28, 2003, Apple launched the iTunes music store and completely disrupted how we listen to music, how music is released, how musicians make money and, indeed, new music, and who gets to participate in the music industry itself. That said, do you still use iTunes?